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December 15, 2021 - 3:26pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, schools, news, education, Le Roy Central Schools.

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A rekenrek is a tool to help elementary-age children build a better sense of numbers, Stacie Wilson, the new numeracy coach in Le Roy Central Schools, explained to the Board of Education on Tuesday evening.

Students use it to help them grasp the concept of how numbers work together.

For example, take the number seven, if students are told to arrange the pieces on the rekenrek into groups that ad up into seven, they might move four pieces on one line and three on another, or two and five, or one and six, etc.

There is no wrong answer, said Wilson (top photo), which both helps students see how numbers work together and develop confidence in thinking about numbers.

The rekenrek, similar to an abacus but it is not based on place value columns, is just one tool to help students grasp a better concept of numbers.  

Wilson also uses, for example, a jar filled with items -- changed regularly -- that encourages students to guess how many of those items are in a jar.

"(These things) help students generally understand numbers and how numbers work and connect," Wilson said. "They can place values on things and it weaves into so many connections they will make through the years."

Teachers engage students in math classes in "number talk," Wilson said, so they can better grasp the concepts of numbers. They can develop flexible thinking about numbers, especially through us of the rekenrek where numbers can be combined visually in multiple ways to create new numbers.

"Some students are more resistant to math and they fear the wrong answer," Wilson said.  "This allows all kids into the experience and allows for them to really push their thinking about numbers."

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Newly appointed trustee Jason Karcher.

December 15, 2021 - 1:53pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, Le Roy Central Schools, schools, news, notify.

Le Roy Central Schools will continue to keep doing what it's doing when it comes to COVID-19, Superintendent Merritt Holly told the Board of Education on Tuesday night, because it's been working.

That is, the district will continue to follow the protocols.

Holly said with a total of there are currently 25 more COVID-19 cases in the district this year than last at the same point, when there were 45, but by Dec. 24 last year, there were 81 cases.

The numbers, then, this year are looking pretty good, when you consider that this year, nearly all students are attending school daily and the world is dealing with varients that spread more easily than the version of SARS-CoV-2 that was in the air a year ago.

The data is clear, Holly said: The vaccines work.  Most of the local infections are among the unvaccinated.

The other advantage for the vaccinated is they don't have to follow the same quarantine protocols if they become a close contact to an infected person and are asymptomatic.

The district, he said, with temperature checks, social distancing, masks, quarantines for the unvaccinated who get exposed to the disease, are one of the safest environments for staff and students.

"What we've put in place has allowed us to stay functional and stay in school," Holly said.

 

December 2, 2021 - 10:40pm
posted by Press Release in schools, City Schools, batavia, news, notify.

Press release:

Earlier today the City of Batavia Police Department was made aware of threats being spread on social media involving students from the Batavia City High School. Officers have been investigating, and continue to investigate this matter with assistance from our local, state and federal law enforcement partners in order to determine the credibility of the threats circulating.

Out of an over-abundance of caution, the District, in consultation with the Police Department, has made the decision to close all buildings within the Batavia City School District tomorrow, Friday, December 3.

"The Department is taking this matter seriously, and will devote the resources needed to ensure the safety and security of the students in the Batavia City School District.", stated Chief Shawn Heubusch, "We remind parents to continue to monitor their child's social media presence and report anything that is suspicious."

We ask that parents and students report any information relative to the threats going around by contacting the City of Batavia Police Department at 585-345-6350 or submit a tip on the Department's CrimeWatch page (www.bataviapolice.org). Further, we discourage the public from continuing to share any posts as it can create unnecessary fear within our community.  

Previously: City Schools to close Friday due to threats of violence on social media

November 24, 2021 - 5:19pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, Le Roy Central Schools, schools, educaiton, news, notify.

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One of the tricky issues for the Le Roy Central School District in navigating protocols during the age of COVID is that neighboring jurisdictions often have different requirements than present in Genesee County, Superintendent Merritt Holly informed the Board of Education on Tuesday.

For example, at the start of the new year, RIT will require every person who comes on campus for any event to show proof of vaccination.  That means every coach and athlete from Le Roy who participates in winter track and field will need to be vaccinated in order to compete in events at RIT, even though Le Roy doesn't have a vaccine requirement.

Any team that wins enough and reaches state championship athletic events will find every participant must be vaccinated to compete.

A memo Holly provided to school board members provides a timeline of shifting rules and guidance as knowledge of the pandemic has evolved and health leaders have sought to provide the best guidance as possible.

That has sometimes created confusion, Holly acknowledged. 

"One piece of thought, again, schools from county to county, interpretations of what this course is, this space, this contact tracing, so on so forth, can be different," Holly said. "Therefore, it can cause issues, equity issues, questions of why. But I think the bottom line is the data should then show are these measures working to keep us in school."

The briefing, Holly said, was to enable board members to get a complete picture of what is going on so they can come to the board's December meeting with any questions they might have at that point.

To read the full memo, click here (pdf).

November 19, 2021 - 3:46pm
posted by Press Release in schools.
Event Date and Time: 
December 2, 2021 - 6:00pm to 7:30pm

Press release:

Are you a student who learns math and science best through projects and collaboration with peers?

The Western New York (WNY) P-Tech Academy provides students with a Regents diploma, a college degree and a career path - all in one program. Trade the traditional classroom for a new way to prepare for your future.
 

November 19, 2021 - 3:40pm
posted by Press Release in WNY Tech Academy, byron-bergen, schools, education, news.

Press release:

Are you a student who learns math and science best through projects and collaboration with peers?

The Western New York (WNY) P-Tech Academy provides students with a Regents diploma, a college degree and a career path - all in one program. Trade the traditional classroom for a new way to prepare for your future.
 

  • Engage in a project-based learning environment and have fun while you’re learning
  • Earn your high school credits while earning up to 27 college credits before even graduating from high school
  • Meet business mentors and experience real-world employment experiences
  • Earn an A.A.S. degree from Genesee Community College – FREE

The WNY P-Tech Academy is a Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH), supporting students in grades 9-14. This Genesee Valley (GV BOCES) program serves 13 regional school districts through a curriculum that places a strong emphasis on hands-on, project-based learning to prepare students for high-skill, financially stable careers in growth industries.  Students attending the WNY P-Tech Academy complete all necessary coursework for a New York State Regents Diploma as well as earn an Associate of Applied Science degree through Genesee Community College at no cost. Enrollment in this program is a six-year commitment for students and their school districts.

Students in this program choose Career and Degree Pathways. Each track is a gateway to profitable and fulfilling careers that are in demand by local industries. The pathways include Accounting, Supply Chain Management, Entrepreneurship and Marketing and Social Media. 

Come learn about the many opportunities this unique learning opportunity can provide!

An Open House is set for Thursday, December 2, 2021 from 6-7:30 p.m. The WNY P-Tech Academy is located behind the tennis courts at Byron-Bergen High School, 6917 West Bergen Road, Bergen, NY 14416.

To find out more about the WNY P-Tech Academy, please contact:

Catherine Bennett
Principal
585-494-1220 ext. 3137
[email protected]

November 18, 2021 - 6:35pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in St. Paul, news, schools, education, batavia.

Press release:

St. Paul Lutheran School is proud to announce the Honor Roll and High Honor Roll for the 1st Marking Period of the 2021-2022 School Year.  The following students have earned the Honor Roll:

Isabella Battaglia, Benjamin Forsyth, Syvonne Holliday, Caleb, Janis, Tomas Schrader, Korina Hodges, Eli Janis, Helen Schofield, Lucy Warren, Lillian McClellan, and Lilah Guarino.

The following students have earned the High Honor Roll:

Emma Clark, Abigail Varland, Mathew Mosher, and Cooper Parker.

November 10, 2021 - 4:44pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, schools, education, news, notify.

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Not even a year into a new program at Le Roy High School that is focused on student success, Jen Bertrand reported to the Board of Trustees on Tuesday night that several students are already showing great improvement both socially and academically.

Bertrand, the Grade 9-12 Intervention Specialist for the district, is working with 52 students in the Student Success Center. Six are seniors, 10 juniors, 22 sophomores, and 14 freshmen.

Successes look like this:

  • A student who felt he had no friends and set a goal this year to make at least one friend.  He's joined a club on-campus of kids with a similar gaming interest and is making friends.
  • There is another student who felt inhibited but has now part of a school music program.
  • There is a student who is motivated to improve his grades because Bertrand arranged for him to meet a favorite rock star via Zoom if he produces a favorable report card.
  • And there is the student who at the beginning of the year was too embarrassed to ask for help, too embarrassed to participate in peer tutoring.  Now he's a campus advocate for peer tutoring.

All of the students in the program deal with anxiety or depression and several have been through traumatic experiences.

Bertrand said the success center essentially provides a "life coach" to troubled students, offering support on getting assignments done, helping with developing good work habits, organization, time management, painting social and mental health, ensuring these skills are transferable to other classes and situations.

"We try to capture those magic moments really showing the students they're not alone," Bertrand said.

Bertrand shared, without revealing names, the feedback she's received from her fellow teachers for the board to read.  For example:

  • "The work that Jen has been doing with our students in her program is genuinely monumental. I have seen a significant correlation between the students she is working with and an increased amount of work completion, communication, improved classroom behavior, and overall work ethic. For example, one student, in particular, has been working incredibly hard. He is focused in class, participates in discussions, and thoroughly completes his work. While he still has some off days, I am confident that the work he is doing with Jen has made a huge impact."
  • “I have noticed many positive changes in the behaviors and attitudes of the students enrolled in the 9-12 Learning Center with Mrs. Bertrand. Most notably, the students interact with me more, ask questions and advocate for themselves. In general, their attitude toward school is much more positive, like they are beginning to believe in themselves. Mrs. Bertrand was made for this position and she works really hard to support our students academically, but with social-emotional health issues.”
  • “As a teacher who has some repeat customers, I have seen a significant academic improvement in the students that I had last year that are now in the learning center. Not only has assignment completion improved, but the quality of work has improved as well. When a student puts on an assignment that one of the things they are grateful for is Mrs. B, you can tell they see, and are proud of, the improvement too.”

She also shared anonymous quotes from students:

Before taking on this new role at the school, Bertrand was the tech coach at the high school.  At a board meeting in June, she heard High School Principal Tim McArdle discuss his desire to create an intervention program.  The idea resonated with her.

"I thought, 'I want to do that,' she said. "There was just a light in me to do help these students."

October 29, 2021 - 1:44pm
posted by Press Release in Jackson School, batavia, schools, education, news.

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Press release:

On October 29th students at Jackson Primary celebrated Halloween along with other fun fall activities during our second annual “Community Helper Day.”  We also provided fun alternate activities for those who do not celebrate Halloween. 

Students came dressed in their costumes for Halloween and paraded outside to visit the community helpers and their respective vehicles in the bus loop. Students were able to see real-life community heroes dressed in their everyday uniforms. 

These community helpers devoted their time to hand candy and goodies out to students at Jackson Primary. The community helpers included an EMT from Mercy Flight, Town and City of Batavia Fire Departments, New York State Troopers, Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy, Pastor Roula from First Presbyterian Church, Bruce Scolfield from Scofield Roll-Off Services, Rachael Tabelski, City Manager who organized The Department of Public Works, First Student of America bus transportation, Kyle Heassler, P.A. from Three Little Birds, Fay Fuerch and K9 Handley from the NYS DEC, Community Schools and Board of Education members John Reigle, Jennifer Lendvay and Michelle Humes. Prior to the event, students learned about who community helper was and why they are important in our community. We felt it was important for students to know that when they choose a costume of a community helper, now they see a real HERO.

The Batavia Police Benevolent Association and Firefighters Association each donated a bike to be raffled off to two Jackson Primary students for “Spooktacular” behavior. We would also like to thank McDonald’s for their donation of ice cream and apple slice coupons.

Jackson has had a long-standing partnership with the First Presbaratyian Church and they provided cider and treat bags for the students. Tim Horton’s also provided over 1000 TimBits. 

We are so thankful these community helpers took the time out of their busy schedules to educate students about potential career choices. We look forward to continuing to deepen our partnership with these community helpers in Batavia. We wanted it to be a day the students would not forget! I think together, we accomplished that!!!

Photos by Steve Ognibene.

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October 26, 2021 - 5:54pm
posted by Press Release in oakfield-alabama, schools, education, news, agriculture, FFA.

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Press release:

The Retired Educators of New York Teacher Grant Committee awards the Hudson-Kramer Memorial Grant annually to an educational professional in memory of Ross C. Hudson and Florence Coulter Kramer who were public school teachers and outstanding members of the New York State Retired Teachers Association. The purpose of the grant is to fund an innovative project or program in a New York State public school. Oakfield-Alabama's FFA program that is run by Todd Hofheins was selected to receive the grant this year to support his vision for raising market animals to support the local food pantry. The student who will be overseeing the project purchased with the grant money is Owen Zeliff (8th Grade). Owen comes from the family who have started the food pantry that has been so beneficial to our community, and we are sure he’s again excited to give back! Mr. Hofheins is a very busy teacher, but he agreed to sit for a Q and A session with our student reporter, Lily Haacke, to talk about the grant.

(Lily Haacke ) : What is the project that you will use the grant funds for? 

Mr. Hofheins:  The OA FFA students currently raise market animals in our school barn but have expressed an interest in helping our local food pantry while also educating the community by explaining the health benefits of using fresh beef.  Funds from the grant will be used to purchase a market steer (bought as a calf and raised by our FFA) to provide the Oakfield Community Center/Food Pantry with fresh beef.

(Lily Haacke ): That sounds like a great project, How did the idea come about? 

Mr. Hofheins: Oakfield-Alabama FFA Strives to develop student members that are well rounded in Agricultural knowledge and involved with different Community Service opportunities. Several FFA members were involved with a community garden last Summer 2020 and noticed a high demand from local families for fresh foods to offer for a complete and healthy meal. This sparked an interest to raise a market steer and donate the fresh beef to the Food Pantry.  

(Lily Haacke): Do you see this as an area of need in Oakfield-Alabama? 

Mr. Hofheins: Yes. Many families do not have access to fresh meat due to transportation issues. Others have lower or fixed incomes and fresh beef has become too costly to purchase from the supermarket. Instead, people rely on more affordable but less healthy processed foods which deteriorates their health.

(Lily Haacke ): Is it possible that demand outweighs supply? What will you do if there isn’t enough beef to meet the demand?

Mr. Hofheins: The Oakfield-Alabama-Elba FFA Alumni has offered to help with expenses if needed. Also, the Oakfield-Alabama FFA is also applying for a “Living to Serve” grant to offset the other money needed to raise and finish this project.

(Lily Haacke): Mr. Peterson (Middle School and High School Principal) has bragged about OA students having “authentic experiences” as part of their education here, is this an example of that?

Mr. Hofheins: Absolutely! This project helps support FFA students as part of their supervised agricultural experience by teaching calf selection, animal husbandry, nutrition, showmanship, marketing, and community service. 

*This article was written by Lily Haacke as part of a class called OA Pride. The class (taught by Mrs. Tracy Schlagenhauf) includes project-based learning where students take the lead in researching and showcasing positive achievements within the Oakfield-Alabama school and community. The photos were taken by Alexis Main, a student in Mr. David Carpino’s digital photography class.

 

October 15, 2021 - 12:27pm
posted by Press Release in BOCES, news, schools, education.

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Press release:

The Genesee Valley (GV) BOCES School of Practical Nursing proudly graduated 24 students at a ceremony held on October 8 at Celebration Church in Leicester, New York. Brianna Spuck was named valedictorian of the class, and Magdalena Lendzion was recognized as the salutatorian. Instructors Marisa Dale, Jackie VanNorman and Janet Green assisted throughout the ceremony. Heidi Mix, Regional Medical Programs Coordinator, was also on hand to congratulate students and recognize them for all of their hard work and commitment.

Mix shared some thoughts about how this class weathered the challenges of learning during the pandemic.

“This class was our first class to be able to transition back to the classroom and clinical facilities. Coming back into the classroom allowed for a more normal school environment which then, in turn, created some strong bonding to take place amongst the students,” Mix said. “If I have to describe this particular class as a whole, I would say they functioned as a team and respected their instructor as a team does their coach. They worked hard for her and also had some fun together.”

During the ceremony, Dale gave some parting words of wisdom to the graduates.

“As nurses, you have a responsibility to do what is right for your patients.  You have to love what you do and have a passion for your work. Stay involved, and contribute. Positivity and knowledge have power,” Dale said.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, John Cima, Lead Coordinator for the GV BOCES Adult Education Program, announced that each student would receive a credit for payment of their NCLEX (National Council Licensure Examination) exam. These payments to students are made possible due to Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding.

Graduates of the program must complete a 12-month, 1,200-clock hour program that is certified by the New York State Education Department. Graduates of the program receive a certificate of completion of licensed practical nursing.

The program is designed to prepare graduates for the NCLEX-PN Examination for licensure as a Licensed Practical Nurse. This course is offered in three different sites located in Batavia, Rochester Tech Park in Gates, and Mount Morris, New York. For more information about this program, contact the Adult Education/School of Practical Nursing at (585) 344-7788.

The graduates are:

  • Taylor Alexander
  • Nickesha Anderson
  • Emily Antonucci
  • Jasmine Avery
  • Thomas Brado
  • Jasmine Collier
  • Lisa Dumuhosky
  • Samantha Feldmann
  • Lauren Forsyth
  • Carey Hewitt
  • Ashley Houck
  • Camille Hunter
  • Brandi Jackson
  • Laura Koehl
  • Magdalena Lendzion
  • Taylor McPherson
  • Megan Peterson
  • Portia Read
  • Jenna Scaccia
  • Isaeyah Smith
  • Brianna Spuck
  • Nevin Steward
  • Andrea Wetherwax
  • Brianna Wolfe

Photos: Top photo:  Brianna Spuck, valedictorian of the class, (left) with Heidi Mix, Regional Medical Programs Coordinator.  Bottom photo:  Heidi Mix, Regional Medical Programs Coordinator (right), recognizes Magdalena Lendzion as the class salutatorian.

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October 13, 2021 - 6:00pm

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For more than three decades, the Knights of Columbus, Msgr. Kirby Council No. 325 has been a strong supporter of St. Joseph Regional School and Notre Dame High School.

The council’s many contributions have gone toward building improvements, classroom and technology upgrades, beautification of both campuses, and tuition support scholarships.

“The scholarships provided by the Knights support our mission of advancing Catholic school education in Batavia,” said council trustee Steve Ognibene. “Many families throughout the region -- regardless of their financial position -- have been granted funds that have helped complete their education at St. Joseph’s and then graduate from Notre Dame.”

Ognibene said that hundreds of students have benefited from K of C sponsorship, especially when Notre Dame expanded to grades seven through 12 in 2020 and the council agreed to include students across all grade levels.

The council’s recent sponsorship allocated $4,000 to each school.

Notre Dame High Business Manager Tom Rapone applauded the council for its commitment to the schools.

“St. Joseph School and Notre Dame take pride in being top-ranked schools in the entire GLOW Region for the past two decades, and we have equal pride in our longstanding relationship with the Knights of Columbus,” Rapone said.

Photo above: Karen Green, principal of St. Joseph Regional School, receives a check from Knights of Columbus scholarship committee members, from left, Grand Knight Tom Trescott, Rocco Pellegrino, Sam LaBarbera and Chuck Mahler. Photo below: Tom Rapone accepts the check from the committee. Submitted photos.

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October 8, 2021 - 8:39am

Byron-Bergen Central School will be getting major structural upgrades thanks to the 182 district residents who voted to approve a $17 million capital project Thursday.

District Superintendent Patrick McGee expressed his appreciation for those 226 people that took the time to vote. The final tally was 182 yes to 44 no. 

“We are all very proud of this district and the work completed on this project will reflect that pride,” McGee said in a news release issued later Thursday night. 

The project’s total tab of $17,107,802 is to cover improvements to the Elementary and Junior-Senior High schools, the natatorium and bus garage. A capital reserve fund and debt service payments will finance the plan and are not to cost district taxpayers anything in a “tax neutral” strategy.

State building aid accounts for 74.1 percent of the cost, with 8.5 percent in capital reserve funds and 17.4 percent in debt service. 

Work is to include swimming pool locker room renovations, boiler plant replacement, domestic water upgrades and pool equipment upgrades; athletic field improvements, track restoration, soccer stadium lighting replacement and roofing replacements at the Junior-Senior High School; and a new boiler plant and domestic water system upgrades at the Elementary School. 

Work on the project is estimated to begin in 2023. For details, go to www.bbschools.org/CapitalImprovementProject.aspx

October 3, 2021 - 9:23am
posted by Anne Marie Starowitz in catholic church, Catholic schools, schools, education, news, batavia.

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Several articles have been written on the early public schools from this area, including those still in use today.  When the very first schools were built, Catholic schools were also built alongside their churches.

Rev. Thomas Cunningham established the first Catholic school in 1873. He became the first priest to settle permanently in the village. With him came six Sisters of Mercy.  The sisters lived in the Davis Building on Jackson Street that served as their convent until 1873.  The sisters started a school in a barn next to the convent.  Due to a fire, the sisters had to move the school to a large stone building on Jackson Street that became Marshall News Store many years later.

In 1882 St. Joseph’s Parish began to build a new school and convent on Summit and East Main Street.  It was a solid unadorned building with a small turret over the front door and little towers on the front corners.  It had four rooms on the first floor for the younger students and three rooms above for the older children.  High school students were enrolled at the school until 1912.  Music lessons were taught in small spaces in the corridors.

St. Joseph’s School served as a parochial elementary school until 1959.  The building was listed as unsafe for young children, so in the fall of 1959, a new school with twelve classrooms and a cafeteria was built.  The old school was razed.  In 1973 office space and a new gymnasium and assembly hall were added to the eastern side of the new school.

Rev. Peter Pitass started Sacred Heart School in 1904 when he organized Sacred Heart Parish.  The school’s classrooms were ready for pupils by 1918.  Those classrooms served the Polish community until the flood of 1942. The school and church were located at the foot of Jackson Street.   By 1954 the school was also deemed a fire hazard, and plans were drawn up for a new school and church.  The new school would be located east of the church facing Sumner Street.  By the end of the year, a new fireproofed school building was built for $8,000.00.

In 1904 approximately 20 students were enrolled at Sacred Heart School.  By 1934 the number had increased to about 60 students, and registration remained at about that level until the ‘60s. Then, in the ‘60s, enrollment began to decrease. Finally, in 1974 enrollment was so small that Sacred Heart School merged with St. Anthony’s. Thus, after 70 years, there was no longer a school in the Sacred Heart Parish.

In 1908 Rev. Hyacinthe Ciabbatoni brought two Sisters of Mercy to Batavia to organize a school.  In 1909 property was bought on Liberty Street at Central Avenue; members of the parish put together two old houses to serve as a school and a parish hall.  In 1930 a new school was built by Frank Homelius, one of Batavia’s native architects.  He designed a school building with two floors, a social hall, and a gymnasium behind it.  It was dedicated as St. Anthony’s Community Center.  It was the most prominent meeting place in the city.  The school had nine classrooms on two floors along central corridors, with offices on either main entrance.  The basement had a nursery room, kitchen, and lavatories.  It was a T-shaped building with a gymnasium used for athletics and as a meeting hall or a dining room.  This community center was used for political rallies, union meetings, Grange meetings, fundraising, and Bingo. Many a bride will remember having her wedding reception at the Community Center with dinner on one floor and dancing on another.  

By 1908 there were between 200 and 250 students enrolled at St. Anthony’s School.  By 1970, 7th and 8th-grade students attended St. Mary’s, where junior high classes were offered.   In June 2006, St. Anthony’s School closed its doors after 95 years as an educational and social activity center on Batavia’s south side. 

Rev. Edward J. Ferger established St. Mary’s Elementary School when he organized the building of a Catholic High School, Notre Dame High School, in 1951.  The school opened before the buildings were complete.  The first-year students met at St. Anthony’s Community Center for classes until the school was finished.  In 1952 St. Mary’s school was built and faced Woodrow Road. St. Mary’s had eight classrooms and a small gym in a separate building.  Sisters of the Holy Cross were the first teachers at St. Mary’s, and then the school was run by the Felician Sisters.   At the end of the 2003-2004 academic year, St. Mary’s Elementary School closed its doors due to limited financial resources and fewer students.

In 1951 Notre Dame High School welcomed its first class of 58 boys and girls to temporary quarters at St. Anthony’s School.  Notre Dame High School was dedicated on September 6, 1952.  The school has two floors with classrooms along Union Street and a large gymnasium in the rear.  A cafeteria is below the gym.  A small chapel and library are on the second floor.   In the early years, Notre Dame’s faculty consisted of nuns and priests.  There were times when up to 500 students walked the halls between classes with one-way traffic jamming corridors. Over the years, Notre Dame’s enrollment has fluctuated, but today it remains an alternative to public school education.    

All students will remember the attractive uniforms the girls had to wear.  Sacred Heart had a plaid jumper, St. Anthony’s a brown uniform, St. Joseph’s a blue uniform, and St. Mary’s girls wore a blue jumper crossed in the front and the back.        The actual everyday uniform at Notre Dame HS was a pleated skirt and a long-sleeved blouse buttoned to the neck, and to add to the uniform’s lovely appearance was a bolero. If you rolled over the waistband of the skirt to make it shorter, you would get detention.  Besides the unattractive uniforms, some might remember the classrooms overflowing with students, singing Gregorian chant at Mass, attending a High Mass on Sunday, and no meat on Friday. 

One could also not forget the Notre Dame Girls’ Basketball uniform the girls had to wear in the ‘50s and ‘60s.   The uniform was a royal blue, pleated, heavy cotton jumper that had to touch your knees, a long-sleeved white blouse that had to be buttoned at the top, and bloomers. The inspiring girls’ basketball team had only two girls who could run down the court, and the rest could take three steps and pass the ball.  It made for a very “fast-moving” game.  The windows had to be covered when the girls were playing just in case a “boy” might try to look in the window.    

Over the last century, schools were established, moved, burned down, and closed.  Many of these schools closed due to low enrollment, but the memories these students hold in their hearts remain. A young girl remembers living next to old St. Joseph’s School, sneaking over to the old school, and peeking in the windows.  A nun would let her come in and sit and color.  Her older siblings all attended the school.  In the early days at St. Joseph’s School, there was not a gymnasium. Instead, students would gather every day on the blacktop in the parking lot and jump rope or shoot baskets on the outdoor basketball court.

Grade school, high school, it didn’t matter if it was a public or private school; the memories would be the same. So many will still be in touch with that special friend they hung around with in grade school and possibly high school.  Stories get better with age as they are told over and over again. 

Today St. Joseph Regional School is the only Catholic elementary school left in Batavia. Yet, it offers everything the public schools provide.  Notre Dame High School still proudly stands on Union Street, graduating boys and girls on the same grounds their parents and grandparents stood many years ago.

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September 29, 2021 - 12:19pm

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More than 700 students from throughout the GLOW region -- including students from every high school in Genesee County --  participated Tuesday in GLOW With Your Hands at the Genesee County Fairgrounds.

The event gives students a chance to experience a variety of trades including, bricklaying, carpentry, electrical, mechanical, and various forms of manufacturing.  

Among the 40 companies participating wereOxbow, Liberty Pumps, and O-AT-KA Milk.  Major sponsors included LandPro and Genesee Construction.

Photos by Steve Ognibene

To view or purchase pictures, click here.

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September 23, 2021 - 11:54am
posted by Press Release in GCC, news, schools, education.

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Press release:

Last week, generosity shined brightly on the Batavia Campus at Genesee Community College as the 2021 Discover the Stars Scholarship Reception brought together a group of families and individuals that are truly making a difference.

"Our Discover the Stars reception is a very special opportunity to introduce GCC's cherished and generous scholarship donors to the promising and grateful scholarship recipients," said Tom Cox, event emcee and President of the Genesee Community College Foundation Board of Directors. "It is a powerful experience where we all get to see the impact of the scholarships."

Executive Director of the GCC Foundation Justin Johnston announced 12 new scholarship opportunities the Foundation has been able to establish through the kindness and passion of some new and some loyal supporters.

During this special night, attendees heard from Stefanie Resetarits, GCC class of 2006, who received a Nursing Program scholarship as a student and who has now established the Resetarits Family Nursing Scholarship with her husband, Christopher. Born and raised in Byron, NY, Resetarits earned her Nursing degree from GCC and was a member of the Swimming and Diving team. She continued her education, enrolling in the 3+1 program at SUNY Brockport where she received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 2008, graduating on the Dean's List with Honors. She began her nursing career at Lakeside Community Hospital, followed by Medical-Surgical nursing at Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital. After starting a family, Resetarits worked as a home care nurse on the Infusion team at the VNA of Western New York. Locally, she has worked at Hope Haven's inpatient alcohol and substance abuse rehabilitation center and currently is working as an Independent Medical Nurse Observer. Resetarits and her husband reside in Alden, NY with their four children.

Current Genesee Community College student Kiana Perry who received the Jerry Reinhart Scholarship also addressed the reception crowd to share her story. Perry is originally from New Hampshire but calls Alexander, NY home. She is currently enrolled in the general studies program and her ultimate goal is to become an elementary school art teacher. She and her fiance have two beautiful girls, Gracie-Mae who is two years old, and Magnolia-Rae, three months old. She enjoys doing crafts with her children and has always had a passion for art. During the reception, Perry was able to thank Jerry Reinhart and his family and shared that this scholarship allowed her to pursue her education and set an example for her daughters.

The Genesee Community College Foundation accepts scholarship donations throughout the year and has full-time dedicated staff in place to assist any donor in establishing a new scholarship or expanding an existing fund, such as the Genesee Alumni Legacy Scholarship.

Details on the scholarships available to students are available at https://www.genesee.edu/offices/finaid/scholarships/. Interested applicants are encouraged to review and apply online! The simple online application collects information and matches applicants with a list of scholarships they may qualify for. Expert advice is also available through GCC's Financial Aid Office at (585) 345-6900 or via email at [email protected].

Photo: Mary Alice Panek of GCC's Board of Trustees and Regina Chuhi, recipient of 2 Scholarships, courtesy of GCC

September 20, 2021 - 11:28am

Nine years after closing Robert Morris Elementary, city school officials are mulling the idea of resuming it as a school once again.

The idea is in tandem with recommending Request for Proposals of completely renovating the well-used Batavia Middle School. The Board of Education unanimously agreed to move forward with the school’s construction assessment and a cost estimate during Thursday’s board meeting.  

Board member John Reigle spoke on behalf of the Buildings and Grounds Committee, which has been conducting a district facilities review. 

His mission was to ask the board “to direct our contractors” to conduct a complete review of the middle school to find out how much work and money it would take to renovate and abate the site, he said, and the cost to “bring Robert Morris up to date to facilitate student use.”

Interim Superintendent Scott Bischoping added that it would be ideal to do this site study before any discussions about the next capital project take place. 

“Just to get an idea of the cost and what the community would like to do,” Bischoping said. “Eventually you’re not going to be able to put Band-Aids on that building. Many districts have totally gutted and rehabbed their buildings, but there’s a price tag to that.”

The middle school building has been around for quite a while, tucked into the residential neighborhood along Ross Street. It was initially built in 1926 to be used as a high school until Batavia High School was built in 1961 on State Street. Wear and tear and an estimated “significant amount of abatement” would be part of the renovation, which has become clear to the board, Benedict said.

“There’s a lot of dealing with abatement, and it puts a lot of expense on the project,” she said. “Probably in the future, we’re going to have to get some kids back to Robert Morris.”

Abatement, a word commonly used for cleaning up toxic materials such as asbestos, has been identified for the middle school. Bischoping said that it has been very difficult to do any work in the building without disturbing those materials. After the scope and costs have been determined for construction and abatement of the middle school, and any work necessary to get Robert Morris up to speed for full use, the Buildings and Grounds Committee will put forward a recommendation for board vote, Benedict said. 

In 2012, city school district officials closed Robert Morris Elementary in an effort to consolidate students and merge the west side school’s population into Jackson Primary and John Kennedy Intermediate. The defunct building at Richmond Avenue and Union Street then became host of a childcare facility and Genesee Valley Educational Partnership (BOCES) classes. The childcare facility has since moved out to another location and Covid ceased the other activities, Benedict said, rendering the site “an empty building.”

 

September 19, 2021 - 10:57am

There have been many complaints and much concern expressed about Batavia City Schools’ current busing situation, Board President Alice Benedict says. Parents have been quite vocal about the need to put three students per seat on Jackson and John Kennedy school buses, however, it has all been online.

Board meetings have been void of any such vocal discourse, she said.

“No parents have ever attended. But there have been lots of comments on social media,” Benedict said during an interview Saturday. “We’re criticized for the choices made, but nobody has taken the time to come and talk to us. Unfortunately, it’s something we don’t have any control over.”

A lack of drivers at the district’s bus operator, Student Transportation of America, has in turn meant fewer buses per run. To accommodate all of the students needing transportation, they have been assigned three per seat, she said.

“There’s not anything the school district can do about it, other than ask parents to take their kids off the bus and drive them to school themselves,” she said. “We’re still talking to the bus company … for me personally as a board member, (Business Administrator) Mr. Rozanski is doing the best he can. They just don’t have the bodies to drive.”

Batavia is far from alone in this dilemma. ABCnews.go.com states that schools across the country, from Pennsylvania and Virginia to Missouri, Ohio, and Texas, have reported similar shortages. Georgia’s Savannah-Chatham County Public School System reported a 30 percent decrease of more than 110 drivers upon the start of this school season, the website states. Covid is to blame for the lack of drivers, Paul Abbott, executive director for transportation for the district, said to ABC News, it states.

The city school district is short some four buses, which has caused delays, late arrivals and the three-per-seat set-up. STA operates more than 16,000 vehicles for over 300 school districts, according to its website, and is “committed to providing our customers with the highest level of safe and reliable transportation solutions available.” The company’s public relations department did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

Students are required to wear masks on the bus, and they can take brief mask “breaks” if the weather is nice and the windows are open, Benedict said. Many of them have been told by their parents to wear the mask for the duration of the bus trip and not take them off at all, she said.

As for other virus-related measures, Covid testing equipment has been issued to the district by the Genesee County Health Department, Interim Superintendent Scott Bischoping said during the board’s Thursday meeting. Students with potential symptoms of the Covid-19 virus can be tested during the day.

The Health Department will notify school officials if anyone does test positive, and contact tracing will begin to track down who the infected person was in contact with prior to being tested, he said, “and making the determination if a quarantine is necessary.” The total quarantine would be for 10 days, minus any days already lapsed before diagnosing the Covid case, he said.

Having access to on-site testing and wearing masks are two methods to maintaining a healthy environment, he said.

“Our families want our kids in school as much as possible,” he said.

The next board meeting is set for 6 p.m. Oct. 21 in Batavia High School library, 260 State St.

A related Q&A was posted Thursday on the district’s website to clarify its protocols for Covid-19 guidelines. That is shown below:

SEP 16, 2021

Dear BCSD Parents and Guardians, 

Over the last few days, we’ve received a few questions from parents about protocols regarding our COVID-19 guidelines that we want to clarify for the larger community.

We appreciate the questions and will continue to update you as they arise.  

Q: Are there outbreaks of the virus in our buildings? 

A: While cases of the virus have been reported to us by the Genesee County Health Department, only a small number of those cases resulted from a spread within our buildings. Most reported cases are due to a spread of the virus outside of school, and families have taken the necessary steps to quarantine. While this situation could change, we will report any significant issues directly to families.

In an effort to provide transparent information on COVID-19 cases reported throughout the Batavia City School District, going forward, each Monday, we will be posting the number of positive student and staff cases reported from the previous week on our website: BataviaCSD.org.

Q: How will families be made aware of cases within the schools?

A: We are working in collaboration with the Genesee County Health Department who is providing guidance when there is a positive case in any of our district buildings. 

Once a positive case is identified, the Health Department determines who that child or staff member has been in contact with. From there, Health Department officials determine what action is warranted (i.e., testing, quarantine, etc.).

You will be contacted directly by the Health Department if your child was in contact with another person who has tested positive, and they will work with you to determine the next steps.

Q: Are there three students per seat on our buses?

A: Yes, there are three students per seat on our Jackson and John Kennedy bus runs in many cases. While we would have preferred to have enough buses to have separate bus runs for each building with fewer students on each bus, our transportation contractor has been unable to provide the necessary buses due to the nationwide bus driver shortage.

Q: What are you doing to try to get more buses?

A: We will continue to work with our busing contractor STA to find more opportunities to increase the number of buses servicing our district, including using subcontractors. But as of today, we don’t have a solution in place. 

Q: Is it true that students are allowed to take mask breaks on buses?

A: We have advised our bus drivers to allow students to take brief mask breaks – especially on hot days. These breaks are permitted (but not required) to avoid students getting overheated. Weather permitting, we are also opening our bus windows. 

As a parent, you can certainly advise your child not to remove their mask during these breaks.

As a reminder, if a student or staff member exhibits any COVID symptoms, they should not report to school that day and should contact the building nurse immediately. 

Please reach out to your child’s principal if you have any additional questions or concerns. 

Sincerely, 

Scott Bischoping

Interim Superintendent  

September 17, 2021 - 12:38pm

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Press release:

Noblehurst Farms recently directed a $2,500 Bayer Fund America’s Farmers Grow Communities donation to Pavilion Elementary School’s Outdoor Classroom. The elementary school will use the funds to build a bridge over one of the streams located within the classroom.

“We are grateful for organizations such as Noblehurst Farms that have shown their support for this classroom, and ultimately for our students here in Pavilion. The generosity and support in this community for our Outdoor Classroom has been outstanding, and this support continues to come in.  We’ve received different fiscal donations, as well as had volunteers come in on weekends in order to enhance this incredible learning environment for our students.” said, Jon Wilson, Elementary Principal at Pavilion.

Since 2010, America’s Farmers programs have awarded more than $59 million to nonprofits, aspiring ag students, and public schools across rural America. Farmers are leaders in their communities, which is why America’s Farmers programs rely on them to help identify the most worthy causes.

Dedicated to making a difference in rural farming communities, the Grow Communities program asks farmers across the country to participate by nominating nonprofit organizations with resources to strengthen their local communities. Last August, farmers entered for the chance to direct a $2,500 Grow Communities donation to a local eligible nonprofit of their choice. Farmers have directed donations to food banks, emergency response organizations, schools, youth agriculture programs and many others that reflect the spirit and support the vibrancy of rural America.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has affected everyone, including those in rural regions, and farmers play a critical role in helping communities overcome challenges, like the ones we’re currently facing,” said Al Mitchell, Bayer Fund president. “Bayer Fund is proud to work side-by-side with farmers to identify local eligible nonprofit organizations that are able to provide their residents with solutions that leave a lasting impact.”

To learn more about how America’s Farmers programs are making an impact, visit www.AmericasFarmers.com.

About Bayer Fund

Bayer Fund is a nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening the communities where Bayer customers and employees live and work by providing funding for food and nutrition, education and community development projects.

September 4, 2021 - 9:15am

Press release:

The Oakfield-Alabama FFA chapter in Oakfield, NY, has been awarded a Yearlong Living to Serve Grant in the amount of $3000. The nationwide program provides grant money to local FFA chapters to support yearlong service-learning projects that address needs related to community safety; environmental responsibility; hunger, health and nutrition; and community engagement.

Oakfield-Alabama FFA plans to help address Hunger in the Community by providing fresh beef through the Community Center.  FFA students currently raise market animals in their school barn but have expressed an interest in helping their local food pantry while also educating the community by explaining the health benefits of using fresh beef.  Funds from the grant would be used to purchase a market steer to provide the Oakfield Community Center/Food Pantry with fresh beef in August 2022.

FFA student member Owen Zeliff spoke with the director of the Oakfield Community Center/Food Pantry and concluded that there is a desperate need for fresher food donations, especially fresh meat that would provide essential protein for a healthy lifestyle.

The program provided over $284,000 to FFA chapters in 36 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The 2021-2022 Yearlong Living to Serve Grants are sponsored by Tractor Supply Company, Cargill, CoBank, Domino’s and Elanco. For more information and a complete listing of sponsors, visit FFA.org/livingtoserve

The National FFA Organization is a school-based national youth leadership development organization of more than 760,000 student members as part of 8,700 local FFA chapters in all 50 states and Puerto Rico.

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