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January 18, 2020 - 1:31pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Attica, batavia, Scholastic Bowl, schools, education, news.

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In Thursday's Scholastic Bowl matches, Batavia and Attica picked up victories.

Batavia scored 230, while Oakfield-Alabama scored 120 and Elba 50.

In the second match, Attica beat Notre Dame 330 to 220.

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January 16, 2020 - 12:56pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Scholastic Bowl, news, schools, education, pembroke.

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In Wednesday's Scholastic Bowl matches, Pembroke and Alden came out on top.

In the first match, Alden scored 240 points to 230 for Le Roy and 140 for Pavilion.

In the second match, Pembroke scored 260 points to 160 for Alexander and 110 for Akron.

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January 15, 2020 - 3:32pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia HS, news, schools, education, batavia.

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Tech is increasingly part of the learning environment in City School classrooms and at Tuesday's Board of Education meeting, two teachers -- Alexander Veltz, Social Studies (photo), and Andrew Kiebala, Math -- shared how they're using Chromebooks and Google classroom tools to aid in their instruction.

Their presentions came as part of the information technology review by Director of Technology Jeff McKinney.

Veltz shared how he can use Google tools to share assignments, worksheets, handouts, and ensure that not only are they available in the classroom, but students (and their guardians) have access to the material at home. The availability of the material is helping him meet the new demands for greater reading comprehension in state exams.

With the tools, students can answer questions and get immediate feedback on their responses. 

Another tool allows students to sort through documents, which is especially helpful for a project that requires them to write an essay based on pre-assigned material that they must study, find a common theme, and then organize in order to write the essay.

"There is a shift in New York State where it's less about retention and more about argumentation based on perspective and point of view," Veltz said. "Retention is a skill New York is moving away from."

Trustee Shawn Murphy, who teaches at Genesee Community College, asked if the use of the tools was taking away from classroom engagement. Veltz said not at all.

McKinney added, "We are not switching over to where kids just sit in front of a computer. That's not the intent at all."

Kiebala shared tools that students can use to study geometric properties. 

He also shared a program that allows students to work on quizzes that he guides from his own computer and see where they need help. He said the program allows students to ask questions and make observations that he can then share with the class. The process allows students who might normally be shy about raising their hands to contribute more readily to classroom learning.

"This is my favorite thing to do," Kiebala said. "It allows them to be independent and also allows me to have control, so it's the best of both worlds for a teacher."

Kiebala shared a study published by NPR that indicated most people in the work world don't spend a lot of time doing trigonometry or geometry but they do spend a lot of time working in Excel, so his statistics class is heavy into spreadsheets.

"I tell the class, 'this is what you're going to spend your time doing because this is what you're going to use,' " Kiebala said. "You don't have to do anything by hand anymore because you either have a calculator or a spreadsheet but you still need to know what the numbers mean."

January 15, 2020 - 12:56pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Schools, batavia, news, education, schools.

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David Chua, Stephen Pribek and Ashley Elmore -- Certificate of Appreciation

Sarah Gahagan has nominated David Chua, Stephen Pribek and Ashley Elmore for a board award. Each of these individuals invested a large chunk of time mentoring and modeling the word "commitment" to the B Squad boys. They did what not everyone does....they SHOWED UP. Each week, two days a week for 20 weeks these volunteers modeled follow through and were able to showcase what "doing what you love" looks like.

Each of these volunteers had something special to offer, a love of running and showed just how important it is to continue doing what you love, even into adulthood when you are busy and "life" takes over. Chua was a soft spoken guiding force of optimism and motivation, whereas Pribek could always add a science lesson into our running and truly teach us something new every single practice. His humor was a favorite with the boys. And Elmore is a ray of light. She is positive, fun, and encouraged the boys to always be their best under any circumstance. She is a true leader who shines from the inside out.

This program is only able to be successful because of the volunteers. We need to ensure safety while running and the more adults we have, the safer we are and the more boys we can accept within this program.

Volunteering is something not many do these days and it is valuable and appreciated and for this they all deserve to be recognized.

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Carlos Colon -- Certificate of Appreciation

The English as a New Language faculty nominate Carlos Colon for a Board of Education award because of his dedication to our district and students. Anyone who knows Carlos would use words like friendly, easy going, helpful, and caring to describe him. Colon's official job title is maintenance staff, however he frequently uses his time to help others outside this requirement.

Most notably, Colon has helped countless times this year alone in translating needs, concerns, and important information between teachers or administration, and parents who speak only Spanish. He does this because he knows the parents and teachers struggle to understand each other using only a translation app, and he doesn't want something important to be misconstrued due to a technical error.

He has also been called upon when our Spanish-speaking students needed a familiar face and language to calm them down. He has talked kids down from metaphorical ledges more than once, and helped the students come to a more peaceful place so that teachers could have a conversation with students. One student even shadows him as he works, as an incentive for good behavior.

Other students also look up to Carlos, as a friend, mentor, and a person they can trust. Colon embodies the phrase “above and beyond,” all in the hopes of helping our students be successful and understood. For these reasons, we believe Colon is well deserving of recognition for his work by the Board of Education.

Nominated by the ENL Department Staff.

Jenna Mrzywka (pronounced Majifka), Trina Cox, Addison Marino, Chelsea Cummings, Courtney Turcer and Shawn Chrysler.

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Jim Jacobs -- Certificate of Appreciation

Jacobs recently came back out of retirement to fill in as Interim Director of Facilities. He stepped back in and it was as if he had never left. His knowledge and experience was instrumental in our schools opening smoothly and safely this year as the Capital Project created many changes to the District. Working closely with him, I saw first hand his continued dedication to make our schools the best they can be for our students and staff. It was a pleasure working with him again. Thank you, Jim!

Anonymous nomination.

Information and photos submitted by the school district.

December 20, 2019 - 5:41pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Middle School, batavia, schools, news, education.

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More than two dozen Batavia Middle School students visited offices in and around Batavia today for the school's annual "Give Back Day," when students deliver class-made presents to the people and organizations that have supported the school during the school year.

Among the stops pictured above was the State Police Batavia Barracks on West Saile Drive.

Other locations the students visited today included the Sheriff's Office, Batavia PD, the Fire Department, WBTA, DSS, and Family Court. After Family Court, they went to City Court to see Durin Rogers sworn in as the new full-time City Court judge.

December 16, 2019 - 5:39pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in news, Jackson School, batavia, schools, education.

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Each month at Jackson Primary School, students learn about a different character trait and this month they learned about kindness.

The community member who helped them with their kindness lessons this month was Capt. Greg Ireland, Batavia Fire Department. Ireland made a video where he read a book about kindness and gave the children a tour of the fire hall.

Today, he had lunch with several of the students and talked with the children about kindness, especially how firefighters are kind. They all ate pizza. One student from each class was selected to attend the lunch based on a teacher recommendation for exemplifying kindness at school.

All of the students at the lunch received a certificate recognizing their kindness.

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November 20, 2019 - 11:50pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in video, Batavia Middle School, batavia, schools, education.
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November 1, 2019 - 1:14pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in video, schools, education, news, batavia, st. paul lutheran school.
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City of Batavia firefighters gave Gretchen Weicher, a student at St. Paul Luthern School in Batavia, a ride to school in a fire truck as an award for winning the department's annual fire safety poster contest.

October 12, 2019 - 10:59am
posted by Howard B. Owens in oakfield-alabama, schools, education, video, music, arts, entertainment.
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Oakfield-Alabama's open house on Thursday night was capped off by the music department's annual cabaret show, which featured some of the students' favorite show tunes.

October 9, 2019 - 11:36am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia HS, video, education, schools, batavia.
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Occasionally, a Batavia High School student completes their graduation requirements out of cycle with the rest of their class and receives their diploma at a Board of Education meeting. That was the case Tuesday night for Hezekia N. Burch.

October 6, 2019 - 3:56pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in John Kennedy School, schools, education, video, batavia.
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October 1, 2019 - 2:54pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, news, schools, education.

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Press release:

Le Roy Central School is proud to announce that Jr.-Sr. High Science teacher Michael Chiulli was one of the 228 educators from across the state selected to join the New York State Master Teacher Program. He is in his 12th year teaching at Le Roy and has taught AP Biology, Living Environment, and Infectious Diseases over his years with the Oatkan Knights.

From Chiulli:

"When I learned about the NYS Master Teacher Program, I spoke with those who were involved and discovered it was the type of educational initiative that would not only enhance my pedagogy and content knowledge, but also allow me to collaborate and network with outstanding teachers.

"I'm excited to have the opportunity to work with and learn from the master teachers in the program and share my own experiences and skills with them. The kinds of professional development offered in the program will expand upon and strengthen my teaching skills and increase my content knowledge and allow me to offer more opportunities for success for my students."

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Congratulations to Chiulli on being selected to join an elite group of educators in the New York State Master Teacher Program! His dedication to teaching, especially in the area of Science, has been a great resource for the Le Roy Central School District as he continues to encourage more students to pursue STEM studies and careers.

To join a list of 228 new members and more than 1,200 total Master Teachers across New York State is a great individual honor for Chiulli and for Le Roy Central School District students.

Merritt Holly, Le Roy Central School District Superintendent:

"This is such a deserving honor for Mike to be selected for the NYS Master Teacher Program. Mike is the ultimate dedicated professional who reaches all of his students and has created so many opportunities in and out of the classroom and, for some, has propelled them into a career in science!

"He is a very reflective teacher who has continued to evolve his practice to best prepare his students all while wearing his daily famous lab coat! Mike represents the teaching profession at its best and we congratulate him and his family for this prestigious honor!"

Tim McArdle, Le Roy Jr.-Sr. High School Principal:

This is a four-year program that Mr. Chiulli will be participating in. He is the second Le Roy Jr.-Sr. High School teacher selected, following Mrs. Taryn Nole's acceptance last year. He will be engaging in peer mentoring and intensive content-oriented professional development opportunities.

"He will work closely with pre-service and early career teachers to foster a supportive environment for the next generation of STEM teachers, attend required regional cohort meetings, and participate in and lead several professional development sessions each year.

September 27, 2019 - 5:34pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, schools, education, crime, Le Roy Central School District.
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While officials have declined to discuss thus far the specific nature of a threat made on Snapchat overnight that led to the closing of the schools in Le Roy today, Superintendent Merritt Holley did indicate during a press conference this morning that it was more than just the words used in the Snapchat post that caused concern.

"From my end of it right now, I think because we know what the threat was, we know who the person is, I think from that end, this is exactly -- I'm not going to use the word, there's nothing textbook when you get into these, but I think if you have a situation where we have finality to what we know -- I think that's exactly where you want to be, and I think if we could have gotten that, we think about the time frame of where we're trying to get that information and go," Holley said. "I think closing the school today looks very small in the big scheme of things."

A reporter at the press conference suggested that Holley was saying there was more context to the situation than just what was posted on Snapchat and Holley said, "you can interpret that."

Neither Holley nor Le Roy Police Sgt. Emily McNamara would discuss details about the content of the Snapchat post, nor why police and school officials determined the threat should be taken seriously and considered credible.

The school district was alerted at 5 a.m. by a service set up two years ago to field anonymous tips about safety threats at schools, and Holley said he immediately contacted Le Roy PD. By 8 a.m., the Junior-Senior High School student who made the post had been identified.

Holley said both the student and the student's family are cooperating with the police investigation.

The situation is resolved, both Holley and McNamara said, and school activities return to normal on Saturday.

"This was an isolated incident and I really want to emphasize to the community and to the students at the school that we don't believe that there's any cause for any further concerns or alarm," McNamara said.

She said this is still an open investigation and while charges are possible, it's too soon to say what those charges might be.

As a result of the Snapchat posting, both Wolcott School and Le Roy Junior-Senior HS were closed and all school activities, including tonight's football game in Avon, were canceled.

"This is far from a prank," Holley said. "I think with the investigation going on, I don't want to get specifically into what was said and what was put out, but 'credible' is the key term and with any threat in this day and age that we're in right now, any school district, not only here in Le Roy but across the state, across this country, it's our duty and responsibility to look into every possible situation, and we have to do our due diligence and I think we did that in this in this situation."

September 23, 2019 - 5:33pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Middle School, kindness, batavia, news, schools, education.

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Photos and information provided by Sarah Gahagan:

As part of the ongoing kindness project at Batavia Middle School (hashtag #makeKINDNESSloud), Kim Argenta, owner of Art Ah La Carte, followed suit with a random act of kindness.

Argenta volunteered her time and passion for art to help produce a set of wings that will be used as a display in the sixth-grade hallway of BMS.

The BMS kindness group wanted to create a set of wings to remind students to "lift each other up."

The girls' next step is to find inspirational quotes that fit this theme to be used with the wings as a photo background for students/teachers/support staff who participate in random acts of kindness to be displayed in the building proudly.

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September 16, 2019 - 5:42pm

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The Batavia Middle School Kindness Project is an effort by fifth- through eighth-graders at the school, led by teacher Sarah Gahagan, to spread a bit of warmth and joy.

The students look for opportunities to be kind to each other. 

Friday, Gahagan's class sent letters to a fifth-grader in Tennesee who is battling leukemia. The letter-writing effort followed a schoolwide "circle up" meeting on the theme of perseverance.

Gahagan said students discussed different levels of problems we have in our lives and successful coping strategies.

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September 5, 2019 - 5:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in elba, schools, education, news.

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For the first day of school at Elba Central School, high school seniors were welcomed with poster-sized photos of their faces planted in the front lawn.

Photo submitted by Sharon Cole.

September 5, 2019 - 5:10pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in St. Joe's, batavia, schools, education, news.

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First day of school at St. Joe's. Photos submitted by Nora O'Neill.

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September 5, 2019 - 11:25am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Middle School, batavia, schools, education, news.

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Principal Ashley John Grillo shared these photos from the first day of school this morning at Batavia Middle School.

If you have first-day-of-school photos to share, email them to [email protected].

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September 4, 2019 - 2:31pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Middle School, batavia, schools, education, video.
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It's a big step moving from fourth grade to fifth grade when Batavia students enter middle school and find they must now manage getting themselves to multiple classrooms and taking care of their books and belongings in a locker.

To help with the transition, Batavia Middle School hosts Connect Day on the day before classes officially begin, when teachers and eighth-graders help the new kids learn about their new school.

June 21, 2019 - 7:42pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Jackson School, batavia, schools, education, video.
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Jackson School in Batavia hosted two promotion ceremonies today. This video is from the 9 a.m. session.

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