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December 5, 2018 - 4:34pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Schools, batavia, news, notify.

Students in the Batavia City School system are showing slow, steady progress in proficiency on that state's standardized tests, Molly Corey, executive director of Curriculum and Instruction, told trustees Tuesday night during her report.

One way Corey tracks the district's progress is a comparison to scores in other small city school districts.

For the second year in a row, Batavia ranks #1 in eighth grade in the English Language Assessment, and first in seventh grade, compared to 14th a year ago. The district is second in third, fifth and sixth grades and fourth in grade four.

For math, the district is second in third grade, first in fourth, fourth in fifth, third in sixth, fifth in seventh, and in grade 12, eighth.

There are 15 other schools in the ranked comparison, though the names of the schools are blanked out in Corey's report.

Overall, Corey indicated she is happy with the improved performance of district students.

"I’m a believer having continual improvement," Corey said. "Though we want things to change dramatically, it’s that slow, steady climb that will get us there."

In ELA performance, the district is showing improvement in grades three through eight, with grade three going from 22 percent proficiency in 2012-13 to 46 percent this year. Grade four, has gone from 34 percent to 39 percent, grade five, 28 to 32 percent, grade six, 32  to 47 percent, grade seven, 26 to 35 percent, and grade eight, 35 to 45 percent. 

In math, there's an improvement at every grade level except eighth grade. For third grade, from 25 percent to 55 percent; grade four, 37 to 64 percent, grade five, 27 to 42 percent, grade six, 17 to 43 percent, grade seven, 24 to 35 percent.

In eighth grade, the students have gone from 10-percent proficiency to 8 percent, though the eighth-grade students achieved 18 percent in 2014-15 and 21 percent in 2015-16.

To help improve math performance, Corey is planning on taking a leadership team to a seminar at Stanford University where a nationally recognized math teacher will provide instruction on deep mathematical thinking. The goal she said is to make mathematical thinking a bigger part of the learning culture in the district.

"We have a solid team throughout the district that got us here and we want to be thinking about what we can do above and beyond to change that culture, to change that mindset, and it starts with the leadership team," Corey said. "We have our dream team here in Batavia and I'm excited to see what is going to happen in each and every building."

December 5, 2018 - 4:04pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Schools, batavia, vision 2020, news.

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Marco Marascio, project manager for Campus Construction Management Group, provided the trustees of the Batavia City School District an update Tuesday on construction projects that are part of the Vision 2020 capital improvement plan, which voters approved in March.

In addition to demolition of Van Detta Stadium (top photo), the foundation is being dug for the new locker rooms, while across the street, the playground is being moved and replaced with a new parking lot. At John Kennedy School, the foundation has been laid for the classroom expansion.

The $26.7 million in districtwide projects are being completed without an increase in local property taxes.

Photos courtesy Marco Marascio.

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October 15, 2018 - 4:48pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Schools, news, batavia.

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School district officials, staff and local elected leaders were on hand this morning at John Kennedy School for the official ground breaking of the City Schools' $26.7 million capital improvement project, Vision 2020.

The project includes a number of significant upgrades to all of the school facilities in the district as well as a new sports complex at Union and Richmond, the current site of Van Detta Stadium, in Batavia.

Below, Board President Pat Burk, Assemblyman Steve Hawley, and Superindentent Chris Dailey.

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September 28, 2018 - 5:30pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Schools, John Kennedy, news, schools, education.

Press release:

On Thursday, Sept. 27, at Jackson Primary School, a first-grade student left the building and started walking home. School officials immediately instituted their Emergency Procedures and contacted the police.

The child was located shortly thereafter and was returned safely to school.

The District immediately reviewed its procedures to determine how this incident occurred and have made the necessary changes. Student safety is the top priority in The Batavia City School District and will always take the appropriate measures to protect them.

September 13, 2018 - 12:53pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in schools, education, news, Le Roy, batavia, City Schools, Pavilion.

Press release:

New York State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer has announced today the approval of Smart School Investment Plans for three school districts in Genesee County, including $2,543,552 for high-tech security and school connectivity. The funding is part of the Smart Schools Bond Act.

“Our children have unlimited potential to succeed, but only if our school districts get their fair share of state dollars,” Ranzenhofer said. “This investment will turn that potential into reality by ensuring Batavia City, Le Roy and Pavilion schools get the best resources to foster student success in a global economy.”

High-tech security funding has been authorized in the amounts of $1,940,585 for Batavia City School District and $348,300 for Pavilion School District. Le Roy School District has been approved for $254,667 in school connectivity funding.

Schools can invest these funds in classroom technology, school connectivity, and high-tech security upgrades to better prepare students for success in the 21st century. 

“The Batavia City School District is going to use SSBA funds to install and upgrade high tech security to assure the safety and well-being of our students and staff in all buildings to assist in maintaining a safest possible learning environment. We are planning on installing new card readers, new door contacts, electronic door strikes, wireless locksets, fixed high-definition cameras, door closers, and motion detectors," said Batavia City School District Superintendent Christopher J. Dailey.

"These improvements will allow our focus to remain on student learning while creating a safe environment for our students and staff to work, learn and grow,” 

Pavilion Central School Superintendent Kenneth J. Ellison said “Pavilion Central Schools will use the recently approved Smart School Investment Plan funds to upgrade our video security system to provide a safe and secure learning environment. The existing system was installed many years ago has limited coverage and minimal storage capacity.

"Our goal is to upgrade our system and expand coverage in all areas. These funds will make it possible to cover all targeted areas on campus with a state of the art camera security system."

The Smart Schools Review Board is responsible for approval of the plan. In 2014, voters approved the $2 billion statewide school investment to finance educational technology and infrastructure.

September 12, 2018 - 6:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Schools, news, batavia.

The new City Schools property tax rate is not quite a zero-percent increase for 2018-19, but it's close.

Business Administrator Scott Rozanski told the board of trustees last night that property owners this year will be asked to pay $21.495880 per $1,000 of assessed value.

That's an increase of .00849 percent over, or not even percent, over the 2017-18 rate.

Last May, voters approved a tax levy of $18,945,404 but the district can't set the tax rate to achieve that levy until properties have their final assessed value for the year.

The rate increase isn't even two-tenths of a cent compared to last year and will amount to a 14-cent increase on homes assessed at $100,000.

For the fifth-straight year, homeowners in the district will be eligible for a STAR rebate.

The tax rate has decreased an average of 3.5 percent over the past two years.

Tax bills will be mailed out to residents by the end of September.

August 31, 2018 - 2:57pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Schools, batavia, news, notify.

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Learning to get along has always been one of the toughest challenges for schoolchildren and when children fight, it's disruptive to a school's instructional environment.

Educators in the City School District think they've found a better way to help children avoid angry resentments and reduce lost class time because of conflicts.

Administrators and teachers have been trained in the practices of peace circles and restorative conversations. The practices are being used in all four of the district's schools.

"It aligns with our districtwide model on promoting social-emotional learning," said Kia Evans, principal at Jackson Elementary. "At our level, with 5-year-olds, social-emotional learning for us means helping kids learn to process very, very big emotions, helping them deal with different situations; helping them come up with the words to articulate it instead of some of the negative behaviors that are attached to it."

Currently, the district has a pretty young crop of principals. Ashley John Grillo is entering his third year at Batavia Middle School; Paul Kesler was principal at John Kennedy but is entering his first full year at Batavia High School; Evans is entering her second year at Jackson; and Amanda Cook took over at John Kennedy Intermediate in the second half of last year.

But a test of whether an innovative program is really working is whether its proponents would carry it with them if they changed employers and all four principals said, about peace circles and restorative conversations, yes, they would, absolutely.

"What’s nice about those things is you get kids talking about those things and then they start writing about them and it just flows nicely," Grillo said.

Grillo said the practices of the peace circle aren't just used in conflict situations. Students also get a chance to use them and learn from them in academic situations.

"In the science lab, you have hypothesis and conclusion, and as you go around the circle, they're all going to have different results in some cases," Grillo said. "Then they can come up with a consensus in class and decide, what is the main takeaway from doing this activity. We call those academic circles but those fall on the same protocols as doing peace circles or a restorative circle."

A peace circle usually involves an entire class and at least one adult facilitator (though at the higher grades students can become their own facilitators). An object, such as a ball, is used -- the peace object -- and only the person holding it is allowed to speak. The students are encouraged to talk about what's bothering them in respectful ways and what concerns them about a particular situation. There are guidelines to follow but the students respond well, even at the younger grade levels, the principals said.

"It forces you to listen and process and a lot of times if you’re still upset and you're passed the ball, you might say pass," Evans said. "But the next time it comes around, you’ve heard and you’ve had an opportunity to process things, you can go further. Sometimes the person who was upset never contributes but it still feels like a healing process."

Grillo said a peace circle is a safe setting with rules of engagement and the students respect the protocols.

“I’ve seen it work beautifully," Grillo said.

Peace circles are also a way of building a sense of community among students.

"Teachers are using it to set values," Cook said. "This is a classroom community. We are all learners. How are we going to best take care of our classroom?"

Restorative conversations more often take place at the high school level, Kesler said. They usually involve a student who has been the subject of disciplinary action but the conversations are a chance to resolve conflicts once the disciplined student returns to class.

"It really does allow both parties to share how they feel they've been harmed what express what they would like to see as the intended outcome," Kesler said.

Kesler said not all of the BCSD teachers have been trained in peace circles. Many have taken the one-day seminar, several others have been through the full, three-day training session during a summer break.

As evidence students respond to it, Evans recalled the time a student saw a friend being mistreated in a hallway before class and he came to the teacher and requested a peace circle.

"He was in first grade," she said.

It might seem like peace circles take away from precious classroom academic time, but all four principals said the time spent on peace circles is a good investment.

"Your return on that time you’ve invested in a peace circle is going to pay back 10, 20 fold because you’ve already laid that groundwork," Cook said.

If small conflicts fester, other kids start picking sides and egging on the main antagonists. That's what administrators and teachers are trying to avoid.

"That 15 minutes is well spent," Evans said, "because later on the teacher has to address the behavior or address situation that could have been mitigated with a peace circle. That will cost more time academically."

The main data point the principals have to know protocols are working is the number of referrals to the principal's office. At his school, Grillo said referrals are down 50 percent.

"I really feel a big part of that, I’m not saying it’s the only answer but a big part of that is the restorative practices that the two assistant principles, the counselors, myself, and the teachers are all using," Grillo said. "We try to really get control of student issues and be proactive instead of reactive. I always feel that secondary education is reactive when it comes to discipline and I feel like we’ve turned that tide at the middle school."

June 13, 2018 - 6:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Schools, news, batavia, schools, education.

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Carson Watts -- Outstanding Student Award

Carson had a phenomenal year of growth in kindergarten. From September to May, Carson improved in English Language Arts skills, growing 77.46 percent, to an astounding score of 94.8 percent on the regional assessment. Not only are Carson’s academic achievements impressive but he is a caring, hard-working student, who is a good friend to others, offers help, and compliments his peers. We are so proud of Carson!  

Nominated by Mrs. Amerine.

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Chase Turner -- Outstanding Student Award

Chase had a phenomenal year of growth in kindergarten. From September to May, Chase showed growth in English Language Arts skills, growing 45.08 percent! Chase is hard-working and pays close attention to details. He has grown as a reader and writer, and shows that he really cares to always do his best. His handwriting is among the nicest in the classroom, and he is always trying to improve. He loves learning, and we love seeing him grow!

Nominated by Mrs. Amerine.

Casey Richardson -- Outstanding Student Award (no photograph available)

Casey also had a phenomenal year of growth in kindergarten. From September to May, Casey showed growth in English Language Arts skills, growing 57.81 percent! Casey has worked very hard this year to learn all her letters and sounds, and just recently became the newest member of the classroom Alphabet All-Stars. She continues to work hard, is determined, and loves learning. We are proud of you, Casey!

Nominated by Mrs. Amerine.

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Clara Pierce -- Outstanding Student Award

Clara has also had a phenomenal year of growth in kindergarten. From September to May, Clara showed growth in English Language Arts skills, growing 60.11 percent! Clara is a very caring and is a good friend to others. She works hard and is an eager learner. We are excited to see her grow.  Good job, Clara!

Nominated by Mrs. Amerine.

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Myloh Kemp -- Outstanding Student Award

Myloh had a phenomenal year of growth in kindergarten. From September to May, Myloh showed growth in English Language Arts skills, growing 52.02 percent! Myloh has worked very hard this year to learn all his letters and sounds, and is becoming a good reader, and even better writer! He pays attention to details, and ensures that he takes the time to listen to and produce each sound he hears as he writes, and is learning more and more sight words. He is a good friend to others, and he really loves learning. We are proud of you, Myloh!

Nominated by Mrs. Amerine.

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Superintendent Chris Dailey read the following letter for senior Michal Lullo, who finished her term as student ex-officio member of the school board:

Dear Mikey:

It has been a pleasure to have you serve as the Ex-Officio Student Representative on the school board for the 2017-18 school year. On behalf of the Board of Education Members and the Batavia City School District, I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you.

The input you brought to the meetings was a true expression of your professionalism, care and knowledge in regard to the student activities. Your high regard for the welfare of the student population is a sure sign of your support for our schools and community. You have strong presentation skills evident through good articulation and explanation of the topics discussed.

Thank you for the time you devoted to the district. It is my hope that you will consider continuing to serve your community after graduation. Good luck with college and your future endeavors.

Take Care of BCSD!

June 6, 2018 - 10:48am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, City Schools, schools, education, news.

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Yesterday, Batavia fourth-graders got a chance to try out various track and field events and demonstrate their athletic skills.

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This is Nolan Ball.  He has a strong arm.  Three times he threw the softball at least 138 feet.

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May 23, 2018 - 11:21am
posted by Howard B. Owens in art, schools, education, news, batavia, City Schools.

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The Board of Education meeting Tuesday night included a department review from Amanda Antonucci, art teacher at Batavia High School.

Antonucci shared the art accomplishments and progress for Jackson, John Kennedy, Batavia Middle and Batavia High schools.

At the elementary level, first- and second-graders held their annual monster swap. The first-graders draw monsters and the second-graders re-draw them. She said the project is so popular the teachers are thinking of expanding it for next year to include middle school students, who will make monster sculptures from the drawings.

Jackson just held its annual Fine Arts Night, which gives the students a chance to see their art displayed as if in a gallery.

The middle school was engaged in several cross-curriculum projects, including students drawing their portraits with adjectives describing themselves instead of regular lines. They also looked at cells under a microscope and painted pictures of what they saw.

Once again, this year, on May 30 and 31, the middle school will hold its Human Rights Heroes project.

At the high school level, there were two new electives, both very popular: Digital Photography and Graphic Design.

The students also had a number of electives to choose from, including Drawing, Printmaking, Studio Design, Portfolio, and Sculpture.

"We have great electives," Antonucci said. "For a school our size, it is really outstanding. I really appreciate it."

One of the guest artists who visited the school this year was a 1969 graduate of BHS who is a sculptor.

A popular new activity was mARTch Madness. Antonucci said in March, all the kids can talk about is basketball so the teachers set up a bracket of 16 contemporary artists and the students discussed and debated their work.

"There was a lot of great commentary and discussion," Antonucci said. "We're going to do this forever now because it was such a big hit."

She encouraged her students to enter work into a 6x6 show in Rochester. Antonucci herself entered a solo show featuring portraits she painted of students; and she and student Sophia Dinehart entered a show just for an art teacher and an art student to share a gallery space.

BHS will host its Art Appreciation Night May 30.

Below are photos of student-created and painted murals that are being completed in the hallway of the district administration building.

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May 23, 2018 - 9:59am
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Schools, batavia, news, education, schools.

The Board of Education for City Schools handed out their monthly awards to start last night's meeting. Below are pictures of the winners with write-ups supplied by the school district.

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Valle Jewelers invited Mrs. Torrey’s first-grade classroom to their store to further their study of gemstones and minerals in their History of the Earth Unit.

Students were able to see equipment discussed in lessons that jewelers use, find their birthstones and look at them under a microscope!

This was a hands-on way for first graders to learn and we appreciate Valle Jewelers for opening their doors to our students.  What a great experience for them! 

Photo: Stephen Valle, Pat Burk, Carrie Lawrence and her daughter, Sophia.

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Jaheim Dana had a rocky start to his high school career and did not earn enough credits to progress to the 10th grade. He struggled academically, lacked motivation, and even talked about dropping out of high school.

When students have to repeat the ninth grade, we often see them lose their desire to graduate, and we struggle to get them back on track to graduate on time. This was not the case with Jaheim.

Over the last year, we have seen him make an incredible transformation! He has passed every class, is planning to study Auto Technology at BOCES in his senior year, and is right on track to graduate in 2019 with his class.

He plans to enter the military after graduation. Mrs. Garner is continually impressed with Jaheim's ability to shut out negative peer pressure and keep his eye on his goal of graduation.

We are so proud of his accomplishments at BHS and can't wait to see him walk the stage next June!

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Lauren Leone is an extremely self-motivated, hard-working, and flexible graduating senior who can be depended upon to get a job done and done well.

At the beginning of this school year, she took the initiative to follow up on my invitation (given at the end of her junior year) to do some writing for the District’s A+ Community Newsletter.

She then proceeded to contribute a quality article, on time, for each issue. In addition, she was flexible in what she wrote about, giving equal care to a topic she generated on her own or one that was suggested to her. Throughout the year, she could be counted on to deliver what was needed by the deadline of when it was needed.

This was no small feat for someone who was also busy with so, so many other activities and responsibilities as a class officer, athlete, volunteer extraordinaire, as well as a dedicated student taking many demanding classes, including college-level courses, all while maintaining a grade-point average that puts her at the very top of her class.

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Riley Gonzalez works hard every day. He sets a great example of how other classmates should be and act.

He has been on GREEN or ABOVE every single month this year. This is over 130 days of EXCELLENT BEHAVIOR. Over 130 days of being respectful, responsible, safe and following all of the Whole Brain Teaching rules (following directions quickly, raising hand for permission to speak, participate, and leave seat, making smart choices, and making your teachers happy.)

Riley follows all of these, as well as being a polite, caring individual. We are proud to recognize his efforts.

April 30, 2018 - 2:46pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Schools, news, schools, education.

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Press release: 

Typically working behind the scenes, Roberta "Bobbi" Norton was recently in the limelight at an awards banquet in Buffalo as she was recognized with a Western New York Educational Service Council Award for Excellence.

Norton is the executive assistant to the superintendent and assistant clerk /secretary to the Board of Education for the Batavia City School District.

She was nominated for the annual award by Superintendent of Schools Christopher Dailey and Board of Education President Pat Burk, who wrote, “Mrs. Norton is dedicated to our district, the Board of Education, and the children. She is caring, conscientious, compassionate, and professional, and she makes the Batavia City School District a better place for all every day. “

Norton has worked for the District for more than 38 years, beginning as a clerical intern in the business office, continuing with positions in schools and administrative offices, and, for the last 10 years, in the superintendent’s office.

Calling her a leader and an example of excellence for the clerical staff, Dailey and Burk noted that, “Through superior work performance that includes trustworthiness and professionalism, Mrs. Norton has earned a place within the inner circle of trust among the leadership within the District.”

In announcing her award, Council President Lori DiCarlo said, “Bobbi exhibits undying loyalty to public service, the students and to the administrators she supports. ... Driven by an obsession for creating meticulous order to things, Bobbi draws a lot of personal satisfaction from the clerical work she performs.

"When asked to identify the best thing about her job, without hesitation she credits the positive environment within the Batavia City Schools as a source of great job satisfaction.”

April 13, 2018 - 11:06am
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Schools, batavia, news.

Press release:

At the Batavia City School District Board of Education meeting on April 10, several students, staff members and volunteers were presented with awards by Board of Education president Patrick Burk for their exemplary work and contributions.

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In recognition of the positive example she provides, Gabriella Smith was presented with an Outstanding Student Award.

She was nominated by kindergarten teacher Debra Wolff, who wrote, “Gabby is a quiet, confident leader in our class. She is respectful, responsible, and safe without needing to be reminded. She is a very kind and caring friend who always makes sure to include others.

"Gabby always has a smile on her face, which makes everyone's day brighter. We can always count on her to be setting a very positive example of what a good listener and what being a good friend look like.”

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In recognition of her enthusiasm and hard work, Daisylynn Bastedo was presented with an Outstanding Student Award.

She was nominated by pre-kindergarten teacher Emily Giuliano, and teacher aide Nancy Okoniewski.

Mrs. Giuliano wrote, “Daisylynn is a perfect example of a kind, caring, polite, and hard-working student. She always comes to school with a smile on her face and looks forward to greeting her teachers. Daisy consistently makes good choices in all parts of the school day.

"She shows an enthusiasm for learning and tackles new challenges seriously and with a positive attitude. We can always count on Daisy to be polite and respectful in and out of the classroom. She is always willing to help a classmate, whether it is during an activity or zipping up their coat at the end of the day. Daisy has made so much growth this year."

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In recognition of her infectious enthusiasm and dedication, Nancy Okoniewski was presented with an Outstanding Staff Award.

She was nominated by pre-kindergarten teacher Emily Giuliano, who wrote, “Mrs. Okoniewski has been working for the District for over 18 years at both the High School and the Middle School but has found her calling at Jackson Primary. She has been the UPK teacher aide (in Mrs. Giuliano's UPK classroom) since the start of the program in 2007.

"Mrs. Okoniewski wears a smile on her face each and every day. She has a very bubbly and friendly personality and you may catch her singing to the children as well as the adults. She makes people laugh and feel happy right along with her. She is a hard worker who goes above and beyond her duties as a teacher aide.

"She is also a bus monitor and rides the bus home with the kids to make sure they get home safe. She is the Batavia Clerical Association building representative at Jackson Primary and continues to put in hours of work outside of her normal workday by attending union and BCA meetings. Mrs. Okoniewski is a very special person who is thoughtful, kind and always willing to help others.

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In recognition of their continued dedication to our students, Barbara Holder and Paula Wortzman were each presented with an Outstanding Community Member Award.

They were nominated by first-grade teacher Jessica Torrey, who wrote, “Since their retirement from the District, Barbara Holder and Paula Wortzman have devoted countless hours to the students in the first-grade classroom at Jackson Primary.

"Many students over the years have been so lucky to share their first-grade experience with these two ladies. They are kind, loving, and offer a wealth of knowledge in working with our young population. Their hard work and dedication is very much appreciated.”

April 11, 2018 - 11:43am
posted by Howard B. Owens in immigrants, City Schools, batavia, schools, education, news.

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When the children of Claudia Celia Rincon Pico and Loan Trang entered Batavia City Schools a few years ago, neither mother spoke a word of English.

On Tuesday night, both mothers spoke to City School Board members to demonstrate how a special Sunday night English class led by Jenna Mrzywka and Courtney Turner has helped them improve their English.

Mrzywka, an English as a Second Language teacher at Jackson, and Turcer, an ESL teacher at Batavia HS, started the Sunday adult English night class on their own (it's now supported by the district) two and a half years ago.

"They're new to the community and a lot of times when someone is new to a country they feel there are cultural and language barriers so they don't always come into the school," Turcer said. "This is a chance to bring parents into the school building and a chance for kids to help their parents and it's a way for them to make friends and get roots in the community. They know English is important so it's a way for them to help themselves."

Rincon Pico and Trang have been part of the program since its inception, though Trang recently opened a nail salon in Erie County and now lives in the Pembroke Central School District, where her son attends school.

Rincon Pico is from Colombia and Trang is from Vietnam. Turcer said ESL students tend to be predominately Spanish-speaking, though Chinese is often common, but students have come through speaking other languages, including an Indian language and French. When she started with district five years ago there were 13 or 14 ESL students, she said. Today there are 40, including 10 at the high school.

Both Mrzywka and Turcer have built solid relationships with parents in the class, which makes it easier to help them deal with school work for their children.

They also said the parents, despite often coming from different countries and cultures, build lasting friendships among themselves.

The non-English population in Batavia is fluid, Turcer said, so there is some fluctuation in class size. Currently, there are five adults in the class. There have been as many as 10 and as few as two.

Adult students start with the basics, learning their ABCs, and move onto personal identification, food, and household items.

In their presentations, Rincon Pico and Trang shared about their home countries, what their interests are, and their favorite dishes from their homelands. Interestingly, both dishes, though very different, featured pork, rice and peppers.

Trang said she was grateful to the Batavia district for all it had done for her and her family.

"I love to become an American," said Trang at the close of her talk, who also noted one of her favorite holidays is the Fourth of July. "I love it here and I love America."

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March 17, 2018 - 12:21pm
posted by James Burns in batavia, news, City Schools, schools, education, art.

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Batavia City school administrators and teachers presented art awards Friday evening to students at the Richmond Memorial Library in the district's annual art show. The student art will be on display at the library for the remainder of the month.

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March 1, 2018 - 3:29pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in schools, education, news, batavia, City Schools.

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The Batavia City School District continues to adopt technology as part of the learning process and coursework, IT Coordinator Jeff McKinney told the school board during its meeting Tuesday night.

His presentation was followed by demonstrations of some of the robots and programming projects students have been working on this year.

McKinney said 2,000 Chromebooks have been deployed to students. Students have visited more than one million websites. There are 266 active Google classrooms and students are creating 50,000 new documents each month.

Internet access has become so critical to the educational process that McKinney has come up with a plan for a backup bandwidth provider so that if the primary provider goes offline, teachers and students don't lose access.

"I'm really proud of where we're going and what we've done," McKinney said.

He said a key advantage of the STEM program currently in place is it helps students learn through discovery and studies show students retain new knowledge better when it comes through discovery.

It isn't always the teacher teaching anymore, either, said Melissa Calandra, a STEM teacher at John Kennedy Elementary School.

"It's kind of hard as a teacher not to know all of the answers but that's the world we live in now," she said.

Other faculty participating in the presentation, Katelin LaGreca, JK Library Media Specialist, Karen Shuskey, JK ACE Teacher, and Marie Martell, JK Computer Literacy/Math AIS Teacher.

Top photo: Phoebe Beal, grade 3; Brock Bigsby, grade 3; Ryan Bigsby, grade 3; Ella Shamp, grade 4; Landon Hamilton, grade 4;Tosh Spilberg, grade 4.

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March 1, 2018 - 12:07pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Schools, news, schools, education.

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The Batavia City School District Board of Trustees honored several people at the start of Tuesday's meeting with certificates of appreciation for the difference they're making at the Batavia schools.

Above, Board President Pat Burk with Lucy Lefevre.

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Amelia Tripp

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Luca Garland

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Landon Minuto

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Ottoniel Ramirez-Garcia

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Camden Reimer

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Members of the STAR staff.

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Detective Richard Schauff

February 23, 2018 - 3:10pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Schools, batavia, news, notify.

If parents notice an increased police presence at Batavia City Schools, it's not in response to any specific threat, Superintendent Chris Dailey said today in a letter sent home with students after school.

"This is meant to be a positive and proactive step as our police department continues to look for ways to engage with our students in prevention and support," Dailey wrote.

The letter addresses heightened concern in the community about school safety after last week's shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida and reports of a student last week who officials believed made verbal threats at the BOCES campus.

The letter may be in response to numerous social media posts asking questions about more police officers on and around local campuses and unconfirmed rumors of threats made on social media specific to local schools.

"Our country is recovering from the tragedy in Parkland, Florida," Daily wrote. "It is only natural to have questions about the safety and security of our students and staff in BCSD.

"There are stories from time to time of students potentially threatening to do violent acts at our schools," Dailey continued. "We, along with the Batavia City Police Department, always look into any allegations of this sort and have found no credible threats against our district."

Dailey said the district is actively involved in emergency response and planning with local law enforcement.

The events in Florida, he said, provide an opportunity to review procedures and plans and make adjustments as necessary.

To read the full letter, click here.

January 11, 2018 - 10:31am
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Schools, batavia, news.

The Board of Education for Batavia City Schools approved two additional tax exemptions for veterans owning homes in the school district.

The Cold War and Eligible Funds exemptions have been available as exemptions for county, town and city taxpayers but the school districts have only recently been able to pass the exemptions. 

There are currently 75 veterans in the district who are eligible for an exemption on property taxes for their Cold War service to the nation. Five veterans are eligible for the Eligible Funds exemption.

The Eligible Funds exemption is an exemption on a portion of the purchase price of a house paid for with veterans benefits.

The veterans exemptions will be in effect for the 2018-19 school year. 

"We have been advised by Genesee County that veterans who are eligible are being encouraged apply for them -- i.e. see their local assessor, even if they are currently receiving the exemption from the county, town or village," said Scott Rozanski, business administrator for the district.

"There is a March 1 deadline each year for any applications. They would only need to apply once, not each year while residing in the same address."

Cold War veterans are eligible for up to a $6,000 reduction in assessment for tax purposes, and Eligible Funds veterans can get taxable assessed value reduction of up to $5,000. In both cases, the exemptions can be offset by other exemptions.

December 21, 2017 - 3:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Schools, batavia, news, notify, schools, education.

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Using a detection device to identify students who might have been drinking at high school dances is nothing new, said Batavia City Schools Superintendent Chris Dailey, and previous uses have gotten no pushback from students or parents.

Yesterday, The Batavian published a picture of Batavia High School receiving two new wand-like devices that act as breathalyzers to help school officials identify students who may have been drinking prior to arrival at a school dance or other social function where they might be used. The publication of the picture raised a lot of questions among readers about the legality and ethics of such devices.

Dailey said the district's first priority is the safety of the students.

"Ninety-nine point nine percent of our kids don't generally show up under the influence, so it's rather a moot point to them," Dailey said. "They're not thinking we're trying to take away their rights and we're not trying to take away their rights. We're trying to provide a safe environment for all. It's all about safety for us."

All of the complaints that surfaced after yesterday's picture publication surfaced online, Dailey said. There have been no calls to the district office and he met with high school officials today and there was no mention of complaints at the high school.

The wands donated to the school by STOP-DWI and local law enforcement are not at all invasive, Dailey said, unlike the previous alcohol sensor used by the school, which was only used if a student was suspected of drinking. The wands, Dailey said, can detect a potential use of alcohol by a person in a group of people.

"Alcohol consumption by students is something that is illegal and is not tolerated," Dailey said. "We want to make sure we provide the safest possible environment for all of our students."

That's critical, Dailey said, when you have 200 to 300 students coming together for an event.

If a student is found under the influence of alcohol at a school event, the first step, Dailey said, is to make sure the student is safe. Next, school officials call the teenager's parents.

"We reach out to the parents," Dailey said. "(the student) is not allowed to leave if under impairment and we will work with the parent so the child will learn from the mistake."

There isn't necessarily disciplinary action taken against the student.

"(It) depends on the situation," Dailey said.

As for whether the sensors violate students' rights, Dailey said, any student or parent who might be concerned about it are free to not attend the school function.

"If people choose not to come to the dance because of it, that's their choice, absolutely," Dailey said.

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