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City Schools

April 10, 2020 - 1:52pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Schools, school budget, news, batavia.
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Interview with Superintendent Anibal Soler Jr. about City Schools' budget.

March 16, 2020 - 2:54pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Schools, batavia, news, live stream, video, covid-19, coronavirus.
Video Sponsor

Interview with Anibal Soler Jr., superintendent, Batavia City Schools.

If you can't view the video stream directly on our home page, click here.

March 16, 2020 - 7:58am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, City Schools, news, covid-19, coronavirus.

Announcement from Batavia City Schools:

Due to Genesee County declaring a countywide state of emergency, Batavia City School District will remain closed until further notice, including all school-based activities.

However, the District is taking steps to do whatever it can to support our students and our families during this unprecedented time of uncertainty.

Our nutritional services department will be providing free “grab and go” breakfast and lunch bags for all students (and all household family members under the age of 18). These will be distributed each school day from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. by the entrance of all District building properties, including the Robert Morris building, as pictured and as described here:

  • Jackson: Pick up will be from the loop in front of the building (via Jackson Street);
  • JK: Pick up will be in the parent loop (Vine Street);
  • MS: Pick up will be on the side of the building; Please enter via Walker Place;
  • HS: Pick up will be from the loop in front of the school (State Street);
  • RM: Bus loop on side of the building (Union Street).

If this arrangement for food distribution poses a challenge for your family, please call your child’s school’s main office. The number for all District offices is 343-2480, then add the appropriate extension for your school building as follows: Jax is ext. 4000, JK is ext. 5000, BMS is ext. 3000, BHS is ext. 2000).

In addition, the District is collaborating with community partners about additional resources regarding food distribution and will provide updates as they become available.

Instructional information for students is also being made available so that students can continue to engage in their studies as much as possible.

All students, K-12 will have access to materials through the COVID-19 tab on our website, or through this direct link. In addition, Jackson Primary and John Kennedy will be providing paper packets for K-4 students that will be distributed with the “grab and go” breakfast/lunch bags.

Please continue to check our Facebook page and website. We will be providing updates as they become available. In addition, if you have specific questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us by email, the “Let’s Talk” app accessed through our website, or a phone call to the appropriate office or building.

For further guidance and recommendations for staying healthy and protecting yourself, your family, and others during this outbreak, please consult the attached document about "social distancing" as well as these helpful guidelines and information sources:

https://www.cdc.gov/coron…/2019-ncov/prepare/prevention.html

https://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/coronavirus/

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/

March 15, 2020 - 2:33pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Schools, batavia, news, covid-19, coronavirus.

Press release:

Dear Batavia Blue Devils' Community,

When I started my tenure as your Superintendent of Schools I never thought that within my first two months we would be dealing with a pandemic and being forced to close schools until further notice. These are definitely new and constantly evolving times for our students, families, staff, community, and nation. Please know that the decision to close schools is never an easy one as our schools are the support and gateway to resources for our kids and families.

Please know that we're working closely with public health experts and while we don't have a confirmed case in Genesee County as of yet – a State of Emergency was declared for our region last night. We believe with proper healthy habits and social distancing that many of us remain at low risk for contracting COVID-19.

What is social distancing you might ask? It is the practice of reducing close contact between people to slow the spread of infections or diseases. Social distancing measures include limiting large groups of people coming together, closing buildings and canceling events.

Therefore, the guidance is that if we close schools, we will be able to slow down a community spread and assist our public health system in being able to test, treat and slow down the spread of COVID-19.

The BCSD Leadership Team and I met today, and we have developed the following Closure Plan that will be in place effective Monday, March 16, 2020. Phase One of the plan focuses primarily on food distribution, instructional resources, staff reporting, and facility access.

Closure Plan: Phase One

·         Food Distribution: “Grab and Go” breakfast and lunch will be available for students and family members under the age of 18, from 9 a.m. - 12 p.m., Monday through Friday at the front entrances of Batavia High School, Batavia Middle School, John Kennedy Intermediate School, Jackson Primary School, and Robert Morris. We are also currently working with community partners and agencies on providing late afternoon/ evening meal options.

·         Instructional Resources: Teachers have prepared instructional lessons and activities for students to stay engaged with schoolwork while school is not in session. Please visit the following link to access your school’s Closure Resources: https://www.bataviacsd.org/Page/7546

·         Staff Reporting: All essential staff will report to allow us to answer school phones, clean buildings, distribute meals and support any questions or concerns.

·         Facility and Building Access: Teachers and High School students will be afforded an opportunity on Monday, March 16th to come in and pick up any personal items or classroom materials they will need during this closure period. Specific communication regarding this opportunity will come directly from school Principals.

The district has also created a COVID-19 webpage that will list a variety of resources and information on our district website. I would encourage you to check the website and our Batavia City Schools Facebook page regularly for ongoing updates.

Please be assured that the Batavia City School District will continue to act out of an abundance of caution to protect everyone’s health and well-being. We will monitor our Closure Plan on a weekly basis and look to make necessary adjustments as needed to support our students, families and staff.

I know we will get through this together!

WE are BATAVIA!!! #BetterTogetherBatavia

Sincerely,

Anibal Soler Jr.
Superintendent
Batavia City Schools

February 21, 2020 - 6:34pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Schools, batavia, news, notify.

When the Batavia City School District Board of Education meets Tuesday, they will discuss how to proceed with replacing trustee Zach Korzelius, who resigned recently.

In an email to Board President Pat Burk, Korzelius wrote: "This will serve as my written notice to the board of my resignation to focus more time on work and family. Thank you to all for relationships that have been built and good luck going forward."

Korzelius was initially appointed to the board in 2017 to fill the unexpired term of Leslie Johnson and then elected to the board in 2018. His term was set to expire at the end of June 2021.

His bio has been removed from the district website.

Photo: District photo.

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 18, 2019 - 11:57am
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Schools, batavia, news, notify.

anibalsolerbcsdsuper2019.jpgPress release:

The Batavia City School District’s Board of Education (BOE) has named Anibal Soler Jr. as the district’s next superintendent. Soler Jr. is set to begin on Jan. 20.

Patrick Burk, Batavia City School District’s Board President stated, “The board is confident that Anibal Soler Jr. will lead our district as we work together to deliver the best education possible for our students. Our search process narrowed the field to three excellent candidates. We value all of the input from our stakeholders and community members.

"With his dedication, enthusiasm and knowledge, our board feels that Anibal has the educational capacity and attributes to move us forward. We are united in making Batavia City Schools the best district for our students and we feel that we are making the right decision in hiring Anibal.”

Soler Jr. is the associate superintendent of Strategic Alignment and Innovation for the Buffalo Public Schools, New York state’s second-largest school district, a position he has held since 2018. In this role, he oversees four areas: adult education, district athletics, the My Brother’s Keeper Initiative, and the district school improvement strategy known as Strong Community Schools, which encompasses 11,000 students and 21 schools across the City of Buffalo. This Strong Community Schools effort has moved persistently struggling or failing schools to good-standing rating by the New York State Education Department.

From 2016 until 2018 Soler Jr. was the principal of North Park Academy, an elementary school in the Buffalo Public School District. In this role, he led a staff of more than 50 and 250 students and supervised all instructional and operational aspects of this Pre-K through 8 community school.

From 2009-2016, Soler Jr. was the principal of East High School, the largest comprehensive high school in the Rochester City School District, with between 1,500 to 2,000 students and a staff of almost 250. Through his leadership, the school was removed from the New York State Education Department’s Persistently Dangerous list in 2011.

Soler Jr. serves as an adjunct professor at Canisius College in Buffalo. He began teaching in 2000 as an art teacher at Thomas Middle School in the Rochester City School District.

“I wish to thank the Batavia Board of Education for offering me this exciting opportunity to be the next Superintendent of Batavia City Schools," Soler Jr. said. "I am deeply honored and humbled to be selected to lead your high-quality school system. I also look forward to joining and serving the amazing students, parents, talented staff, and community partners of the Batavia City Schools.

"Together, we will continue to make Batavia City Schools a premier district that effectively serves and supports all students and families.”

Soler Jr. holds a Bachelor of Science from Daemen College, a master’s degree from Nazareth College and Certification in School Administrator and School District Administration from St. John Fisher College. He also holds a certification as a New York State School Administration Supervisor. Soler Jr. is currently enrolled in the doctorate program in Educational Leadership at the University of Rochester.

Kevin MacDonald, district superintendent of the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership, acted as the search consultant and noted that the search process was a true collaboration between the Board of Education, district staff, and community.

October 9, 2019 - 3:50pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in van detta stadium, batavia, City Schools, news.

A policy proposal submitted by Michael Bromley, Batavia City Schools athletic director, received some push back from Board of Education President Patrick Burk at Tuesday's school board meeting after Bromley said community organizations would be able to use the new Van Detta Stadium for free.

It's not that Burk opposes free use of school facilities, he said, but he claimed that to allow free use of Van Detta while groups must pay a fee at certain times to use other school facilities isn't fair.

Burk noted that the school district changed its policy some time ago based on state education law to charge a fee for use of facilities at times when school custodians are not on the premises.

Custodians are at school facilities from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Friday during the school year and until 3 p.m. on weekdays during the summer and on holiday breaks.

"People may think I don't want community groups using Van Detta Stadium but that's not the case," Burk said. "I think there is a double standard if they're allowed to use it for free if others are being charged a fee."

Burk runs a nonprofit dance studio that uses school facilities and must pay a fee. He said the Genesee Symphony Orchester and the Rotary Club, among others, were "forced out" of the school district buildings when the district started charging fees.

Roxanne Choate, chairwoman of the GSO board, confirmed in an email today that the GSO stopped using the high school auditorium because the fee for its use was $500 per concert. The rural districts, in contrast, she said, charge $150. The orchestra does not pay for use of the bandroom for rehearsals since those take place on weeknights during the school year.

Burk reiterated this morning that he isn't seeking a way for the district to collect fees for use of Van Detta. He would rather see no fees charged to any community organization based in Batavia that would like to use school facilities during non-school hours.

"To me, it's a matter of removing the stadium usage fees, then the building usage should fee should also be removed," Burk said.

The Batavian has sought clarity on any such state law from the State Department of Education and has not yet received a response.

The plan presented by Bromley, which was based on conversations with Chris Dailey when he was superintendent and Interim Superintendent Scott Bischoping contemplates three tiers of usage for the stadium.

Local groups, such as the Batavia Bulldawgs, could use it for free -- as they have been so far this year. Section V and the state athletic association would pay a fee sufficient to cover all staff costs for regional and statewide championships and other events. High schools from outside the county would also be able to request use of the facility for special events.

If community groups wanted to use the concession stand and benefit financially from concession sales, they would have to provide the staff and their own food and drink, in their own ice chests, for sale. For regional and state events, the school district would run the concessions with the proceeds going to school fundraisers.

The proposal is pending while district officials research what they can legally do regarding outside use of school facilities.

There should not be any effect, while the decision is pending, on planned events, including an anticipate Section V playoff game for Notre Dame on Oct. 26, nor a state championship tournament for eight-man football.

June 21, 2019 - 3:08pm
Video Sponsor

Jeff Musial from Nickel City Reptiles and Exotics was at Jackson School on Thursday morning showing off some of the exotic live animals he keeps for educational purposes.

May 14, 2019 - 6:31pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in van detta stadium, batavia, news, notify, City Schools, Batavia HS.

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The stands are up, the turf is in and it looks like the Batavia Blue Devils will indeed have a new stadium in time for fall football as workers tighten bolts and sew up seams in coming days before the oval track around the field is installed.

The new stadium, replacing the 70-year-old Van Detta Stadium, is part of a $27 million district-wide capital improvement project approved by voters two years ago that includes upgrades at all three school sites.

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May 8, 2019 - 7:39pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Schools, news, schools, education, notify.

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Voters in the Batavia City School District will be asked on May 21 to approve a budget of $50,518,573, with a projected increase in the tax levy of 2.93 percent.

The Board of Trustees approved the proposed budget Tuesday night, following a public hearing, sending it to the voters for final approval before the 2019-2020 school year.

Spending in the district will drop 3.20 percent, or more than to $1.6 year-over-year if voters approve the budget.

The proposed tax rate is $22.06 for 2019-2020, up from $21.67 this year.

Voting will take place on Tuesday, May 21, from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the Robert Morris building and Batavia High School.

As part of the public hearing, Superintendent Chris Dailey, in his final budget hearing with the district (he's taken a job with the Gates Chili Central School District) shared a good deal of detail about the district.

This year, there are 2,377 students enrolled, and though the district provides free breakfast and lunch to all students, under government guidelines for free and reduced-price lunches, 59 percent of the district students qualify.

The attendance rate is 95 percent. Dailey said that is the highest in the area.

"It doesn't hurt that students know they are getting two free meals a day," Dailey said. "They know they're going to eat at least twice." 

There are 259.4 teachers in the district, 122 teachers aides and clerical employees, 39 maintenance staff, four assistant principals, four principals, five people in IT, 24 in nutritional services, and seven in the central office.

The BHS graduation rate is 92 percent. That is, again, one of the highest in the area, Dailey said.

In the coming year, the district will add a Batavia police officer as a school resource officer.

Some of the programs in the district that are not mandated by the state but that Dailey said the community demands:

  • Kindergarten
  • K-12 art classes
  • K-5 music
  • Instrumental lessons starting in the third grade
  • School plays and musicals
  • AP and college credit courses
  • Athletics
  • Extracurricular clubs
  • A college and career center
  • Small class sizes
  • Teachers' aides
May 8, 2019 - 5:09pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Schools, news, schools, education.

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At Tuesday's school board meeting, the Board of Trustees of the Batavia City School District honored three students with certificates of appreciation for being good students and good classmates.

Top photo: Dominic Darch and Board President Pat Burk.

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Amelia Tripp

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Sophia Lawrence

April 4, 2019 - 3:49pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Schools, batavia, news, notify.

District officials have trimmed more than $1.1 million in proposed spending from February's draft budget for the Batavia City School District. Combined with an additional $500,000 in state aid, it means the proposed 2019-2020 tax levy will stay below that state-mandated tax cap amount and allow local homeowners to get their annual rebate checks.

That's a pretty good deal for Batavia homeowners, who have received an average of $500,000 more in rebates each of the past five years than whatever increase in taxes the school district has initiated for the year.

Voters will be asked to approve the $50.518 million spending plan, which anticipates a tax levy of $19.5 million.

Tax rates won't be set until assessments are done but Business Administrator Scott Rozanski said the early estimate is that local property owners will see a tax-rate increase of 27 cents on each $1,000 of assessed value.

In the search to cut proposed spending, Rozanski said the district will delay $300,000 in technology spending, reduce spending on new library books to the state-aid amount of $24,000, and delay additional equipment purchases for another $19,000 in savings. Some personnel's salaries can be covered by grants.

Last year, the tax levy increased by $444,000 and local residents received rebates on school property taxes of $1.1 million. The three previous years, there was no increase in the levy and taxpayers received cumulative rebates of $424,000, $ $825,506, and $535,194.

The 2014-15 school year was the one year in which the tax levy increased more than rebates, with about a $150,000 difference.

Rebates for local residents are set based on an income formula so people with lower incomes receive bigger rebates proportionally.

Since the tax cap became law, the district has kept the tax levy below the allowable tax cap amount. For the 2019-2020 budget, it will be $331,886 below the potential levy amount.

Over the previous seven years, the district budgets, cumulatively, have been $3.8 million under what the tax levies could have been in those years.

Previously: No significant program cuts anticipated as City School District looks to trim spending by $750K

March 27, 2019 - 6:06pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, City Schools, music, education.
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March 15, 2019 - 4:59pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Schools, news, notify.

With each budget revision of the Batavia City School District budget for 2019-2020, Business Administrator Scott Rozanski gets a little closer to trimming $750,000 in spending.

He said school officials are also hoping state aid will increase for the year so the district can keep the property tax levy from growing more than 4.69 percent.

In the latest revision, Rozanski has penciled in $51,118,155 in spending.

He expects about $25 million in state aid, though hoping for more, and local revenue of more than $27.4 million. That would include spending $3.1 million in fund balance with a tax levy of $20,608,000.

But that tax levy amount would mean an increase of 8.78 percent, well above the legal limit of the state's property tax law.

Over three revisions, Rozanski has already trimmed off more than $500,000 but he still needs to find enough savings to get the levy down to $19,834,000, or lower.

A levy under that amount would allow the budget to pass on a simple majority and ensure district property owners would be eligible for a tax rebate from the state in the fall.

A Tuesday's school board meeting, Rozanski said administrators and department chairs found $166,000 in purchases that could be canceled or delayed.

The district will also be able to save $120,000 by letting positions stand vacant after staff retirements.

When asked by a board member why the positions weren't being filled, Rozanski said, "We need to look at things a little bit differently in how we're operating so we're looking for savings."

Those are the kind of cuts Rozanski continues to look for in the budget. He said he doesn't anticipate any significant program cuts.

Overall, the school district expects to cut spending by more than $2.8 million but $2.1 million of that spending came from a statewide bond initiative five years ago that allowed school districts through the state to improve technology-related infrastructure. The cut in revenue and expenditure offset each other as the program comes to a close.

The other $750,000 that must be cut is the result of an NYS Comptroller audit a few years ago that found the school district was estimating revenue correctly but underestimating expenditures in its annual budgets. This was leading to a growing fund reserve. The reserve had become 7 or 8 percent of overall expenditures when it shouldn't be more than 4 percent. That money, the report noted, should be returned to taxpayers in the form of tax cuts.

The district had a reserve fund for debt service but the Comptroller said debt service should be paid out of the general fund so, over the past two years, the district has been transferring money from the debt service fund to the general fund. The debt service fund is now tapped out, hence the need to cut $750,000 in expenses.

January 17, 2019 - 9:54am
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Schools, news, batavia.

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Esayas Reinhardt -- Outstanding Student Award
Esayas earned this award because of his perseverance in meeting high academic and behavioral expectations. Esayas has overcome many challenges throughout his intermediate years at John Kennedy. He has worked hard to improve academic focus, attention to details and motivation to learn. Esayas has made marked gains in mathematics, reading and writing.

His greatest achievement has been in leadership. Esayas has grown into a successful communicator and leader. He has chosen to consistently do his best in support services, classroom lessons and in social settings. He recently completed his post office position with recognition by Mrs. Whitehead.

He is currently acting as a student council member at John Kennedy Intermediate. Esayas participates in Miss Cole's guided reading groups and includes with Mrs. A's fourth-grade art and Friday Free Choice.

Esayas is both a student and role model for his classmates and the school community. Congratulations on a job well done!

Nominated by Mrs. Neumann.

Eryn Dunn -- Certificate of Appreciation
Eryn admirably represented her school and community by earning the right to participate in the NYSSMA Conference Treble Choir, thanks to her perfect score on her NYSSMA vocal solo the previous spring.

The NYSSMA conference brings together the best high school singers and musicians from across the state to take part in four days of rehearsals and concerts each year in Rochester.

Eryn went to the Rochester Riverside Convention Center on Thursday, Nov. 29, to register for the event and took part in hours of rehearsals over the next few days, culminating in a concert on Saturday evening at the Kodak Hall at Eastman Theater. The concert was absolutely breathtaking, and Eryn's participation and performance were truly inspiring.

Nominated by Mr. Grillo.

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Katrina Cox  -- Outstanding Staff Award
Miss Cox is an English-as-a-New-Language teacher at John Kennedy has extended her role as not only a teacher for her students but also as an ambassador for our new families that have moved into the district and need support in both language and understanding cultural traditions.

Miss Cox can be seen attending family movie nights, book fairs, the Color Run, even trick-or-treating with the families to help them take part in the many traditions that the students can take part in by being students at JK and living in Batavia.

Miss Cox has truly been a steward in welcoming our families and has helped support the families' transition to living here in Batavia and attending our school. Thank you, Trina, for truly taking care of BCSD and always modeling the JK way in building relationships with your both students and their families!

Nominated by Mrs. Cook.

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Laura Whipple and Lindsey Heassler  -- Outstanding Staff Award
Laura and Lindsey have worked tirelessly over the last year and a half to restructure reading and book choices for their high-level reading classes. The two have collaboratively adjusted the way developmental reading is taught so that our highest readers are pushed to new levels!

Through their attention to detail, particular literature selection and reflection on connections to ELA and Social Studies curriculum, this pair has created a learning environment for their students that is challenging, connecting and rewarding. It is safe to say that their sixth-grade students are not only becoming better readers, but also more knowledgeable students.

Nominated by Mr. Sutton.

January 16, 2019 - 3:49pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia HS, City Schools, schools, education, news, batavia.

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Sources of Strength is a suicide prevention program at Batavia High School that trains volunteer students to provide peer-to-peer assistance or help guide students who might otherwise be unwilling to talk with an adult to guide them to the right adult.

Currently, at Batavia HS, there are 10 adult advisers and 43 peer leaders.

Five of those peer leaders made a presentation about the program to the Board of Trustees Tuesday night.

The program also brings in campus speakers from Mental Health, GCASA, the Youth Bureau, and the YMCA.

Last month, peer leaders volunteered at the NYS Veterans Home, making Christmas cards with residents for armed service members overseas.

Training was provided by founders of the organization from Denver.

Students participating in the presentation Tuesday were Lily Whiting, AT Thatcher, Gavin Tucker, Stephanie Dibble, and Ben Best, with adult advisers Kelly Deneka and Heidi Meides.

January 16, 2019 - 3:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in art, schools, education, City Schools, batavia, news.

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People really should attend the City School District's annual art show in March at the Richmond Memorial Library, Superintendent Chris Dailey said after art teacher Amanda Antonucci provided a department review Tuesday night at the Board of Trustees meeting.

"It's amazing what our kids produce," Dailey said.

This year the art show will feature a districtwide project: art students are drawing portraits of just their eyes. The pair of eyes will be displayed side-by-side on one long wall.

The opening night reception will be held March 15.

Antonucci went through several projects students are working on at schools in the district, including the fourth-annual monster swap project, where elementary students draw a monster and high school students make a sculpture of those monsters.

"It's my favorite project," Antonucci said.

Teachers at Jackson, John Kennedy, and the Middle School are all integrating STEM into their art instruction.

This includes learning about nature through art, using perspective to learn math and geometry, and science with Lego-related projects.

Dom Grazioplene is the most recent student selected for a solo art show at GO ART!, with an opening reception Thursday night.

There are art appreciation nights planned in May for Jackson and the high school and in May the middle school will host its annual human rights activists project.

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.

img_0052bschools.jpg

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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