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February 3, 2021 - 1:43pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in schools, educaiton, news, covid-19, cornavirus, notify.
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            Dr. Lalit Jain

Pandemic protocols at schools have been devastating on students, a pediatrician told reporters during a Zoom videoconference call on Tuesday.

Dr. Lalit Jain, chief of pediatrics at United Memorial Medical Center, said some students are falling behind and that the resumption of winter sports considered "high-risk" for the spread of COVID-19, such as basketball, will be of significant benefit to participants.

"(Taking students out of sports) affects them because you are getting social isolation, and like I mentioned, it affects them academically," Jain said. "Just by going out, they will be seeing friends in a safe environment. I think just participating and more activity is going to be very beneficial for the mental health ... of our students."

Local school superintendents seem to agree that the increase in available athletics for students will benefit the children.

"The return of sports safely is a tremendous help for our student-athletes' psyche and those benefits will translate into other areas of their school and community experience," said Anibal Soler Jr., Batavia City School District superintendent.

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          Matthew Calderon

"I wholeheartedly agree that participation in sports and extracurricular activities helps students in every way," said Matthew Calderon, superintendent of Pembroke Central schools.

Jain expressed concern about the decrease in physical activity, the lack of social contact, and the general academic performance of students participating in distance learning.

Superintendents we spoke with shared mixed views on the impact of distance learning on students.

Jain said, "What we see is that kids are having problems with the online platform, a lot of them, because the kids who were before doing fantastic, who were A students, are now having difficulty sustaining attention from home and almost have seen some become school failures, or like grades going from the 90s to almost the 60s.

"And these are the kids without academic difficulties. So we are not even talking about the kids who are challenged, who need special help, and they are even more affected."

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              Merritt Holly

Le Roy Central School Superintendent Merritt Holly characterized Jain's quote as "loaded." 

"I think some students have adapted well to the challenges of online learning," Holley said.

He said there are "some who struggle somewhat (would rather be in the classroom), and others who this system does not fit their learning style (struggle big-time). Really a student-by-student situation."

During the school board meeting Monday, while discussing reconfiguring the use of space in schools, Soler suggested distance learning might remain an option for some students after the pandemic subsides. In response to Jain's comment, he said some students do well while others struggle.

"The pandemic has impacted all of our students and our staff and we continue to try to find ways to support everyone either academically or socially," Soler said. "Social-emotional learning is one of our district goals and we knew that the lack of socialization would ultimately have an impact on our kids and staff.

"The numerous COVID rules that we have to implement have changed much of the experience for both our students and staff, but we continue to do as much as we can safely to bring a sense of normalcy."

In Pembroke, Calderon said, where most students participate in classrooms five days a week, the students who do participate in distance learning seem to struggle the most.

"By no means is online learning or the hybrid model anywhere close to providing students the sound basic education that the New York State Constitution entitles them to receive," Calderon said. "While teachers and support staff throughout our region are doing an amazing job within those parameters, and many students are holding their own, there is no substitute for organic in-person learning."

Calderon said about 20 percent of the district's students are participating in online learning and he's thankful the option exists for those who need it but the situation isn't ideal.

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        Anibal Soler Jr.

"Our in-person learners love being in school, and many of them shed tears when they're told they need to go online for 10-14 days due to mandatory quarantines," Calderon said. "In regard to those who chose the 100-percent online option, a very small percentage are actually flourishing as they could be, and too many choose not to log on consistently despite all efforts to engage them. This may prove to be most problematic for some seniors who will not graduate as a result."

Calderon didn't mince words sharing his opinion about online learning.

"There is no way anyone will ever convince me that online learning is good for kids. and it certainly isn't sustainable," he said.

At the same time, he said, the district obviously takes seriously the need to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and the district does all it can to keep the community safe.

"However," he said, "CDC hospitalization data seems to suggest that school-aged students are least at risk to be hospitalized, and therefore, I'm not sure why schools have some of the greatest restrictions in place.

"I'm obviously not a medical professional or in charge of public health, and in my role as a state-funded public school leader, I make sure our school district adheres to all the rules. At the same time, when I look at the data with my own eyes, I certainly scratch my head and wonder."

Citing similar data, Jain said he anticipates the return of "high-risk" sports to be safe for participants.

"Just following the guidelines by physicians and the authorities, I think of that will be really important," Jain said. "I don't think we're going to see that much increase in the (positivity) rate. The schools have been very safe so I think we'll do fine."

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December 20, 2018 - 12:27pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Middle School, batavia, schools, educaiton, news.

Batavia Middle School students trekked all over Batavia today as part of the school's annual Give Back Field Trip, where they visit various business and agencies to thank those who have supported the school.

Today's visits included the Sheriff's Office, State Police, Fire Department, and this visit to Batavia PD.

April 9, 2015 - 2:34pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in steve hawley, educaiton, common core.

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) today reminded his constituents of their ability to opt out of the Common Core tests. Hawley said the Common Core Standards have been irresponsibly implemented and parents have a right to know that they can refuse to have their children take the tests.  

“As we look forward to the warm weather that April brings, let us not forget that it also brings another round of dreaded Common Core testing,” Hawley said. “With all the conversation surrounding how teacher evaluations will be altered in the 2015-16 State Budget, we are overlooking the bigger issue of Common Core tests. Teachers are still struggling to learn new curriculum requirements, and students fear this time of year as immense pressure is placed on them to succeed on the fairly new methods of testing and learning. I sponsor the Common Core Parental Refusal Act, which mandates that school districts notify parents of their ability to have their children refuse to participate in Common Core tests without penalty to themselves or the school. To learn how you can opt out of Common Core testing, please visit www.childrenbeforepolitics.com/refuse.”

Hawley also commented on how the Assembly Minority Conference’s Achieving Pupil Preparedness & Launching Excellence (APPLE) Plan would address many salient education concerns such as Common Core and teacher evaluations. Assembly Bill 3656 is a bipartisan measure that was reintroduced earlier this year.

“Fortunately, the Assembly Minority Conference’s APPLE plan would address many of these concerns,” Hawley said. “Our plan would suspend Common Core tests for two years and create a commission, consisting of experts from the front lines of education, to evaluate all aspects of Common Core and determine a more suitable way to implement the standards. This legislation has been active since last year but was blocked by members of the Assembly Majority during last year’s session.”

Hawley’s comments come on the eve of Common Core testing which is scheduled to begin later this month. More information can be found about the Assembly Minority APPLE plan at www.childrenbeforepolitics.com/refuse.

June 7, 2013 - 7:39pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in schools, pembroke, educaiton.

Since the day Anthony Platek entered kindergarten, there have been 2,265 school days.

Platek never missed a single day. He graduates from Pembroke High School with a perfect attendance record.

"I just showed up," Platek said. "I came every day, sick or well. People ask me, 'how come you never got sick? How did you do it?' Well, I never said I wasn't sick."

Vice Principal Nathan Work said it's quite an accomplishment.

"We have students who get perfect attendance every year, but Anthony was the first student in a while who has received perfect attendance since kindergarten," Work said.

For the accomplishment, Platek was honored by the school and among his gifts was a Dragons football jersey with his name on it and the number "0" for zero days missed.

Platek said he never really set out to achieve a perfect attendance record.

"I guess you could say kind of happened," Platek said. "I just showed up. I did my thing. I was an average student, really."

April 30, 2013 - 10:23am
posted by Howard B. Owens in schools, byron-bergen, educaiton.

Photos and information submitted by Michaele White.

Kennedy White, a 17-year-old student at Byron-Bergen, took third place at the NYS Skills USA competition for welding held in Syracuse last week. She received a bronze medal and a $2,000 scholarship to Lincoln to further her welding skills. She is a second-year student in welding at BOCES under instructor Don Shuknecht.

November 7, 2012 - 12:42pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, schools, City Schools, educaiton.

Announcement:

Due to the pending sale of the Administration Building at 39 Washington Ave., the Batavia City School District Administration Offices will be relocated to Batavia High School, 260 State St., starting Friday, Nov. 9.

The offices will all be accessible through the State Street parking lot.

Superintendent/Personnel -- Room 48

Registration/Curriculum -- Room 40

Student Services -- Room 43

Buildings & Grounds -- Room 41

Business -- Room 45

Boardroom -- Room 49

All phone numbers and extensions will remain the same. Any questions, please call 343-2480, ext. 1000.

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