Local Matters

Recent comments

Community Sponsors


December 12, 2018 - 3:46pm

Byron-Bergen STEAM students, pictured from left: Logan Fregoe, Noah Clare, Adam Piper, Ian Pulcini, Kendall Pape and Carter Kuipers.

Submitted photos and press release:

On Nov. 9th, a team of Byron-Bergen STEAM students broke the world record currently posted on the Guinness website for distance traveled by a rubber-band-powered car.

Many people dream of joining the ranks of record-holders in the Guinness Book of World Records. Though most of these dreams go unrealized, Craig Schroth’s students are using engineering skills to earn Guinness recognition.

Schroth, a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) lab teacher at Byron-Bergen Elementary School, challenged his sixth-grade students to use simple machines -- a wheel and axle -- to build vehicles powered only by a wound up rubber band. Students used three class periods to methodically make changes and improve their designs.

“We moved the rubber band further forward,” explained sixth-grade student Adam Piper. “Then we added more rubber bands because the more we could wind it up, the further (the car) would go.”

In addition to the number of rubber bands, the design team added bigger wheels wrapped in rubber bands for increased road friction and elongated the distance between axles.

On Nov. 9, the team of Noah Clare, Logan Fregoe, Ian Pulcini, and Adam Piper broke the standing World Record with a run of 1,071 cm. According to the Guinness website, the current record for distance traveled by a rubber band car is 895 cm and was set on July 13, 2015.

“This STEAM design challenge not only involved real-world problem solving within the physical sciences, but it also included improving their design by collecting data through trial and error,” Schroth said. “Most groups were able to improve on their personal best of distance traveled by utilizing the engineering design process. All of the participating classes did a great job.”

Inspired by the sixth-grade success, the fifth-grade team of Carter Kuipers and Kendall Pape surpassed the previous winning distance by an additional 228 cm on Nov. 15, making 1,299 cm the longest distance achieved.

Schroth has contacted the Guinness organization to have the distances submitted for official approval. All of the participating students eagerly await a response.

Below: Adam Piper, Ian Pulcini, and Noah Clare prepare their rubber-band car for a test run.

Below: Sixth-grade team tests their rubber-band car in the hallway outside the STEAM lab.

Below: The fifth- (left) and sixth-grade (right) teams prepare to race head to head.

December 11, 2018 - 1:39pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in WNY Tech Academy, schools, education, news, notify, byron, bergen.


Keep moving forward, that is what Adam Thorman said he has done since graduating from Byron-Bergen High School more than 10 years ago and joining the Navy.

He's moved forward in his Navy career, from E-2 out of basic training to E-6 after 10 years of service. He's been recognized by his superiors for his hard work and dedication as a military security specialist. He's gotten married and become a father to a 17-month old daughter. And he has overcome tragedy in his family, the deaths in separate accidents of his twin sister and his younger sister.

He said he's moved forward with the help of friends and family but meeting his wife a couple of years after the deaths of his sisters in 2011 "kind of opened up my eyes that I could still move on while unfortunately still missing two of my family members," he said during a presentation Monday at the Western New York Tech Acadamy.

Thorman was one of four speakers for "Motivational Monday" at the academy. The other speakers were Gina Lathan from Lathan Construction, Jakob Terranova from Six Flags Darien Lake, and Kelley Yates from Sedgwick Business Interiors.

Thorman fielded a variety of questions from the three dozen students who attended the talks, including questions about his deployments overseas, his career plans, life in the military, and how he overcame obstacles (such as bringing his reading skills up to the necessary level to complete college) to advance his career.

"I really enjoy reading books now," he said.



December 10, 2018 - 6:25pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in pembroke, news, schools, education, buffalo bills.


The Buffalo Bills' Lorenzo Alexander sponsored a reading contest at Pembroke Intermediate School for the month of October. Any student who completed a book during October would be entered to win one of 15 tickets to a Buffalo Bills football game.

Yesterday, 15 students attended the game, all-expenses paid by Alexander.

"It was a cold day, and despite the upset against the Jets these 15 students and teacher chaperones had the time of their life," said Melessa Cleveland, whose daughter, sixth-grader Angelina, was among the 15 winners. "A very special thanks to Lorenzo Alexander for donating food and tickets for yesterday's game."

Photos by Mr. Brown. Info and photos submitted by Melessa Cleveland. 

December 8, 2018 - 2:19pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, bergen, gillam grant, LEGO, robotics, stem, education.

The Bionic Bees -- a team of third- through sixth-graders from the Gillam Grant Community Center -- won the Project Award at the Finger Lakes FIRST Lego League regional qualifier robotics competition.

On Saturday, Nov. 17 the Bionic Bees competed at The Integrated arts and Technology high school in Rochester against other area teams. This year’s theme for the competition was "Into Orbit." Teams had to think of a solution to a physical or emotional problem that astronauts face when in space for long periods of time.

The team’s solution was to use virtual reality to give astronauts pieces of home through sights, sounds and smells.

They designed Bionic Binoculars, which can give you the pleasant smells of their home. The motion-detecting gloves or controllers would set off a smell when placed near the accompanying visual. Astronauts could wear a vest with the binoculars that could adjust temperature depending on the setting like a fireplace for example. Through the viewer they could see and hear the familiar sights and sounds of home.

The team modeled their idea from the Oculus brand of virtual reality products.

FIRST LEGO League gives students the chance to develop, design, build and code LEGO MINDSTORMS robots to perform autonomous “missions” on a themed playing field and design innovative solutions to a real world problem inspired by the theme.

Along their journey, students develop critical thinking and team-building skills, basic STEM applications, and even presentation skills, as they must present their solutions with a dash of creativity to judges.

They also practice the Program’s Core Values, which emphasize discovery, teamwork and good sportsmanship. FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) was founded in 1989 to inspire young people's interest and participation in science and technology.

Based in Manchester, NH, the 501(c)(3) not-for-profit public charity designs accessible, innovative programs that motivate young people to pursue education and career opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and math, while building self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills.

The Learning Center at Gillam Grant, a not-for-profit center located in Bergen. We provide tutoring, homework help and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) enrichment classes and clubs for K-12thgrade students.

December 4, 2018 - 9:44am
posted by Howard B. Owens in alexander, schools, education, news, notify.

Voters in Alexander yesterday rejected a $12.6 million capital improvement project that would have allowed the school district to build a new bus garage, upgrade some elementary school classrooms and install lights on the football field.

The ballot proposition failed by a 61 to 39 percent margin, or 183 no to 117 yes.

School officials said the current bus garage is beyond repair and its location and configuration is a traffic safety hazard. 

Critics accused the Alexander CSD of using the community's long-standing request for lights on the football field as a way to bribe voters into approving the expenditure.

The projects were going to be funded by $1.9 million from capital reserves (money designated for such projects), $705,000 from other reserves, and more than $10 million in state aid.

Passage of the measure would have required the district to take out $10 million in bonds, with state aid making the bond payments, over the 15- and 30-year life of the bonds.

Officials said the bus garage is in such bad condition that state officials will soon force its replacement.

Previously: Alexander needs new bus garage, classroom upgrades, football lights go along with it, residents told at forum

November 30, 2018 - 5:11pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in oakfield-alabama, schools, education, news, Oakfield.

Press release:

The Oakfield-Alabama Central School District’s Board of Education (BOE), has selected John Fisgus as the district’s next superintendent.

 "I am deeply honored and extremely excited to join the Oakfield-Alabama school community and family," Fisgus said. "I am eager to begin my work as your next superintendent and I am excited to work for such a great board and staff at Oakfield-Alabama. It is my mission to make O-A a 'District of Distinction' and through collaboration and teamwork, the place to be!"

Matt Lamb, president of the Oakfield-Alabama Central School District’s Board of Education, said: "The Board of Education truly values the input we received from the various stakeholder groups who met with the candidates to help us make a final decision.

"We are confident that John Fisgus will lead our district through the issues we face in our region. With his leadership, we will work together to deliver the best education possible for our students.”

Fisgus is currently the principal of Royalton-Hartland Middle School, in the Royalton-Hartland Central School District (RHCSD), where he has served since 2008. His responsibilities as principal include supervising and hiring all instructional and support staff, developing and managing a building budget as well as assisting with the district budget development process.

Fisgus created honor courses in all four academic core subjects within the middle school and is the facilitator of the district’s Professional Learning Community Team. Prior to that, he served as the assistant principal at Lake Shore Middle School.

Fisgus began his career in education in 1998 as an eighth-grade math teacher at Depew Middle School in the Depew Union Free School District.

He holds a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science in Secondary Mathematics Education from the State University of New York at Buffalo. Fisgus earned a Master of Science in School Administration from Canisius College and holds a New York State School Administrator/Supervisor and School Administrator Certificate.

The anticipated start date for the new superintendent is January.

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.

November 30, 2018 - 3:04pm
posted by Billie Owens in education, Laude System, news, Le Roy, Le Roy CSD.

Submitted photo and press release:

Starting with the Class of 2024, Le Roy Jr.-Sr. High School will recognize graduating seniors through a Laude System.

Our current seventh-grade students will be the first to move through the Sr. High School without using our current graduation class ranking system, including Top Ten and Valedictorian/Salutatorian designations.

Last year our School Improvement Team, comprised of teachers, counselors and administrators, evaluated the execution of our graduation class ranking system and how it impacts our students and school culture.

In our findings and evaluation, it became clear that our current graduation system was not maximizing our student potential.

We then searched for successful ways schools are motivating and celebrating student success at graduation. We analyzed schools in Rochester, Buffalo, and the Midwest, and talked with colleges and universities about the impact of moving from a numerical ranking to a Laude System.

One of the local schools we talked to, Webster Thomas, implemented a similar process 10 years ago.

The new Laude System is a point-based system that combines honor points and cumulative grade-point average. At Graduation in 2024 we will begin celebrating student success with the following levels: Summa Cum Laude ("with highest honor") for 95 GPA +20 points, Magna Cum Laude ("with great honor") for 90 GPA + 15 points, and Cum Laude ("with honor") for 85 GPA + 10 points.

Finally, our student graduation speakers will be voted on by the senior class and all students in a Laude level will be eligible for this honor.

Again, the Laude System is in place for our current seventh-graders, the Class of 2024. It does not affect our students in grades 8-12. We will be meeting with the Class of 2024 to go over these changes prior to the 2019-2020 scheduling process.

Comments from Tim McArdle - Le Roy Jr.-Sr. High School Principal

"After extensive research, our team sought to create a system that did two things. One, create a me vs. me system instead of student vs. peer, encouraging rigor in student course selection, decreasing unnecessary competition between classmates, and increasing students' academic and intellectual risks. Two, to honor all the many pathways our students travel to Graduation and reward them for taking a rigorous road that will not only maximize their potential but prepare them for the competitive world."

"We would like to thank our entire staff for their vital part in giving feedback and developing this exciting new change. Also, a big thank you to our School Board who carefully reviewed this process and unanimously approved it."

November 29, 2018 - 5:26pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in alexander csd, news, alexander, schools, education, notify.


Becky Cokelet, SEI Design Group

A $12.6 million capital improvement proposal for the Alexander Central School District truly is a collaborative effort by members of the local community, Superintendent Catherine Huber, Ed.D., told residents at a community forum Wednesday night.

"The committee worked tirelessly for several months and really came up with a plan that represents the voices of the community," Huber said. "The work was nothing but true collaboration and this plan really does represent the voices of our community."

The plan calls for a new bus garage, four upgraded classrooms in the elementary school building, and lights for the football field.

There are some in the community, including Toby Wade, who had a lot to say at the forum, who suspect the lights for football is a sort of bribe of the community to get approval for the bus garage.

"There is a perception out there by some people, and I admit, I'm one of them, who think you are just throwing them a bone so you can get the rest of the stuff you want," Wade said. 

Huber said the football lights were included because lights on the football field are a long-standing request of the community. She said it was one of the first things brought up to her by community members when she joined the district two years ago. The need for a new bus garage and dealing with the classroom situation is driving the need for a capital project, and that creates an opportunity to wrap in lights for the football field.

"We feel like this plan is not a matter of throwing a bone to anybody," Huber said. 

The state requires school districts to do a facilities review every five years and identify potential issues that need to be addressed. To comply with that requirement, Huber said, the district formed a committee -- any member of the community was able to participate -- and committee members toured the entire district property.

"When we came back from our site tour, almost everybody in that room knew what our priorities should be," Huber said. "When we toured the transportation facility, we realized what dire straits that transportation facility is in. We had no idea what condition the classrooms were in on the garden level but flooding was happening there regularly. The transportation facility and the elementary school building, we knew we had to do something about that. That was our jumping off point."

The current bus garage is beyond repair, Huber said. Bricks are deteriorating, there are other structural problems, and modern buses don't fit in it well.

There is also a persistent complaint about the safety of the current location. The current configuration means buses must back up into both car and pedestrian traffic areas.

Another long-standing request from the community, Huber said, is for a sidewalk connecting the high school with the elementary school in order to improve safety.

The proposed new transportation facility would eliminate indoor parking for buses (a configuration the state would not fund), create bays for bus maintenance, and a second floor for offices for transportation staff.

The transportation facility would be on a raised elevation, creating separation from pedestrian traffic on the sidewalk next to the football field.

Huber said the district decided to build a new transportation hub at the present location of the bus garage because there was no other available space on school district property and with declining enrollment, it made no sense for the district to acquire off-campus property for buses.

"We looked at several locations on campus and everywhere we ran into issues -- slops, water flows, traffic," Huber said. "It's a very complicated space."

Becky Cokelet, project consultant, from SEI Design Group, explained the situation with the elementary school classrooms.

There is a problem with flooding in the lower southwest area of the building because of soil conditions and that has caused damage to the building. 

The plan also calls for eliminating the bathrooms in each classroom and converting those to storage closets. Two new multi-stall bathrooms will be added where there is currently a classroom. 

The classrooms will be updated with modern fixtures and features and module desk units purchased. There will also be new lockers installed in the hallway.

Funding for the $12.6 million projects will come from a variety of sources:

  • $1.9 million from capital reserves;
  • $750,000 from other reserves;
  • and, 79 percent funded by state aid.

There will be no tax increase in either the near-term nor the long-term related to the project, Financial Director Tim Batzel said.

The district will be required to take out a 15-year bond on the classroom renovations and a 30-year bond for the new building but there will be no increase in the tax levy as a result.

The bonds will be repaid over the years by reimbursements from the state, not out of district funds (after the allocated reserves are spent).

While the statutory language of the ballot measure voters are being asked to approve Monday discusses using tax levy funds to pay for the project, that is language required by state law. In reality, Batzel, future tax levy money will not be used for the project. The expense of the project is completely covered by existing reserves and state aid.

If voters approve the project, Cokelet and her SEI colleagues will need until June 2019 to draw up architectural plans, then state officials will need to approve those plans -- a process that takes several months -- so construction won't begin before 2020 and then will take 10 to 12 months to complete.

Toby Wade said it seemed like there were a lot of unanswered questions about project details, particularly around the design of a retaining wall that he and others thought could present a safety issue.

Huber assured the audience that there is no way the district would approve plans that didn't adequately address safety issues.

As for the lack of detailed design plans, Cokelet said the stages of development are driven by state regulation. First comes the assessment, then a preliminary plan, which requires state approval, and then that plan is presented to the school board for approval. After the board approves it, it is brought to district voters for consideration.

It's only after voters approve it that architects can begin to actually design the buildings and infrastructure of the project.

Wade said that process is a problem because the district voters have been burned before.

"The year 2000 building project was a complete failure," Wade said. "We had to go through lawsuits and it was a huge disservice to people. I can respect that you're trying to do what is needed, but a lot of people in the community aren't going to trust that you're doing your due diligence and trust that it's all going to turn out right."

Cokelet didn't deny the previous project had numerous problems but she said she wasn't involved in the 2000 project, nor was her company.

"I'm ashamed on a professional level, on behalf of my profession, how that firm represented (and) handled that project, but thankfully that firm is out of business," Cokelet said.

However, the district won't be able to maintain the garage much longer. Soon the state will require it be replaced.

"I understand this requires faith and trust but I hope you will look at our most recent projects and I hope you see the great work that was done on limited budgets," Cokelet said.

Voters in the Alexander Central School District can vote on the capital improvement project at the school on Monday (Dec. 3) from noon to 8 p.m.

November 29, 2018 - 3:48pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in BOCES, Batavia CTE, batavia, schools, education, news.


Press release:

When Jeff Fronk was approached by a member of the Conesus Fire Department regarding a project, he never thought that the venture would take on a life of its own. Fronk is the Collision, Custom, and Restoration (CCR) instructor at the Batavia Career and Technical Education (CTE) Center. 

Dale Eddy is the assistant fire chief and vice president for the Conesus Fire Department. He contacted Fronk last spring with the hopes of having the CCR students work on a 1934 Dodge firetruck that was in dire need of repair.

“The truck had been stored since the '70s when it was put out of commission. It was in very bad shape, even trees were growing out of it,” Eddy said. “We contacted Jeff and hoped he would be willing to take on this project. He showed great interest because he saw the potential for the truck. We were hopeful that he could complete the extensive overhaul that the truck needed.”

“I knew this would be a big undertaking because the truck was in such disrepair,” Fronk said. “It had sat idle for many years; there were parts and pieces missing.”

Fronk inspected the truck and decided to tackle the project. Fronk and the CCR students delved into restoration and uncovered how much work that the truck required. Learning the scope of the work needed, Fronk called upon some of the other Batavia CTE instructors for their assistance, as well.

“The Conservation students milled the wood for the truck bed flooring, and then pre-drilled these oak planks for installation, the Welding students fabricated the side panels and fenders,” Fronk explained. “My CCR students repaired the body pieces that were salvageable, sandblasted the exterior, then primed and painted the exterior. The students even polished the brass bell that’s on the front of the truck.”

Due to a Conesus Fire Department event, the project was under a tight deadline. The entire restoration took place within a four-month period so the firetruck could be used during the summer months. When school ended in June, the truck was not fully completed, so Fronk, along with the help of some fellow CTE teachers, completed the project.

Eddy and the other fire department members were in total awe of the project when the truck was delivered to the fire department in July.

“I knew this was a project that the students could take on," Eddy said. "I completed the Auto Technology Program at the Mount Morris Center, so I’m a BOCES graduate.

"But when all of us saw the finished truck, we were amazed at the quality of the work that the students and instructors completed. That truck was, and still is, smiling from fender to fender.”

The finished truck was recently displayed at the Batavia CTE Center so the students could view their work. Fronk noted how students reacted to seeing the restored truck.

“When the students saw the truck, their jaws dropped and eyes were so big; they were in disbelief! They are so proud of their work,” Fronk said. “This was an incredible project for the students to complete. I’m sure that they will never see a project like this again; I know that I never will!”

The truck is now showcased at the Conesus Fire Department and is used for special community events.

November 23, 2018 - 12:43pm

Above photo, local paleontologist/geologist Richard Hamell taught the students about the history and uses of wampum.

Submitted photos and press release:

On Nov. 8 the Byron-Bergen Elementary School fourth-grade classes celebrated the fourth annual Haudenosaunee Day. This day came at the end of their English Language Arts (ELA) and Social Studies units based on the Iroquois people, history and culture and included art and cultural-themed activities and special guests.

In the morning, students joined Byron-Bergen High School music teacher Lawrence Tallman in the cafetorium for an interactive presentation of Native American music, stories and dance. Tallman is descended from the Onondaga and Tuscarora tribes and studied Native American song and dance while traveling around the country with his grandfather who was a musician.

The students joined him in several songs and dances including the Rabbit Dance and the Partridge Dance, historically used to teach counting to children.

In the afternoon, Byron-Bergen parent Michelle Caballero shared the story of the vain doll whose face was taken away by the Great Spirit. Caballero then showed the students how to make their own corn husk dolls. Caballero is a member of the Seneca Nation and enjoys having the opportunity to share her culture each year with the fourth-grade students at through this activity.

Local Paleontologist/Geologist Richard Hamell taught the students about the history and uses of wampum and shared with them his collection of wampum and Native American artifacts. Finally, retired Byron-Bergen teacher Rick Merritt shared stories and legends around an indoor “campfire.” Each of the special guests has taken part in Haudenosaunee Day since its inception in 2014.

The following day, the fourth-grade students closed out their study of Haudenosaunee culture by presenting projects created by the students to the other grade levels who visited their classrooms. Projects included longhouse dioramas, wampum, flags and the history of the Three Sisters.

The goal of each annual Iroquois celebration is to help the fourth-grade students develop an appreciation through understanding of the Haudenosaunee people.

Photo below: retired Byron-Bergen teacher Rick Merritt shared stories and legends around an indoor “campfire.”

Photo below: Byron-Bergen High School music teacher Lawrence Tallman led an interactive presentation of Native American music, stories and dance.

November 23, 2018 - 8:00am
posted by Billie Owens in GCC, poverty, education, batavia, news.

Submitted photos and press release:

Employment rates, government benefit program statistics, healthcare costs and starvation statistics are everywhere. While more than 14 percent of the population in New York State is living in poverty, the Global Education Committee (GEC) at Genesee Community College is doing more than facing the facts.

In the College's nearly full William W. Stuart Forum last week, the GEC hosted a very real simulation called "Disrupting Poverty" for students in Christine Belongia's Teacher Education and Adolescent Development classes, Karen Wicka's Criminal Justice classes and Kari Heidemann's and James Myers' Human Services classes.

The simulation was designed by Missouri's Community Action Poverty Simulation and facilitated by Juanita Henry, director of the Genesee Region Teacher Center and Pat Mullikin, director of the Tri-County Teacher Center.

"The simulation is not a game," Belongia, professor of Teacher Education and Humanities at GCC said. "It's an educational experience designed to heighten awareness, foster empathy and challenge assumptions surrounding issues of poverty."

The poverty simulation positions several different family units, being role-played by GCC's students, in the middle of a community typical of Genesee, Livingston, Orleans or Wyoming counties.

During the one-hour simulation, each of the family units must manage expenses, attend meetings and appointments, and struggle to meet the overwhelming needs of their family for one month, played out in a series of four 15-minute weeks. Each family unit is given detailed lists of bills that must be paid, restricted income statements and limited sources with the task of making hard choices to survive living in poverty.

As in any community, there are resources and organizations available to the simulated family units that they can choose to visit -- if they can afford transportation which was represented by having a paper "pass" bus ticket, cab voucher, or gas money for a friend or driver, all making the simulation even more realistic. More than a dozen different resources were represented in the simulation by role-playing GCC students.

At one desk, a bank offering loans and cashing checks; at another, a child care center with daycare expenses; and another with an employer offering jobs with specific shifts available. In addition, as in the real world, other desks held pawn shops, healthcare offices, pay-day advance agencies who charge high interest rates, and or course, homeless shelters and other resources for the severely destitute.

Throughout the simulation, students in the family units had to work together to plan and cover expenses, including food and shelter.

"If we buy these groceries today, how will we pay for daycare next week," one student asked his family unit. "My paycheck plus your Social Security check is only enough to cover rent and electricity this month."

The students in the family unit then researched their family situation and visited various organizations and resources to find ways to make ends meet.

"This simulation is powerful for our students," said Karen Kovach-Allen, Ph.D., dean of Human Communications & Behavior at GCC. "Some of them live in poverty in the real world and this simulation is practice for knowing what resources are available and what choices they have.

"For others, the simulation offers a unique glance into the lives of those living in poverty and perhaps leaves them with a little perspective, and an appreciation for what others might be going through."

This is the first time GCC students, faculty and staff have had a simulation experience on campus. The program is part of this year's Global Education, "Food and Cultural Identity" theme.

Beyond activities such as this, the Adult Educational Opportunity Center (AEOC) at GCC works to address issues of food insecurity on campus every day offering a variety of classes and raising awareness of available resources, including GCC's Food Pantry available to students year round.

November 16, 2018 - 2:43pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in byron-bergen, schools, education, bergen, news, byron.


Press release:

One hundred and twenty-seven students were joined by family, faculty, and staff in Byron-Bergen School's the Fourth Annual Turkey Trot.

The Turkey Trot is an initiative, started by the Health and Wellness Committee, to promote physical fitness and healthy lifestyles. The non-competitive run/walk kicked off in a flurry of excitement on Nov. 8 at 3:30 p.m. behind the Elementary School. The brisk evening was ideal for outdoor activity and, though the sky was overcast, no rain fell.

“The students love this event,” said Elementary School Physical Education teacher and event organizer Danielle Carson. “I hope that this experience will inspire them to get outside more often to hike, bike, or just run around.”

From the starting line behind the four-square court, participants followed the one-mile course through the wooded cross-country trail, along the soccer stadium, over to the high ropes course, and back to the four-square court finish line.

The buildings and grounds crew had prepared the forest section of the course by marking roots, stones, and other tripping hazards with orange paint.

The orange markers were not the only splash of color. Orange, yellow, and brown leaves provided a vivid backdrop as the participants followed the well-worn path through the woods.

“Planning the Turkey Trot at the height of the fall foliage creates a unique experience for our students and their families,” said Elementary Principal Brian Meister. “It’s a chance to get outside and exercise, but it is also a chance to appreciate the beautiful natural resources we have on campus.”

After the trot, students and families gathered in the cafetorium with lots of smiles and rosy cheeks for a healthy snack.

The Turkey Trot is also the non-official kick-off to the District’s Holiday Community Service project. Annually, the District partners with community organizations to collect toys, clothing, wrapping supplies, and – in 2017 – more than 1,200 nonperishable food items. This year’s Turkey Trot participants started it off on the right foot by donating more than 100 nonperishable food items.





November 16, 2018 - 1:44pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Middle School, batavia, schools, news, education.


Celia Murillo-Rios, left, and Michael Cook, students at Batavia Middle School came out the big winners Thursday night at the school's annual Family Night when their names were drawn in a giveaway of two bicycles.

The girl's bike was donated by the school's Parent-Teacher Association and the boy's bike was donated by the Batavia Police Benevolent Association.

Also pictured, Maureen Notaro, 7th and 8th grade VP, and Brian Sutton, 5th and 6th grade VP.

November 9, 2018 - 3:57pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in oakfield-alabama elementary, schools, education, news, charity.


Chloe Lamb, 9, and Claire Lamb, 7, presented a check today for $1,803 to Lynn Gehlert, vice principal at Oakfield-Alabama Elementary School called "Fuel Young Minds."

Matt and Kendra Lamb with help from Chloe and Claire have set up a pumpkin stand in front of their house on Maltby Road, Oakfield, with no price set on pumpkins, just a request for a donation in any amount to take some home.

Two years ago, the Lambs raised $800 for the fire department and last year, $1,200 for the library.

Fuel Young Minds is a food pantry started by Gehlert.

"On her own, Mrs. Gehlert was supplementing food to families who needed it and when some families (in the school) found out about it, we said we wanted to offer more support than what she was doing on her own."

Kendra said she wants her daughters to learn about supporting their local community but she also wanted to bring more attention to Fuel Young Minds.

Gehlert said the O-A community has really come together to support the program.

"We are very appreciative the support," Gehlert said. "The community has really stepped up and has been very generous to support our kiddos. The focus of Fuel Young Minds is our students can’t come to school and really benefit from education if their basic needs aren’t met."

November 2, 2018 - 6:46pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in BOCES, Batavia CTE, schools, education, news, batavia.


Sara Menke, of Caledonia, a student at Batavia CTE in the Animal Science program, explains to her parents, Linda and Jason, how she cares for a French agora rabbit in her class during an open house Thursday night.

The annual open house is a chance for parents and the community to see what students are learning at the school and what programs are available to career-minded students.








November 2, 2018 - 5:46pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in oakfield-alabama, schools, education, news.

Press release: 

The Oakfield-Alabama Central School District’s Board of Education (BOE), has named three finalists in the search for the district’s next Superintendent.

Matt Lamb, president of the Oakfield- Alabama Central School District’s BOE, said he is pleased with the high-quality candidate pool and is enthused about the potential the three finalists have to offer.

“Choosing the best superintendent for our district is the board’s main priority,” Lamb said. “The field of candidates was diverse, which made narrowing the field very difficult. We are confident that one of these individuals will be the best candidate for our school district and community.”

The three finalists are John C. Fisgus, Frank Bai-Rossi and Kathleen E. Affigne, Ph.D.

Fisgus is currently the principal of Royalton-Hartland Middle School, in the Royalton-Hartland Central School District (RHCSD), where he has served since 2008. His responsibilities as principal include supervising and hiring all instructional and support staff, developing and managing a building budget as well as assisting with the district budget development process. Fisgus created honor courses in all four academic core subjects within the middle school and is the facilitator of the district’s Professional Learning Community Team. Prior to that, he served as the assistant principal at Lake Shore Middle School. Fisgus began his career in education in 1998 as an eighth-grade math teacher at Depew Middle School in the Depew Union Free School District. He holds a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science in Secondary Mathematics Education from the State University of New York at Buffalo. Fisgus earned a Master of Science in School Administration from Canisius College and holds a New York State School Administrator/Supervisor and School Administrator Certificate.

Bai-Rossi is the principal of the Phelps-Clifton Springs Middle/High School, where he has served as principal since 2014. As principal, Bai-Rossi supervises and evaluates a staff of 100. During his tenure as principal, graduation rates have increased to more than 90 percent, and a number of AP and accelerated classes were added at the high school and middle school. In the summer of 2015, Bai-Rossi also managed a large construction project at the high school. From 2007 until 2014, he was the assistant principal at Penfield High School. Bai-Rossi began his career in education in 1995 at Hillside Children’s Center as a special education teacher. He continued his career as special education teacher at Greece Central Schools and also served as a special education building leader. Bai-Rossi earned a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Alfred University, a Master of Science in Elementary and Special Education from Nazareth College and a Master of Science in School Administration from Canisius College. He is certified as a New York State School District Administrator/Supervisor and School Administrator.

Kathleen Affigne, Ph.D., is the interim principal for Fort Montgomery Elementary School in Highland Falls. She is responsible for all aspects of prekindergarten through second grade instruction, budgeting, professional development, evaluation and implementation of New York state mandates and budgeting. From 2014 until 2018, Affigne served as the assistant superintendent for curriculum, instruction and pupil personnel services for the Millbrook Central School District. During her tenure as assistant superintendent, Affigne implemented district and building level data teams to analyze data sets to inform curriculum and instruction decision-making. Previously, she was the director of instructional services for the Warwick Valley Central School District in Warwick. Affigne began her career in 1984 as an instrumental music teacher for grades 4-8 in the Monroe-Woodbury Central School District. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Music Education from the University of Bridgeport, a Master of Science in Music Education from Central Connecticut State University, and a doctorate in Educational Administration and Policy Studies from the State University of New York (SUNY) at Albany. She earned a Certificate of Advanced Study in Educational Administration from SUNY New Paltz.

Final rounds of interviews with the three candidates are set for Nov. 14, 15 and 16 at the Oakfield-Alabama Central School District. Candidate meet and greet forums will be held from 4-4:30 p.m. in the Oakfield-Alabama High School Auditorium on the following dates:

  • Kathleen Affigne, Nov. 14
  • John C. Fisgus, Nov. 15
  • Frank Bai-Rossi, Nov. 16

The anticipated start date for the new superintendent is January.

Kevin MacDonald, District Superintendent of the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership, who is acting as search consultant, said the Board has developed and implemented a process that will help determine the best candidate.

“This is a rigorous search process,” MacDonald said. “The finalists will visit the district to tour and meet with staff and community members. The process concludes with the Board meeting to make a final decision.”

October 31, 2018 - 3:32pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, Batavia CTE Center, skilled trades, education.

Press release:

Crime scene analysis, 3-D printing processes, welding applications, animal care methods, and the newest cosmetology trends are just a few of the practices students learn at the Batavia Career and Technical Education Center (CTE). The Batavia CTE Center will hold an Open House from 5 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 1.

Students, parents and community members are invited to tour the center and discover the many skilled trades opportunities available at this facility. 

All programs housed at this campus will also be open for tours, including the Batavia Academy, the Intensive Therapeutic Program, the Transition and Practical Assessment Exploration Systems Programs, and other school-age special education programs.

This event is open to the public. The Batavia CTE Center is located at 8250 State Street Road, Batavia. Please call (585) 344-7711 with any questions.

About Batavia CTE Center

The Batavia Career and Technical Education Center is a program of the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership.  The Partnership operates as a Board of Cooperative Educational Services providing shared programs and services to 22 component school districts located in Genesee, Wyoming, Livingston and Steuben counties in New York state.

October 30, 2018 - 11:01am
posted by Howard B. Owens in le roy hs, Le Roy, news, schools, education.


Press release:

On Monday, Oct. 29, Le Roy Jr.-Sr. High School hosted a Senior Citizen Knight. Seniors were treated to a pasta dinner and dessert prepared and cooked by our students, and enjoyed live student music entertainment, games, and companionship!

This event was organized by a committee of students from our Emerging Knights Leadership Team.

Students reached out for donations, advertised the event, and organized the student volunteers and entertainment.

More than 70 senior citizens attended the evening, which was hosted in the Le Roy Jr.-Sr. High School Cafe. More than 30 student volunteers prepared the dinner, cooked, greeted, served, washed the dishes, performed live music, led bingo, played games, and, most importantly, interacted with the guests.

We would like to thank the following people/businesses who graciously donated their time or goods for this event: Laurie Locke, Barilla, Jeff Condidorio, Wegmans, CH Wright, Le Roy Rotary, and Netsins Ice Cream!

From two of the guests:

"Thank you so much for all your hard work on the Senior Knight Dinner. My family and I really enjoyed ourselves -- great food, great service, great music, you covered it all, thanks again for a wonderful evening!"

"The meal was delicious. The conversations wonderful. And your students were very polite, courteous, personable, and considerate. What a pleasant experience for us and hopefully for them also."

From Maria Cacho, Emerging Knights Leadership Team member:

"I thought the Senior Citizen Knight helped the students reconnect with the community. It made us realize that our community cares about us and they're always driving us into finding more opportunities in leadership and kindness."

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

"It was a true pleasure to host this event and welcome so many seniors from our community. Many of them were alums who have supported our school for many years. We are so proud of our students and how well they represented themselves and our school. It is in these type of events that all of their skills are put to the test and we cannot be more thankful for their leadership and efforts. We never underestimate our students and these events continue to be a reminder that when given the chance, our young people do not disappoint. The compassion and respect that was on display was nothing short of impressive. We look forward to continuing these types of events moving forward!"







Subscribe to



Copyright © 2008-2018 The Batavian. Some Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service
Original content available for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons license.
Contact: Howard Owens, publisher (howard (at) the batavian dot com); (585) 250-4118

blue button