Local Matters

Community Sponsors


August 15, 2019 - 12:04pm

Team of teachers from Northgate Free Methodist Church, from left: Candy Laird, Melissa Vanelli, Melanie Domes, Krystal Forsyth, Mark Logan, Jennifer Dunn.

Submitted photos and press release:

Northgate Free Methodist Church in Batavia has established a relationship with a community in Gahanda, Rwanda, Africa. Over the past few years, Northgate members and others have sponsored more than 150 children through International Child Care Ministries.

These sponsorships along with other fundraising events have given Northgate the ability to supply families with food, clothing, housing, land purchases, water collection systems, school classrooms and just recently, a building project in which the community built a large facility to house their administration and library for the school.

The school in Gahanda is comprised of 1,200 students. All of these students and teachers walk to attend school, some from miles away. There are barely roads to get there, and the resources for the classrooms are scarce.

(Photo above: New administration building built in Gahanda earlier this year.)

Through copious amounts of thought, prayer and consideration, a group of teachers from Northgate have decided to venture across the world, just weeks before the beginning of their school year.

The group of teachers will be sharing teaching techniques and help the teachers of Gahanda implement a syllabus to help them efficiently teach the children of Gahanda.

They will be traveling with luggage full of school supplies, both for the teachers and the children within the Gahanda community.

More importantly, they will be going with pure joy and excitement of creating lasting memories with the teachers, families and children of Gahanda, that are sure to last tremendously longer than either side has been anticipating.

For more information about Northgate Free Methodist Church and their involvement in missions, click here.

Below, the children of Gahanda. Bottom photo: School building in Gahanda.

August 8, 2019 - 11:04am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, kathy hochul, video, business, education.
Video Sponsor

Press release:

Manufacturers, agribusinesses and the skilled trades have been sounding the alarm about the needs to bring more awareness and preparedness for a future workforce in order to meet the demands of the ever-changing workplace and the wave of retirements anticipated as a result of an aging workforce.

In the Genesee, Livingston, Orleans and Wyoming County (GLOW) Region, economic development agencies, workforce development leaders and educators are doing just that through a new initiative formally announced today by New York State Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul.

The daylong hands-on career exploration event – GLOW With Your Hands – will be held on Sept. 24 at the Genesee County Fairgrounds.

More than 1,000 students from 28 school districts across the GLOW Region are expected to attend the event where they will be able to experience first-hand activities associated with careers, like welding, bricklaying, electrical wiring, heavy equipment operation, advanced manufacturing, and many others.

"As our economy evolves with growing opportunities in clean energy, construction, and advanced manufacturing fields, New Yorkers will have increased access to workforce development and training for jobs of the future," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, who spoke at today's event.

"Collaborative visions to bring together events like these are part of our ongoing effort to ensure young people have the skills they need to get a good-paying job and achieve their fullest potential.”

The economic and workforce development agencies and education groups are collaborating to make students aware that there are real family-sustaining jobs in the GLOW Region that do not necessarily require a four-year college degree.

More and more school districts in the GLOW Region are creating a curriculum to meet the workplace needs of employers. The demand by employers for workers to fill these jobs is growing every day and organizers of the event want to communicate to students that they can have successful careers immediately after high school graduation.

GLOW With Your Hands organizers include the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC), the Livingston County Economic Development, Orleans County EDA, Wyoming County IDA, GLOW Workforce Development Board, Genesee, Livingston and Wyoming counties' Business Education alliances and the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership.

Major employers in the GLOW Region and various construction trades unions will be attending the event to simulate the functions and skills of the various jobs that are in demand.

August 5, 2019 - 2:07pm

Press release:

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today announced $781,313 in federal funding for the Early Head Start program at Community Action of Orleans and Genesee Inc.

The federal funding was allocated through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and will be used to support child care services for low-income families in Orleans and Genesee counties.

“Study after study shows that the better we prepare our young children, through programs like Early Head Start, the better they perform in school later in life,” Senator Schumer said.

“This federal funding for Community Action of Orleans and Genesee will bring real results to young students in the Rochester-Finger Lakes Region by providing them with the resources they need to succeed both in and out of the classroom. I am proud to support this essential funding and I will continue to fight to see that early childhood education remains a priority.”

“The Early Head Start Program gives children opportunities to reach their full potential by making high-quality early childhood education and care more accessible,” Senator Gillibrand said.

“This federal funding will support Community Action of Orleans and Genesee as it works to provide young children with the tools they need to get a strong start in life. I will continue fighting in the Senate for the resources that help prepare our children for success.”

Early Head Start provides comprehensive child development programs for low-income children from birth to age five, as well as support and services for their families. Early Head Start programs primarily serve pregnant women, infants and toddlers.

The comprehensive services these programs offer include early education, health screenings, social and emotional health, nutrition, social services, and services for children with disabilities.

July 31, 2019 - 12:52pm

Press release:

Seventy-two years ago, Henry J. Mager founded Arctic Refrigeration in his garage. Over a span of 60 years, he built the Batavia company into a successful mechanical contracting firm. Mager never obtained a college degree, but he could engineer a solution to any obstacle that posed a problem.

He was constantly thinking of better ways to do things, and inventing ways to do them.

In 2009, Henry passed away from a lengthy battle with cancer. His legacy lives on, and the Cedar Street business he built is looking to give back to the community.

In hopes of maintaining this legacy, to promote technical (trade) education to future generations, and support local cancer-based charities, the Mager Family and Arctic Refrigeration have hosted a charity golf tournament every year since Henry's passing.

The scholarship and charitable donations are funded entirely by community fundraising and local corporate donations though the golf tournament. This is the 10th year for the annual Henry J. Mager Memorial Scholarship Golf Tournament, which will be hosted by Terry Hills Golf Course on Sept. 7th.

In the United States today, we are at an emergency level of underemployment in the building trades. People entering the job market as plumbers, electricians, carpenters, welders and mechanics is at an all-time low.

We hope to promote the trades, and encourage our youth to enter these fields. Traditionally, we offer at least one $1,000 scholarship to an area youth who decides to pursue a technical or trade education; many years we've given two of these awards as the applicants were very impressive.

Do you know of an area youth that may be interested in entering the building trades? We humbly ask teachers, counselors, aunts and uncles, friends and parents to nominate the recipients, as we find many trade students will not apply themselves.

Would you or your business like to support the trades in our area? We are now accepting golfers, sponsors and prize donations for our tournament on Sept 7th.

Sponsorship opportunities include:

  • Corporate Sponsorship -- $450 -- Hole sponsorship, corporate name and logo on promotional materials, golf foursome with gift bags, drinks (beer, water, soda), lunch for four, chicken dinner for four, awards presentation;
  • Team Entry -- $375 -- Golf foursome with gift bags, drinks (beer, water, soda), lunch for four, chicken dinner for four, awards presentation;
  • Hole Sponsorship -- $175 -- Sponsor a hole on the golf course, designated by your corporate sign, corporate name and logo on promotional materials, chicken dinner for two (please confirm dinner with payment), award presentation (no golf included in this option).

On the day of the event, registration and lunch begins at noon. Shotgun start is at 1 p.m. The tournament features 18 holes of golf with cart and scramble scoring. Chicken dinner, with awards and raffles, to follow. All proceeds benefit Henry J. Mager Scholarship Fund and a donation to Roswell Park Cancer Institute.

For golfer information, sponsor information, or to donate to the scholarship, please contact:

Jon Mager: [email protected]


Teresa Tamfer: [email protected]

As we enter our 10th year, we truly thank each and every one of you who have helped, donated and supported us.

July 29, 2019 - 2:41pm
posted by Billie Owens in backpacks, education, Salvation Army, news.

The Salvation Army is asking for the community's help in funding its Back to School Backpack Bash Program.

The nonprofit organization is asking you or your company to sponsor backpacks for our children who live in Genesee County. By sponsoring a backpack you will help give a child a much needed services to help start there school year out on the right foot.

They will provide the backpack and ask that you fill the backpacks with the supplies listed below.

Any items you can provide for these backpacks are appreciated. Please label backpacks according to supply list. Thank You


Box of 24 crayons, pencils, pink eraser, washable markers, glue sticks, bottle of glue, box of tissue, hand sanitizers, pair of blunt scissors, pencil box, plastic pocket folders, wide ruled notebooks, composition notebooks


Box of pencils, glue sticks, bottle of white glue, pink eraser, pair of scissors, pencil case, 6 – pocket folders, loose leaf paper, composition notebooks, blue pens, red pens, binders, subject dividers, scientific calculator, pocket dictionary, pencil shaper, highlighter


Box of Pencils, box of pens, composition notebooks, folders with pockets, package of graph paper, loose leaf paper, pocket dictionary, post-it notes, ruler, scientific calculator, scotch tape, stapler, box of staples, and stapler remover, three ring binder with subject dividers, highlighter, index cards, red pens.

For the flier and sponsorship form on this intitiative, click here.

Please fill out and email or fax it to (585) 343-6717 [email protected], or mail this form to 529 E. Main St., Batavia NY 14020.

July 16, 2019 - 4:07pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, education, batavia, GCC, Public Procurement.

Press release:

Registration for the fall semester is still open at Genesee Community College, and there is a brand-new course available -- Public Procurement -- listed as course BUS194.

Available completely online, this course was developed and will be taught by Eve Hens, who is the purchasing director for Genesee County, and also a Certified Professional Public Buyer with an MBA in Project Management.

The course is the first and only online Public Procurement class offered in Western New York.

It will introduce public procurement principles and relevant applications, and integrate concepts from a legal, ethical and documentation perspective as well as include the latest best practices in this field. NYS public procurement policies and procedures will be the focus of this course.

The purchasing function, in any industry, is critical to the global supply chain and this course has been designed to prepare individuals looking to enter or advance in that role -- whether in the public or private sectors.

Government procurement accounts for a substantial part of the global economy and therefore, Public Procurement (BUS194) also serves the small and large business owner interested in contracting with the government for goods or services by providing a solid understanding of the applicable procurement concepts, processes and procedures.

As an online course, BUS194 offers maximum flexibility and convenience, requires no prerequisites, and can be taken as an elective as part of an academic degree program or on its own to bolster knowledge or advance careers.

This coursework and information can readily be applied to a broad range of industries such as retail, healthcare, construction, government, technology, manufacturing, film making and more. And with the median wage of a procurement officer being $32 per hour according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor-it also provides a sound career choice.

Additionally, in some businesses, it is a position that allows the employee to work remotely; in some cases from home.

"As Baby Boomers continue to retire in large numbers, the Public Procurement industry is anticipating more and more employment opportunities," said Lina LaMattina, Ph.D., professor and director of GCC's Business Program. "Students in any of GCC's business programs would also benefit from this Public Procurement elective, as they further prepare to enter the workforce."

GCC's semester starts Monday, Aug. 19, at GCC.

To learn more about BUS194 or to enroll in the course, go to https://www.genesee.edu/courses/schedule/.

The Business and Commerce division at GCC also offers the following 11 different degree programs including: Business Administration with concentrations in Supply Chain Management or Marketing and Social Media; Accounting; Business Administration; Economic Crime Investigation; Entrepreneurship; Tourism and Hospitality Management; and four concentrations in Fashion Business, including E-Commerce, Event Planning, Fashion Design, Fashion Merchandising Management and Office Technology.

"As companies continue to require their employees to perform a broader and broader array of tasks and wear multiple hats in the workplace, an individual with knowledge of the public purchasing function will add immense value to their professional resume," LaMattina said.

July 16, 2019 - 3:11pm
posted by Billie Owens in GCC, education, news, Instant Admit Day, batavia.

Press release:

Anyone looking to further their education this fall has the perfect opportunity to complete the entire enrollment process with one visit to any of Genesee Community College's seven campus locations.

A series of Instant Admit Days will be held each Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday starting this week through Aug. 15, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at GCC's campus locations in Albion, Arcade, Batavia, Dansville, Lima, Medina and Warsaw.

In just one day a student can apply, be accepted, take the Placement Test (if needed), have assistance completing the FAFSA and be able to register for classes.

It is not necessary to preregister to attend, but an official copy of a high school transcript or equivalency is required. The official Instant Admit Days are July 16, 17, 18, 23, 24, 25, 30 and 31, and Aug. 1, 6, 7, 8, 13, 14, and 15.

"Whether you just graduated from high school or haven't been to school in a decade; whether you want to study part-time or full-time; whether it's planning for a total career change or career advancement; or perhaps it's personal enrichment for a recent retiree -- our Instant Admit Days are the perfect time and place to enroll in GCC for the fall semester," said Lindsay Gerhardt, assistant dean of Admissions. "We are here to help new students no matter what part of their life's journey they are on." 

Preregistration for an Instant Admit Day is not required. Call or stop by the Batavia Campus Center or any campus location nearest you:

  • Albion Campus Center, 456 West Ave., Albion, NY 14411 (585) 589-4936
  • Arcade Campus Center, 25 Edward St., Arcade, NY 14009 (585) 492-5265
  • Batavia Campus (Main Campus), One College Road, Batavia, NY 14020 (585) 345-6805
  • Dansville Campus Center, 31 Clara Barton Street, Dansville, NY 14437 (585) 335-7820
  • Lima Campus Center, 7285 Gale Road, Lima, NY 14485 (585) 582-1226
  • Medina Campus Center, 11470 Maple Ridge Road (Route 31A), Medina, NY 14103 (585) 798-1688
  • Warsaw Campus Center, 115 Linwood Ave., Warsaw, NY 14569 (585) 786-3010

See for yourself why Genesee Community College is the #1 value in WNY and students from all over the world are choosing GCC.

July 9, 2019 - 2:31pm

Above, Shelby Ulm (right), Cosmetology student from Attica CSD, accepts the AM Student of the Year Award from Catherine Bennett, assistant principal at the Batavia CTE Center.

Submitted photos and press release:

The Batavia Career and Technical Education (CTE) Center celebrated the achievements of its seniors at an awards program last month at Le Roy High School.

The scholarship and award winners, their programs and home schools are noted below.

  • Student of the Year (a.m.), Shelby Ulm, Attica CSD, Cosmetology;
  • Student of the Year (p.m.), Taylor Tyczka, Attica CSD, Information Technology Academy;
  • Blakeslee Memorial Award, Karl Steffenilla, Pavilion CSD, Building Trades;
  • Donald Abramo Jr. Memorial Award, Steven Keicher, Attica CSD; Anthony McMaster, Batavia CSD, both Metal Trades students;
  • Gene Haas Foundation Scholarship: James Roggow, Byron-Bergen CSD; Evan Bartz, Batavia CSD; Arden Schadt, Attica CSD; Noah Stachowiak, Attica CSD; Anthony McMaster, Batavia CSD; all Metal Trades students;
  • AutoDesk Master Manufacturing Scholarship: Benjamin Bailey, Pembroke CSD, Metal Trades;
  • James P. Donnelly Memorial Award: Garret George, Attica CSD; Lucas Stucchio, Byron-Bergen CSD, both Building Trades students;
  • Paul Levins Memorial Award: Zachary Heaton, Attica CSD, Building Trades;
  • Batavia Rod & Gun Club Memorial Scholarship: Eric Lewis, Pavilion CSD, Building Trades;
  • Roy H. Turnbull Memorial Scholarship Award: Joshua Kelsey, Alexander CSD, Building Trades;
  • Ignatius J. Radesi Memorial Award: Tyler Totten, Notre Dame Batavia, Building Trades;
  • Pullinzi Family Scholarship: Jonathan Bigsby, Alexander CSD, Building Trades;
  • Building Trades Alumni Award: Nicholas Bonamici, Attica CSD, Building Trades;
  • Jason H. Rowcliffe Memorial Scholarship: Melissa Volutra, Oakfield-Alabama CSD, Culinary Arts;
  • Chef Russell Bugbee Memorial Award: Jason Lowe, Alexander CSD, Culinary Arts;
  • Red Osier Scholarship: Jason Lowe, Alexander CSD, Culinary Arts;
  • Josh Mouery Memorial Award, Jason Lowe, Alexander CSD, Culinary Arts;
  • C. Thomas Olivo Award - ACTEA: Taylor Tyczka, Attica CSD, Information Technology Academy;
  • Batavia Rotary Club Memorial Fund Scholarship: Tyler Kirst, Pembroke CSD, Health Dimensions;
  • Kiwanis Citizenship Scholarship: Emily Boldt, Pavilion CSD, Justice Academy;
  • Adams’ Welding & Fabrication Scholarship: Ayden Odachowski, Batavia CS, Metal Trades;
  • Dr. Charles Holowach Memorial Scholarship: Taylor Schofield, Pavilion CSD, Health Careers Academy; Madison Dedman, Batavia CSD, Health Careers Academy; Taylor Tyczka, Attica CSD, Information Technology Academy.

Above, Taylor Tyczka (right) an Information Technology Academy student from Attica CSD, accepts the $2,000 Charles Holowach Scholarship from Julie Donlon, assistant superintendent for the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership.  

About the Batavia Career and Technical Education Center

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

July 2, 2019 - 1:09pm
posted by Lauren Leone in batavia, batavia city school district, education, news.

Scott Bischoping, interim superintendent of Batavia City School District, was welcomed by trustees at the Board of Education Reorganizational Meeting this morning.

Bischoping previously served as deputy superintendent at Wayne-Finger Lakes BOCES. Bischoping will step into the interim role as former Superintendent of Schools Christopher Dailey becomes the superintendent of Gates Chili Central School District.

In the interim, consultants and Board of Education members will conduct a six-month search for the best candidate for the permanent superintendent appointment.

In other action, the board:

  • Reappointed Pat Burk as board president for the 2019-20 academic year;
  • Swore in Pete Cecere for his three-year board term and reappointed Cecere as vice president;
  • Received their board committee and building assignments for the 2019-20 school year.

The next BCSD Board of Education meeting is at 6:30 p.m. July 16 in the BOE Conference Room.

June 24, 2019 - 10:25am


More than 170 fourth-grade students from John Kennedy Intermediate School celebrated Moving Up Day as they will enter in the Middle School this coming school year in September.

Principal Amanda Cook presented along with teachers for various academics, merit, arts, physical education and school based awards to students. Many parents, educators, family and friends celebrated today's ceremony.







June 21, 2019 - 7:42pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Jackson School, batavia, schools, education, video.
Video Sponsor

Jackson School in Batavia hosted two promotion ceremonies today. This video is from the 9 a.m. session.

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.

June 20, 2019 - 6:57pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in John Kennedy School, schools, education, news.

Press release:

     Amanda Cook

This week, John Kennedy Intermediate School was named a 2018-2019 Recognition School by the New York State Education Department (NYSED) for high marks in achievement and in progress.

The school will receive a Certificate of Recognition from Commissioner MaryEllen Elia.

“It’s gratifying – but not surprising – that John Kennedy earned this distinction,” says Batavia City School Dictrict Superintendent Christopher J. Dailey.

“Backed by a dedicated Board of Education, our administrators, teachers, and staff work tirelessly with students and their families to help children reach their potential.”

As NYSED aims for a more holistic approach to school and student achievement under New York’s Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Plan, 2018-19 Recognition Schools exemplify success in this mission with high academic achievement, student growth and graduation rate, and demonstrated progress during the 2017-18 school year.

The criteria used to determine the Recognition School status includes: student growth; met or exceeded either the school or state measures of interim progress for English language arts and mathematics; reduced rate of chronic absenteeism; and college-, career-, and civic-readiness; and met the federally required 95-percent participation rate in the English language arts and mathematics assessments.

Batavia’s Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction Molly Corey, noting that John Kennedy is one of only 562 in the state and one of only 328 at the elementary level to be regarded as a Recognition School, said “I commend the teachers at John Kennedy and their principal, Dr. Amanda Cook, for this accomplishment. Their hard work and dedication to all students is evident.”

Expanding on that, Cook added, “Our entire team is committed to engaging students and their families in activities that build excitement for learning in ways that help children want to come to school to be a part of making memories together. We focus on creating a school learning community.”

June 20, 2019 - 4:53pm
posted by Billie Owens in notre dame high school, batavia, news, education.

Press release:

Notre Dame High School is pleased to announce that they have several new hires that will be joining the Fightin’ Irish family over the summer. These individuals have been added in the following departments:

Art Department: Kristin Smith

Kristin Smith has a passion for motivating students to explore their creative talent, while guiding them with lessons that allow them to express their thoughts and ideas in a safe, instructive environment. She has a bachelor’s degree in Art Education from Buffalo State College and comes to Notre Dame after teaching in several local school districts, including Oakfield, Elba, Akron and Alden. She has served as a long-term substitute for Art this year and we are so excited to have her here permanently -- Welcome Kristin!

English Department: Sarah Wessel

Sarah Wessel brings vast experience in many aspects of education and communication to the English Department of Notre Dame High School. She holds a master’s degree in Curriculum and English Language Arts from the University of Phoenix and has worked as an adjunct professor for Onondaga Community College and Monroe Community College. We are so excited for her addition to our English Department -- Welcome Sarah!

Advancement: Kathy Antinore

Kathy Antinore brings a unique passion to her work at Notre Dame, as her sons are graduates of the school. She will be stepping into the role of event coordinator and comes to Notre Dame with extensive experience in marketing, customer service, and management. She previously served as the Advancement Coordinator at Notre Dame and we are excited to have her back – Welcome Kathy!

Advancement: Kate Edwards

Kate Edwards has a true passion for the students and alumni of Notre Dame. She counts her son and daughter as graduates of the school, holds a master’s degree in Reading/Language Arts and has worked extensively with Notre Dame as a substitute teacher and DECA advisor. She will be stepping into the role of part-time director of advancement and we are so excited to have her in this unique role – Welcome Kate!

June 19, 2019 - 12:49pm
posted by Lauren Leone in batavia, batavia city school district, news, education.

As the school year comes to a close for Batavia students, administrators await new beginnings. Batavia City School District named Scott Bischoping its interim superintendent as Superintendent Christopher Dailey transitions to Greece Chili next month.

Dailey was appointed as the superintendent of Gates Chili Central School District in April. BSCD announced that from July 1, 2019, to Jan. 1, 2020, Bischoping, the deputy superintendent of Wayne-Finger Lakes BOCES, will step into Dailey’s role.

Bischoping began his career in education more than three decades ago as a teacher at Livonia Central School District. He most recently served in an advisory role to the superintendent of BOCES in Newark. The Board of Education expressed its confidence in the leadership and experience Bischoping will bring to this position.

In the interim, Board of Education members and consultants will conduct a six-month search to determine the best candidate for the permanent appointment.

Dailey was awarded the BCSD Foundation Apple Award at the board meeting Tuesday in recognition of his support for students and families since he began as superintendent in 2013. Parents thanked Dailey for his involvement in the lives of their students and wished him luck at his new school district.

During his last board meeting at Batavia, Dailey spoke about his gratitude to the Board of Education, the community and faculty and staff for the opportunity to make BCSD a top place to work.

“We’ve accomplished so much together,” Dailey said. “When our 2020 Vision Capital project is finished in the fall, we’ll have state-of-the-art facilities that our community can be proud of. We’ll carry on our vision of continuing to lead, not follow, in our region.

“On a personal note, I have thoroughly enjoyed my 11 years at Batavia, starting as a high school principal, then deputy superintendent and eventually superintendent for the last six and a half years. I’d like to think that I have exemplified our ideal of ‘Take Care of BCSD.’ ”

Dailey congratulates Bischoping and trusts that the search committee will find a new superintendent who will continue the work being done in the district.

Board President Patrick Burke, who described Dailey as a “cheerleader” for staff, responded, “You have never, ever disappointed me in any way, shape or form … You’ve done an exemplary job for our students, all students, no matter what.

“You’ll be going to a bigger school district with other challenges and other students … You’ll have to make sure [staff members] take care of Gates Chili Central School District as well as you’ve taken care of the Batavia City School District. You’ll be really missed here.”

June 18, 2019 - 9:01am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCC, Conversations at GCC, education.
Video Sponsor

Timothy P. Tomczak was named dean of Human Communications and Behavior last month, a role he assumes July 1. 

Tomczak is a three-time SUNY Chancellor Award honoree. Last year, Tomczak received the SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Faculty Service; in 2007 while working as GCC's associate professor of Psychology, Tomczak received the SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities; and in 1994 he was first recognized with the Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching.

He was also recognized by the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development Teaching Excellence Award in 1991, and is the author or co-author of more than 20 professional articles and presentations. He is an associate member of the American Psychology Association and the Council of Undergraduate Teachers of Psychology.

Earlier this month, The Batavian interviewed Tomczak about his role at GCC as well as topics in his and his department's field of study, including human behavior, heuristics and cognitive biases, psychology, social media, his favorite podcasts, and more.

June 16, 2019 - 2:00pm

From Young Audiences of WNY:

Arts Partners for Learning (APL) is pleased to announce that Western New York schools are eligible to apply for APL creative learning programs, which will occur between September and June 2020.

Programs include performances, workshops, residencies, and field trips with cultural organizations that make use of the arts as a text to achieve Common Core State Standard benchmarks at any grade level.

Eligible schools must be located in one of the eight counties of Western New York, including Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Niagara, Orleans, and Wyoming.

Up to 90 percent of residency program costs will be covered for selected schools thanks to funding from Fund for the Arts.

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis with priority given to early applicants.

Applications can be found here.

To learn more about APL, click here.

June 14, 2019 - 5:14pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Adams Welding, oakfield-alabama, news, schools, education, notify.


For Tim Adams, owner of Adams Welding and Manufacturing in Stafford, donating steel for a class project at Oakfield-Alabama High School is a chance to help students discover a possible career.

For the students, it's a chance to explore a trade and learn new skills.

For the Genesee County Fair, they'll receive new gate racks.

You might call it a win-win-win.

"Any chance kids have for an opportunity to learn a skill or an opportunity to if something is something they want to do in a future career, whether it be welding, electrical, plumbing, or carpentry, any kind of skilled trade, I don't see that as a bad thing," Adams said. "Perhaps they will fall in love with it and like it."

While not necessarily calling it a career just yet, Cierra Tiede said she went from being fearful of welding to really enjoying it.

"It was pretty cool," Tiede said. "I've done another welding projects before, but this was a bigger scale and it was cool to see it all come together in the end."

Instructor Todd Hofheins said it was a great project for the students to learn how to work together as a team, to divide up their labor, coordinate, and ensure all of the five racks are uniform in size and quality.

"The racks need to hold close to 2,000 pounds so they've got to be done properly," Hofheins said.

Without the donation of steel from Adams, the project wouldn't have been possible, Hofheins said.



June 12, 2019 - 6:25pm
posted by Lauren Leone in Le Roy, news, notify, education, special education.

When Le Roy Board of Education members were warned that special education students were not making adequate progress, Denise Duthe asked, “When you look at where we are putting our money and where we are focusing our time, what are we doing? What do we need to do?”

Consultant Bonnie Whitney, Ph.D., responded, “Before you start more programs, I think we need teachers to be able to teach kids to think … There needs to be more intervention with just helping the students understand themselves.”

The special education program consultant update was a main focus at the Tuesday board meeting.

Whitney said that she and Le Roy special education faculty members have developed learning models for teachers of underperforming students with special needs.

“One of the observations that was very clear is our students were being helped to complete tasks. That’s not learning,” she said. “If the students cannot walk away and say, ‘I know how I did this,’ they haven’t learned.”

In addition to concerns about the lack of student progress in special education classrooms, Whitney spoke about compliance issues with New York State Department of Education requirements.

Due to poor data maintenance in past years, the district was only able to recover full state funding for special education programs from 2016 to 2019. Whitney said that Chelsea Eaton, the new director of special education and student services, will ensure future data collection is done correctly.

Whitney said, “It’s a mistake that we couldn’t recover completely, but we can move forward. Those are not easy processes to do.”

Whitney recommended new lesson plan templates for special education teachers to remedy student performance issues. The templates explain how instructors can better understand developmental disabilities, identify factors that disrupt learning, and set goals for students with special needs.

Whitney said special education teachers have been very responsive to improvements in compliance and program effectiveness.

“We really looked at whether the teachers are instructing the students to gain information to help them either cope with their disability, overcome their disability, but certainly not succumb to their disability,” Whitney said.

In other action, the Board:

— Recognized the varsity baseball and track and field teams for their athletic and sportsmanship achievements during the spring sports season.

— Discussed the breakfast and snack packages that will be provided for elementary Summer Academy students. A new feature of this summer learning program is that students are allowed more flexibility in attendance as they participate in the academy.

— Developed a new District-wide School Safety Plan, which is open for public comment until June 23.

June 11, 2019 - 4:29pm
posted by Lauren Leone in batavia, GCC, news, education, Excelsior Scholarship, notify.

Genesee Community College President James Sunser made clear the college’s frustration with the New York State Excelsior Scholarship.

Last Wednesday, the Ways & Means Committee was surprised when Sunser told them, “The Excelsior Scholarship did not help us … It’s a very stringent program. If students don’t make the grade, they lose it forever.”

Sunser spoke about the strings attached to the award. Excelsior recipients must meet minimum grade requirements and plan to reside and work in-state for the length of time they received the scholarship. Otherwise, their awards revert to costly loans.

“The way that the Excelsior program works is that when you hit the income threshold, you get that tuition paid,” Sunser explained.

In other words, students with families earning gross incomes of $125,000 or less can receive full tuition to SUNY two- or four-year colleges.

According to Sunser, “When you tell a family that’s making $125,000 that you can go to any of these institutions that’ll accept you, then that becomes a problem” because students tend to choose four-year schools rather than local community colleges.

The declining population and smaller graduating high school classes in Upstate New York have also reduced GCC enrollment, therefore revenue. Between Fall 2017 and Fall 2018 alone, the undergraduate enrollment at GCC dropped from 5,900 to 5,530 students.

These numbers beg the question of whether the Excelsior Scholarship actually brings in more students to enjoy county and college investments. GCC leaders say the answer is no.

The lower enrollment factored into the 2019–20 GCC annual budget, which will increase slightly, .01 percent ($4,000) to approximately $40.2 million.

This year, the college is seeking additional local support, which has remained flat since 2015-16:

  • A $50,000 increase in annual county support to GCC;

  • A one-time $100,000 allocation for the college's Criminal Justice and Veterinary Tech surgical labs.

The Ways & Means Committee voted in favor of setting up and conducting the required public hearing on the college's budget request, at a date to be announced later.

At its next meeting at 4:30 p.m. on June 19, the two-part funding request will be discussed by the Ways & Means Committee.

Sunser said GCC will raise its full-time tuition by $100 per semester, totaling $4,350. Students should also be aware that there will be a $10 increase per credit hour for part-time student tuition, which totals $180 per credit hour.

He said he hopes the fact that GCC is one of the most affordable options among area community colleges is enough to counter the downfalls of the Excelsior Scholarship and draw students back to higher education in Genesee County.

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