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

Press release:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

September 7, 2018 - 12:37pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Middle School, batavia, schools, education, news.

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Batavia Middle School invited parents to an open house Thursday evening, after the first day of school, for a chance to meet teachers and find out about their children's classes and expectations. 

There were also activities and food trucks for the families.

Above, Tricia Grillo, with her son Dom, meet with teacher Gigi Dombrowski about his eighth-grade math class.

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Spanish teacher Julie Trzaska with eighth-grader Hailey Smith, her father Charles Richmond, and her brother Noah, who is in fifth grade.

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Long-term sub Kayleigh Meyers in the ELA class with the four books eighth-graders will read this year: "Inside Out and Back Again," "To Kill a Mockingbird," "Omnivore's Dilemma," and "Unbroken."

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September 7, 2018 - 12:04pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in school resource officers, schools, education, news, Sheriff's Office.

Press release:

This week was the first day of school not just for students returning from summer break, but for returning and new School Resource officers in Genesee County.

Students entering school doors this week at Pembroke, Alexander, Pavilion, Byron-Bergen and Genesee Valley Educational Partnership’s (BOCES) Batavia Campus were greeted with familiar faces and new faces as Genesee County School Resource officers begin the school year. 

New SROs Deputy Patrick J. Reeves (Pembroke), Deputy Eric J. Meyer (Alexander) and Deputy Cory W. Mower (Pavilion) are excited to embark on this new assignment.

They have recently completed School Resource Officer training and have shadowed existing SROs Deputy Chad P. Cummings (Genesee Valley Educational Partnership’s –BOCES, Batavia Campus) and Deputy Matthew R. Butler (Byron-Bergen) to learn  from experiences both have had over the years in this position.

Sheriff William Sheron stated that it is his goal to establish a School Resource Officer in all county schools to ensure the safety and protection of the students and faculty.

“Although the cost associated with placing a School Resource Officer in the schools is significant, I believe the safety and security of our children should be of the utmost precedence,” the sheriff said. 

September 6, 2018 - 9:43am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia HS, batavia, schools, education, news.

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Students arrived at Batavia High School for the first day of classes bright and early.

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Some students started the morning off with a tailgate party in the senior parking lot. That's water in those cups.

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Students picking up their class schedules.

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The traffic circle was jammed.

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September 6, 2018 - 9:39am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Middle School, schools, education, news.

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Students arriving at Batavia Middle School for the first day of classes. 

Photos submitted by Principal Ashley John Grillo.

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September 5, 2018 - 4:19pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Notre Dame, news, schools, education, batavia, notify.

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When students arrive at Notre Dame High School tomorrow, things are going to look at lot different, both inside and out of the building, plus there are a few upgrades not readily apparent. 

The front entrance of the school has gotten a makeover and the hallways, some classrooms, and the locker rooms have gotten new paint and new logos (new lockers for the boys' locker room as well).

There's also a new security system, new drainage on the roof, and new HVAC units to go with previously completed upgrades to the gym, the cafeteria and the kitchen (all new equipment).

The upgrades are the result of a capital campaign launched a few years ago. The school worked to raise $5 million, raised $4.2 million, and got busy sprucing things up and replacing what was worn out.

"We need the school to look just as good as what it produces," said Principal Wade Bianco. "We all -- the board, the leadership team -- we all think it’s important that the facility is at the same standard as the academics, at the same standards as the climate and culture, at the same standard as the athletic program. Every program here is top-notch but the building, because it’s some tough times financially, needed to be upgraded."

The most noticeable change, of course, is the main entry, which has a new, modernist design, befitting the 1960s-era facility, but with a blue and gold color scheme that is striking.

Two classrooms have been painted and recarpeted with all new desks and chairs. The school is looking for more sponsors for classroom upgrades, at $10,000 each, which will include a plaque honoring the donor outside the classroom.

The school will open this year with 150 students. Enrollment is down at all schools but the goal for Notre Dame is still to attract 180 students. A Buffalo marketing company has been hired to help promote the private school.

Bianco said alumni and other donors really came through for the school, particularly Emmett and Antoinette Marchese Clancy, now California residents, but from the Class of 1970.

Originally, the school had looked at replacing the roof but school officials, he said, "sharpened their pencils" and figured out what parts of the roof needed to be repaired and upgraded and replaced the roof drainage system.

“If you’re going to fix the inside, your roof better be good because you don’t want water damage,” Bianco said.

The work was completed almost exclusively by local vendors.

"It’s been fantastic working with these people because they know our circumstances financially, so, as well as doing the work that needs to be done they’re also gracious to us," Bianco said. "They’re very kind to us, which is helpful as well."

In all, Bianco thinks the school got a lot done with the finances available.

"I think we’ve done a good job of maximizing funds with very little waste," he said.

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The revamped kitchen.

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The locker room for the Lady Irish.

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There are 94 championship trophies on display in the cafeteria.

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The weight room.

September 4, 2018 - 3:53pm
posted by Billie Owens in clean energy, education, business, news.

Press release:

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced $15 million is available to fund two initiatives that will promote clean energy workforce development and training programs on SUNY campuses.

Nearly $6 million was awarded to SUNY campuses to train more workers in the clean energy sector. In addition, a request for proposals was made available to all SUNY campuses for grants totaling $9 million to provide apprenticeships, internships, and educational programs and support through industry partnerships across the state.

These initiatives are part of Climate Jobs NY, a component of Clean Climate Careers initiative.
 
"As the federal government moves further away from responsible energy policy and clean energy production, New York is committed to fighting climate change and protecting our environment," Governor Cuomo said. "We will continue to take bold action to promote clean energy across the state and support job growth in cutting-edge, renewable industries."
 
"Funding for clean energy and workforce development programs at SUNY campuses across the state will help to promote environmental protection," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, who delivered today's announcement. "Unlike the federal government, New York is advancing ambitious clean energy goals to address the important issue of climate change. These training programs will continue to support the industry and prepare individuals for jobs of the future."
 
As part of the $9 million RFP for additional grants, the SUNY university system will explore opportunities for partnerships with state and local agencies, including the Department of Labor, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, Empire State Development, and Industrial Development Agencies. These partnerships will aim to meet existing and emerging critical workforce needs of New York's clean energy industry, drive regional economic development, and provide hands-on learning to students.
 
Up to $1 million of the RFP is allocated specifically for Community College Regional Council awards to develop events and workshops that will facilitate partnerships between clean energy industry players and SUNY community colleges in the region, share best practices amongst community colleges on curricula materials and tools to accelerate the pace of clean energy workforce development, and plan regional strategies to promote a culture of environmental sustainability.
  
SUNY Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson said, "The alarms have sounded again and again on the consequences of climate change, overdependence on fossil fuels, and increased energy use and costs. SUNY is proud to provide high-quality, hands-on, and the most up-to-date clean energy education and training to our students, building a diverse, preeminent talent pipeline for today and tomorrow's clean energy industry in New York State. We are proud to be a part of the governor's long-term energy solution."
 
Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon said, "The lack of clean energy leadership at the federal level could threaten opportunities for New Yorkers, so I commend Governor Cuomo's commitment to ensuring that workforce development in green industries is a priority. The Department of Labor stands ready to support this innovative initiative that will benefit workers and businesses alike."
 
Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, "Workforce training and development programs are crucial to the economic growth and sustainability of New York State. These funds will ensure that New York is generating trained employees for a growing industry, while furthering the Governor's commitment to clean energy."
 
Richard Kauffman, Chair of Energy and Finance for New York State said, "Under Governor Cuomo's leadership, New York continues to make significant investments in projects and initiatives that reduce the state's carbon footprint, ensure strong employment growth, and support our growing clean energy economy. Investing in workforce development and training programs on SUNY campuses will help prepare our next generation of clean energy workers to meet the workforce demands of an expanding and innovative job market."
 
Alicia Barton, President and CEO, NYSERDA said, "As New York continues to lead the nation in its commitment to renewable energy and its fight against climate change, we need to work collaboratively with colleges and universities, as well as the business community, to best prepare students and workers for growing job opportunities in the clean energy sector. Today's announcement is another example of Governor Cuomo putting the well-being of all New Yorkers first by investing in strategic initiatives that support the state's ambitious clean energy goals." 
  
Frederick E. Kowal, Ph.D., president of United University Professions, said, "We applaud the governor for embracing the crucial role of education and training in developing and expanding a clean energy workforce in New York state. UUP stands with the governor and SUNY in making New York a green energy leader, in the U.S. and worldwide."
 
Campus proposals awarded today were reviewed by a committee with representation from SUNY, NYSERDA, and the Department of Labor. The awarded proposals include the following:
 
Binghamton University will establish a Clean Energy Undergraduate Research Program within its Freshman Research Immersion program. The new clean energy program will provide a summer component, including research fellowships for under-represented minority students and internships with clean energy companies.
 
Buffalo State College will develop clean energy certificate programs in partnership with the New York Power Authority. The certificates will also earn students credits toward an associate or bachelor's degree.
 
University at Buffalo will develop a Western New York Clean Energy Workforce Development program to include a certification and micro-credentialing, which may take the form of digital badges or other micro-awards—to both meet business and industry expectations and motivate and prepare well-rounded students with highly marketable skills.
 
SUNY Canton will enhance its Solar Ready Vets program on site at Fort Drum. The training provides a micro-credential program in renewable energy specifically for veterans transitioning to civilian life.
 
Erie Community College will enhance its non-credit continuing education units for architects and engineers, as well as building and code inspectors, by including electrical/photovoltaic solar updates for curricula design.
 
Farmingdale State College will develop certificate and fast track training programs within its Renewable Energy and Sustainability Center to meet emerging needs of the clean energy industry. The Renewable Energy and Sustainability Center will partner with local industry to identify short- and long-term needs.
 
SUNY Maritime will receive funding for two programs. The first, through its Off-Shore Energy Center, will develop a wind operations technician training program, as well as dynamic positioning training and certification courses for off-shore vessel operators. The second will develop a certification in partnership with the liquid natural gas industry. Coursework from the program will also be incorporated into licensing programs for licensed mariners.
 
Nassau Community College will develop new curriculum to include Energy Industry Fundamentals certificates.
 
SUNY Oswego will develop and enhance the campus's energy laboratories to support the curriculum of multiple departments. The campus will also expand research and applied learning opportunities and strengthen collaboration and student transfer between SUNY Oswego and Onondaga Community College.
 
SUNY Polytechnic Institute will partner with SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry and SUNY Oneonta to offer experiential learning opportunities for students to apply green building principles by Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certifying SUNY campus buildings. LEED Accredited Professionals will engage undergraduate students in the LEED Existing Buildings Operations and Maintenance certification process and the LEED for Building Design and Construction via experiential learning projects tied to new courses.

August 29, 2018 - 2:26pm
posted by Billie Owens in GCC, education, diversity.

Photo: Sara Vacin, of Batavia, is the GCC's first diversity and inclusion coordinator.

Submitted photo and press release:

Officials at Genesee Community College secured a SUNY Performance Improvement Fund (PIF) grant for a new project entitled "Enhancing Diversity and Inclusion." This two-year grant will support the development of programs and strategies that advance inclusive excellence at GCC by providing opportunities for adjunct internships; faculty scholarship and mentorship; college-wide professional development; and direct support to diverse student groups.

Additionally, Genesee Community College will participate in the State University of New York (SUNY) Cultural Competency Community of Practice. The Community of Practice connects GCC with other SUNY colleges working toward similar objectives. Dr. Kate Schiefen, provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs, is serving as the College's principle investigator on this project.

This past June, GCC took the first step toward implementing the Enhancing Diversity and Inclusion project by naming Sara Vacin, of Batavia, as the College's first diversity and inclusion coordinator. As such, Vacin will work with various departments within the College to accomplish the following three strategic priorities:

  • Create a training video for hiring committees to understand and combat implicit bias;
  • Establish a mentorship program for potential underrepresented adjuncts;
  • Design a visiting scholar program to allow faculty members to experience diverse campuses and shadow a faculty member in their discipline.

GCC's efforts directly related to the inclusive excellence can now be viewed on the new webpage here. In addition to promoting events, this webpage houses resources for faculty, students and staff on diversity, equity and inclusion, as well as information on how to foster cultural competency.

In correlation with GCC's recently released 2018-2023 Strategic Plan, Framing Our Future, Vacin will work to "…cultivate a community that fosters respect and appreciation for individual and group differences, as well as demonstrate our commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion throughout all endeavors." (2018-2023 Strategic Plan, Priority 3. (View the Strategic Plan here.)

Vacin earned a Certificate in Diversity and Inclusion through Cornell University this year and graduated summa cum laude with a Master of Science in Clinical and Applied Nutrition from New York Chiropractic College in 2010. She also earned certification for Secondary Education in 7-12th Grade Theatre Arts from the Graduate School of Education at Trinity University in 2005, and magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Theatre Arts from Towson University in 1999.

She has served as an adjunct professor at GCC since 2015 and at Niagara County Community College since 2009. She is currently the program developer and director for the Third Prison from the Sun Theatre Group at the Attica Correctional Facility, as well as teaches college classes there. She is excited to bring her theater skills to the development of the video and to use her extensive teaching and presenting background to educate the campus and community on the importance of diversity and inclusion.

August 13, 2018 - 1:34pm
posted by Allison Lang in finance, education, Event.
Event Date and Time: 
September 18, 2018 - 7:00pm to 8:30pm

Are you ready to change your financial future?
Our next semester of Financial Peace University will be held on Tuesday nights, starting on Sept. 18 from 7-8:30 at our North Campus.

It is located at 8160 Bank Street Road, Batavia.

For more than 25 years, Financial Peace University, created by Dave Ramsey, has helped millions of people take control of their money. Through this nine-week course, Ramsey’s proven money class will show you step-by-step how to create a budget, pay off your debt, make wise spending decisions, and save for the future.

August 3, 2018 - 2:53pm

Jenny Staebell had her first child when she was 19, and put herself through college, earning a master’s degree and becoming a teacher.

Staebell is now the director and community health educator for Project Stork Inc., a nonprofit organization she started, providing services for Genesee and Orleans counties. She is a certified NYS Health Educator for prekindergarten through grade 12.

The program empowers young people to make healthy decisions about education, relationships, sex, parenting and their lives. In addition to helping teen parents, the program has services and workshops for younger children, starting in kindergarten, and parents of teens.

“I decided one day I wanted to do something greater than what I was doing,” Staebell said. “I wanted to impact lives. I took some time off, and Project Stork evolved to what it is today.”

According to the Family and Youth Services Bureau, there are approximately 750,000 teen pregnancies and 400,000 teen births in the United States every year. According to Staebell, in Genesee County, there is a rate of 15.1 teen pregnancies, ages 15 to 19 per 1,000 females. In 2015, there were 28 pregnancies, of which 20 live births occurred and 8 induced abortions.

Staebell started taking participants for the programs, and has nine moms in the programs, between the ages of 16 and 20. Some are pregnant, some are parenting and first-time moms.

“I meet with them once a month, but every day I am in contact with them through texting, or I check on them through Facebook to see if they need anything,” Staebell said. “I go out and drop off a bunch of stuff to get them ready and prepared. I keep in close contact to make sure everything is OK and that they know they have the support also.”

There are multiple programs throughout Project Stork that offer many goals, whether it be finishing high school or finding a career in the work field. Project Stork helps put the parent in contact with resources throughout the county to complete those goals.

There is also positive parenting workshop for young moms or dads. They use a program called “Nurturing Parents,” which is an evidence-based program developed specifically for teen parents.

Through each program, if the participants meet the goals, at the end of the month, Project Stork purchases something the parent may need.

“We’ve purchased crib, car seat, stroller, other baby gear items, or items for their household,” Staebell said. “Also, a microwave, interview clothes, and things of that nature.”

Teens enrolled in the programs also receive a monthly supply of diapers and wipes.

Project Stork offers resources, such as healthy workshops, which have been offered in schools throughout the area for all different age groups. Staebell is hoping the programs will be offered county-wide in the future.

All programs and services are free.

Students in kindergarten through fifth grade learn can about nutrition, growth, mental health, being a good friend, or being in dangerous situations.

Middle school students learn about nutrition and lessons that fit the health curriculum. High school students have lessons that fit the health class curriculum, as well as dating violence, contraception, and various topics in sexual health.

These programs started being offered in Oakfield-Alabama and Le Roy during the end of last year.

Sara Horgan, a teacher in Le Roy, said Staebell is a great resource for her in the classroom, as well as the community.

“I definitely have not taken full advantage of all Project Stork has to offer yet,” Horgan said.

Horgan was looking for updated research-based curriculum to use in her classroom, and Project Stork has been a valuable resource for her.

“I have also referred students and their families to the Project Stork community-based resources,” Horgan said. “In conjunction with our school social worker, we are also currently piloting a girls' wellness group with Project Stork. [It is] very much in the beginning stages, but we are hopeful that group can grow and help more girls make healthy decisions now and in the future.”

Staebell said they are currently looking to get a location in Genesee County for a Project Stork office.

“We want a place to have some office hours for young parents to come in, enroll in classes and get supplies,” Staebell said.

Project Stork is made possible through donations, sponsors, and fundraisers, but Staebell is hoping to eventually get grants to run more programs.

“We’re hoping each month to do a bigger event and a bigger fundraiser,” Staebell said.

Donations can also be made to Project Stork directly through their website, located here

The organization's email address is:  [email protected]

August 2, 2018 - 4:20pm

Press release:

Twenty-two students entering eighth, ninth and 10th grades are leaving their mark this week at Camp Hard Hat at the Genesee County Park & Forest.

The Camp Hard Hat Class of 2018 is working as a team, and building raised wooden walkways for the General Conservation Trail at Genesee County Park & Forest. In addition to completing this project for the community, campers use math, process-thinking skills, and battery-powered tools to improve their community while learning about careers in Building Trades.

Parents, friends and family of the campers are invited to the dedication of the wooden walkway, which will take place at 2 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 3rd.

Camp Hard Hat is presented in partnership with Genesee County Parks, Recreation & Forestry, the Business Education Alliance of Genesee County, the Business Education Council of Wyoming County, and GVEP Batavia Building Trades.

Instructors Rich Monroe and Jared Radesi teach campers the principles of design and construction, project safety, and the power of teamwork. All materials, equipment and lunch are provided each day, along with an optional overnight experience at Genesee County Park & Forest and a camp T-shirt.

Thank you to our sponsors for making this camp possible! The generosity of sponsors helps cover the cost of materials, instructors, transportation and provides the opportunity for camp scholarships.

For more information contact Karyn Winters at [email protected] or call 585-343-7440, ext. 1025.

July 31, 2018 - 4:18pm
posted by Billie Owens in GCC, news, batavia, education, 2016-2017 annual report.

Press release:

Genesee Community College has published its 2016-2017 Annual Report -- available for the first-time ever completely online!

In addition, the College adopted an agricultural theme for the report highlighting the surrounding community.

GCC's 2016-2017 Annual Report was published on a special website, http://annualreport.genesee.edu/ to support the College's sustainable business practices as well as to maximize accessibility to the information contained within the report. From the welcoming message on the report's homepage to the photos recounting the past year's dynamic stories, GCC demonstrates its commitment to the theme "Plant. Water. Harvest. Repeat."

"At its core, GCC plants seeds of knowledge, waters and cultivates the learning experience, recognizes and celebrates the harvest of contributions, and continuously refines and repeats the process to ensure our future," President James M. Sunser, Ed.D., said in the report's opening message. "We hope we have captured how our efforts echo the hard-work, innovation and dedication of the farming families and agribusinesses that have long made our community a strong and vibrant place to work, live and grow."

A multitude of stories with accompanying photographs are celebrated in the report representing innovative programs that "Plant" seeds for student success. Events such as the Annual Tech Wars hosted by the Accelerated College Enrollment program, lectures by Multicultural Communications Club, volunteers working with Habitat for Humanity and many other stories reflect GCC "We plant" initiatives.

The report's "Water" chapter includes images from a plethora of community events such as Veterans Day, the Harvest Festival and the popular Cougar Crawl weekend. Perhaps, and most appropriately, the "Harvest" chapter of the report is the longest, highlighting all the ways students, faculty and staff contribute to the community through GCC's Center for the Arts productions, the Scholars Symposium, the annual Fashion Show, commencement and so many meaningful efforts.

It is through the annual repetition of GCC's efforts that our communities continue to grow and succeed -- which are highlighted in the report's "Repeat" chapter. Finally, the "Supporters" tab of the report pays tribute by listing those whose donations to the College have helped ensure long-term success.

Everyone is encouraged to view the annual report at http://annualreport.genesee.edu/ and join in the celebration of the accomplishments of the past academic year.

July 23, 2018 - 6:19pm
posted by Billie Owens in Batavia High School, regents exams, education, batavia, news.
Press release:
 
To help Batavia City School District students prepare for the August Regents exams, Batavia High School (BHS) will offer summer review classes in the following subjects:
  • Algebra 1
  • Geometry
  • Global History
  • Living Environment
  • Earth Science
  • English Language Arts
  • Chemistry

The classes will be held on Aug. 13, 14, and 15, from 1-3 p.m. at BHS, 260 State St. in the City of Batavia.

Register by Aug. 10 by calling the Batavia High School Counseling Office at 343-2480, ext. 2002.

July 15, 2018 - 12:50pm

Press release:

The Batavia City School District (BCSD) applied for and was granted federal funding that will allow all students attending a District school to receive one nutritious breakfast and one nutritious lunch each day that school is in session.

This four-year funding will begin in 2018-2019, with the District being eligible to reapply for additional four-year terms as long as the federal program is funded.

Batavia qualifies for this Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) funding – a provision of The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act – because of its classification as an economically disadvantaged community due to a significant number of students already qualifying for free or reduced meals.

“This is an outstanding opportunity for the District, and we are very excited to be able to take advantage of a federal program that allows us to offer every student one healthy breakfast and lunch every school day at no cost to our families,” says Superintendent of Schools Christopher J. Dailey.

“Research is conclusive that good nutrition is a critical factor in learning. This is a program that allows us to bring some of our federal tax dollars back to our community to provide nutritious meals for all of our students.” 

The CEP funding is for the first full breakfast and first full lunch. If a student would like a second breakfast or second lunch, or would like one or more particular separate items (“a la carte” items), then those will need to be purchased. Purchases can be made with cash or through My School Bucks – the Nutrikids computerized payment system which has been used by families in the District for several years.

Because all children will receive one breakfast and one lunch at no cost, the option of charging items to a tab to be paid at a later time will no longer be available.

To qualify for other income-based funding and grants – a process which was formerly measured by information recorded on the Free and Reduced Meal Applications -- all students’ families will be asked to submit a short household form to establish the level of community need.

The District currently receives a significant amount of money in grants and other funding based on economic need. Collecting data from all households will permit us to continue to apply for and receive funding for which we are eligible.

The new form is currently being developed to ensure that the information required for applications to grant-funding agencies is gathered while not being unnecessarily burdensome or invasive to families.

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) for Batavia City School District

Question:  Who receives free meals?

Every student enrolled in the Batavia City School District will receive the first breakfast and the first lunch at no cost each school day regardless of the family’s household income.  Students are not required to participate; students may still bring their lunch if that is their preference.

Question:  Is my child able to make purchases, such as for milk (if bringing lunch from home), for other a la carte items, or for a second school meal? 

Yes, students may make purchases instead of or in addition to the first free breakfast or first free lunch. The purchase of all a la carte items will remain the same, in that families are responsible for payment. Additional meals are not covered under the program and it is each family’s responsibility to pay for those meals. Payment is due at the time of purchase. Purchases may be made with cash or through My School Bucks, the Nutrikids computerized payment system which has been used by families in the District for several years.

***Please note: there is NO charging allowed for additional meals or a la carte items. 

Prices for second meals and additional milk (or milk purchased a la carte) for 2018-2019 are:

Jackson and John Kennedy                     Middle School and High School

Second Breakfast                      $1.35                                              $1.45

Second Lunch                            $2.10                                              $2.30

A la carte Milk*                           $0.60                                              $0.60

Milk is included with the first breakfast and the first lunch or any additional paid meals. However, milk purchased separately (for students who bring their lunch) will be charged at a la carte prices, which is $0.60.  

Question:  How does the program work?

The New York State Child Nutrition (CN) Department began this program several years ago with federal funding backing the program.  School Districts must be eligible based on their specific poverty rates and have to apply to CN for approval.  Batavia City School District is eligible because it has an Identified Student Percentage of 40 percent or higher according to building level data. An Identified Student refers to any student certified to receive free meals by any means other than the submission of individual paper applications, such as SNAP and Medicaid.

Question: What impact does this program have on school taxes?

There is no impact on school taxes.  The General Fund budget (which the taxpayers vote on each year) is completely separate from the self-sustaining School Lunch Fund.    

Question: Who needs to fill out the CEP Household Income Eligibility Form?

All District families are asked to fill out the CEP Household Income Eligibility Form. The completion of this form is essential for the District. Many state and federal programs use socioeconomic data (that is, household and income information) to determine eligibility for their programs. In addition primary state funding calculations use socioeconomic data.

In order to continue to receive such funding and grants, the income information still needs to be gathered from our student population. The form is available in the school calendar, online at the Batavia City School District Nutritional Service Web page at:  https://www.bataviacsd.org/Page/5872  and will also be available at all school open house events. 

Question: If I have questions about the Household Income Form or if I received a letter this school year indicating that my children are approved for free meals, who can I contact?

Please contact the Food Service Department at 585-343-2480, ext. 1007. The office will be able to assist you with any questions or paperwork.

Question: Who do I include as members of my household and what if my monthly income is not always the same?

You must include all people living in your household, related or not (such as grandparents, other relatives or friends) who share your income and expenses. You must include yourself and all children living with you. If you live with other people who are economically independent (people that you do not support, who do not share income with you and your children and who pay a pro-rated share of expenses), do NOT include them.

List the income that you normally receive if your monthly income varies. If you have lost your job or had your hours or wages reduced, use your current income.

Question: Does this program change the quality of food that can be served?

There is no impact to the quality of food that is served.  The District must still continue to follow all food and dietary guidelines that are set by New York State Child Nutrition Program.

Question:  What constitutes a complete meal for breakfast and lunch?

The District complies with the Federal Program: Choosemyplate.gov.

For breakfast, the District offers two grains, a fruit, and a milk. Students must choose at least three of the four offered items, and one of those chosen must be the fruit. For lunch, the District offers a protein, a grain, a fruit, a vegetable and a milk.

Students must choose three of the five offered items, and one of those chosen must be the fruit or vegetable.

Question:  May a student be charged for an incomplete meal if the student refuses to select the required components for a complete meal?

The District will offer a complete meal to each student in order to qualify for the CEP fully funded reimbursable meal. However, if a student refuses to take the complete meal then the student will be charged a la carte prices for the foods selected on their tray.  

Question:  My child has a positive balance on his/her “MySchoolBucks” account. What happens to the current balance?

The balance on the My School Bucks account can be used for a la carte purchases or for any additional/second meals.

If you would like a refund of your account balance please send an email to: Susan Presher at [email protected] or a written letter to Susan Presher, Nutritionals Services Director, 260 State St., Batavia, NY 14020.

July 13, 2018 - 11:12am
posted by Howard B. Owens in oakfield-alabama, news, schools, education.

Press release:

The Oakfield-Alabama Central School District’s Board of Education held a special board meeting on Friday, July 13 to appoint Michael Crumb as the Interim Superintendent effective July 30 until Jan. 4, 2019. Crumb replaces Mark Alexander who recently announced his resignation to accept a position as Director of Transportation for Akron Central Schools.

Matt Lamb, Oakfield-Alabama Central School District’s Board president, said, “The Board is duly impressed with Michael Crumb’s background and experience. We are confident that Michael will guide our District through these next five months as we begin our formal search process for a Superintendent of Schools.”

Crumb retired in 2017 after serving the Spencerport Central School District for 19 years where he worked as an assistant principal, assistant and deputy superintendent, and superintendent.

“I am extremely honored to have been asked by the Oakfield-Alabama Board of Education to provide leadership and support during the upcoming transition,” Crumb said. “Further, I am excited about the opportunity to collaborate with the staff, parents and school community on the education provided to each of the District’s students.”

Kevin MacDonald, District superintendent of the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership, assisted with the interim search and will also act as the final search consultant. He noted that the Board will develop and implement a rigorous process that will help determine the best candidate.

July 6, 2018 - 10:21am
posted by Howard B. Owens in michael ranzenhofer, education, news.

Press release:

State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer is encouraging students to continue growing, learning and developing – even though school is out of session until September – by participating in his Summer Reading Program.

“As the school year comes to an end, students are turning their thoughts away from books to vacation," Ranzenhofer said. "This program is a great way to promote literacy and keep children’s minds active when they are not in a classroom. I encourage students to read all summer long by participating in the Summer Reading Program."

The theme of this year’s program is Libraries Rock! Students and parents can participate by visiting Senator Ranzenhofer’s website, ranzenhofer.nysenate.gov.

Evidence shows that children who stop reading over the summer often fall behind when they return to class in September. More than 2.2 million students participated in summer reading at New York libraries last year.

July 5, 2018 - 2:26pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCC, education, news, byron-bergen, bergen.

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Press release: 

As Genesee Community College's 50th graduating class crammed for finals, one student worked harder, practiced longer, collaborated more, and without realizing it she embodied the College's "Beyond Expectations" brand with quiet dignity and integrity seldom seen.

Lifelong Bergen resident, Lauren E. Stumpf was born in 1994 with cerebral palsy, and has relied on a wheelchair for mobility for most of her life. But this challenge never much slowed Lauren down, nor dampened her spirited disposition.

With hard work and dedication, she has enjoyed great success. She graduated from Byron-Bergen Schools in 2012 and months later enrolled at GCC with plans to earn a degree in Human Services.

Lauren's determination has always been a mark of her character and integrity, first by proving her doctors wrong by far exceeding their projected life expectancy of just five years. Then at GCC she excelled in her coursework and quickly made friends across campus.

Several months before graduation, Lauren decided she wanted to make the ceremony even more special by surprising her family and friends with another significant accomplishment -- walking across the Commencement stage to accept her degree.

To that end, Lauren began doing exercises to strengthen her muscles, and she contacted her friends who were enrolled in GCC's Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) program. Together, with guidance from their professors, they helped Lauren by monitoring her progress, educating her about proper posture and exertion levels to ensure she rested appropriately and did not injure herself.

As Lauren proudly walked across the stage, the crowd cheered, applauded and many people jumped to their feet with enthusiasm and support. She shook hands with keynote speaker Kristina Johnson, Ed.D., the new SUNY Chancellor, whose speech included a message about optimism and rising to her own challenge of being diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Lauren's determination inspired the GCC's admissions office to capture her story in a short video that would illustrate her resolve. It also will inspire others to meet their challenges head-on and realize the many resources available to help make their dreams a reality.

Lauren's story is proof that good news travels fast and far. After posting Lauren's story on the College's social media channels, there were more than 4,500 views in just one week. This included a message from Buffalo State College who is looking forward to having her on their campus this fall, as she begins her next challenge.

Lauren will be enrolled in Buffalo State's Special Education program, in part, as a tribute to her close friend who also enrolled in the program but sadly passed away before she graduated.

"After Buffalo State, I want to get a job as a special education teacher and possibly go back to GCC as a professor for the Developmental Disabilities class," Lauren said.

And to that GCC remarks, "Bring it on! We can't wait to see you."

Photo by Howard Owens.

June 29, 2018 - 12:16pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Notre Dame, schools, education, news, batavia.

After receiving word in April that the Buffalo Diocese was cutting financial aid for Notre Dame High School, Principal Wade Bianco, his staff, and the board of trustees got busy figuring out a way to reduce spending by $125,000 in a way that wouldn't hurt students or the families that depend on paychecks from the school.

"It’s an opportunity to stand alone and then get it done," Bianco said in an interview with WBTA.

There will be no layoffs, no classes cut, and no sports or other extracurricular activities cut, Bianco said.

He rattled off a series of small cuts that get the school pretty close to meeting its budget for 2018-19.

  • With the retirement of the guidance counselor, that position will be merged with another administrative job, which will not only save money but mean a guidance counselor is on campus five days a week rather than just three.
  • One employee is voluntarily shifting off of group health care coverage to Medicare.
  • One business class, with only two students, is being shifted to online learning through Genesee Community College.
  • The hockey booster club will help pay for ice time.
  • The receptionist hours are being cut by 2.5 hours per week.

"It all adds up," Bianco said. "We’re just about to the number we need and we have increased participation in our annual fund from alumni because we have new strategies to do that. If we add students, compete, continue to be very responsive in how we navigate the operational side to the budget we should continue to meet cash flow for a long time."

He said he strategized with Mike Rapone and Tom Rapone on a plan that would "least affect kids, least affects families that work here, and least affects the excellent reputation of the school."

The reduction from the Diocese is a part of those made at Catholic schools and other Catholic institutions because of decreased revenue.

There may be other opportunities for savings, Bianco said. For example, the school is exploring a merger of the swimming program with another school.

"The public schools are doing that all the time," Bianco said. "So we're getting creative without losing opportunities for kids because we're a small school with big school opportunities. We offer 17 sports teams, a  great music and arts program, a fantastic theater program. We're doing that for $1.4 million. That's just $9,000 per student. It costs the public almost $21,000 per student (in public schools)."

June 28, 2018 - 3:11pm

Press release and submitted photo:

The Genesee County Interagency Council awarded two scholarships at their annual picnic on June 20 at DeWitt Recreation Area.

The goal of the scholarship is to support students who have a strong drive to contribute to the field of Human Services. The Council was seeking applications from high school students as well as college students who were pursing their education in a Human Services major.

The Genesee County Interagency Council awarded $1,000 to Parise Ricks. Ricks is a Batavia High School graduate and will be attending Ithaca College in the fall to study Psychology. Her long term goal is to earn a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology.

The Genesee County Interagency Council awarded $1,000 to Eva Graham. Graham is a wife, a mother of three, and will graduate with a degree in Human Services from Genesee Community College in December with a focus in Gerontology. She plans to continue her education at SUNY Brockport to study Social Work next spring.

Applicants had to be in a good academic standing, majoring in Human Services, Social Work, Sociology, or Psychology. Applicants needed two letters of recommendation from a guidance counselor, teacher, or other professional person. They also had to describe why they were deserving of this scholarship.

The mission of the Genesee County Interagency Council is to create fellowship and understanding among community human services agencies. The council helps to identify community issues and encourages development of resolutions. The Council is happy to have been able to award such deserving candidates and wishes them nothing but success for their future!

(Photo: GC Interagency Council scholarship recipients Eva Graham, left, and Parise Ricks.)
June 26, 2018 - 11:27am
posted by Howard B. Owens in byron-bergen, byron, bergen, sports, schools, education.

img_5025cr.jpg

Press release:

Alumni of Byron-Bergen schools might remember seeing high school runners carrying the Jr. Olympic torch through the streets of the two communities back in the 1970s. The custom began in 1976 to signal the start of the Elementary School’s Jr. Olympics Day celebration, but fell out of practice over the years. The tradition was back again on the evening of June 12, as a relay team of varsity runners from Byron-Bergen Jr./Sr. High School, escorted by town fire engines, traveled a route around the towns of Byron and Bergen.

This was the third year for the new town run, which was organized by Varsity Track Coach Ken Rogoyski and elementary school teacher Alyson Tardy. This year’s runners, Jerome Spinks, Dayanra Caballero, Siomara Caballero, Anna Hersom, Hope Hersom Miriam Tardy, Josh Tardy, Paul McDermott and Travis Lambert, were cheered on by neighbors as each took a turn carrying the torch.

The next day, the traveling torch made another appearance at the opening of Jr. Olympics Day at the elementary school. Students there had been busy studying the cultures of many different countries. Each class represented their chosen country in a parade, and then in a day full of track and field competitions.

“The Jr. Olympics Torch Run is a fun way to connect with our community and a good way to get the younger kids excited about participating in the next day’s ceremonies,” Tardy said. “We’d really like to thank the folks at the fire departments for their support. We hope that even more people will take a moment to come out, have fun, and enjoy the show again next year.”

Top photo: Runner Anna Hersom carries the Jr. Olympic torch in Bergen as neighbors look on.

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Team Ireland celebrates at the Byron-Bergen Elementary School Jr. Olympics on June 13.

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Proud Bees after the 2018 Jr. Olympic Torch Run, (l-r) Jerome Spinks, Dayanra Caballero, Siomara Caballero, Anna Hersom, Hope Hersom Miriam Tardy, Josh Tardy, Paul McDermott and Travis Lambert with driver from the Bergen Fire Department.

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Contact: Howard Owens, publisher (howard (at) the batavian dot com); (585) 250-4118

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