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May 14, 2021 - 4:16pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in schools, education, news, notify.

Voters from throughout Genesee County are asked to go to the polls on Tuesday and vote on school district budgets and school board candidates.

Here is a summary of what is on the ballot and links for additional information for each district.


  • Budget: $19,175,475 for 2021-22, an increase of $635,217 from this school year.
  • The program budget is $14,015,382 and the administration budget is $2,757,315.
  • Tax levy: $5,088,006 (no change from 2020-21).
  • Propositions on the ballot also include bus purchases at a cost of $318,085; the purchase of computers for $96,870 using the existing 2018 equipment reserve fund; establishing a capital reserve fund; and, establishing a school bus reserve fund. 
  • There are two candidates for the school board, Josselyn Borowiec and Lindsay Bessey.
  • There is more information about the budget and the election in the district's budget newsletter. Click here for the PDF.


  • Budget: $52,096,661, an increase of $625,935 over the current year.
  • Tax levy: $19,493,958 (no change).
  • The program budget is $39,021798 and the administration budget is $5,186,493. (Figures corrected from original post.)
  • Ballot propositions include additional state aid for an energy performance contract and renewal of the provision that allows the student ex-officio board member to attend board meetings in a non-voting role.
  • There are three board seats up for election and four candidates. They are: John Reigle, Brenda Good, Jennifer Lendvay, and Shawna Murphy.
  • There is more information in the district's budget newsletter. Click here.


  • Budget: $24,991,065, an increase of $391,265 from this school year.
  • The program budget is $17,260,368 and the administrative budget is $2,318,402.
  • Tax levy: $9,024,961 (no change from 2020-21).
  • There is a school bus proposition on the ballot.
  • More information the district's budget is on the district website.


  • Budget: $10,942,533, an increase of $673,211 over the current year.
  • The program budget is $7,926,431 and the administration budget is $1,253,898.
  • Tax levy: $3,204,487, up $61,292 from the current levy. The estimated tax rate per thousand is $19.8104. The current rate per thousand is $20.4016.
  • Propositions include establishing a general capital reserve fund and expend up to $112,000 from the existing bus and vehicle replacement fund for a bus and a van.
  • Michael Hare is the lone candidate on the ballot. 
  • There is more information in the district's budget newsletter. Click here.

 Le Roy

  • Budget: $26,869,288, an increase of $534,800 over the current year.
  • The program budget is $13,602,008 and the administration budget is 4,072,951. 
  • Tax levy: $10,597,025, an of $130,924 over the current year. The estimated is $23.11.
  • Propositions include one on school bus purchases and the Woodward Library budget.
  • There are three trustee seats up for election and four candidates, Darcy Porter, Christine Dowell, William MacKenzie, and Lucas Weaver. 
  • There is more information in the district's budget newsletter. Click here.


  • Budget: $21,356,442, an increase of $232,696 in the current year.
  • The program budget is : $14,824,207 and the administration budget is $2,361,695 (down $53,868 from the current year).
  • Tax levy: $5,416,941, an increase of $103,105.
  • Propositions on the ballot include establishing a new capital reserve fund.
  • There are two seats on the board of trustees up for election and four candidates, Timothy Edgerton, Jeffrey Hyde, Lorna Klotzbach, and Maria Thompson. 
  • There is more information in the district's budget newsletter. Click here.


  • Budget: $17,576,661, a decrease in spending from the current year of $107,521.
  • The program budget is $13,327,296 and the administration budget is $2,302,963.
  • Tax levy: $5,642,520, a decrease of $27,361.
  • Propositions include creating a school district public library and electing a library board of trustees.
  • There is one open seat and one candidate for that seat, Jeff Finch.
  • There is more information in the district's budget newsletter. Click here.


  • Budget: $24,599,082, an increase of $919,560 over the current year.
  • The program budget is $17,451,901. The administration budget is $2,519,239.
  • Tax levy: $8,481,399, an increase of $165,046 over the current year. The projected tax rate is $19.40.
  • Propositions on the ballot include authorization to purchase school buses and a capital project.
  • There is more information in the district's budget newsletter. Click here.
May 14, 2021 - 1:24pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Jackson School, batavia, City Schools, news, education, schools.
Video Sponsor

For the first time today, students at Jackson School got to play on their new playground, after a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

May 12, 2021 - 12:41pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia HS, batavia, schools, education, news.

There will likely be a traditional graduation ceremony for the seniors of Batavia High School but it will comply with the state's COVID-19 guidelines, according to Superintendent Anibal Soler.

The plans for the ceremony are in development in cooperation with students and families, Soler said.

The June 26 ceremony will be held at Van Detta Stadium and each graduate will be allowed four guests. Because of state guidelines for events attended by more than 200 people, attendees will be required to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test.

Students and families that opt out of the requirements will be able to participate in what Soler called a "micro-ceremony."  

"Every student will get their moment of getting their diploma," Soler told the school board on Monday evening.

Plans are also being finalized for a senior prom with attendance limited to less than 200 people and held outdoors. Under state guidelines, that event won't require proof of vaccination or a negative test.

May 12, 2021 - 12:31pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Middle School, City Schools, batavia, news, schools, education.

bsdcounofyear2021a_0.jpgNicole Mayers, a Batavia Middle School counselor, has been selected by the NYS School Counselor Association as the state's Counselor of the Year.

Mayers has been a school counselor for 16 years and worked at BMS for eight years.  

Currently, her focus is on school attendance, academic achievement, and providing social-emotional skills to students.

She was instrumental, according to information released by the school district, in implementing a daily social-emotional learning program for middle school students. Students are given daily SEL prompts that officials say have been beneficial during the coronavirus pandemic.

She is a certified trauma illness and grief responder.

May 11, 2021 - 4:33pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Rose Mary Christian, news, schools, education, batavia, City Schools, notify.


Sixth Ward Councilwoman Rose Mary Christian spoke up Monday at the city schools board of trustees meeting on behalf, she said, of her constituents, decrying the high cost of education in an age of tighter household budgets.

"I really don't have any solution," Christian said near the end of her remarks. "I'm asking you to seriously think about the people who live in this community and are having a hard time right now."

She noted that assessments have gone up throughout the city and that is putting more of a squeeze on some households.

She asked if the board considered reducing salaries for teachers and other staff members.

"Everything is escalating and it's hurting everyone, even you," she said.

She also asked that Sacred Heart once again be used as a polling station in school district elections.

On May 8, voters will chose among four candidates for three positions on the school board and whether to approve a $661 spending plan for the district for 2021-22, an increase of $625,935 from the current year.

The proposed tax levy (the aggregated of all property taxes collected in the school tax) is $19,493,958, exactly as it is in the current year.  

State and federal aid covers most of the rest of the district's spending.

Photo: Still from video of Monday's meeting.

May 6, 2021 - 12:02pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Notre Dame, schools, education, batavia, news.


As part of its ongoing 70th Anniversary Celebration, Notre Dame High School today commemorated the laying of the school's cornerstone with a reenactment by Principal Wade Bianco.

The school opened in 1951 as one of 18 high schools in the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo. Today, Notre Dame is one of eight remaining Catholic high schools in the region.


Photo: Deacon Walt Szczesny, Kate Edwards (Director of Advancement), senior Ben Skalney ‘21, Mike Rapone (Vice Principal and AD), Joe Teresi (Board President), Kristen Gomez (Director of Academic Advisement), Wade Bianco (Principal), Tom Rapone (Business Manager), John Dwyer, Jennifer Tomm Petosa ‘82, Jim Fix ‘69 


Maria Prattico lays a wreath on the head of Mary during morning Mass at Notre Dame in an annual tradition, the crowning of Mary, at the school. Deacon Walter Szczesny looks on.

May 3, 2021 - 2:31pm

Press release:

It is no secret that the heroes of this past year are those in the healthcare industry, on the front lines, holding our loved ones hands and working hard to take care of those who were and still are, sick.

However, what most don't know, is that there are ways to launch careers in the healthcare industry that don't take years to complete, and perhaps just as importantly, don't rack up the student loan debit that a traditional four-year degree program could.

Last month, the BEST (Business Employee Skills Training) Center at Genesee Community College officially opened registration for its newest program, the Certified Nursing Assistant training program to fast-track eligible individuals into the rewarding and high-stakes healthcare industry.

With minimal eligibility requirements which are listed online at www.bestcenter.org, this 132-hour New York State of Education Certification program teaches basic nursing and personal care skills, Mental Health and Social Service Needs, the Care of Cognitively Impaired Residents, the Basic Restorative Services and Residence Rights and more!

Program students also spend time gaining priceless real-life, hands-on experience during clinical rotations at in-patient, local facilities in both Le Roy and Medina.

Interested individuals are encouraged to contact Dr. John McGowan, director of the BEST Center today at [email protected] or by calling (585) 345-6868 as this program starts on July 6.

Week 1 Classes will be held from 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 6, Wednesday, July 7 and Friday, July 8. Weeks 2 thru 5 classes will be held on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays beginning July 12 and continuing through Aug. 13.

Some students may be eligible to receive funding for this program through the Genesee County Job Development Bureau. To find out more, contact Teresa VonSon at (585) 344-2024, ext.4223, or at [email protected]

April 30, 2021 - 4:03pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in coronavirus, covid-19, news, notify, Pavilion, schools, education.

Wearing masks all day while at school is a drag for kids, and some parents in Pavilion brought their concerns to this week's meeting of the Pavilion Central School District Board of Trustees.

Amanda Holley started an online petition that, at the time of the meeting, had been signed by 183 people (it's now at 200) stating that with Pavilion maintaining a six-feet social distancing rule, all-day masking shouldn't be necessary.

The all-day masking rule is in compliance with recently implemented guidance from the NYS Department of Health. The guidance doesn't draw a distinction from schools maintaining six-feet social distancing and three-feet social distancing.

Superintendent Mary Kate Hoffman said area superintendents all share the same concern, they've discussed it in meetings and have raised the issue with the local health department, but the word back from local health officials is that the state is showing little interest in addressing the issue.

 Hoffman suggested that parents concerned about the issue might do better to contact state leaders.

"I would love to see 183 letters go out to our local senators, our representatives, to share those points of view because you're not alone," Hoffman said. "All of the districts in New York State are feeling the same."

The first speaker, of two, at Tuesday's meeting (whose name wasn't clear on the recording), said on that day her eighth-grader had been required to wear a mask for 10-straight hours, including his time on a bus, except for a lunch break.

"That seems like a long time," she said. "These kids are getting no break."

Holley said she was representing parents who shared a similar concern and questioned why the all-day mask mandate was necessary. She noted that Pavilion has been doing a great job of protecting the kids during the coronavirus pandemic.

"I can't speak for everyone's kids but my kids have been the healthiest -- they haven't been sick, not a sniffle, not a cough," she said.  "I attribute that to Pavilion School. I think the school has done an amazing job. I don't see why we have to fix something that isn't broken."

One trustee, who can't be identified from the recording, sympathized with the parents but said there isn't anything the district can do on its own to change the policy.

"We all wish we could do something," she said. "We have to obey the rules or we face financial penalties or a financial punishment, plus we don't want anybody to get stick. We've been super lucky to keep our school open."

Another trustee noted that the teachers don't like the mask policy, either. It's hard to talk all day in a mask. It's hard to hear students.

Another speaker mentioned that teachers have the discretion to allow mask breaks but many teachers are not providing for mask breaks.

Hoffman said more mask breaks would be encouraged.

"It's pretty easy for us to say for teachers to offer a mask break each period," she said.

April 16, 2021 - 10:10am
               Jake Taft

Press release:

The Alexander Central School District’s Board of Education has selected Jared ("Jake") D. Taft as the district’s next Superintendent of Schools. He expected to begin pending successful contract negotiations.

“Coming to Alexander Central as the Elementary Principal and then interim Superintendent has a great deal of nostalgia for me," Taft said. "This school district feels like home. Our school colors are the same as my childhood elementary school where my mom was also a teacher. My first childhood school experiences were in a school nearly identical to Alexander Elementary School.

“I am profoundly grateful, honored, and excited to serve as Alexander’s next Superintendent of Schools. I’m confident that we can tackle the important work ahead of us as we continue to navigate the new normal stemming from the pandemic. But I am sure Alexander has all of the sweat equity, grace and toughness to be successful, strong and even better than before."

“The Board of Education would like to thank the other finalists for their interest shown in this position," said Brian Paris, Alexander Central School District’s Board President. "This was an extremely difficult decision as all of the candidates are highly qualified individuals.

"We truly value the input received from the various stakeholders who met with the candidates to help us make a final decision. The board is confident that Jake Taft will lead our district through the issues we face in our region. With his leadership, we will work together to continue to deliver the best education possible for our students.” 

Taft currently serves as the interim superintendent of Alexander Central Schools, a role he has held since September 2020. Previously, from 2019-2020, he served as principal of Alexander Elementary School.

Taft began his career in education in 2000 as a teacher at Roy H. Mann Intermediate School in Brooklyn. He has served in principal roles at the Royalton-Hartland, Lackawanna, and Lewiston-Porter Central School Districts.

In each of these districts, he focused on developing positive, collaborative, and productive relationships to cultivate a culture of teaching, learning and caring for all.

Some of his 20-year career highlights include: evaluating and implementing the annual School Improvement Plan at Royalton-Hartland Middle School; supervising and coordinating the P-Tech Grant Program at Lackawanna High School; and providing instructional leadership to Professional Learning Communities to advance student learning at Lewiston-Porter High School. In 2015, Taft was awarded the Trocaire College Reflections Award for P-Tech. 

Taft earned a Bachelor of Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice, and a Master of Science in Elementary Education from Niagara University. He also earned a Master of Science in School Administration and Supervision from Touro College. He is completing coursework for his Doctorate of Education.

He holds New York State permanent certifications in Elementary Education, and Special Education, and as a School District Administrator and Supervisor.

Kevin MacDonald, District Superintendent of the Genesee Valley BOCES, acted as the search consultant and noted that the search process was a true collaboration between the Board of Education and stakeholders.*


*Clarification statement by Kevin MacDonald stating that stakeholders were not involved in the superintendent search interview process.

April 15, 2021 - 1:27pm
posted by Press Release in news, Batavia CTE Center, education, skilled trades.

Submitted photos and press release:

Booker T. Washington once said, “If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else." This saying rings true when describing a project that Metal Trades and Collision, Custom and Restoration programs at the Batavia Career and Technical Education (CTE) Center recently completed to benefit a student.

Geordan Mitchell, a junior from Caledonia-Mumford High School, is a student in the Metal Trades Program at the Batavia CTE Center. Geordan is disabled and in a wheelchair.

Both Andrew Geyer and Rodney Staats, the Metal Trades instructors at the Batavia CTE Center, worked to develop modified lessons for Geordan, but they still wanted to develop a way that Geordan could work with all the machines in the Metal Trades shop.

They met with Maggie Poray, the Student Services coordinator at the Batavia CTE Center, to brainstorm ideas. She asked the instructors if there was a way to construct something so Geordan could reach the equipment in a manner that was easier for him.

“The instructors and I met and discussed many different ideas on how we could give Geordan more access to all the equipment in both the Welding and Precision Machining shops," Poray said. "We knew that we had to be creative in how and what was developed, and most importantly, whatever was developed had to be safe."

Geyer and Staats reached out to Jeff Fronk and Ryan Ditacchio, the Collision, Custom and Restoration (CCR) Program instructor and teacher aide, respectively, and asked for their assistance. 

That evening, Ditacchio was searching (online) for equipment for his personal use and came across a cart that had a lift. Ditacchio thought this might work if it could be modified for Geordan’s use.

“I showed the (online) posting to Jeff, Andrew and Rodney," Ditacchio said. "We agreed that this could be a possibility but we knew that we weren’t sure how we could make this purchase. I reached out to the owner, explained the story and he gladly donated the cart."

Ditacchio picked up the cart from this donor, who asked to remain anonymous, and brought it back to the Batavia CTE Center.

Then the work began. 

“We had to figure out a way to make it moveable so we could make it tall enough for Geordan and also move it from machine to machine," Geyer said. "I contacted our Operations and Maintenance foreman and he gave us four caster wheels. A new wooden platform was added, the welding students joined the wheels, made a few brackets, cleaned it up, and then we sent it over to the CCR shop for a custom painting."

The cart has a ramp so Geordan can push himself onto the platform, which rises up and down. The cart moves easily for access to machines throughout the shop, and it also has a work table for Geordan to place tools. 

“When I first saw the cart, I was shocked. I was excited because now I can finally easily touch the buttons on the machines,” Geordan said with a big smile on his face.

“Last September, we constructed a table so Geordan could learn and practice his welding skills," Poray said. "This cart will now allow Geordan access to all the machines in the Metal Trades shops,” Geyer said. “We want to give Geordan the best experience possible and this new mobile lift is the perfect solution."

Geordan recently completed a project, a set of metal dice.

“Now, I’m working on a step shaft,” Geordan said.

“This is a practice project that helps the students understand how to use a lathe and helps students practice their skills,” Staats said.

This new cart has given Geordan new opportunities, which has renewed his enthusiasm. 

“I’m definitely happier to come to school,” Geordan said.

“He’s more independent and more self-sufficient, and we see the difference,” Staats said. 

Both Staats and Geyer agree that Geordan always gives 100-percent effort in both the Welding and Precision Machining programs.

“He has a great attitude toward everything,” Geyer said, to which Staats nodded in agreement. 

Fronk emphasized the importance of building relationships with students to understand their needs and the need to be creative when developing solutions to assist students.

“We would do this for any student who needed assistance,” Fronk said. “We would love to be a resource for anyone who might need something like this. We also will be adding more features to the cart to make learning even easier for Geordan.” 

Geordan has set many goals for himself.

“I plan to get a job and work as a welder,” he said. 

There is no doubt that this determined young man will achieve his goals.

Top photo: Geordan Mitchell works at a machine in the Metal Trades shop while in a specially designed cart crafted for him.

Below, back row from left: Ryan Ditacchio and Jeff Fronk, Collision, Custom and Restoration Program teacher aide and instructor, respectively; Andrew Geyer, Welding instructor and Rodney Staats, Precision Machining instructor. Front row, Geordan Mitchell. 

April 14, 2021 - 4:00pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in schools, education, news, covid-19, coronavirus.

Previously: School districts responding to new COVID-19 guidance from state

While working on a story today about new state guidelines for local schools, we emailed questions to the Public Health Director, Paul Pettit, and asked him about the new guidance, which makes local health departments (LDH in his response below) responsible for ensuring local school districts are adhering to state guidelines.

We asked if this was an additional burden for his department. We asked about what guidance he's offered superintendents given the seeming confusion the new guidelines may have created. Here is his response:

Yes, the shift of putting the LHDs into the role of compliance with the new state guidance was not discussed prior to the release of the document last Friday. This again is an example of the state adding additional requirements on the local agencies without notification and recognition of the current burden and lack of capacity for additional work with the current pandemic response needs.

Up until this guidance came out, LHDs have been in a guidance role and focused on case investigations and dealing with COVID cases in the school populations. Currently, as this was just released, there has been no clarification or process developed for ensuring compliance with these guidelines.

We have had weekly meetings with our superintendents and have discussed this new guidance and are seeking clarification from the state on several areas that are shifts from the previous guidance including, the 100-percent masking mandate, the use of barriers as a mitigation strategy for reducing distance and the data sources for determining community transmission.

Currently, based on the CDC data, our county is in the high transmission category (Red Zone), which restricts distancing below 6 feet for middle and high school students unless they are able to cohort the students.

Many of these shifts have created barriers and challenges for increased in-person instruction in many of our districts. Each school is required to seek their communities risk tolerance to reducing distancing prior to changing their plans with their stakeholders and adhering to the new guidance.  

The LHD has not currently received or reviewed any school plans to date, nor are we planning to. The new guidance does also not require this review/approval component. Similar to all reopening plans (for businesses etc.) we do not review/approve them but would reference for compliance if complaints were brought forward.

The schools are responsible to adhere to the guidance and ensure their plans incorporate and follow the new guidance. This is to be posted and available public included submitted/filed with the department of education and the LHD. We are working to get further clarification.

April 14, 2021 - 12:10pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in schools, education, covid-19, coronavirus, news, notify.

New guidance from the NYS Department of Health instructs school districts to set rules for social distancing based on transmission metrics for COVID-19. But with the state and CDC providing data that can seem contradictory, area superintendents are trying to come up with the best approach to educate students while following state requirements.

By and large, the superintendents seem to be relying on one statement in the 23-page document that gives local school boards latitude to make local decisions.

"Ultimately, the school/district’s decision to move to shorter physical distances will come down to a local community’s risk tolerance based on its unique circumstances," the guidelines state.

That is certainly the approach Superintendent Anibal Soler is taking with Batavia city schools, which are scheduled to go back to full-time in-class learning on Monday.

This week, he sought the Board of Education's approval to continue with the reopening plan, which the board agreed to do.

Soler pointed out that with 131 new cases in the past week (as of Monday), Genesee County is in the state's Red Zone for transmission rate. The state says our testing positivity rate is 6 percent and the CDC says it is 3 percent, both numbers below the threshold that would require 6 feet social distancing in all circumstances.

At 6 feet in all circumstances, Batavia's reopening plan would be difficult to pull off. The district is relying on allowing students in certain situations, such as sitting in classrooms, to be able to mask up and be within 3 feet of each other.

The guidance affects both districts like Batavia that are moving back to full-time in-class learning and those that have already made the transition or started the academic year with in-person attendance.

Mary Kate Hoffman, superintendent in Pavilion, informed her board of the new guidance at Monday's board meeting. Currently, Pavilion schools are five days per week for elementary school and in-person five days a week with in-person classes for sixth through 12th grades, with Wednesday being a fully remote day for the middle and high school.

The policy to this point has been to require masks only when people can't maintain 6 feet of social distancing. The new guidance requires students, teachers, and staff to wear masks at all times. Hoffman said the district will make that policy change.

Elba is open five days a week for in-person learning after starting with a hybrid model in September and gradually moved to full-time, in-class learning. 

"Our approach and plan have worked to keep kids and staff safe," said Superintendent Ned Dale.

Pembroke has been in session with students on campus full-time since the start of the school year. Superintendent Matthew Calderon said the new guidance will not change much for the district.

"We added classroom sections to spread students out 6 feet apart and installed 1,500 desk shields," Calderon said. "We're not inclined to change from 6 feet to 3 feet, and despite the CDC backing off the need to use desks shields (which in part I believe they did due to the great cost incurred by schools, which was hindering many from opening), we will probably continue to use them as well."

"The new guidance states that if schools are going to reduce physical distancing to less than 6 feet between students, decisions must be made with input from parents, community members, teachers, staff, and local departments of health," Calderon added.

"We will carefully review the updated guidance and tweak our plan as needed, but as mentioned, I don't think we need to change anything, and we would like to maintain our plan as is. The initial response from our local DOH in that regard was positive. Nonetheless, we have an upcoming meeting with the local DOH and will certainly adjust our plan if needed."

Merritt Holly, superintendent in Le Roy, which went back to on-campus full-time learning on April 6, said he is seeking clarification on some of the requirements in the new guidance but is maintain the current plan for now.

"It won't complicate anything until I get clarification," Holly said. "When will that clarification come in? I am not sure yet."

Superintendents indicated they are working with Public Health Director Paul Pettit to ensure their education plans are in compliance with guidelines and that Pettit has been helpful and responsive. The new guidance doesn't require the districts to file modified plans with the state but to publish them on their websites and gives local health departments the tasks of ensuring compliance.

We attempted to reach Pettit for comment but have not yet heard back from him.

To read the state's guidelines, click here (PDF).

April 14, 2021 - 9:13am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia HS, batavia, news, schools, education.

Teachers at Batavia High School, looking to pursue relevant topics in fresh ways have proposed three new courses that were approved by the city school's Board of Education on Monday night.

The courses, two in Social Studies and one in English will only go forward if students show sufficient interest in taking the elective classes.

The courses are:

  • Sports and Race Relations through Digital Media, which will explore pivotal moments in American History in an effort to understand how they contribute to modern laws, policies, systems and culture. 
  • Law and Justice in America I and II will provide students an overview of the various areas of Civil and Criminal Law in our American legal system, along with time to discuss contemporary issues pertaining to justice in America. 
  • 1960s Literature, Lyrics and Culture will examine influences between our current times and the '60s. 

Superintendent Anibal Soler told the board it's important to recognize that these are teacher-driven initiatives and Molly Corey, director of curriculum and instruction, said, "Teachers are passionate because they were eager to see some changes in the courses they teach."

She added, "What we’re looking to do is provide more choice and some relative and timely topics.”

Existing teachers will lead the classes. There is no need to hire additional staff. They don't replace core classes.

Trustee Shawna Murphy, herself a teacher at Genesee Community College, said, "That’s what teachers are constantly doing, coming up with new ways at teaching concepts and making it relevant and easier to understand and, you know, ‘why does this matter to you as a student.’ I think that’s the fun part of being a teacher."

April 6, 2021 - 10:48am
posted by Press Release in byron-bergen, schools, education, news.

Press release: 

The Byron-Bergen Central School District’s Board of Education (BOE), has named three finalists for the next Superintendent of Schools. 

Debra List, president of the Byron-Bergen Central School District’s BOE, said she 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 the district is the board’s main priority,” List said. “The field of candidates was diverse, which made narrowing the field to three very difficult. We are confident that one of these candidates will be the best choice for our school district and community.”

The three finalists are Patrick McGee, Jennifer Sinsebox, Ed.D., and Tracy Marchianda. 

McGee is currently the principal of Byron-Bergen Junior/Senior High School, a position he has held since 2015. From 2013 until 2015, he served as the assistant principal of Byron-Bergen Junior/Senior High School. Before that, McGee was the dean of students from 2012 until 2013. He began his career in education in 2007 as a fifth-grade teacher at Byron-Bergen Middle School and served in this role until 2012. Throughout his career at Byron-Bergen CS, he has served in many leadership capacities including: overseeing and supporting the growth of a Video Coaching Model to assist teachers with professional development; increasing the number of Advanced Placement courses offered; implementing an agriculture program; and revitalizing an FFA Chapter. Under McGee’s tenure, Byron-Bergen High School was named U.S. News & World Report Best High Schools for 2018, 2019 and 2020.

He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from St. John Fisher College in Elementary and Special Education, and a master’s degree in Education, Curriculum and Instruction from the Buffalo State College. McGee earned a Certificate of Advanced Study in Educational Leadership from the University of Rochester and also holds New York State certifications as School Building and District Leader, as well as Childhood Education and Students with Disabilities. 

Jennifer Sinsebox, Ed.D., is the executive director of Curriculum and Data Management at Wheatland-Chili Central Schools, a position she has held since 2008. From 1996 until 2008, she served as a special education teacher at Wheatland-Chili Central Schools. In 1993, Sinsebox started her path in education as a Special Education teacher at Bloomfield Central Schools. Sinsebox is also an adjunct professor at the State University of New York at Brockport, a post she has held since 2015. During her tenure at Wheatland-Chili CS, she: organized district family/community engagement parent university workshops; assisted in the creation of a five-year Culturally Responsive-Sustaining Education district plan; and directed and facilitated the district strategic plan with the development of the district comprehensive improvement plan. 

She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and a Master of Science in Special Education from Nazareth College. Sinsebox holds a Certificate of Advanced Study in Educational Administration from The State University of New York at Brockport and also holds New York State certifications in School District Administration, as well as Elementary and Special Education. Sinsebox completed her doctorate in Education in 2020.

Tracy Marchianda has been employed by Geneva City School District since 2011, and currently is the assistant superintendent for Teaching, Learning and Accountability, a post she’s held since 2020. Her leadership roles at the Geneva City School District include director of Innovation and Multi-Language Learners, director of Innovative Programming and Student Services, and principal of North Street Elementary School. Marchianda is presently an adjunct professor at the University of Rochester. From 2000 until 2011, she served the Bath Central School District, first as the principal of Vernon E. Wightman Primary School, and then as the director of Curriculum and Instruction. In these roles, she facilitated a comprehensive curriculum, instruction, assessment, and professional development program for a high-needs rural school district. Marchianda started teaching in 1989 as a second- and fifth-grade teacher at Dundee Central School District where she also served as a staff development trainer and English Language Arts coordinator. 

Marchianda earned a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from the State University of New York at Fredonia, and two Master of Science degrees in Education from Elmira College. She is in progress of earning her doctoral degree in Curriculum, Instruction and Science of Learning from the University of Buffalo. She earned a Certificate of Advanced Study in Educational Administration from the State University of New York at Brockport and also holds New York State certifications as School District administrator and supervisor, as well as literacy specialist, and elementary teacher.

The three candidates will interview with stakeholders on Wednesday, April 7 and conclude the process with final separate interviews with the Board of Education on April 13, 14 and 15. 

The anticipated start date for the new superintendent is July 1.

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

“This is a thorough search process,” MacDonald said. “Finalists will visit the Byron-Bergen Central School District to meet with stakeholders. The process concludes with final rounds of interviews with the Board of Education.”

March 30, 2021 - 1:09pm
posted by Press Release in GCC, 2021 Commencement, news, education.

Submitted photo and press release:

On Saturday, May 22, Genesee Community College will recognize its students during its 53rd Commencement Ceremony, taking place completely online. Honoring this group of deserving achievers, will be keynote speaker, Susan Salvador, Ed.D., former vice president for Student Affairs at Monroe Community College in Rochester.

"Operating in such close-knit communities and working with our small class sizes, our faculty and staff were heart-broken when we had to postpone our traditional in-person commencement and move to a completely online event in 2020," said Genesee Community College President James Sunser.

"As we came to realize the 2021 commencement would also be virtual, our talented teams rolled up their sleeves and got right to work. We all found comfort in putting our best efforts into creating something special for our students, and we are pleased that they will get to hear from Dr. Salvador."

Building on the success from last year's video-style graduation ceremony, GCC is planning a similar online broadcast for the class of 2021. Salvador's address will come to the esteemed graduates as part of their online ceremony. 

Salvador is currently a highly experienced consultant, trainer and speaker on student affairs practices and student learning. In addition to serving as vice president for Student Affairs at Monroe Community College in Rochester, she served in that capacity at Northampton Community College in Bethlehem, Pa., and was a search associate for William Spelman Executive Search.

Salvador was a contributing author to "Learning Reconsidered: A Campus-wide Focus on the Student Experience" as well as a member of the National Writing Team to produce the inventory statements for the "Principles of Good Practice for Student Affairs," publications sponsored by American College Personnel Association (ACPA) and National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA).

She has served as a consultant for community colleges establishing housing and residence life programs, an author of articles on the impact and philosophical change of residence halls on two-year colleges, and a lecturer in the Educational Foundations Department at Buffalo State College to teach Community College Administration.

In addition, she served as president of the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Rochester Board and as a member of: the Golisano Children's Hospital Board at the University of Rochester Medical Center; the National Advisory Group for the National Technical Institute of the Deaf at Rochester Institute of Technology; the National Susan B. Anthony Museum & House Development Committee; the Young Women's College Prep Public School of Rochester Foundation; the Wegmans Hillside Work-Scholarship Rochester Program Board of Directors; and the Paperclip Communications Community College National Advisory Board.

Salvador was president of ACPA from 2010-2011 and is a Diamond Honoree. She served as an ACPA Educational Leadership Foundation trustee, chair of Commissions and member of the Senior Student Affairs Advisory and External Relations Advisory Boards, among other leadership roles.

Inspiring students throughout her career, Salvador has received: the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society's Distinguished Administrator Award; a Certificate of Merit from the New York State Assembly for significant contributions to the student personnel profession; an Outstanding Contribution to the Profession Award from the College Student Personnel Association of New York State; and the 2004 Mildred Bulpitt Woman of the Year Award from the American Association for Women in Community Colleges. She was an ATHENA Award nominee sponsored by the Women's Council of the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce and was inducted into MCC's Sports Hall of Fame in 2003.

She has a Doctorate in Higher Education Administration from The University of Michigan, a master's degree in College Student Personnel/Counseling from The Pennsylvania State University and a bachelor's degree in Psychology from Siena College.

As Genesee Community College continues to develop its #SUNYGCC21 virtual commencement, details will be made available on www.genesee.edu/commencement.

March 29, 2021 - 11:50am

From Cindy Canale:

St. Paul Lutheran School is pleased to announce that we will be adding sixth grade, beginning with the 2021-2022 academic year.

We are currently accepting registrations for preschool for 3- and 4-year-olds, as well as kindergarten through sixth-grade.

For more information contact us at (585) 343-0488, or stpaulbatavia.org. The school is located at 31 Washington Ave. in the City of Batavia.

March 26, 2021 - 5:58pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in mock trials, alexander, schools, education, news.


Alice Calmes shared this information:

Typically the teams would start preparing in early December when the NYS BAR Association releases the case. However, due to Covid guidelines, the school didn't allow extracurricular activities to start until Feb 22.

At that time, the four returning members recruited four more members, assigned roles, and started working on opening and closing statements, questions for direct and cross, and memorizing affidavits.

The initial round of competitions for them started March 8th and they went 4-0 advancing straight to the semifinals due to a bye in the quarter-finals from being in first place at the end of the initial rounds. A win against Attica High School sent them to the finals against Oakfield-Alabama on Wednesday night.

Both matches were hard-fought, with Alexander beating Oakfield-Alabama in both.

Many of the students had to take a role on both the plaintiff and defense sides, which added to the difficulty of such a short preparation time.

The team consists of: senior -- Erin Hess, a first-year member; juniors -- Shawn Calmes, Katarina Luker, Imogene Plitt and Anna "Annie" Slenker -- all returning members, and Dana Morelli, a first-year member; and freshmen -- Olivia Burkhardt and Holly Bykowski, first-year members.

The team is led by Advisor -- Johnny Lucas, a History teacher at Alexander, and Jane Schmeider, their lawyer advisor.

Erin, Shawn, Katarina, Imogene and Annie are all doubling up on plaintiff and defense.

Photo submitted by Alice Calmes. Not all team members were available at the time this photo was taken and they won't be until after spring break. In the photo are Annie, Holly, Erin, Mr. Lucas, Shawn Calmes, Olivia, Katarina and Imogene (missing is Dana).

For previous mock trial coverage, click here.

March 24, 2021 - 1:08pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Schools, batavia, news, schools, education.


Kathie Scott, holding the certificate in the photo above, was honored by the city schools' Board of Trustees at its meeting Monday night as she nears the end of her 25-year career with the district.

Scott, who holds a degree in public relations from the University of Dayton, came to the district from BOCES and handled public relations and as social media came along started handling much of the district's official social media presence. 

Superintendent Anibal Solar said no decision has been made on how that role will be filled in the future.

Asked what she will miss most about the job, she said: "Two of my favorite parts of the job were, one, being able to highlight all students and staff in everyday learning as well as the achievements of particular individuals; and two, the changes in the way we communicate has provided so much opportunity to grow and diversify skills. The first – highlighting students and staff – is the part I’ll miss. The other – learning and growing – I can continue to do even though I’m leaving BOCES."

As for what's next, she said, "I’m not sure! I’ve been tossing around ideas, including the same or similar work, but no set plan has crystallized, partly because I’ve been busy trying to finish up projects. I can never sit still though, so I’m excited about the next phase or adventure -- whatever it might turn out to be!"

Photo courtesy Anibal Soler.

March 24, 2021 - 12:57pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, le roy pd, le roy hs, news, schools, education.


Chief Greg Kellogg and Le Roy PD hosted drivers education students from Le Roy High School yesterday for a class on law enforcement and driving topics such as vehicle inspection and registration, what to do if pulled over or involved in an accident, and DWI.

Photos and info submitted by Tim McArdle.




March 23, 2021 - 12:02pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, arts, entertainment, schools, education, covid-19, coronavirus, news.

Pandemic restrictions won't disrupt one of the most important traditions at Le Roy High School: the annual musical.

This year, music and drama students at Le Roy are presenting a virtual performance of "The Theory of Relativity" by Neil Bartram and Brian Hill.

Streaming tickets are available at leroycsd.org with performances at 7 p.m., April 8, 9 and 10.

The video above explains how the students brought the production together and the new technology skills they learned in the process.






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