Local Matters

Community Sponsors


February 26, 2021 - 2:18pm

Submitted photo and press release:

Genesee Community College has proudly named Deborah Penoyer, MS, RN as the new Nursing Program Director at its Antoinette Marchese Clancy School of Nursing.

Penoyer, of Rochester, took on the position after her predecessor Laurel Sanger retired in late 2020.

Having graduated its 50th class of nurses in 2020, the Nursing Program at GCC has been a flagship program for the College since its inception.

With constantly evolving demands in the healthcare field, this high-tech and high-demand program accepts an exclusive group of just 96 students every year and boasts a 95-percent job-placement rate upon graduation.

"I truly appreciate the quality of pedagogies I saw at GCC and am excited to be part of them," Penoyer said. "It's always been my priority to promote respect for differences and to embrace cultural competence for the value they bring to the learning experience.

"In the face of uncertainty, it is ever more important to be agile, provide flexible learning opportunities and to remain steadfast in ensuring student success. I have already seen those practices succeeding at GCC and look forward to building upon them."

The Nursing Program at GCC is designed to benefit students of all ages and all stages of life. With programs to bridge Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) into Registered Nurses (RNs) and a traditional RN track, students can learn, apply skills, and grow into their careers.

These elite programs require students to participate in an Information Session before beginning. Such sessions are held online and those interested in a rewarding career in nursing or healthcare are encouraged to sign up now here.

"It is the care and attention to details that the department faculty and staff have put into the curriculum and these Information Sessions that make our program and therefore our students so successful," Penoyer added.

Penoyer dedicated 17 years to child and adolescent care at Golisano Children's Hospital at Strong Memorial Hospital. Following her passion for educating and uniting others, she took on the additional role of Nurse Educator and Training Center Coordinator where she got to develop nursing practice policies, procedures and protocols as well as onboard new nurses and technicians at Strong.

In 2010, Penoyer's desire to lead and to contribute to the future of the nursing industry led her to SUNY Geneseo where she served as Nurse Manager in College Health for 10 years before returning to a large health system, Rochester Regional Health's Primary Care and Ambulatory Specialty Institute where she was responsible for Operational Excellence and Compliance for Adult and Geriatric Services.

Penoyer earned a Master of Science, Leadership in Health Care Systems, Health Promotion, Education and Technology from the University of Rochester's School of Nursing, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Roberts Wesleyan College and an Associate of Applied Science in Nursing from Monroe Community College.

February 23, 2021 - 3:35pm

Press release:

The Genesee County Interagency Council is pleased to announce that we will be offering a $1,000 scholarship for the Fall 2021-2022 semester for Genesee Community College students and high school seniors.

Those eligible will be students living in Genesee County and attending Genesee Community College or high school seniors; in good academic standing, and majoring in or intending to major in Human Services, Social Work, Sociology or Psychology ONLY.

Because the goal of this scholarship is to support those students who have a strong drive to contribute to the field of Human Services, special consideration will be given to those students who have already demonstrated a commitment to the field through their employment, volunteer, academic, or extracurricular pursuits.  

Completed applications must be received by Friday, May 7. (See PDF links below to print out, fill out, and mail in. One is for high school students; the other is for GCC students.)

The awardee will be notified by June 1 and presented at our June 17th picnic meeting. However, if the picnic is cancelled due to COVID-19, we will acknowledge the awardee in another way and the check will be mailed directly to the individual.

We look forward to having the opportunity to support a Genesee Community College student in their pursuit of a degree in the field of Human Services.  Please feel free to contact me at (585) 343-1611 if you have any questions.

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.

Genesee County Interagency Council Inc.

P.O. Box 1619

Batavia, NY 14021

February 19, 2021 - 1:29pm
posted by Press Release in Black History, news, education, coronavirus, art, byron-bergen school.

Submitted photos and press release:

As part of their Black History Month studies, Byron-Bergen fourth- and fifth-grade students created art projects with, and inspired by, acclaimed Rochester public artist Shawn Dunwoody (on classroom monitor above).

While Dunwoody has visited the school in past years, this year his presentation took place on an online meeting platform to maintain health and safety guidelines during the coronavirus pandemic.

In his presentation to the fourth-grade classes, Dunwoody discussed murals and public art. In his own work, he has used murals to inspire in a variety of community spaces, from donut shops to waterfall viewing platforms.

“The murals I’ve done in communities, I’ve wanted to get people excited about their community,” Dunwoody said. “I want to make people feel good about themselves and the environment they are in.”

Dunwoody then created a collaborative mural design with the students, discussing the artistic process as well as font design and placement. The completed design featured the words “U R Wonderful” in bright colors.

Students then designed their own murals, using Dunwoody’s work as inspiration. Their finished projects included messages of support for environmental and social causes, as well as simple words of kindness such as “You got this,” “Love yourself,” and “You are awesome.”

In a similar presentation to fifth-grade students, Dunwoody discussed his original comic characters, the Legion of Legends, which includes local historical figures Susan B. Anthony, Frederick Douglass and George Eastman. His Legion of characters fight villains like Trinity, a character encompassing racism, miseducation and poverty.

Life-sized cutouts of the super heroes stood behind him as he described his creative process.

After creating a collaborative character with the fifth-grade classes, students created their own super heroes with special powers to fight for social justice. Among the heroes were those with the powers to fight for freedom and create peace. Their collaborative hero was “Super Miss Stephen” with the power of writing and the ability to make drawings come to life.

Dunwoody’s presentations were part of a Black History Day of Learning organized by fourth-grade teachers Jenna Carney, Colleen Hardenbrook, Alyson Tardy, and fifth-grade teachers Taylor Haupt, Ken Rogoyski, (Super Miss) Kelly Stephen, Diane Taylor, Erin Varley, and Special Education teacher Lisa Haller.

“Shawn uses art to uplift urban communities and discuss social justice,” Tardy said. “I’m extremely excited grateful that he takes the time to share his talents with our students.”

February 17, 2021 - 2:00pm

Press release:

Alexander High School students are encouraged to apply by March 2 for a scholarship from Alexander Dollars for Scholars, an affiliate of the national organization, Scholarship America.

This organization was formerly known as Alexander Community Organization for Renewable and New Scholarships (A.C.O.R.N.S.), which was formed in January 1996 by a group of volunteers in order to invest in the futures of ACS graduates. In 2007 the name was changed to Alexander Dollars for Scholars.

Over the past 25 years, 602 applicants from Alexander Central School District have received a total of $295,360 in scholarships for college or post high school training programs. These scholarships have recognized excellence in academics, athletics, community service, extracurricular activities, music, positive character traits, technical capabilities and overcoming obstacles.

In June 2020 at the virtual Senior Awards Ceremony, 29 applicants were awarded 38 different scholarships totaling $23,550. These recipients turn in a printout of their fall grades and a spring schedule to the Counseling Center at ACS in order to have their scholarship funds mailed to their school.

Current seniors may go to the Students/Parents tab on this website to fill out their profile/application by March 2.

All of the Alexander Dollars for Scholars scholarships are funded by donations from the community, graduating classes, alumni from as early as the Class of 1954, staff, retired staff, memorials and tributes.

A list of current scholarships may be found under the News and Events tab on the above website where there is a Donate Now button.

As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, donations are tax deductible in keeping with IRS parameters.

For information about organizing a new scholarship, contact may be made via email at:  [email protected] or by mail:  Alexander Dollars for Scholars, P.O. Box 296, Alexander, NY  14005.   

February 12, 2021 - 5:04pm

From the Byron-Bergen Central School District:

The second quarter High Honor and Honor Rolls have been released for Byron-Bergen Jr./Sr. High School by Principal Pat McGee.

McGee and the Byron-Bergen Central School District staff offer their congratulations to these students.

Additionally, the District would like to correct three mistakes in the original publication of the first quarter Honor Roll listings (published on The Batavian Dec. 1, 2020). Logan Czachorowski achieved High Honor Roll, Kayden Crocker and Pearl Jolliff both earned Honor Roll. Their absence from the original publication of first quarter listings was a data input error and the District congratulates them on their hard work and academic dedication. 

Grade 7

HIGH HONOR ROLL -- Katelyn Ball, Sara Bishop, Liam Boyle, Sarah Campbell, Gianna Clark, Connor Copani, Laura Curts, Justin Deleo, Cole DiQuattro, Gary Donofrio, Ava Goff, Gianna Graff, Mia Gray, Megan Jarkiewicz, Carter Kuipers, Sidney Maher, Grace Mundell, Bradley Pocock, Colin Rea, Allison Rimmerman, Katherine Rogoyski, Simone Scharvogel, Rayne Sheard, Hayden Starkweather, Elizabeth Starowitz, Aubrey Stein, Evan Williams, Emma Wolfe.

HONOR ROLL -- Kayden Crocker, Logan Czachorowski, Grace DiQuattro, Nial Johnson, Malacai McGrath, Maryn Meier, Paige O'Brien, Evan Orto, Solomon Smith.

Grade 8

HIGH HONOR ROLL -- Ryan Benstead, Zachary Brookhart, Deborah Catalino, Kendall Chase, Abigail Cook, Amber Cromey, Isabella Davidson, Craig DiQuattro, Lea Donofrio, Peyton Goodenbery, Ava Gray, Samuel Hersom, Eli Kupfer, Ella Lewis, Jackson Lundfelt, Martin Mac Connell, Anna McLaughlin, Connor Moran, Meghan Muscarella, Adam Piper, Sydney Salmonds, Ashley Schlenker-Stephens, Olivia Senf, Trent Sheard, Roman Smith, Lily Stalica, Rose Wilson, Mikayla Yohon

HONOR ROLL -- Isabelle Best, Noah Clare, Chesney Fregoe, Haylee Gartz, Landon Kent, Arianne McLaughlin, Kasey Pagels, Natalie Prinzi, Ian Pulcini, James Starowitz, Ruger Starowitz.

Grade 9

HIGH HONOR ROLL -- HannahRae Amador, Brody Baubie, Tyler Chapman, Grayson Erion, Gabrielle Graff, Mackenzie Hagen, Makala Hoopengardner, Kaidance Kimble, Hanna Loewke, Colin Martin, Stephanie Onderdonk, Carter Prinzi, Victoria Rogoyski, Riley Sharpe, Malachi Smith, Emma Starowitz, Gabriel Vallese.

HONOR ROLL -- Jeffrey Borycki, Chloe Gilbert, Callista Kinkelaar, Lincoln McGrath, Travis Shallenberger, Liliana Vanegas, Connor Windhauser, Lydia Zaffrann, Megan Zwerka.

Grade 10

HIGH HONOR ROLL -- Alyssa Ball, Cassidy Ball, David Brumsted, Dayanara Caballero, Cameron Carlson, Kendan Dressler, Frank Hersom, Alec Kulikowski, Ryan Muscarella, Valerie Pastore, Kendall Phillips. Elizabeth Piper, Austin Salmonds, Emily Salmonds, Zoey Shepard, Matthew Tanner, Ava Wagoner, Lillian Walker, Leyna Wheeler, Hannah Wies, Emily Yun. Sydney Zastrocky.

HONOR ROLL -- Jack Benstead, Jason Bleiler, Hailey Canfield, Caris Carlson, Robert Gaylord, Andrew Rimmerman, Alexandria Schuck, Julia Will, Nicholas Zwerka.

Grade 11

HIGH HONOR ROLL -- Corin Abdella, Jared Barnum. Madison Burke, Caleb Calhoun, Caleb Carlson. Aidan Clark, Sadie Cook, Leanna Curts, Connor Gale, Christian Haller, Grace Huhn, Brooke Jarkiewicz, Danyel Nowatchik, Madelynn Pimm, Elli Schelemanow, Sasha Schramm, Aleigha Shallenberger, Grace Shepard, Alayna Streeter, Ella VanValkenburg. Alexandra Vurraro, Ashley Weit, Kaitlyn Windhauser, Corden Zimmerman.

HONOR ROLL -- Camryn Brookhart, Alexander Donnelly, Makenzie Eccleston, Meghan Kendall, Mikaylah Pocock, Elyssa Robbins, Jorie Strzelecki, Kaitlyn Zastrocky.

Grade 12

HIGH HONOR ROLL --Nicholas Baubie, Bianca Brumsted, Jonah Clare, Tylor Coats, Richard Denson, Jay Doyle, Veronica Duell, Joshua Fleming, Eden Goff, Sara Goodman, Devon Heick, Hope Hersom, Kelly Ireland, Carli Kirkwood, Colby Leggo, Logan Lewis, Julia Pangrazio, Andrew Parnapy, Bryanne Puma, Matthew Rada. Alaura Rehwaldt, Skylar Sharpe, Deacon Smith, Sarah Sue Streeter. Devon Zinter

HONOR ROLL -- Carleigh Buell, Zoey Chambry, Adriana Guzman. Aiden Kulikowski, Jaden Pocock. Joshua Swapceinski.

February 10, 2021 - 12:19pm
posted by Press Release in City Schools, schools, education, news, batavia.

Press release:

At Monday night’s Board of Education meeting, the Batavia City School District announced its new Community Schools Initiative.

Batavia’s Community Schools Initiative is a transformational researched-based strategy that is focused on the whole child with key participation from school and community leaders, educators, community partners, students, families and residents.

Moving forward, Batavia’s Community Schools Initiative will be rolled out and in place at all four of the district’s schools. Each school will see the community as a resource for learning and development and as a partner in the education of all children.

Batavia’s Community Schools will also develop respectful and mutually beneficial relationships with families, neighborhood residents, agencies, and community-based organizations that are focused on the well-being of children and youth.

Batavia’s Community Schools Initiative will focus on four key areas in an effort to support the whole child:

  • Expanded & Enriched Learning Time

  • Integrated Student Supports

  • Family and Community Engagement

  • Collaborative Leadership Practices

The Batavia Community Schools Advisory Board, which is comprised of various district staff, community-based organizations and partners, has developed the following vision and mission statements to help guide the work and focus of district schools moving forward.


Build a better Batavia by promoting equitable learning opportunities, cultivating healthier families, and establishing a stronger community.


Our mission is to unite our Batavia community and schools through shared resources, working partnerships, and open, collaborative communication.

The advisory board also developed a new logo that will help brand and identify events and programs that are directly aligned to the community school’s initiative and also place an emphasis on equity, opportunity and family.

Video supplied by the school district.

Previously: City schools tackling initiative to care for the community in support of education

February 9, 2021 - 6:40pm

With little fanfare, the Batavia City School District staff has taken on a strategy to help families in need as part of an overall effort to care for the whole child and to become a greater asset to the community.

A former kindergarten room at Robert Morris School has been converted into a community center where children and parents can get assistance not just with school work but with many life needs -- from doing the laundry to ensuring everybody has appropriate clothing.

Julie Wasilewski, a district social worker, and Julia Rogers, Batavia High School assistant principal, have spearheaded the effort. They presented the community center idea to the Board of Education during Monday's meeting as part of a presentation of the new Batavia Community Schools Initiative.

The initiative is described as a reform strategy "to promote child well-being, student success, and educational equality."

(NOTE: The school board meeting was held via Zoom and Wasilewski and Rogers were on a shared device and it was impossible to see who was talking when and so quotes are generically attributed to "she said.")

"Community schools are for student education and development," she said. "They are a place where we fundamentally pay special attention to and ensure students' physical, medical, safety, their social-emotional needs are met. When we meet these needs, families can then fully engage in the opportunities afforded by public school education."

A great school is one that cares for the whole town, they said. It involves working with residents throughout the community to support learning. It includes not just educating children but educating parents. 

"We're powered by strong relationships with agencies, businesses, health care providers, clubs and organizations," she said. "Every family and community member can be leveraged as an asset to children's lives. So far, we have 82 of these arrangements with community leaders who are willing to extend the power of their organizations."

The new engagement center is one part of the plan, but so far it's the most concrete effort to serve the community.

"When a family enters the family community engagement center, they are treated with the utmost respect and compassion, regardless of whether they are making optimal life decisions or maintaining a sober lifestyle," she said. "Four hundred and 16 donations have been made to children ... clothing, school supplies, hygiene products, toys, books, housewares, bedding, and food. The closet contains appropriate clothing so an individual can be successful and feel a sense of belonging and acceptance, both in school and in the community."

"There is no Batavia community member who has to skip an interview or a day of work because they don't have appropriate clothing," she said.

Shoes are available to children so they always have something appropriate to wear on the playground or walking outside.

A recent example of how the engagement center assisted community members outside of a school environment was when Tammy Hathaway from United Way contacted the center looking for 30 winter coats. The coats were donated to GCASA because people who are waiting for their methadone treatment are required, because of COVID-19, to wait outside.

The initiative comes at a time when schools are already required to adjust to meet student needs.

"Amid the hardships of COVID-19, community schools have readily adapted to changing conditions and needs, devising innovative mechanisms to deliver food, technology, health care, and other essential services to support student learning and well-being," she said.

Superintendent Anibal Soler Jr. called it a "win-win" for the community.

"Batavia is one of those communities where you grow up here, you live here, everyone knows everyone, and everyone wants to support everyone, but we don't always have the conduit to do it," Soler said. "So the hope is the school becomes the hub for the conduit. The school becomes the hub for the community."

February 4, 2021 - 11:40am
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Schools, Anibal Soler, live stream, video, education, schools.
Video Sponsor

We're scheduled to start at noon. We will be talking with Superintendent Anibal Soler about how things are going in Batavia city schools, get a COVID-19 update, talk about "high-risk" sports starting up, reopening Robert Morris, his experience on the Batavia PD stakeholders' group, and the district's new equity policy.

NOTE: The post has been updated with an edited version of the video that cuts out the technical problems at the start of the interview.

February 3, 2021 - 3:34pm
posted by Press Release in news, WNY Tech Academy, education, GV BOCES.

Submitted photo and press release:

Some life choices are difficult and some are simple. For eight students who attend the Western New York (WNY) Tech Academy, their choices are leading them in the next step toward their career goals.

On Jan. 26 and 28, these eight WNY Tech Academy 11th-grade students selected their college pathway in which they wish to concentrate on: Accounting, Entrepreneurship, Marketing and Social Media, and Supply Chain Management.

Due to a hybrid schedule, the event was held over the course of two days with two students joining remotely.

“Each student completed a number of self-interest surveys and personality quizzes to learn more about themselves and how they like to work," said Lindsay Warner, the WNY Tech Academy Work-based learning coordinator and a Business teacher. 

"Although the pandemic has prevented us from exploring careers on site this year, this group has prepared for the essential steps in securing a job by developing resumes and cover letters. Each student applied and completed a mock interview with the help of HR professionals, program mentors, and longtime supporters Rebecca McGee of Liberty Pumps and Michelle Hoffman of Bonduelle.”

Joe Englebert, interim principal of the WNY Tech Academy, noted how these students have advanced their skills and are ready to move to the next step in their academic track.

“These eight students are ready to advance their academic career with the selection of their college pathway," Englebert said. "I am confident that each of these students will be a success as they pursue their college degree."

The WNY Tech Academy is a Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH), supporting students grades 9-14. This school serves 13 regional school districts through a curriculum that places a strong emphasis on hands-on, project-based learning to prepare students for high-skill, financially stable careers in growth industries.

Students attending the WNY Tech Academy will complete all necessary coursework for a New York State Regents Diploma as well as earn an Associate of Applied Science degree through Genesee Community College at no cost.

The Genesee Community College (GCC) Accelerated College Enrollment Program (ACE) is a partnership between GCC and Western New York high schools to provide college courses to secondary students during the school day. These programs offer accelerated high school students the opportunity to enroll in college level courses and to earn college credits from GCC while still in high school. 

“After about two years of learning about the degree programs offered through WNY Tech Academy and GCC, the students are now making the commitment to one program and what we hope will be a very successful career," said Ed Levinstein, GCC ACE programs associate dean.

"This is a huge step for anyone to take, especially for an 11th-grader. Once they finish 12th grade at WNY Tech Academy, these students will take the rest of their courses at GCC. With the help of the WNY Tech Academy administration, the ACE Programs staff and several dedicated faculty advisors, students will complete their degree and be ready for work.

"GCC’s role in this is to provide whatever support we can to WNY Tech Academy and each student including tutoring, advising and encouragement. We are proud to be part of this program that has already graduated several students who are now working in their chosen field or furthering their studies.”

Preston Bell is an 11th-grader from Dansville Central School who is enrolled in this program.

“When I learned about the WNY Tech Academy from my home school, I thought this would be a good opportunity for me," Preston said. "I plan to finish my college degree and then enter the military."

The WNY Tech Academy is a program of Genesee Valley BOCES (Board of Cooperative Educational Services).

The academy students and their home schools are: 

  • Preston Bell (Dansville)
  • Isabelle Bradshaw (Avon)
  • Jesse Churchill (Caledonia-Mumford)
  • AJ Galligan (Warsaw)
  • Koi Hennig (Dansville)
  • Mackenzie Jacobs (Dansville)
  • Erik Schwab (Le Roy) and
  • Emma Will (Byron-Bergen)

Photo, from left, WNY Tech Academy 11th-graders: Preston Bell, Mackenzie Jacobs, Isabelle Bradshaw and Erik Schwab.

January 29, 2021 - 1:57pm

Press release:

New York high school seniors who are graduating and interested in pursuing a career in agriculture can apply for New York Farm Bureau’s Agricultural Youth Scholarship.

Statewide winners can earn up to $1,500 toward their future education.

The applicant or their family must be a New York Farm Bureau member, and the student must live and/or work on a farm in the state. The student must also complete the application, which includes writing an essay addressing an issue facing agriculture in their county and how Farm Bureau may support its members in addressing it. 

Scoring will determine both county and district winners and may include a personal interview.

Each district winner will receive $100 and then compete for one of three state scholarships worth $1,500, $1,200 and $1,000, based on their submitted applications. The judging will take place prior to April 20.  

For more information, including the application, go to New York Farm Bureau’s website at nyfb.org. The scholarship information can be found under “Promotion and Education” in the programs section of the website.

You can also call the New York Farm Bureau office at 1-800-342-4143. Completed application packets must be returned to New York Farm Bureau in Albany with a March 1 postmark deadline or via email to [email protected].

January 28, 2021 - 4:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Schools, schools, education, news.

The Board of Trustees for Batavia City School District has adopted a new public communications policy that Superintendent Anibal Soler Jr. characterized at this week's meeting as allowing more public input into board decisions and discussions.

The initial idea for drafting a new policy came from board President Alice Ann Benedict in October. At that meeting, Soler suggested running any proposed policy change through a subcommittee.

The proposed policy came to the attention of attorneys at the Cornell Law School First Amendment Clinic, who drafted a letter to the school district expressing concern about some of the proposed changes, which Attorney Heather Murray said could run afoul of the First Amendment.

In the new policy, the school district seems to have heeded the advice of the clinic.

In the initial draft, a paragraph prohibited public discussion of individual district personnel and students. Murray said this policy would prevent members of the public their right to criticize public officials. She cited a case involving a school board in Virginia where similar language was struck down.

The new policy does not include language prohibiting discussion of individuals.

The original draft also indicated, “Obscene language, libelous statements, threats of violence, statements advocating racial, religious, or other forms of prejudice will not be tolerated.”

Murray informed the district this language was overly vague, noting that a basic tenet of the First Amendment jurisprudence is that speech cannot be restrained in anticipation of libel. She said the appropriate remedy for an alleged libel is a civil suit for money damages.

She also said, "Second, the quoted language as a whole, and in particular 'other forms of prejudice,' is impermissibly vague and provides too much discretion to the Board to restrain certain viewpoints. Further, because these terms are not well defined and left to the determination of the Board President, there would likely be a chilling effect on public speech at Board meetings.

The final policy alters the language from the first draft, too, "All speakers are to conduct themselves in a civil manner. Obscene language, threats of violence, statements advocating racial, religious, or other forms of prejudice on the basis of protected class will not be tolerated."

Federal and state law establishes what constitutes a "protected class" when it comes to discrimination.

The board did retain a requirement that people wishing to speak at meetings first fill out a form, that includes a request for identifying information. Murray's letter suggested requiring people to identify themselves violates the state's open meetings law. However, the new policy does strike a proposal giving the board president the ability to rule on what topics were "generally appropriate." 

Murray noted that giving the board president power to silence people on certain topics prior to them speaking would constitute unlawful prior restraint.

Previously, Benedict had suggested the questions submitted by the public for the board be prescreened. Murray recommended against such a practice since it could constitute viewpoint discrimination and that pre-writing answers to questions submitted prior to the meeting could violate the open meetings law.

Overall, Murray said today she is pleased that the board seems to have listened to the clinic's recommendations.

“The Board’s decision to make revisions to the proposed policy prior to its adoption is a great example of elected officials making decisions with input from the public," Murray said. "Providing the opportunity for members of the public to address school board members on matters of public concern is critical to maintaining trust during this unprecedented time for us all.”

January 28, 2021 - 1:52pm
posted by Press Release in education, batavia, news, Batavia High School, graduation rates.

Submitted image and press release:

Batavia High School’s graduation rate, for students who graduate within four years, increased from 85 percent in the 2011-2015 cohort to 93 percent (for June graduates) and 94 percent (for those who graduated by August of their senior year) in the 2016-2020 cohort.

The number is even higher – 97 percent for the 2016-2020 cohort -- when only those students who attend school in BHS are counted (as opposed to those who, for various reasons, had been completing their studies at alternate locations.)

In other words, 85 percent of all freshmen entering BHS in the fall of 2011 (as the Class of 2015) earned their diploma by June of 2015.

The graduation rate continued to improve over the course of the next several graduating classes, with the last group for which we have data being the Class of 2020. For that graduating class, 93 percent of all freshmen entering BHS in the fall of 2016 (as the Class of 2020) earned their diploma by June 2020 and 94 percent completed the graduation requirements by August 2020. Again, that number was higher (97 percent) for students who attend school at BHS.

Superintendent Anibal Soler Jr., in presenting the data to the Board of Education on Monday, congratulated the staff on their role in student success.

He also noted that BHS principal, Paul Kesler, and his staff will continue to work on raising the overall graduation rate and will dig deeper into the subgroups of the student population to look for patterns and to identify better ways to serve the full student population.

January 21, 2021 - 1:00pm

Press release:

Registration is now available for kindergarten and prekindergarten students in the Byron-Bergen Central School District.

The District plans to once again offer a half-day universal prekindergarten (UPK) program at the Byron-Bergen Elementary School. The UPK program is focused on socialization, learning through play, and self-exploration.

Children learn through a hands-on learning environment that includes activities, learning centers, concrete materials, and manipulatives. Students learn through a nurturing environment that is enriching, challenging, and developmentally appropriate.

Students must turn 4 years of age by Dec. 1 to be eligible for the program.

Those with an eligible child interested in attending the UPK program should send a letter of interest by Friday, April 9 with child’s name, parents’ names, address, phone number, and date of birth to:

Brian Meister

Byron-Bergen Elementary School Principal

6971 W. Bergen Road

Bergen, NY 14416-9747

Those who have already contacted the Elementary School by phone will still need to send in a letter to be eligible for UPK. If interest exceeds allowed capacity, students will be selected using a lottery system.

Children who will be 5 years of age, on or before Dec. 1 are eligible for entrance to kindergarten in September of 2021. New families in the school district should notify the school if they have a child that will enter kindergarten in September.

Parents may contact the Elementary School Office by calling 494-1220, ext. 1301. Information may also be sent to the Byron-Bergen Elementary School, 6917 W. Bergen Road, Bergen, NY 14416-9747.

All children registering for kindergarten will be scheduled for a screening appointment this summer. The results of this screening will be used to plan for the 2021-2022 kindergarten program.

The following items are necessary to complete the registration process: child’s birth certificate; certificate of immunization; proof of residency; and completed registration packet.

Additional information and kindergarten registration packets are available here.

January 13, 2021 - 4:04pm

Press release:

The Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo scholarship application process for the 2021 – 2022 academic year is now open. Applications are due by May 1 and must be submitted online.

All students, including Say Yes Buffalo applicants and scholars, that meet the following eligibility requirements are encouraged to apply.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Be a current resident of one of the eight counties of Western New York (Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Niagara, Orleans, Wyoming);
  • Have a minimum of a “C” average or a GPA of 2.0 or greater;
  • Be admitted to a nonprofit 501(c)(3), U.S. Department of Education accredited school for full-time study beginning in the fall 2021 semester. 

Scholarship awards typically range from $1,000 to $6,000.

More than 200 individuals, families, foundations and organizations have established scholarship funds through the Community Foundation. In 2020, the Community Foundation remained as one of the region’s largest scholarship providers, awarding scholarships totaling $3 million to more than 3,000 Western New York students. 

For more information on the Community Foundation’s scholarship program, including application instructions, please visit www.cfgbscholarships.org or text SCHOLARSHIP to (855) 213 - 4426.*

* By taking this action you are affirming that you will receive recurring Scholarship Deadline alert text messages from the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo. Please click here for our Privacy Policy. Text STOP to opt-out, HELP for more information. No purchase necessary. Message & data rates may apply.

January 12, 2021 - 2:55pm
posted by Press Release in education, GCC, news, Virtual Major Exploration Days.

Press release:

"I don't know what I want to do, what would I major in?" quoted Lindsay Gerhardt, assistant dean of admissions and recruitment at Genesee Community College. "My recruiting team hears it all the time when we ask someone why they didn't enroll for classes. Sometimes, people just need more."

So, the Admissions team decided to do more.

Major Exploration Days at Genesee Community College were introduced as a way for interested individuals to learn exactly what the College's programs are all about. Taking it a step further, the faculty members from the various programs participate in these sessions so potential students learn what courses they would take, hear about the associated field experiences that are available and develop a clear picture of what their semester could look like!

In addition, these sessions provide opportunities for the students (and any friends or family members who are listening in) to hear about the transfer opportunities GCC has to offer specific to these areas of study. Naturally, Major Exploration Days also include discussions about the vast array of careers and jobs these programs prepare students for.

Each session has been designed to cover a group of academic programs and majors that tend to have some common interest amongst students and some potential career overlap. All of these sessions are open to anyone who is interested in attending GCC! The sessions are free and offered completely online for maximum convenience.

Anyone can attend any or all of these sessions based on the programs of interest:

  • Thursday, Jan. 21 will cover Business & Commerce programs, Information Technology degrees and certificates, and a variety of Science & Technology programs! Specific programs include: Accounting, Biotechnology, Business Administration, CIS, CSN, Computerized Drafting and Design, Computer Repair, Fashion, Helpdesk Support, Medical Administrative Assistant, Tourism, Hospitality Event Management, and Web Design.
  • Thursday, Feb. 4 will explore programs in Education, Human Services, Law and Criminal Justice! Specific programs include: Alcohol & Substance Abuse Studies, Childcare, Corrections, Developmental Disabilities Studies, Economic Crime Investigation, Forensics, Gerontology, Homeland Security, Paralegal Studies, Policing, Teacher Assistant, and a Teacher Education Transfer Program.
  • Thursday, Feb. 25 focuses on Creative Arts, Health & Physical Education and will also include the vast opportunities available under the Liberal Arts umbrella! Specific programs include: Biology, Chemistry, Communication & Media Arts, Digital Art, English, Fine Arts, Fitness & Rec: Personal Trainer, History, Mathematics, Physical Education Studies, Physics, Political Science, Psychology, Spanish, Sports Management Studies, Sociology, and Theatre Arts. If you have not yet selected a specific major, this is the session for you!

GCC recommends anyone considering an education or a career in any of these fields to register for any of these sessions by clicking here; emailing [email protected]; or calling (585) 345-6800.

December 23, 2020 - 11:12am
posted by Press Release in Le Roy, le roy junior high, news, schools, education.


Aaric Luce won Le Roy Junior High's spelling bee on Tuesday by correctly spelling “Rectangular” in the final round.

Second place went to Jax Burnside.

Aaric advances to the regional competition.

Photo and information submitted by Tim McArdle.

December 11, 2020 - 12:33pm

Submitted photos and press release:

Today Staples U.S. Retail announced 20 winners of its #ThankATeacher contest.

Of the 3,000+ entries that Staples received, Stefanie Clark from Oakfield-Alabama Elementary School was selected as one of these winners for her extraordinary work going above and beyond for students this year while handling obstacles never faced before.

To help reveal the winners, Staples partnered with Angela Kinsey to surprise the winning teachers on a Zoom call and let them know they won $5,000, see the full video here.  

About Stefanie Clark, Oakfield-Alabama Elementary School

Stefanie Clark, first-grade teacher at Oakfield-Alabama Elementary School in Oakfield is an excellent educator, most deserving of the Staples #ThankATeacher #Contest. During distance learning, Mrs. Clark held individual online literacy lessons weekly with each of her young readers, encouraging and ensuring their continuous growth.

A real superhero at the school, Mrs. Clark distributed grab-and-go meals and held special virtual events during the closure -- Fort-nite Party & Halloween Costume Party (build your own fort / dress up & enjoy a bedtime story). Mrs. Clark definitely embodies the phrase, "When you can't find the sunshine, be the sunshine."

About Staples' #ThankATeacher contest

Supporting teachers has been more important than ever this year. That's why earlier this summer, Staples U.S. Retail announced its #ThankATeacher contest, which awards 20 deserving teachers across the country with a $5,000 Staples gift card to stock up their classrooms for the coming school year. For more details, please see the full press release here.

Top photo, the 20 winners of Staples U.S. Retail's #ThankATeacher contest. Clark is shown third row down, second photo from left.

Below, photos from Fort-night Party & Halloween Costume Party 2020.

December 4, 2020 - 2:16pm

From Chris Suozzi (inset photo left), vice president of Business and Workforce Development at the Genesee County Economic Development Center:

"Coach Swaz." That’s how a lot of people know me, even in economic development circles.

A great team, like the Buffalo Bills and all of our partners at the Genesee County Economic Development Center, is built on talented players and motivated coaches. Building on our economic growth in Genesee County is achieved through teamwork.

For our youth, that coaching can build connections to careers that put them in a position where they can succeed quickly by tapping into their talents and passion. Through Genesee FAST (Food processing, Advanced manufacturing, Skilled trades, and Technician) we can mentor, educate and train our youth for career opportunities with companies across the GLOW region. This allows us to move fast in helping companies with the job demands in their respective workplaces.

I want to reference a couple of examples of how this is being demonstrated. Graham Corporation recently purchased and installed a new welding simulator for the Batavia Career and Technical Education Center’s Metal Trades Program at Genesee Valley BOCES. It is a great example of how our growing companies are building connections with students in preparing the next generation of skilled welders. I applaud Graham Corporation’s vision and support of Genesee Valley BOCES.

Andrew Geyer’s welding students at the Batavia CTE are currently training on real world scenarios and are encouraged to get even more involved with youth apprenticeships. By taking the appropriate courses, participating in relevant activities and focusing on developing their skills we are providing students the playbook for success.

In 2019, more than 1,000 students, educators and guests participated in a single-day event at the Genesee County Fairgrounds – GLOW With Your Hands. In my role as cochair of GLOW With Your Hands along with GLOW Workforce Development Board Executive Director Jay Lazarony, we knew our entire volunteer team had to make a dramatic pivot for 2020 because of the pandemic. And we achieved success by going virtual.

Providing students with hands-on opportunities at the GLOW With Your Hands event last year was extremely impactful. Providing that same experience this year seemed like a monumental task, but we are reaching even more kids than last year making deeper connections with the launch of www.GLOWWithYourHandsVirtual.com

Karyn Winters, the director of the Genesee County Business Education Alliance, and Angela Grouse, director of education to employment initiatives for the Livingston County Area Chamber of Commerce, are leading all of our volunteers across the GLOW region in this effort. They once again enlisted companies to turn a hands-on event into an on-demand platform for our students to pursue great career opportunities.

GLOW With Your Hands Virtual demonstrates the career pathways that our students can take in securing family sustaining jobs and, more importantly, remaining part of our community by staying here and raising their own families.

I encourage everyone who wants to see Genesee County continue to grow and prosper by putting our kids in a position to win, to please visit the GLOW With Your Hands Virtual website and start discussing these careers with our youth. You can be a great coach.

Coach Swaz’s Career of the Month: Welding

There are dozens of careers that we are encouraging parents to share with kids in middle school and high school using the GLOW With Your Hands Virtual website. This month, I recommend warming up with the welding profile and seeing how welder-fabricators succeed.

Below is a YouTube video about welders and welding at Oxbo International Corp. in Byron, courtesy of the GCEDC.

December 1, 2020 - 1:58pm

The first quarter of Jr./Sr. High Honor, Honor and Effort Commendation Rolls have been released for Byron-Bergen Jr./Sr. High School by Pat McGee, 7-12 principal.

Byron-Bergen Jr./Sr. High School Honor and Effort Commendation Rolls*

Grade 7

HIGH HONOR ROLL -- Katelyn Ball, Liam Boyle, Sarah Campbell, Gianna Clark, Connor Copani, Logan Czachorowski, Justin Deleo, Cole DiQuattro, Gary Donofrio, Estelle Dumuhosky, Ava Goff, Gianna Graff, Mia Gray, Megan Jarkiewicz, Carter Kuipers, Evianna Marts, Maryn Meier, Grace Mundell, Bradley Pocock, Colin Rea, Allison Rimmerman, Katherine Rogoyski, Rayne Sheard, Hayden Starkweather, Elizabeth Starowitz, Aubrey Stein, Evan Williams, Emma Wolfe.

HONOR ROLL -- Kayden Crocker, Laura Curts, Savannah Heick, Elijah Hiscutt, Pearl Jolliff, Sidney Maher, Evan Orto, Simone Scharvogel.

Grade 8

HIGH HONOR ROLL -- Deborah Catalino, Kendall Chase, Abigail Cook, Isabella Davidson, Craig DiQuattro, Lea Donofrio, Peyton Goodenbery, Ava Gray, Samuel Hersom, Ella Lewis, Jackson Lundfelt, Martin Mac Connell, Anna McLaughlin, Connor Moran, Meghan Muscarella, Adam Piper, Natalie Prinzi, Ashley Schlenker-Stephens, Olivia Senf, Trent Sheard, Roman Smith, Lily Stalica, James Starowitz, Rose Wilson, Mikayla Yohon.

HONOR ROLL -- Ryan Benstead, Isabelle Best, Zachary Brookhart, Jake Carlson, Noah Clare, Amber Cromey, Annabelle Erion, Jack Farner, Chesney Fregoe, Sophia Frongetta, Haylee Gartz, Aryan Klein, Eli Kupfer, Kasey Pagels, Ian Pulcini, Sydney Salmonds, Ruger Starowitz, Abigale West.

Grade 9

HIGH HONOR ROLL -- HannahRae Amador, Brody Baubie, Tyler Chapman, Grayson Erion, Gabrielle Graff, Makala Hoopengardner, Kaidance Kimble, Hanna Loewke, Colin Martin, Stephanie Onderdonk, Carter Prinzi, Victoria Rogoyski, Riley Sharpe, Malachi Smith, Gabriel Vallese.

HONOR ROLL -- Carlee Barons, Jeffrey Borycki, Chloe Gilbert, Autumn Hafner, Mackenzie Hagen, Callista Kinkelaar, Lincoln McGrath, Travis Shallenberger, Emma Starowitz, Connor Windhauser, Lydia Zaffrann.

Grade 10

HIGH HONOR ROLL -- Cassidy Ball, Jack Benstead, Jason Bleiler, David Brumsted, Dayanara Caballero, Cameron Carlson, Caris Carlson, Frank Hersom, Alec Kulikowski, Ryan Muscarella, Valerie Pastore, Kendall Phillips, Elizabeth Piper, Austin Salmonds, Brianna Salmonds, Emily Salmonds, Zoey Shepard, Matthew Tanner, Ava Wagoner, Lillian Walker, Leyna Wheeler, Hannah Wies.

HONOR ROLL -- Alyssa Ball, Hailey Canfield, Robert Gaylord, Alexandria Schuck, Sydney Zastrocky, Nicholas Zwerka.

Grade 11

HIGH HONOR ROLL -- Madison Burke, Caleb Calhoun, Caleb Carlson, Aidan Clark, Leanna Curts, Makenzie Eccleston, Connor Gale, Grace Huhn, Brooke Jarkiewicz, Danyel Nowatchik, Madelynn Pimm, Mikaylah Pocock, Elli Schelemanow, Sasha Schramm, Aleigha Shallenberger, Grace Shepard, Alayna Streeter, Ella VanValkenburg, Alexandra Vurraro, Ashley Weit, Kaitlyn Windhauser, Kaitlyn Zastrocky, Corden Zimmerman.

HONOR ROLL -- Corin Abdella, Jared Barnum, Rachel Best, Camryn Brookhart, Sadie Cook, Alexander Donnelly, Christian Haller, Meghan Kendall, Molly Simms.

Grade 12

HIGH HONOR ROLL -- Nicholas Baubie, Carleigh Buell, Hallie Calhoun, Jonah Clare, Tylor Coats, Richard Denson, Veronica Duell, Joshua Fleming, Eden Goff, Sara Goodman, Jonathan Hahn, Devon Heick, Hope Hersom, Kelly Ireland, Trebor Johnston, Carli Kirkwood, Colby Leggo, Logan Lewis, Julia Pangrazio, Andrew Parnapy, Bryanne Puma, Matthew Rada, Alaura Rehwaldt, Skylar Sharpe, Mason Singer, Deacon Smith, Sarah Streeter, Amanda Stutzman, Joshua Swapceinski, Xavier Thomas, Devon Zinter.

HONOR ROLL -- Bianca Brumsted, Zoey Chambry, Jay Doyle, Matthew Gonyea, Mitchell Gonyea, Jaden Pocock, Julia Schlenker-Stephens.

*(Editor's Note: This post was updated on Feb. 1, 2021 to correct three mistakes in the original publication on Dec. 1, 2020 of the first quarter Honor Roll listings. The following corrections for Grade 7 are now reflected in this post: Logan Czachorowski achieved High Honor Roll; Kayden Crocker and Pearl Jolliff both earned Honor Roll. "These students' names were absent from the district's original publication due to a data input error and "the District congratulates them on their hard work and academic dedication.")

November 13, 2020 - 12:11pm

Press release:

Genesee Community College's BEST Center (Business Employee Skills Training) has been awarded the New York College Apprenticeship Network (NYCAN) grant. The award is perfectly timed with the celebration of the U.S. Department of Labor's sixth annual National Apprenticeship Week which runs November 8 to 14, 2020.

The NYCAN grant which totals $15,000 is a result of a partnership between The State University of New York (SUNY) and the New York State Department of Labor and is designed to focus on advanced manufacturing.

"As the BEST Center's primary focus is employee development and skills training, we are highly attuned to the workforce needs of our communities," said Director of the BEST Center John McGowan, Ph.D. "The programs we offer are specifically designed to grow highly skilled and employable personnel to ensure the economic health of our region."

Genesee Community College's BEST Center has begun to engage small, medium, and large employers to secure paid apprenticeships in high demand, competitive wage occupations throughout Genesee, Livingston, Orleans, and Wyoming counties, and -- through online capabilities -- far beyond!

"The NYCAN grant allows us to support employers with Registered Apprenticeship programs, as well as assist current and future Registered Apprentices," McGowan said.

New York State has provided $9 million of funding for SUNY community colleges, to create one of the largest statewide public/private partnership apprenticeship programs in the country.

At Genesee Community College, the BEST Center's programs house the expertise and support that identify workforce needs, determine skills gaps, and engage employer sponsors to expand apprenticeships throughout the Genesee, Livingston, Orleans, and Wyoming counties, and far beyond.

The SUNY Apprenticeship Program will assist in developing 2,000 pre-apprentices and Registered Apprentices over four to six-years in advanced manufacturing, healthcare, information technology/cybersecurity/ artificial intelligence and more.

Subscribe to



Copyright © 2008-2020 The Batavian. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service

blue button