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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

June 16, 2019 - 2:00pm

From Young Audiences of WNY:

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

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

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

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

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

Applications can be found here.

To learn more about APL, click here.

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


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

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

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

You might call it a win-win-win.

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In other action, the Board:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

June 9, 2019 - 5:54pm
posted by Billie Owens in GCC, chancellor's award, news, education, Milestones.

GCC's 2019 SUNY Chancellor's Award winners -- Front row, from left: Derek Maxfield, Kristen Mruk, John Molyneaux, Maureen Goodsell. Back row, from left: JoNelle Toriseva, Lori Kubik, Kathleen Kimber.

Submitted photo and press release:

As Genesee Community College celebrated an all-encompassing and momentous commencement weekend for its students last month, the College administration, staff and faculty took a few hours to acknowledge and celebrate each other's accomplishments and dedication that go "beyond expectations."

"In the spirit of commencement & the hard work of our students, GCC recognizes the dedication of our faculty and staff who go beyond expectations in helping our students succeed," said GCC President James Sunser. "And so, for a few hours, we close non-essential offices and celebrate our successes as a team."

Perhaps the most prestigious honors recognized at this ceremony were the 2019 State University of New York (SUNY) Chancellor's Awards for Excellence bestowed upon seven of GCC's finest.

  • Receiving the SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Faculty Service, which recognizes consistently superior service contributions of teaching faculty over multiple years, was Professor of Spanish, Kathleen A. Kimber. Kimber became a member of GCC's faculty in 1997 and immediately got directly involved with the campus and community. Regularly using her Spanish fluency, Kimber goes above and beyond her duties as a professor to assist in translations, donating countless hours over the years. On multiple occasions, she has served as a medical translator in Honduras -- an experience Kimber shares in the classroom providing real-life learning opportunities to her students. Kimber has chaired and co-chaired many initiatives on campus, collaborated and contributed to grant writing opportunities and campus governance topics, student and faculty mentoring relationships, consistently and clearly demonstrating her commitment to service. Kimber was also the recipient of a SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities in 2011 and for Excellence in Teaching in 2004. Kimber earned her Graduate Certificate in Educational Technology Integration from Pennsylvania State University Online, her M.A. from Indiana University, and her B.A. in Spanish from SUNY Potsdam. Kimber resides in Naples.
  • Recognizing consistently superior professional achievement, the SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Professional Service was awarded to Student Activities Specialist, Kristen E. Mruk. Mruk, of Lancaster, joined the GCC professional services team in 2013 and since then has completely transformed GCC's Leadership Certificate Program into an online program making it more accessible and relevant to today's students. Additionally, Mruk revised the Student Orientation process to improve new student experiences, and has supported students transition to college through supplemental online programs and working closely with GCC's six campus centers. All of these efforts and Mruk's countless hours analyzing data, collaborating with colleagues and implementing new tools have allowed her to execute ideas to improve student participation and satisfaction. She is also actively involved with the Association of College Unions International (ACUI), the College Student Personnel Association of New York State (CSPA-NYS) currently serving as its President Elect, and has been serving as a volunteer with SABAH (Spirited Athletes Bold at Heart) in Buffalo for 20 years. Mruk earned her M.S. in College Student Personnel Administration from Canisius College and her B.A. in Communication from SUNY Buffalo.
  • For Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities, Director of Humanities JoNelle R. Toriseva received a SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence. Toriseva's passion for scholarship and creativity have been evident through all she has accomplished since joining GCC in 2011. The highlight of Toriseva's career so far was her work in spearheading the development of GCC's Scholarship Symposium. Now an annual signature event for the College, it not only presents the accomplishments of our students and employees by demonstrating and celebrating their creative achievements, but it supports and encourages a culture of research, academic excellence, and innovation as well. Toriseva has presented at various national, state, and local conferences and published award-winning writing. She brings to the classroom a lifetime of interesting accomplishments and experiences and continues to research and develop collaborative efforts within the college and local community to enhance scholarship and creativity opportunities for all. Toriseva received her M.F.A. in English, Creative Writing from Mills College, her M.A. in English and her B.S. in Spanish Education from Bemidji State University, and her B.A. in Spanish & Speech Communication from Concordia College. Toriseva resides in Rochester.
  • Receiving the SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching, which recognizes consistently superior teaching at the graduate, undergraduate, or professional level of the highest quality was Associate Professor of History Derek D. Maxfield. Since his hire in 2009, Maxfield has been actively involved in GCC's campus community and dedicated to providing students with an exceptional learning experience. Described by many as a gifted storyteller, Maxfield has a way of reaching students in the classroom that is memorable. He incorporates applied learning, which gets his students beyond the classroom and experiencing the preservation of history on the ground, has created unique and engaging assignments, created new courses, and coordinates the GCC History Club's Historical Horizons Lecture Series. Maxfield's first book, "Hellmira: The Union's Most Infamous POW Camp of the Civil War" is being published this fall. Maxfield holds an M.A. in History from Villanova University and a B.A. in History from SUNY Cortland. He currently resides in Churchville.
  • The SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Adjunct Teaching recognizes consistently superior teaching at the graduate, undergraduate or professional level of the highest quality. Receiving this award were adjunct instructors Lori E. Kubik and John R. Molyneux.

Kubik, who lives in Attica, has been a member of GCC's adjunct faculty since 2012 teaching several Grammar and English courses. In addition, she has been teaching in GCC's Advanced Learning Program since its inception in 2015. Kubik creates and uses various educational techniques to ensure she reaches all students' learning styles. Kubik is not only known for her unique ways to engage students, but also for her dedication to go above and beyond her duties as an adjunct teacher. Her breadth of knowledge, commitment to intellectual rigor dazzles students and faculty alike. It is very evident by all she does that she is truly invested in our college, community, and most importantly, our students. Kubik earned her M.S. and B.A. in Secondary English Education from the State University College at Buffalo.

Molyneux has been a member of GCC's adjunct faculty since 2002 and has taught a variety of courses in English, Literature and Speech. He is a veteran teacher with almost 50 years of teaching experience and is well known for his ability to connect with students. Molyneux is creative, innovative and passionate about educating. His dedication and motivation is an inspiration for all who cross his path. Molyneux is an exceptional instructor who is dedicated to bringing literacy instruction from the library to the classroom and beyond. As a result, his class offerings are in high demand. Molyneux holds a B.A. in English from St. Francis University. He currently resides in Henrietta.

  • The final SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence was presented to Maureen P. Goodsell, Admissions Data Entry Operator for Excellence in Classified Service. This award is a system-level award established to give recognition for superior performance and extraordinary achievement by employees in the Classified Service. These awards demonstrate SUNY's commitment to individuals who provide superior service to its students and the community at large. Maureen came to GCC in 1999 and has been dedicated to mastering her role and has accomplished a great deal of work beyond the outline of her position description. Goodsell is a wealth of knowledge, a valuable resource for students and staff, and possess extraordinary customer service skills. She is a creative thinker, always flexible with the ever-changing times, and enthusiastic about all she does. Goodsell continually strives to fulfill and exceed all the expectations of her position in an effort to better herself and GCC. She is a role model when it comes to work ethic and a great leader. Goodsell earned her A.A.S in Business Administration from Genesee Community College. She currently resides in Batavia.

The entire employee celebration also included longevity service awards for employees having served GCC for up to 30 years as well as the College's own unique award category, the Cougar Awards, for which recipients are nominated by fellow employees.

"This was our second annual celebration and I'm already hearing reports of some of the amazing work we will be celebrating next year!" President Sunser said, "There is a lot to celebrate here at GCC."

June 7, 2019 - 6:54pm

Elizabeth Mundell was not pleased to find out her daughter will ride the school bus four times each day next year. And she let a reporter from The Batavian know it in no uncertain terms at the Byron-Bergen Jr./Sr. High School on Thursday night.

Her sixth-grader will take the bus to Byron-Bergen Elementary, then go to the high school, back to the elementary school again, and head home after that.

Mundell worries her daughter and other sixth-grade students will be missing valuable learning due to extra transportation time.

The reason for all the busing back-and-forth? To accommodate the ongoing $20.5 million Capital Improvement Project, which began last summer and concludes next year.

The project is largely state-funded, and it aims to increase long-term school safety, energy efficiency and educational opportunities for students.

Yet in the short-term, until it is completed, sixth-graders will apparently bear the brunt of the transitions prompted by it.

Mundell, along with other parents, only recently received information about changes to sixth-graders' schedules for the upcoming academic year.

The central focus of the project is the elementary school classrooms.

For the past half century, since the summer NASA astronauts landed on the moon, they have not been updated to meet the NYS Education Department’s codes and regulations.

The sheer scope of the long-overdue renovations means they'll still be at it once school resumes in the fall.

As a result, it is the sixth-grade classrooms that will be relocated to the Jr./Sr. High School for the 2019–20 academic year.

Sixth-graders will be shuttled about between the elementary and high schools for different classes and activities at the beginning and end of each day.

Parents are learning more details about the poor conditions that necessitated the project as it moves along.

Classrooms were significantly smaller than the recommended size. According to an informational handout produced by the district, students have been receiving instruction in cramped spaces as narrow as closets and hallways.

Other district-wide improvements will include fire alarm and kitchen equipment replacements, removal of deadly asbestos, roof repair and ADA-compliant toilet facilities that will be wide enough for children's wheelchairs to access them for the first time. (The Americans with Disabilities Act was passed in 1990.)

The Capital Building Project was voted down on March 31, 2017, and did not receive enough support until the next vote on Sept. 21, 2017.

But many parents now say they were poorly informed about how the capital improvements, though badly needed, would impact their children's schedule when they cast their votes.

“We’ve been given so little information about what else was explored,” Mundell said. “Personally, I never would have voted for this capital project if I had known it would mean kids spending a year being bused back and forth.”

Parents also wonder if all the time spent on the road will interfere with daily instruction in classrooms.

Mundell said sixth-grade students may not be emotionally prepared for the turbulent schedule, and changes in learning environments may be particularly difficult for students with special needs.

“I recognize this is an easy solution, it’s convenient,” Mundell said. “I just don’t feel it’s in the best interest of these kids.”

In the midst of the changes, Jr./Sr. High School Principal Pat McGee and Assistant Principal Scott Bradley said sixth-grade supervision and administrative responsibilities will remain the same. Sixth-graders will be accompanied by teacher aides throughout each transition period, and students and teachers will still follow the elementary schedule.

In reference to the temporary, separate sixth-grade wing at the high school, McGee said, “What’s nice about that is it does keep them out of the way, they’re not caught up in the middle of the junior high area. They’re away from most of the high school activities.”

Mundell said parents seek more communication and transparency from the school board, administration and families.

School administrators intend to discuss the project with parents, answer questions and receive feedback before the next Board of Education meeting on Thursday, June 20.

June 5, 2019 - 4:58pm
posted by Lauren Leone in batavia city school district, education, news.

The Batavia City School District Board of Education addressed concerns about the new Latin graduation system and provided more information about how students can qualify for laude designations at its Tuesday meeting.

High School Principal Paul Kesler and Counselor Kelly Garner presented information on class ranking.

They recently received input from families about the district’s implementation of a Latin graduation system. Based on the responses, there is overwhelming support among parents for this college-style honor system.

The Latin system will begin with the Class of 2023. Instead of announcing a valedictorian or salutatorian, the top students in the graduating class will earn designations of: cum laude -- "with distinction"; magna cum laude -- "with great distinction"; and summa cum laude -- "with highest distinction."

These are determined by students’ cumulative grade-point averages and the number of Advanced Placement and dual-enrollment college classes students take.

On Tuesday, Garner answered families’ questions about whether students in Genesee Valley Educational Partnership programs were eligible for the higher-level designations.

She said although GVEP students spend a portion of their school days at alternate locations, their schedules also allow them to enroll in AP and college classes at the high school campus.

In addition, Garner said that since those students already receive college credits through their technical education studies, they can easily apply those credits toward the Latin-style honors.

Therefore, students with nontraditional schedules can enjoy the benefits of their hard work and dedication to academics.

Kesler said, “I know that our staff is really looking forward to possibly going with this so we can honor more students moving forward.”

Board members praised the new class ranking system because more students will gain recognition for their achievements without an overly competitive learning environment.

Later in the meeting, Marco Morascio provided updates on the 2020 Vision Capital Project, which is 47-percent complete with 40 issues recorded.

Change orders total $345,000, and more than $1 million remains in the contingency budget.

The presentation included progress reports for VanDetta Stadium, Robert Morris and Richmond Memorial Library. Renovations are occurring district-wide in classrooms, restrooms, lockers, auditoriums, storage areas and more.

Afterward, Business Administrator Scott Rozanski spoke about the district’s financial summary reports.

In comparison to April 2018, revenue has decreased by $805,000 due to a drop in state and federal aid and the property tax levy, as well as debt service and miscellaneous spending. Rozanski said expenditures are down $672,000 from last year due to savings on employee benefits and bond interest payments.

In his nutritional services update, Rozanski said the district is exceeding 15-percent growth from lunch sales and has profited $11,000 overall. Meals per labor hour are lower than anticipated at the high school and John Kennedy Elementary School, and a la carte sales are down $23,000. In order to offset those costs, the Administration Office is working to adjust food inventory.

“It’s a good thing because our students aren’t buying all of the a la carte items,” Rozanski said. “However, it is negatively affecting the financial operations by that amount. But, our students are getting a full meal and not needing to buy that extra food.”

The board’s agenda also highlighted a contract between the City of Batavia Youth Bureau and the school district.

According to an inter-municipal agreement, the district will occupy the youth bureau’s former location at 12 MacArthur Drive in Batavia starting Sept. 1 of this year until Aug. 31, 2024. The district intends to use the 2,000-square-foot facility as an office or storage space.

The document also provided more details about the district’s transportation service to Teen City at St. Anthony’s A City Church. During the 2019–20 academic year, the district will cover costs associated with busing students ages 9–16 from John Kennedy and the middle and high schools to Teen City. The district will offer one late bus to Teen City that runs daily from 3:15 to 3:30 p.m.

A goal of the new Teen City location is to prepare students to excel in their academics at the high school level. In the agreement, the youth bureau said the transportation provided by the district is “a great collaboration with the school district and demonstrates their investment to the success of Teen City.”

The next BCSD Board of Education meeting will occur at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 18 in the District Administration Conference Room.

June 5, 2019 - 9:45am
posted by Steve Ognibene in Batavia CTE Center, education, news.


More than 150 students from the Genesee Region schools celebrated their Senior Recognition and Awards Ceremony last evening at Le Roy Senior High School from the Career and the Technical Education Center, Batavia Campus.

Thirteen students will be going into various military duties and continuing their education.

Certificates were distributed to students who completed course requirements in Animal Sciences, Building, Auto and Metal Trades, Conservation, Cosmetology, Criminal Justice, Culinary and Graphic arts, Health careers and much more. 

Special awards for perfect attendance, student of the year and monetary scholarships were presented.

To view or purchase photos, click here.




June 4, 2019 - 11:32pm
Video Sponsor

Students at Batavia Middle School made their annual civil rights presentations today for fellow students, teachers and parents.

June 3, 2019 - 2:36pm

Press release:

The Batavia City School District (BCSD) is excited to continue offering the Universal Pre-Kindergarten (UPK) Program for young students in the 2019-2020 school year.

UPK provides an opportunity for four-year-old children, at no cost to their families, to be involved in developmentally appropriate educational classes that, following the regular school calendar, meet Monday through Friday during the school year.

Since its implementation, the District has provided a half-day program, with a choice of either morning or afternoon sessions.

Children who are residents of the District and who are 4 years of age on or before Dec. 1, 2019, are eligible to apply.

Applications are available at the District Business Office in the administrative wing of Batavia High School (260 State St.). They also can be downloaded from the District’s website, www.bataviacsd.org, where, under the “Parents” tab, there is a link labeled “Registering Your Child For School.”

That page contains general information as well as a link, in the left column, specifically for UPK registration. (The direct link to UPK registration is here.)

The application should be returned as soon as possible to secure your child’s spot!

If you have questions about the UPK program please call the Curriculum and Instruction Office at 585-343-2480, ext. 1003.

May 31, 2019 - 2:07pm
posted by Billie Owens in Byron-Bergen Elementary School, education, news, STEAM.

Above, a student plays math game.

Submitted photos and press release:

Bergen -- Byron-Bergen Elementary School presented the inaugural STEAM Fair on Tuesday, May 21.

STEAM -- Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Mathematics -- students shared their accomplishments with their schoolmates and community. The fair was the culmination of months of learning, exploring and creativity.

“The most amazing thing about this event is how accomplished the work is,” said Byron-Bergen Elementary School Principal Brian Meister. “The students really take ownership of the day.

"They supervise the games that they have designed, present the science and art projects that they completed, and are truly proud of their achievements. We are all proud.”

During the school day, students enjoyed activities including yoga ball plinko. The classic game of chance transformed into a fully interactive, outdoor, relay race as students rolled yoga balls down a hill of bumper posts to try to earn the most points in a given time period.

While outside, students also learned how to reuse scavenged items to make new products like Big Head Boxes with visiting students from the Rochester Institute of Technology. Inside, students enjoyed face painting, math games, science project presentations, and a K-6 visual art exhibition.

In the evening, the fair opened to the public featuring many of the day’s activities in addition to interactive robot basketball, a robot golf course designed by Byron-Bergen students, and virtual reality field trips.

Photos by Gretchen Spittler.

Below, an RIT student demonstrates “Big Head Box.”

Below, a student shows artwork.

Below, students play yoga ball plinko.

May 30, 2019 - 7:04pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, GCC, education, Milestones, elba.

Submitted photo and press release:

The Genesee Community College announced that Timothy P. Tomczak has officially been appointed as the College's Dean of Human Communications and Behavior (HCB) effective July 1.

"Having served GCC in a number of capacities for more than three decades, starting as an instructor, then professor and then director, I am honored and excited to take this next step into the role of Dean of Human Communications and Behavior," Tomczak said.

"To be a resource that brings together quality teaching, learning and decision-making while focusing on students and their success is something I am truly passionate about."

Tomczak's history with GCC, which began in 1987, is full of honors and activities and speaks to his lifelong dedication to students, colleagues and the College's campus community.

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

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

Tomczak was a pioneer of the College's distance learning movement, first teaching "telecourses" and moving on to teach sections of psychology courses online. Tomczak was also one of the first full-time faculty members to teach in GCC's ACE program at the program's inception.

Most recently, Tomczak served GCC as a professor and director of Social Sciences. As such, Tomczak co-chaired a 32-member Steering Committee with GCC's Dean of Distributed Learning, Craig Lamb, Ph.D., to develop the College's new Strategic Plan, "Framing our Future."

The plan was approved by the College's Board of Trustees and now governs all seven campus locations, as well as GCC's Online Learning and ACE Programs, and helps guide developments at College Village through 2023.

In 2016 and 2017, Tomczak also co-chaired the Steering Committee for the Middle-States Accreditation self-study, a critical process that involved the whole campus.

Additionally, Tomczak has been serving as interim dean of HCB since 2018, and is helping guide a partnership with the University of Rochester and Nazareth College to develop a collaborative prison education program.

"Tim's leadership experience and his dedication to GCC have been evident in so many valuable projects across our campus," said Kathleen (Kate) Schiefen, Ph.D., provost & executive vice president for Academic Affairs.

"From his interaction with students in the classroom to his administrative responsibilities-he has been a strong asset to the College in many capacities. We are all excited for Tim to begin this next chapter with the Human Communications and Behavior team."

Tomczak's accomplished career has earned him a place in GCC's Recognition Matters series, which highlights the important achievements of the College's faculty, staff and students. Officials at GCC have embraced this series as a way to acknowledge and celebrate the high quality of the recognized individuals who demonstrate GCC's "beyond expectations" brand.

Tomczak holds a B.A. degree from Mercyhurst University in Pennsylvania and a M.A. degree from SUNY College at Geneseo and currently resides in Elba.

May 30, 2019 - 8:58am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, le roy hs, schools, education, viddeo.
Video Sponsor
May 28, 2019 - 4:52pm
posted by Billie Owens in Paolo Busti Scholarship, news, education, batavia.

Submitted photos and press release:

The Paolo Busti Cultural Foundation Annual Scholarship Dinner will be held at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, June 12th, at Terry Hills Restaurant in Batavia.

The Foundation welcomes eight candidates this year, seven from Genesee County schools and one from Wyoming County.

The family of Vincent Gautieri, also offers a scholarship for members of the Foundation, from Genesee County and outside the County.

Tickets for the scholarship dinner are available from Foundation board members, Ben's Appliances, and VJ Gautieri Constructors Inc., located at 45 Liberty St. in the City of Batavia.

Below are the 2019 Paolo Busti Cultural Foundation Scholarship candidates' photos and information.

Elizabeth Grace Cohen is presently attending Batavia Senior High School, and is the daughter of Richard Cohen and Jeanne Tehan Cohen.

Elizabeth is a member of the National Honor Society, and Tonawanda Valley Federal Credit Union Junior Banking.

In the fall, she will be attending SUNY Geneseo, majoring in Psychology, minoring in Special Education and Early Childhood Development. She has been recruited for the college track team.

Elizabeth has been on the honor roll all semesters for four consecutive years at Batavia High School.

She was awarded the Positive Referral Award for kindness to special needs students in 2018.

Elizabeth participated in BHS gymnastics 2013-2018. She received the Coaches Award in 2016. She participated in BHS indoor/ outdoor track 2013-2019, receiving the Most Improved Award 2015-1016. For 2016-2017 Elizabeth was awarded Athlete of the Year; for 2018-2019 she earned Most Valuable Athlete. She also participated in multiple team and individual events.

Elizabeth has volunteered for a variety of church events, the United Way's annual Make a Difference Day at local preschools, concession stands for sporting events, and fund-raising car washes.

Elizabeth says “values can be defined as one’s judgement of what is important in life,” and for her it’s her Italian American family.

Pierce Joseph Corbelli, son of Peter and Jennifer Corbelli, attends Batavia High School. Pierce plans on attending University of Buffalo to pursue a Mechanical Engineering degree.

Pierce has been a recipient of: BHS Blue Award; BHS Bronze Award; BHS Silver Award; Regents Chemistry Award for Outstanding Chemistry Grade; Rensselear Medal Award for four years; Merit Scholarship to RPI; and various Music Pins.

He participated in varsity ice hockey all four years of high school, was a “B” letter recipient, earned the Section V Division 3 Scholar Athlete Award, and participated in JV lacrosse, varsity lacrosse and Batavia Ramparts hockey.

Pierce’s musical talent consist of Batavia Marching Band, Jazz Ensemble, Barbershop vocal harmony singing, Brass Ensemble, All County Chorus, All County Jazz Ensemble, Vocal Solo Festival, Music Composition/Arrangement. Pierce also has participated in six school musicals.

Pierce’s community service includes Holland Land Office Museum Summer Program, and Try Hockey For Free Day at Falleti Ice Arena, which introduces the community to hockey.

Pierce’s believes that growing up in an Italian American Family, "you learn to value hard work and, above all, family."

Griffin Matthew Della Penna is attending Batavia High School. His parents are Matthew and Ellen Della Penna. He has been accepted at Canisius College in Buffalo, majoring in Journalism and Sports Broadcasting.

He is: the President of Student Government; President of National Honor Society; a member of Link Crew: Senior Leader to incoming Freshmen; Yearbook Senior Editor; and a member of Blue Zoo: Student Section Leader.

Griffin was awarded Scholar Athlete for three years, High Honor Roll all for four years, was Student of the Month, Homecoming Prince 2018 and King 2019, voted Most School Spirit, and Beauty and Brains in the BHS Senior Polls.

His athletic participation is baseball all for years, receiving Captain’s 1st Team Monroe County, Rotary Tournament MVP 2018, BHS football -- two years, basketball -- one year, and was Third Place in Mr. Batavian Competition his Senior Year.

Griffin belongs to Ascension Parish and works as a volunteer for many church events. Griffin has helped raise a considerable amount of money for the Michael Napoleone Memorial Foundation.

Griffin’s idea of Italian American is “it embodies having compassion for others and taking care of my community."

Addysen Di Matteo is the daughter of David and Ann Di Matteo. She currently attends Notre Dame High School.

She plans on attending Daemen College in Amherst to pursue a career in Physical Therapy.

She received the Religious Studies Highest Average Award in 2018, as well as Student of the Month.

Addysen has been involved in soccer and basketball as team captain, received the MVP and Rookie of the Year Award, as well as the Coach’s Award.

She is currently a teacher’s assistant in Religious Education classes.

From 2015 to present, she is involved in Special Olympics track and field.

Addysen is a volunteer in the Notre Dame High School Second Annual Dodge for a Cause, the proceeds from which are donated to Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

She values her Italian American heritage and attributes it to her family’s history, and all they endured in order to give her a better life.

Hannah Gaultieri attends Notre Dame High School. Michael and Deborah Gaultieri are Hanna’s parents. She will be attending Binghamton University in the fall for Mechanical Engineering.

Hannah has been Class Treasurer for four years, a member of National Honor Society, the Secretary of the Honor Society, Envirothon, Year Book Club and Mission Club at Notre Dame.

Hannah’s awards are many: Scholar Athlete for four years; Perfect Attendance; First Place Oral Presentation for State Championship in Envirothon 2017; Top 10 overall for State Championship in Envirothon; National Football Foundation Gold Scholar Athlete Award 2018; and RIT Computing Medal Award 2108.

Hannah participated in cheerleading, captain for four years, winter cheerleading, cross-country, outdoor track, indoor track. Receiving the Scholar Athlete award all four years. She acted and was dance choreographer for the school musical for three years.

Volunteering at Our Lady of Mercy for Fish Fries on Friday during Lent, Vacation Bible School, Special Olympics, fusion dance teacher assistant, participated in Living Station of the Cross and Shadow Stations during Lent and decorated Our Lady of Mercy Church for Christmas.

Hannah believes “the history of our ancestors creates a guideline for us to live by.”

Spencer Dominic Misiti is the son of Vincent and Margie Misiti. He currently attends Notre Dame High School.

He plans to attend Canisius College to study Marketing and Finance.

Spencer has been a Scholar-Athlete throughout high school in football, basketball and baseball.

He was awarded the Elmira College Key Award for Academic Excellence. He also received the Notre Dame High School Faculty and Staff Award for academic and character excellence.

Spencer volunteers at St. Joseph School officiating games and keeping the scoreboard. He has also helped officiate youth flag football games.

He has stated the history of his Italian family is significant to him by being raised to follow Catholic values and to always put family first.

Anna Marie O’Geen is the daughter of Donald and Deborah O’Geen. She is currently attending Warsaw High School in Wyoming County.

She plans to attend Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pa., where she will major in Intelligence Studies and minor in Cybersecurity.

She was awarded Student of the Month for Genesee Valley BOCES in 2018. She has been a High Honor Roll student her entire school career.

Anna Marie has been involved in soccer, volleyball, basketball, softball and band. She also volunteers as youth basketball and softball coach, Perry Rotary Club, and St. Michael Church.

She attributes her love and appreciation of being an Italian American to her large family and the precious traditions they continue to pass down to her.

Jadan Torcello is the daughter of Jacob and Danielle Torcello. She attends Batavia High School.

She plans on attending University of Buffalo, majoring in Political Science and to pursue a law degree.

She is a member of the National Honor Society as well as the National Art Society.

Jadan is President of the Model United Nations. She is involved in Genesee County Youth Court. In 2019, she received the Youth Recognition Award.

Jadan is senior captain of the varsity tennis team and also participated in track and field, Z-Club (Zonta Club) activities, elementary school activities, Genesee County Nursing Home and The Salvation Army.

She believes being surrounded by her Italian American family has taught her inherent core principles in life.

May 24, 2019 - 9:06pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in BOCES, Batavia CTE, news, schools, education.


(Above, Hannah Tiede, Batavia, with instructor Bob Yates, and her new boss, Darryl Horzempa, of Stan's Harley-Davidson, where she interned and will work after graduation, and her parents, Meghan and Rich Tiede.)

When sports stars sign letters of intent to attend a university, the schools' athletic directors invite the media to cover the letter-of-intent signing but students moving onto careers rarely get the same attention.

Batavia CTE/BOCES corrected that oversight earlier this week by holding its first-ever signing day with three students who graduate this spring with jobs in their chosen careers already in place.

"As many of you know, we’re at a critical shortage of skilled workers these days," said Principal Jon Sanfratello. "There are many different avenues that kids have today, whether it’s going through school onto college or technical school or straight out into the workforce.

"And so we try to provide those opportunities for kids each and every day, so we have three great stories of these hard-working seniors who are going to go straight out into the workforce."

Hannah Teide, of Batavia, will be working at Stan’s Harley-Davidson in Batavia.

"When she first started coming into our shop I thought she was already friends with all of our employees," Horzempa said. "I thought if she's that enthusiastic about working in our shop, maybe I should give her a try and she's been that enthusiastic ever since."


(Above, from left are Todd Sloat, his parents, Rebecca and Richard Day, Bob Yates, and Jon Sanfratello.)

Jake Day signed with Sloat Tire. 

"Jacob approached and said he would like to stay and we were already thinking, 'what are you doing this summer?' " said Todd Sloat, owner of Sloat Tire, and a former BOCES student himself. "It worked out that we asked him to stay. It worked out and that's why we're here today."


(Above Jenna Montgomery signs with The Exchange in Attica with her are, from left: Renee Ackert, owner of The Exchange; Jenna’s father, Jim Montgomery; Jon Sanfratello; Jenna’s mother, Bethany Montgomery; and cosmetology teacher Mary Beswick.)

Jenna Montgomery signed with The Exchange in Attica. Beswick said what turned Montgomery around was a student was her internship at The Exchange, where she really started to shine and that carried over into her course work.

"She's so talented in what she loves to do," Ackert said. "She's fit in wonderfully at the salon."

May 22, 2019 - 9:51am
posted by Howard B. Owens in schools, education, news.

Batavia City School District

Budget passes 378 to 172.

Two trustees elected: Peter Cecere, 452 votes; and John Marucci, 421.

Le Roy Central School District

  • Prop. 1, district budget, passes 338 to 70
  • Prop. 2, capital reserve fund, passes 348 to 122
  • Prop. 3, transportation policy, passes 360 to 108
  • Prop. 4, library budget, passes 368 to 40

Three candidates won school board seats. Denise Duthe and Peter Loftus won three-year terms with 337 and 330 votes each; Christine Dowell wins a two-year term with 295 votes. Write-in votes: Bruno DeFazio, Jeff Gephart, Walter McBurney, Stan Barringer, William S. Jaszcz, Darcy Porter and Bob Dawley.

Tracy Mortorana won a seat on the Woodward Memorial Library Board of Trustees. Stephanie Ball and John Wilson received write-in votes.

Byron-Bergen Central School District

  • Prop. 1, district budget, passes 285 to 107
  • Prop. 2, bus purchase, passes 293 to 90
  • Prop. 4, capital reserve, passes 282 to 103
  • Prop. 4, school Vehicle reserve, passes 277 to 106

Three board members elected: Kimberly Carlson, 328 votes, Yvonne Ace-Wagoner, 314, Jennifer VanValkenberg, 331.

Pavilion Central School District

District budget passes 117 votes to 20.

Two candidates elected to the school board, Kevin Stefan, 121 votes; and Becky Dziekan, 117.

Alexander Central School District

  • Prop. 1, district budget, passes 136 to 46
  • Prop. 2, bus purchases, passes 134 to 49
  • Prop. 3, capital reserve fund, passes 128 to 55
  • Prop. 4, capital reserve fund, passes 127 to 54
  • Prop. 5, school bus reserve fund, passes 129 to 52

Brian Paris is reelected to the school board with 145 votes. There were eight write-in votes.

Elba Central School District 

  • Prop. 1, district budget, passes 137 to 30
  • Prop. 2, school bus purchase, passes 132 to 34
  • Prop. 3, capital projects, passes 132 to 33

Trisha Werth and Michael Zuber were elected to the Board of Trustees. Dean Norton was elected to finish an unexpired term of a board member who resigned.

Oakfield-Alabama Central School District

District budget passes 169 to 25.

Board members elected: Matthew Lamb, with 172 votes; and Justin Staebell, 166.

UPDATED 1:53 p.m.: The results from Pembroke Central School District are listed below.

Pembroke Central School District

Pembroke CSD budget passes 378 to 107.

  • Authorization to purchase school buses, passes 381 Yes to 98 No
Board members elected to five-year terms are: Samantha Ianni -- 86 Votes (18 percent); Jeanna Strassburg -- 145 voted (31 percent); Arthur Ianni -- 239 Votes  (51 percent).
May 21, 2019 - 1:45pm

Press release:

Registration is underway for the 2019 Genesee County Business/Education Alliance (BEA) Summer Career Exploration Camps. This summer’s camps will provide more than 150 middle school students (grades six through nine) the opportunity to experience professions in six different industries like culinary arts, skilled trades, animal sciences, medicine, and engineering.

The cost for families to send a child to the BEA’s fun and hands-on weeklong camps is $95 per camper. The fee includes water bottle and a T-shirt (scrubs for Medical Camp, which is $75 per student).

(Due to rising food costs and number of camper food allergies, the BEA no longer provides lunches. Campers participating in full-day camps are asked to bring a packed lunch daily. The BEA will provide coolers/refrigerator to store lunches until lunch time.)

2019 Camps still available are:

  • Animal Science/Vet Camp -- July 8-12 -- 9 a.m. to noon
  • M.S.T. Camp (Math/Science/Technology) -- July 15-19 -- 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
  • Medical Camp -- July 22-24 -- 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Camp Hard Hat -- July 29-Aug. 2 -- 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

[​SOLD OUT!--Waiting List Only: All About Dogs --  -- July 8-12 -- 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. /  Global Eats Culinary Camp -- July 8-12 -- 12:30 to 3:30 p.m.]

The BEA actively solicits sponsorships from businesses to provide full camp scholarships for low-income students.

The BEA is proud to announce its partnership with NextEra Energy Resources, a clean energy company that is currently developing a solar energy project in Byron.

NextEra Energy Resources has donated $950 to M.S.T. Camp, which is designed to teach science, technology, engineering, and mathematics to students in a fun and engaging way. Thanks to NextEra Energy's generosity, 10 low-income students will have the opportunity to attend M.S.T. Camp at no cost and learn about and problem solve real-life issues.

“We are so excited to welcome NextEra Energy as a committed partner for this summer season,” says M.S.T. Camp instructor Bob Hollwedel. “We appreciate their dedication through their financial support and also the great opportunity each student will receive as they gain some insight into how NextEra Energy is addressing green energy.”

For more information on M.S.T. Camp and all of the 2019 BEA Summer Career Exploration Camps and to register click here, or contact BEA Director Karyn Winters at [email protected] or call (585) 343-7440.

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