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Genesee Valley Education Parntership

January 9, 2020 - 9:10am

sch_bowl_1.jpg

In the eyes of Cathy Preston, moderator of the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership-sponsored “Scholastic Bowl,” recognizing students for their academic ability is much more than a trivial pursuit.

Preston facilitated the questions and answers on Wednesday night as the high school competition opened its 32nd year at the television studio located in the Conable Technology Building at Genesee Community College.

She said that the opportunity to play a role in elevating students who place a high priority on learning has kept her motivated to continue with the show for a 17th season.

“I like to see kids who maybe aren’t athletically gifted also have a chance to challenge themselves and be in a competition,” said Preston, who was a contestant on the nationally syndicated “Jeopardy” show in 2003 (when she finished in second place). “Far too often, high school sports get all the attention – there’s nothing wrong with that – but it’s nice to see academically gifted students also have a way to compete and (receive some publicity).”

Preston, also a Scholastic Bowl alumna, said that 12 area high schools will be participating over the next seven weeks – 19 regular-season matches in all with semifinals and finals scheduled for Feb. 26 and Feb. 27, respectively.

“There are three or four students per team, depending upon the night,” she said, noting that on opening night each of the three competing schools had three players.

Last night’s contests featured Batavia, Pembroke and Alden in the first match and Notre Dame, Pavilion, Alexander and Elba in the second match.

All the matches are streamed and downloaded live via GCC’s website and also can be viewed later on the GVEP (formerly BOCES) website, Preston said.

During the competition, a viewing room is set up down the hall in the Conable Technology Building for family and friends.

Each show consists of three rounds, Preston said.

“The first and third rounds are random questions, and the second round – the lightning round -- is 10 questions in a given category and each school has 60 seconds to answer those 10 questions,” she said.

Determining who “buzzed in” first is judged by Preston’s sister-in-law, Kathy Jursted, who also has been part of the program for the past 17 years.

“The students buzz in and I’ll call out their school name and then individual’s name -- and then they will answer the question,” Jursted said, adding that questions are provided by GVEP staff. Question topics include subjects taught in school plus some pop culture – arts and music, for example – sprinkled in.

Other high schools in the mix this year are Byron-Bergen, Attica, Le Roy, Akron and Oakfield-Alabama.

Batavia and Alexander got off to a fast start last night with Batavia amassing 230 points to outdistance Pembroke (180) and Alden (120) in the opening match and Alexander rolling up 300 points to defeat Notre Dame (90), Pavilion (90) and Elba (40) in the second match. The tiebreaker for second place went to Notre Dame.

Competition continues over the next six Wednesdays and Thursdays with the first match set for 6 p.m.

Just one match is slated for tonight, with Akron, Attica, Le Roy and Oakfield-Alabama putting their collective knowledge to the test.

Photo at top -- The Scholastic Bowl kicked off its 32nd year on Wednesday night at Genesee Community College. Taking part in the first match are, from left, representing Batavia, Nico Mirabal, Erik Kessler and Kathryn Fitzpatrick (seated) and advisor Bob Mullen and Sophie Beckman (standing); representing Pembroke, Hannah Clark, Maggie Johnson and Jack Crandall (seated) and advisor Vinny Lazzara; moderator Cathy Preston and judge Kathy Jursted; representing Alden, Michael Frisicaro, Charles Freeman and Kristina Wilson (seated) and advisor Renee Mertz and Peter Tolsma (standing). Photo by Mike Pettinella.

March 29, 2016 - 10:41am

Press release:

The School Library System (SLS), a program of the Le Roy-based Genesee Valley Educational Partnership (the Partnership) was awarded a three-year, $150,000 New York State learning technologies grant. The first year of the grant will be implemented at Batavia Middle School.

The GAME Tech Project (Genesee Advancing Mathematics and English Language Arts with Technology) will increase student academic achievement as measured by New York State assessments in Mathematics and English Language Arts by providing opportunities for students to engage in learning content through technology in a way that is meaningful and authentic, enabling students to solve problems and be creative.

SLS staff will focus on the underlying skills of computational thinking to prepare students and teachers for success in computer programming and other STEM work. SLS staff will provide professional development opportunities to improve student performance through integration of learning technologies in classrooms and school library media centers. In subsequent years, the grant will be expanded to include all Partnership component school districts.

Over the next three years, the SLS staff will work with member librarians and teachers in elementary and middle schools to implement a program of technology professional development and classroom implementation built around analog play for digital success. These kits will include LightUp and Little Bits sets for circuit design and electronics problem solving; games and other resources for computer programming, LEGO WeDo and Mindstorms kits for robotics development; and audio and video kits for media production. By starting with analog resources like games and toys, SLS staff will help teachers build confidence and comfort within STEM fields. 

“The Partnership is excited to be able to expand offerings to our component schools districts through the Game Tech Grant. The focus will be on preparing students to be creative and possess analytical, problem solving and communication skills. Game design, engineering, manufacturing, electronics and design tech are career fields aligned with the scope of the work,” said Julie Donlon, Assistant Superintendent for Instruction and School Improvement.

The Partnership SLS is uniquely suited to implement the GAME Tech project given their long history of working with games as curriculum aligned instructional resources. The SLS Game Library, launched in 2007, is the largest K-12 aligned library of games in the country. Christopher Harris, director of the Partnership SLS, will be the principal investigator working alongside Library/Technology specialists Brian Mayer from the Game Library and Liesl Toates, who coordinates technology professional development and the Media Library. 

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The School Library System and Distance Learning Service are programs of the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership. The Partnership operates as a Board of Cooperative Educational Services offering shared programs and services to 22 component school districts located in Genesee, Wyoming, Livingston and Steuben counties in New York State.

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