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John Kennedy School

May 9, 2017 - 2:32pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Mr. Eco, John Kennedy School, schools, education, news, GCEDC.


With song and dance, Mr. Eco entertained students at John Kennedy School this morning, providing lessons along the way about the importance of maintaining a clean and healthy environment.

The event was sponsored by the Building Technologies Division at Siemens and hosted in conjunction with the fourth-grade innovators' STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) programming at John Kennedy School and the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC).

Mr. Eco uses hip-hop, sing-along, dance and between-song patter to emphasize the active role people play in creating a sustainable environment, decreasing energy usage, increasing recycling, and working to keep communities free of litter. He has performed for more than 135,000 children across the United States, Canada, Turkey, South Africa, Colombia, St. Lucia, Taiwan and Hong Kong.










March 24, 2017 - 1:00pm


As part of Ag Literacy Week, Assemblyman Steve Hawley was at John Kennedy School this morning to read to a group of students from a children's book about a grape farmer.



January 3, 2017 - 9:02am
posted by Howard B. Owens in John Kennedy School, schools, education, news.


December was Kindness Month at John Kennedy School and throughout the month, the "Kindness Elf" went around spreading kindness. Just before Christmas, the Elf helped arrange a visit by members of the Batavia FD and Batavia PD.

The firefighters and police officers shared cookies with the second-grade class of Mrs. Marsh and Mrs. Lebeau. The teachers then helped the students write thank you notes to the police and fire departments. The students not only thanked them for coming to the school but thanked them for all they do on a daily basis to help our community and to keep us safe.

Photo and info submitted by Courtney Marsh.

November 16, 2016 - 4:14pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in John Kennedy School, schools, education, batavia, City Schools, news.


It's full steam ahead for academics at John Kennedy School, according to Principal Paul Kesler, who delivered a progress report to the Batavia City Schools board at Tuesday night's meeting.

On standardized testing, John Kennedy students are outpacing their peers in other districts, Kesler said.

Kesler completed a comparison of third- and fourth-grade students among 16 similar-sized cities and JK's third-graders have the highest English Language Arts scores and second highest in math. For fourth-graders, they rank third and fourth in ELA and math.

"As you can see from the pattern," Kesler said standing in front of a bar chart, "there's really a straight line year after year in terms of small cities."

The third-grade class is the first to pass through the district since the realignment of schools before their kindergarten year.

Kesler also compared JK results with the 22 other districts in the region and JK students are in the 80th percentile in ELA and 90th in math.

On another math test, 35 percent of the students tested at level 4, which Kesler said was impressive.

"I'm really proud of that because now it's no longer just our top A students who performing at that high level," Kesler said. "It's really all of our students are moving along."

Kesler, who is in his 12th year at the school, praised the work of the school's staff and thanked the district board for helping him recruit and hire talented teachers.

The school also undertook an aggressive STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts/design and math) curriculum this year and Kesler said it's going well so far.

There have been three STEAM sessions for the students and STEAM topics are being worked into other parts of the curriculum.

For example, students are going to read "Charlotte's Web" this year, so there will be corresponding instruction on insects and how spiders build their webs, which gets into engineering.

"It's exciting," he said. "When the kids get excited, I get excited."

As for the future, with the district now supplying each student with Chromebooks, there's no longer a need for a computer lab. The plan, Kesler said, is to turn the former computer lab into a STEAM lab and a maker space. It will be a paperless space, he said. For example, the desktops will be white boards, which students can use for their calculations. 

September 24, 2016 - 12:30pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in John Kennedy School, STEAM, stem, schools, education, news, batavia.


Fourth-graders at John Kennedy School on Friday were introduced to the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art+Design, and Math) curriculum with science demonstrations, and some hands-on experiences, led by Batavia High School science teachers Nathan Korzelius (top photo) and Burton Howell. 

In these photos, Korzelius talks about the properties of lycopodium clavatum, a powder derived from a species of moss. As Korzelius demonstrated, the powder floats on water and if a person sticks his or her hand in, the powder keeps the hand dry. When the powder is concentrated near a flame, it will explode in a flash of flame and lights (side fact: lycoduium was used by early photographers as a flash powder).





September 17, 2016 - 7:48am
posted by Howard B. Owens in John Kennedy School, schools, education, batavia, news.


John Kennedy School hosted its annual Community Night on Friday evening.








June 4, 2016 - 8:43am
posted by Howard B. Owens in John Kennedy School, batavia, schools, news.


John Kennedy School hosted its annual Sons and Mothers Mud Run yesterday, with new obstacles, a DJ and a visit by the city fire department.









April 26, 2016 - 2:26pm
posted by Billie Owens in fire, batavia, news, John Kennedy School.

The odor of rubber burning in the library at John Kennedy School caused a fire alarm to sound and the school was evacuated. City fire crews are on scene investigating.

UPDATE 2:49 p.m.: School officials have called the police to provide traffic control. It is apparently congested.

UPDATE 3 p.m.: The city assignment is back in service. There was a "burn out" in the rooftop.

March 15, 2016 - 10:20am
posted by James Burns in batavia, John Kennedy School, fire, news.

There was a fire alarm at John Kenedy School around 10 a.m. this morning. Batavia Fire Department responded and shortly after their arrival the students were given the all clear to return to the building. 



May 20, 2015 - 10:51am


The Landmark Society of Genesee County announced the winners of the 25th annual fourth-grade architectural art contest. The goal of the contest is to promote awareness of Genesee County and highlight the talents of the area's fourth-grade students.

Below is 1st Place winner Zoey Shepard from Byron-Bergen.


Below is 2nd Place Aidan McClurg from Elba.


Below is 3rd Place Alyssa Ball from Byron-Bergen.


There were also 20 Honorable Mentions.

From John Kennedy School: Jasmine Penders, Raydence Stehlar, Avelin Tomidy, Sofia Oltramari, Jakenzi Lee, Shawn Schwartzmeyer, Briana Welsh, Christina Michele Brown, Jenick Baker, Ariana Ddelandi, Katelyn Mance, Olivia Shell, Gavin Fowler.

From Oakfield –Alabama: Brooke Kennedy.

From Pavilion: John Philips, Evelyn Northrup.

From Byron-Bergen: Jason Bleiler, Ava Wagoner, Kendall Phillips.





Shown with the children is Lucine Kauffman of the Landmark Society of Genesee County. For more information please visit https://www.facebook.com/pages/Landmark-Society-of-Genesee-County/120196...

May 2, 2015 - 12:39am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, John Kennedy School, schools, education.

Principal Paul Kesler is a man of his word. 

The die-hard Red Sox fan promised the students of John Kennedy School that if they met their fundraising goal to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, he would don Yankees garb, get on the roof of the school and sing "Let it Go."

In the "Pennies from Parents" program, the students raised $1,619.89.

On Friday, Kesler followed through on his promise, much to the delight of the JK students.

October 29, 2013 - 9:51am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, fire department, John Kennedy School.

Andrew Beal, a student at John Kennedy, got a ride to school this morning in a City of Batavia fire truck as his prize for winning the department's recent fire safety poster contest.

Firefighter Dave Adams, Andrew's father Jerome, and Chief Jim Maxwell with Andrew.

Andrew and his father Jerome waiting for Engine 11 to arrive.

October 2, 2013 - 11:58am

It was a pretty good day to begin with for fourth grade teacher Linda Restivo, but it was made better, thanks to Office Max, AdoptAClassroom.org, and John Kennedy Principal Paul Kesler. Mrs. Restivo received a surprise visit from OfficeMax representatives, Mr. Kesler, and Superintendent of Schools Christopher Dailey to be awarded $1,000 worth of classroom supplies. In addition to a new and very comfortable chair, there were two huge boxes filled with everything imaginable on a back-to-school list, and then some – from pens, pencils, composition notebooks, and paperclips to a Kindle Fire HD and digital camera.

The gift was part of the OfficeMax A Day Made Better advocacy program which was started to ease the financial burden on American teachers who, according to Office Max, spend approximately $1000 of their own money each year on essential classroom supplies. OfficeMax and its nonprofit partner, AdoptAClassroom.org, joined together in 2007 to create A Day Made Better and, since then, have paid surprise visits to approximately 100,000 classrooms nationwide. Teachers are nominated by their principals and selected based on demonstrated passion, dedication and innovation in the classroom.

“Mrs. Restivo is always positive which makes her a wonderful part of our school staff,” said Mr. Kesler. In nominating her, he highlighted her dedication and enthusiasm, saying, “Mrs. Restivo continually connects with each student to help them feel like part of the classroom community and to help them meet their academic potential. In addition, she co-facilitates our School Improvement Team, helps coordinate school events, is very approachable with parents, and volunteers for many Parent Group events.”

After making so many days better for others, Mrs. Restivo has a particularly memorable one of her own. 


(See pictures at http://www.bataviacsd.org/news.cfm?story=1132&school=0)

September 14, 2013 - 6:43pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, John Kennedy School, schools, education.

Friday evening John Kennedy School hosted its annual Community Night. Nearly two dozen local businesses participated along with the police and fire departments and Mercy EMS. It was a chance for parents and children to enjoy some free pizza, play games and learn more about what the Batavia community has to offer.

NOTE: I'm a bit slow in getting these posted because the SD card in my camera turned out to be damaged, so it was a bit of a task getting the pictures off.

March 20, 2013 - 12:21am

In this short video, St. Joe's fourth-grader Andres Mateos demonstrates the use of a Bo, a martial arts weapon from Korea.

Andres was one of many talented youths from Genesee County competing in the "Make Some Noise Area-Wide Talent Show" at Notre Dame High School last night.

Proceeds from this event will be donated to the Western New York chapter of "Make Noise 4 Kids," a nonprofit organization that raises money and awareness in the fight against pediatric cancer.

Here are some of the other performers:

Natalie Matuszak (Notre Dame) singing and playing the guitar for "I Wouldn't Mind" by He is We.

Nathan Beck (Notre Dame) singing and playing the original song "Can't Wait."

Kathryn Fitzpatrick (John Kennedy School) singing a cappella "Wizard and I" (from the Broadway musical "Wicked").

Matuszak and Gabrielle Linsey (Notre Dame) dancing to Rihanna's "Right Now."

Peter Kehl (Notre Dame) singing "Bring Him Home" from "Les Miserables" (dressed as Jean Valjean).

Laura Guiste (Batavia High School) singing "Love Story" by Taylor Swift.

Jon Korzelius, Tyler Hamm and Tristan Korzelius (all from Oakfield-Alabama) performing "The Pit and the Pendulum," a rock medley of original and popular rock songs.

Hailey Natalizia (Pembroke) singing "I'm Gonna Love You Through It" by Martina McBride.

Due to some technical difficulties, I was unable to take pictures of all the performers. My apologies and congratulations on a job well done to the following:

Keara Zerillo, Erin Phillips and Serena Strollo-DiCenso (St. Joseph School), who sang "Wings" by Little Mix.

Kyle Kendall (John Kennedy School), who performed a ball spinning act.

Fiona Beck (St. Joseph School), who sang and played "Don't Know Why" by Norah Jones.

Jake Krajewski, Tyler Barrett, Peter Kehl, Janelle Fancher and Lydia Moens (Notre Dame), who performed a short play called "The Legend of Krately House."

Tyler Hamm and Jon Korzelius (Oakfield-Alabama), who performed a drum duet.

Tracy Read and Beth Johnson-Walsh (Oakfield-Alabama), who sang and played the piano for "Hometown Glory" by Adele.

The winners of the contest were, left to right, Beck (first place), Cheverie (honorable mention), Phillips, Strollo-DiCenso and Zerillo (honorable mention), Kehl (third place), Korzelius and Hamm (second place) and Natalizia (pictured separately).

So as to fit them all in clearly, here is a picture from the other side:

Natalizia was happy to be another honorable mention.

As first prize winner, Beck was awarded $150. He donated his entire winnings to "Make Noise 4 Kids."

September 15, 2012 - 11:27am

John Kennedy Intermediate School's annual Community Night is a tradition older than the school's current name (the "Intermediate" part was added after the recent school district consolidation), and the JK parent group has spearheaded it successfully for the past eight years.

Pictured are members Jesse Boardman (vice president), Jill Halpin (treasurer) and Jen Houseknecht (president).

Community Night, which was held last evening at the 166 Vine St. school, offers a chance for the students, families and community organizations to connect. There were 20 organizations involved this year, including two new ones:

MARCHESE COMPUTER PRODUCTS Paul Marchese served popcorn while advertising his 220 Ellicott St. business.

PIONEER REPTILES Crystal Poyfair and her sons, Seth (left) and Liam, attracted huge crowds with their scaly critters.

And of course, there were familiar faces as well:

Mike Morris and Jerry Yoder proudly represented the Batavia Fire Department.

More after the jump (click the headline):

September 8, 2012 - 2:37pm
posted by Billie Owens in events, John Kennedy School.
Event Date and Time: 
September 14, 2012 - 5:00pm to 7:30pm

John Kennedy Intermediate School will be hosting its annual Community Night on from 5 to 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 14 in the gymnasium.

Last year 23 businesses/associations participated. This free event is sponsored by the John Kennedy Parent Group and it's their first event of the year – where students and their parents are welcomed back to JK, along with new students and their families.

May 23, 2012 - 5:58pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, John Kennedy School, schools, education.

Long before there was a John Kennedy in the White House, there was a John Kennedy in Batavia.

Before there was "Profiles in Courage," there was "Individual Instruction" and "The School and the Family."

Before PT109, there was the Civil War and a young man born in England, who moved to Iowa and joined the Union's cause.

The John Kennedy of Batavia was an educator, a veteran of the War Between the States, and a preservationist, saving the Holland Land Office from assured destruction.

"I don’t think people associate the name of John Kennedy School with the right individual," said County Clerk Don Read, an avid history buff, especially of Genesee County. "Many people don't know that the John Kennedy in the history of Batavia certainly occupies a place in education history and the history of Genesee County. Not many people of his stature have come out of Genesee County."

And that's why there's a school in Batavia with brass Helvetica letters on its brick facade that reads, "John Kennedy School."

The school opened in 1956, and now there's some talk of changing its name, perhaps to Batavia Intermediate School.

The subject came up at Monday's school board meeting and the board seems to be considering the idea.

Board President Gail Stevens said she will support whatever the community wants for the names of it schools (Jackson School is also up for grabs).

"I’m all for giving the community a choice," Stevens said. "They’re the stakeholders in the school, the parents, the teachers, the students. If the community wants change, then I'll represent the community."

While the decision to consolidate schools -- leading to the closure of Robert Morris -- was driven by financial issues, what the schools are named is purely a matter of community choice and Stevens said she didn't want to impose her viewpoint on that choice.

The issue came about, according to Board Member Phil Ricci, because a group of parents brought the issue to the board.

According to Ricci, the parents were concerned that students transferring from Robert Morris would join community schools with community identities, and potentially feel left out of the mix.

Changing school names is a matter of changing brands and getting all of the students involved, Ricci said.

"I think the primary thing to understand is that it isn't so much changing the name of the school," Ricci said. "The way of doing business, the way the schools are run, the way we're deliving educational services is being changed."

The former names no longer fit, Ricci said, especially if you consider the name of JK to be John Kennedy Elementary School.

On the district's Web site, that's the name of the school. On the school building itself, it's simply John Kennedy School.

Ricci said there is a push by some parents to change the name to Batavia School or Batavia Intermediate School. 

Another option, Ricci said, one he favors, is John Kennedy Intermediate School, and some have suggested, he said, Batavia Intermediate School at John Kennedy.

Both Stevens and Ricci said the cost of a name change would be minimal, and there are no concrete plans right now to institute a name change.

The board will discuss it further at its next meeting, Stevens said, and decide what to do from there.

The idea of dropping John Kennedy caught the attention of local historians and preservationists.

The board of the Holland Land Office Museum voted Tuesday night to oppose the change.

"You would  be taking away the history of the community," said HLOM Director Jeff Donahue. "The man should be honored because of the great work that he did for this area and for education in general."

Local author, localist and lover of Batavia Bill Kauffman was chagrined at the idea of Batavia once again turning its back on its history.

"Modern Batavia's besetting sin has been its disregard, even contempt, for Batavia's history," Kauffman said. "The catastrophic urban renewal of the 1960s and '70s was the most spectacular example of this. Renaming Batavia's schools would be yet another -- and wholly unnecessary -- case of the city wiping out its past and severing its connection to those who have gone before. As a proud alumnus of John Kennedy, I really hope that great little school on Vine Street retains its name."

John Kennedy was born Sept. 17, 1846, in England. He was one of 14 children. His father brought the family to New York hoping for work on the Erie Canal, but after Mrs. Kennedy heard nothing of her husband, she packed up the family and moved to Greeley, Iowa.

After the Civil War, Kennedy returned to Iowa where he became a school superintendent, soon gaining recognition for his innovative education techniques.

Kennedy spoke to educators in New York on a couple of occasions, and then the fairly new Batavia City Schools District invited Kennedy to become its second superintendent.

Over the next 23 years, Kennedy led the district, creating a number of innovations in education, such as teacher's aides and a style of teaching that offered encouragement to students rather than direct help.

In 1894, Kennedy learned that the former Holland Land Office, which had been a private residence, was going to be torn down and its bricks sold to Henry Ford for reconstruction of the building on his estate in Michigan. Kennedy started a "penny drive" to raise enough money for a down payment on the property. When he reached that goal, other community members pitched in to complete the purchase and donate the building and land to the county.

"Kennedy realized the significance of the building and because of him, we still have the Holland Land Office today," Donahue said.

Ricci said if the school name is changed, none of the history will be lost. Everything on and in the building of historical value will be preserved, he said.

"I'm fine if it's Batavia Intermediate or John Kennedy Intermediate," Ricci said. "I'm not trying to be blase about it, because I know it means something to a lot of people, but the history that goes with that school is all inside of it. It all stays. The name on the building needs to fit the new brand.

"We have three cultures in three different schools. What we call the schools needs to reflect what goes on in the schools. That doesn't mean we have to get rid of John Kennedy as the name, but possibly add to it; John Kennedy Intermediate school."

FOOTNOTE: Ricci was appointed to the board to fill a vacancy, and subsequently won a seat outright on the board. But because he came in second in the voting, he won't be able to officially vote on anything until July. As top vote-getter in the election, Gretchen DiFante assumed the vacant seat on the board.

March 26, 2012 - 3:30pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, John Kennedy School, schools, education.

John Kennedy School kicked off a reading program today with a "Dancing with the Stars" contest in the school's auditorium.

The stars were faculty and staff dressed up as characters from popular children's stories, from Shrek to Snow White and Puss 'n' Boots.

It was a full, multi-media event with rehearsal videos and zingers from the judges.

Children earn tickets to vote for their favorites by completing nightly reading assignments with their parents.

December 7, 2011 - 1:28pm
posted by David Stupp in John Kennedy School, Santa, pancake.
Event Date and Time: 
December 10, 2011 - 8:00am to 10:00am

Pancake Breakfast with Santa this Saturday December 10 at John Kennedy School From 8am-10am.  Craft &Vendor Fair, games and letters to Santa for the kids.

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