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June 6, 2013 - 5:36pm
posted by Gretchen DiFante in Batavia Board of Education, teacher, Batavia teacher.

A Day in the Life of a Teacher

by Gretchen DiFante, mother of five and school board member

Background

     As a parent who has 13 years separating the birth of my first child from my fifth, I have witnessed, firsthand, the dramatic changes in our our schools and in the job of our teachers. When I spent time in my eldest child’s first grade classroom 15 years ago, the biggest social problems were around kids not having coats or socks in the winter. Today, we see more and more parents who are truly expecting our schools to raise their kids. As a parent myself, I admit that my expectations of a teacher’s role in the life of my children has remained the same, while I falter more in the areas of follow up for everything from sending in snacks and permission slips to monitoring television and homework like I should. In other words, I AM doing a worse job in detail management as a parent, but I am expecting my kids’ teachers to increasingly make up any slack for me. 

     As a society, we send teachers students who have little to no respect for authority at home or anywhere, and we expect our teachers to integrate these kids successfully into the classroom with no impact on their ability to teach. It seems we expect EVERYONE to matriculate into the same classrooms together and expect the teachers to manage all of the issues presented to them on a daily basis. In addition, we expect teachers to completely change the way they teach to meet common core standards, and we are increasing teacher accountability measures based on, in my opinion, a flawed system (APPR).

      Rather than try to describe my perspective on the classroom and why I think teachers need our collective support now more than ever, I have prepared a story. I refer to the story as “fictional” as it is not based on the words of any one teacher in Batavia nor anywhere else; rather it is written by me -- one parent who also happens to be a school board member. The story reflects my observations in classrooms in recent years (my five children have attended every school in Batavia including Robert Morris, Jackson, John Kennedy, St. Joseph’s, Batavia Middle School, Batavia High School and Notre Dame High School -- so I mean every school). The story focuses on the challenges of a teacher in an elementary classroom in 2013. I write the story from the elementary level, because what happens in the lives of the youngest of our students impacts those same students as they move through school and on into society. Whether teacher, parent, grandparent or friends of schools, I welcome your feedback and observations.

A Day in the Life of a Teacher

     I am an elementary school teacher in a rural district in Western New York. I became a teacher, because I wanted to do my part to contribute to society in the most powerful way I could imagine. Our children ARE our future. It is absolutely important that they read, write and perform mathematics. However, it is equally important that they gain the abilities to listen and show respect to others, to think about actions before they act, to appropriately contribute to social groups and to develop healthy value systems to which they stay grounded and use to guide positive decision-making for the rest of their lives. These are my goals, and when I went into teaching 21 years ago, it was fun to see my vision for each student come alive in the course of a single school year.

     It is much harder to see that vision realized today, and it is certainly not as much fun. Don’t get me wrong, I love my job -- and on most days I love my students; but the job of teaching has completely changed over the past two decades -- and particularly in the last five years. I stay awake many more nights to strategize how I can have an impact on a single kid when my students are the product of a society that has seen the family unit torn apart. My kids‘ parents are overworked and over-scheduled, and in many cases they are struggling to make ends meet. My students are spending three to five hours a day in front of phone, video, television and computer screens and very little time interacting socially. I constantly wonder if I’m doing all I can to make a difference. I network with other teachers, take advantage of personal and career development opportunities and devour the latest research in my field, hoping to improve my teaching and my impact. Here is an introduction to my class:

      I have 21 active students - half of them qualify for free or reduced meals, and six of them have individualized education programs or IEPs. Two of my students with IEPs have significant behavioral issues that require a great deal of my attention. In addition, I have another student who, I believe, would greatly benefit from an IEP as I believe he has both emotional disorders and cognitive challenges; however, his parents are adamantly against testing of any kind. This breaks my heart, because I know this child would benefit from his parent’s acknowledgment of his barriers to learning and growth. Acknowledgement would allow me to work with our counselor and the parents to help this student in simple, yet powerful ways. I have two students with food allergies and one student who, due to frequent illness, has missed 15 days of school so far this year. I have two students I have placed in every accelerated pull out program available in an attempt to keep them challenged, as it is clear to me that they are broadly gifted academically. I also have three students who display moderate and specific talent for mathematics, and I want to nurture that in all three of them. In fact, by the third week of school, I had identified talents in all of my 21 students that I wanted to nurture throughout the school year.

Now that you know my class, here is a snapshot from our day together:

     It is a late Tuesday morning, and it’s time for desk work. Today our desk work relates to President’s Day. We have been learning about government and the role of the executive branch, and I am excited to see the connections many of my students are making to the history we have learned and to the way government operates today. We have a packet that I will review with the group, and then the students will complete the packets individually. Snack time occurs during desk work, and each student who has a snack is eating at their desk. Three students forgot their snack, so I dig in my desk to find my stash of saltine crackers. The students need a healthy snack at this time of day, and parents are asked to supply one daily. My students are eating their usual combination of full sugar “fruit” snacks, cookies, muffins and crackers. As I pull the slides up to review the assignment on our SmartBoard, Tommy and Seth begin an altercation around which one is using the other one’s pencil. Laura is complaining that Ethan is rocking back in his chair and making her desk shake. Casey cries out that Melanie has brought peanut butter crackers -- I must intervene right away as one of my students has a severe peanut allergy. I remove the snack and dig back into my cracker stash. I make a mental note to send that parent a note, and I redirect each student back to the packet review. Sarah raises her hand and begins asking a question. As Sarah begins to speak, Joel imitates Sarah’s broken and unclear speech. Joel has made great strides this year in being sensitive to the feelings of others (one of my personal goals for him), and I am surprised at his choice. I need to put a stop to his behavior and at the same time draw attention away from Sarah whose difficulties with speech make it challenging for her in any social situation. Sarah really should be showing much more progress, but I understand from the speech therapist that Sarah’s guardian has been unable to do the daily speech exercises necessary for Sarah’s improvement. Therefore, Sarah is limited to the therapy the school can provide, and I’m beginning to worry if she will ever make progress. I finally finish the packet review, and as students begin independent work, I run over to redirect Ellie back to her separate spot where, according to her IEP, she needs to be to complete all individual work. Ellie excels at individual work when she can be free from distraction. As I’m working with Ellie, the conflict between Seth and Tommy escalates; and on my way to handle it, I am met by two students who have individual questions -- I will have to wait to help them, because Seth is clearly on his way to having one of his explosive episodes. Through trial and error and great advice from our school counselor, I have learned how to intervene to help control Seth’s explosions. However, if I intervene even a moment too late, the explosion can not be tamed. I am too late -- Seth is out of control, and I will have to call someone to help me. I hate to have to escalate this up the chain of command again, because I don’t want to be perceived as being unable to control my classroom (a real concern for all the teachers in our district and teachers everywhere). But, I just couldn’t get to Seth in time. Thank goodness -- our classroom aide has just arrived (We get her for only 60 minutes today, because we have had to cut back so much in aide hours). Since the aide is here, I can bring Seth to the principal’s office myself. 

     When I return to the classroom, Giselle is telling our aide that she doesn’t have to sit in her seat and do her work, because she can’t tell her what to do -- she isn’t the teacher. “Oh, my little Giselle.” She has no more respect for me as an authority figure than she does the aide. At times, I have worked successfully with Giselle to help her understand the importance of respecting authority, but it is difficult. She has so much potential -- but it is obvious when I observe her with her father and grandmother, that respect for authority is not something that is encouraged at home. Whoops -- two students have made their way over to Ellie’s desk, and I need to redirect.  First I stop by the desks of the two students who had questions -- one figured the answer out on his own and the other obviously lost interest and hasn’t worked on the assignment at all. She is one of my gifted students, and if she doesn’t feel challenged, she simply gives up and usually starts “drama.” I have a folder of extra assignments to give her, and I go retrieve an assignment from that folder -- her eyes light up, and she is focused and ready to work; but alas, independent work time is over, and it’s time for the students to line up for art. I estimate that less than half the class completed the independent work assignment. Its completion will be given as homework, and based on patterns this year, I expect less than half of those students to complete the homework. 

     I will have a half hour to prepare for the math block; however I have four students who have not turned in permission slips to ride the bus to the field trip next week, and I don’t want to see them left out. Two are students who are isolated naturally, and my individual goals for them include helping them to develop healthy self esteem. It must feel terrible to be the only one who doesn’t turn in a permission slip and has to miss a field trip. It can’t be good for the self esteem of a student with healthy social interaction -- and certainly not good for one who trends toward isolation. I don’t want to see these kids become easy targets for bullies in the future -- but that is where they are headed. The deadline for permission slips is today, and I really need to track down their parents. I also need to finish up the notes for the individual student learning objectives as part of our state mandated Annual Performance Plan Review or APPR. I am in support of a program that will help demonstrate my quality as a teacher; however I am confused as to how my students’ scores on any test is a complete reflection of the quality of my teaching. How can I be held accountable for the test performance of a student who needs to be separated for work in my busy classroom, and despite my best and continuous efforts is unable to work with the freedom from distraction she needs to be successful? How can I be held accountable for the test performance of a student who, due to continuous behavioral issues, has to spend significant time removed from the teaching environment? How can I be held accountable for the test performance of a student whose own parents refuse to get him the cognitive and emotional help he needs? How can I be held accountable for the test performance of a student like Alec, who although still eligible to remain in school, hasn’t been in attendance enough for me to provide the extra help he needs? I know that’s only four students, but that’s 20 percent of my class. If 20 percent of my students don’t meet performance standards on the state tests, it will be impossible for me to achieve a rating of highly effective on my APPR score. If I don’t achieve the highest rating, will parents want me to teach their kids? I can’t imagine, after all these positive and rewarding years as a teacher, becoming the teacher no parent wants their kid to have! If parents don’t want me to teach their kids, how can I make a difference in these little lives in which I see so much potential? I have to put these thoughts out of my mind and go get in touch with those parents. Like all my colleagues, I have hours of additional paperwork for the mandated APPR and common core standards. When exactly am I supposed to get all this paperwork done? Well I will have some extra time at my son’s baseball game tonight...

March 8, 2013 - 12:17pm

The Batavia City School District’s May vote will include decisions on two Board of Education seats, as those held by Patrick Burk and Steve Mountain are ending.

The available seats are for three-year terms (July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2016).

Petitions for those interested in pursuing a Board seat will be available on March 12, 2013, at the District’s administrative offices, located at Batavia High School (260 State St.). They must be returned to the Business Office at the District’s administrative offices in Batavia High by April 24 before 4 p.m.

Tuesday, May 21 is voting day with polls open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

February 27, 2013 - 11:22am

Highlights from the Batavia City School District (BCSD) Board of Education meeting on Feb. 26 include news and updates about the following: 

  • Preliminary Budget Update
  • Legislative Updates & Promoting Local Involvement
  • Capital Improvement Proposal Approved

 

Preliminary Budget Update

Superintendent of Schools Christopher Dailey and Business Administrator Scott Rozanski have met with the Budget Ambassadors and are reviewing the ambassadors’ budget surveys. Those suggestions and comments will be brought into consideration as work on the Proposed Budget for the 2013-2014 school year continues.

Before the process began, the board of education had directed Dailey and Rozanski to contain any budget increases to no more than a 2 percent. Preliminary figures presented by Dailey indicate that a “rollover” budget -- one that maintains but does not add any new expenditures - would result in a 4.26-percent increase to the budget and a consequent 6.11-percent increase in the tax levy.

Furthermore, the superintendent noted that the calculation for our district’s Property Tax Cap Levy* equals a limit to a 5.51-percent increase (*As has been widely reported, the Property Tax Cap Levy, popularly called “the 2-percent tax cap,” is actually calculated by using the state’s eight-step formula, then adding items that the state has identified as exempt from the restriction. If a district’s proposed budget falls at or below this calculated limit, passage of its budget requires 50 percent voter approval. If a proposal exceeds the calculated limit, passage requires 60 percent voter approval. )

In order to get to a flat 2 percent tax levy increase, nearly $750,000 needs to be reduced from the preliminary budget, or, to close the gap between the 2 percent goal and the allowable threshold, nearly $638,000 needs to be cut.

Dailey and Rozanski will continue to process the ambassadors’ comments as well as all the updated figures for such things as retirements and state aid and will report to the board as progress is made toward the final budget proposal.

Legislative Updates & Promoting Local Involvement

Superintendent Dailey reported that the Genesee Valley School Boards Association Advocacy Forum and Legislative Breakfast was well attended by regional school officials and students, including several from our district.

Discussion with the legislators who were present centered on: reducing the state mandates that financially cripple districts; eliminating the GEA (Gap Elimination Adjustment which was instituted to help close the State budget deficit by taking back some of the education aid that had been promised to districts); educating voters about the aid formula that continues to provide funding for high-wealth/low-need districts, despite the increasingly high needs of low-wealth districts in meeting basic education requirements; and encouraging residents to contact their representatives including the governor to let their elected officials know the critical impact of their decisions and aid distribution.

Dailey commended BHS student and Student Ex-officio Board Member Kaitlin Logsdon for speaking to the legislators about how the loss of state aid has impacted the lives of students in our district.

Dailey, in the midst of discussion about the legislative impact on education, highlighted a few opportunities for board and community members to get more involved:

  • Have staff, administrators and board members, as representatives of the school district, continue to take advantage of opportunities to meet with our elected officials. The Legislative Breakfast was one such opportunity. While in Albany this coming Tuesday, Dailey is scheduled to meet with Assemblyman Steve Hawley and Senator Michael Ranzenhoffer at which time he will discuss the impact of the GEA on our community and students. He would gladly take any notes or postcards from residents, students and staff and hand deliver them.
  • Attend the Statewide School Finance Consortium’s education rally featuring Rick Timbs, Ph.D, executive director of the Statewide School Finance Consortium and a leading voice in the fight for fair and equitable education aid. This gathering will be similar to one held in the Albany area in January titled, "Your Public Schools in Fiscal Peril: Running Out of Time and Options," which served as both an educational session and advocacy rally. Our regional rally will be held at Geneseo Central School District on March 12 at 6:30 p.m. (Note: The board voted to attend the rally in place of a board of education special meeting that was originally scheduled for that evening. They will be encouraging parents, students and other community members to help them provide strong representation from our district.)
  • Write, and encourage other community members to mail letters and postcards, to legislators urging them to restore aid and to distribute aid equitably so that students in our district receive the same educational opportunities as other students in the state. Actual mail is more effective than e-mails.
  • For more background on the Statewide School Finance Consortium and the financial crisis facing schools, visit the SSFC Web site: http://www.statewideonline.org/

Capital Improvement Proposal Accepted

The board voted to accept the proposed $3,841,000 capital improvement project and will bring it to the voters in May.

An overview of the proposal was presented at the previous (Feb.12) board of education meeting by Jerry Young of Young and Wright Architectural. The proposal will be presented to interested community groups upon request. Please contact the Superintendent’s Office (343-2480, ext. 1000) if interested in scheduling a presentation.

Main components of that presentation (as posted with the BOE Highlights from Feb.12) included the following:

The major components of the $3,841,000 proposed project include work at Richmond Memorial Library ($1,590,000), VanDetta Stadium/Batavia High ($548,000), Batavia High School ($406,000), Jackson Primary ($621,000), John Kennedy Intermediate ($557,000), Batavia Middle School ($80,000), and Robert Morris ($39,000). Most of the items outlined and pictured by Young in his presentation addressed building deterioration or legal compliance issues.

Work at Richmond Memorial Library ($1,590,000) would include slate roof shingle replacement, flat roof replacement, masonry restoration on the original building, window and door replacements on the original building and addition, site work (including sidewalks, roadway, and parking), and interior improvements such as carpet and emergency lights.

Work at VanDetta Stadium/Batavia High ($548,000) addresses both gender-based discrimination targeted by Title IX of the federal Educational Amendments Act of 1972 as well as discrimination based on disabilities as outlined in the Americans with Disabilities Act. The scope of work includes improvements to the girls’ softball field (dugouts, scoreboard and fence) as well as improving or creating handicapped access to the bathrooms, the concession stand, the ramps to stadium seating, and handicapped seating.

Work at Batavia High School ($ 406,000) includes site work for additional parking and a sidewalk to Genesee Valley Educational Partnership, HVAC upgrades, energy-efficient lighting and a motorized curtain in the gym, new hot water heaters and gas meters, and some security improvements.

Work at Jackson Primary ($621,000) includes site improvements for the playground and parent drop-off, masonry restoration on the chimney and corners of the building, window replacement on the second floor, bathroom installation in the kindergarten wing, and some security improvements.

Work at John Kennedy Intermediate ($557,000) includes window replacement on the original building, masonry restoration, energy-efficient lighting improvements in the gym, and some security improvements.

Work at Batavia Middle School ($80,000) includes a new hot water heater, air conditioning in the cafeteria, masonry restoration on the chimney, and energy-efficient lighting improvements in the gym.

Work at Robert Morris Elementary ($39,000) includes the replacement of a sanitary line in a crawlspace.

Plans for financing the project include the use of the Capital Reserve Fund for non-aided projects such as Richmond Memorial Library and VanDetta Stadium. For the remainder of the project, the Selected Building Aid ratio for 2012-2013 is 0.799 (or 0.201 local cost) for school buildings. In addition, other financing options such as Public Library Construction Grants and State Historic Preservation Funding will be pursued for the library projects. Grant applications, however, may only be made after the public approves a project.

February 18, 2013 - 8:52am

Highlights from the Batavia City School District (BCSD) Board of Education meeting on Feb. 12, include news and updates about the following:

• Capital Improvement Proposal

• Blue Devil Update

• Staff and Staff Development

• Board Members Earn Awards 

Capital Improvement Proposal

Jerry Young, of Young and Wright Architectural, presented an overview of the potential capital improvement project that our Buildings and Grounds Committee began discussing in May 2012. Recommendations for this project came out of a state-mandated Building Conditions Survey in September 2010, as well as subsequent reviews of building conditions. The presentation to the Batavia school board will be followed by presentations to the Budget Ambassadors, to school parent-teacher organizations, and to community groups upon request. The board will review the proposal and, if approved by them, it will go up for community vote in May.

Major components of the $3,841,000 proposed project include work at Richmond Memorial Library ($1,590,000), VanDetta Stadium/Batavia High ($548,000), Batavia High School ($406,000), Jackson Primary ($621,000), John Kennedy Intermediate ($557,000), Batavia Middle School ($80,000), and Robert Morris ($39,000). Most of the items outlined and pictured by Young in his presentation addressed building deterioration or legal compliance issues.

Work at Richmond Memorial Library ($1,590,000) would include slate roof shingle replacement, flat roof replacement, masonry restoration on the original building, window and door replacements on the original building and addition, site work (including sidewalks, roadway and parking), and interior improvements such as carpet and emergency lights.

Work at VanDetta Stadium/Batavia High ($ 548,000) addresses both gender-based discrimination targeted by Title IX of the federal Educational Amendments Act of 1972 as well as discrimination based on disabilities as outlined in the Americans with Disabilities Act. The scope of work includes improvements to the girls’ softball field (dugouts, scoreboard and fence) as well as improving or creating handicapped access to the bathrooms, the concession stand, the ramps to stadium seating, and handicapped seating.

Work at Batavia High School ($ 406,000) includes sitework for additional parking and a sidewalk to Genesee Valley Educational Partnership, HVAC upgrades, energy-efficient lighting and a motorized curtain in the gym, new hot water heaters and gas meters, and some security improvements.

Work at Jackson Primary ($621,000) includes site improvements for the playground and parent drop-off, masonry restoration on the chimney and corners of the building, window replacement on the second floor, bathroom installation in the kindergarten wing, and some security improvements.

Work at John Kennedy Intermediate ($557,000) includes window replacement on original building, masonry restoration, energy-efficient lighting improvements in gym, and some security improvements.

Work at Batavia Middle School ($80,000) includes a new hot water heater, air conditioning in the cafeteria, masonry restoration on the chimney, and energy-efficient lighting improvements in the gym.

Work at Robert Morris Elementary ($39,000) includes the replacement of a sanitary line in a crawl space.

Plans for financing the project include the use of the Capital Reserve Fund for non-aided projects such as Richmond Memorial Library and VanDetta Stadium. For the remainder of the project, the Selected Building Aid ratio for 2012-2013 is 0.799 (or 0.201 local cost) for school buildings. In addition, other financing options such as Public Library Construction Grants and State Historic Preservation Funding will be pursued for the library projects. Grant applications, however, may only be made after the public approves a project.

For more information, or to schedule a presentation, please contact the Superintendent’s Office at 343-2480, ext. 1000.

Blue Devil Update

Director of Health, Physical Education, and Interscholastic Athletics Michael Bromley provided an update on the Batavia Blue Devils, noting that overall, the district offers nearly 15 sport programs making up 30-35 teams over the course of a school year for both boys and for girls. In 1999, only 39 percent of students participated in at least one sport, whereas last year, 54 percent did. In fact, over the past four years, an average of 54-57 percent of all students in grades 7-12 participated in at least one sport, and many of those individuals participated in multiple sports.

The 2012-2013 school year is off to another promising start for athletics: 383 students participated in one of the fall sports, eight of the 10 teams earned recognition by the NYSPHSAA (New York State Public High School Athletic Association) as being Scholar Athlete teams for having a composite GPA (grade-point average) of 90 or above, nine students were named to Monroe County Public School Athletic Conference First Teams for their sports and 13 more were named to Second Teams, the cheerleading squad won second in sectionals, the volleyball team was a sectional finalist, and gymnastics had one state competitor.

Staff and Staff Development

Reporting on the district’s progress in working with the University of Rochester Warner School of Education's Outreach Center to explore and discuss best ways to implement the new Common Core Standards for math, Superintendent of Schools Christopher Dailey noted that the middle school math teachers recently completed their sessions and have been utilizing many of the ideas discussed. High school math teachers now have begun their sessions, focusing on algebra and the Common Core Standards. In March, our elementary math teachers will take their turn in working in partnership with the U of R.

GVEP curriculum coordinator Jolene Dettman returned from a Network Team Training Institute in Albany which focused on Common Core Learning Standards, and Superintendent Dailey noted that she will share information from the institute with the district’s Instructional Leadership Team as they prepare for the staff development day scheduled in March.

Also through GVEP, Superintendent Dailey announced that the district has been invited to join a school district “cluster” with representatives from Pavilion, Caledonia-Mumford, York, and Wyoming school districts for the 013-14 school year. The cluster will enable participating districts to pool resources for professional development and the implementation of the Common Core.

Board Members Earn Excellence Awards

Superintendent of Schools Christopher Dailey presented board members Patrick Burk and Amy Barone each with a NYSSBA (New York State School Boards Association) Leadership in Governance Award for earning 150 points through NYSSBA leadership development. The school board U Recognition Program acknowledges the extensive time and effort required of school board members who continually strive to expand their knowledge and skills for better board governance. NYSSBA members earn credits, or points, for participating in school board U training opportunities and earn awards for earning a substantial number of credits.

January 9, 2013 - 2:00pm

Highlights from the Batavia City School District (BCSD) Board of Education meeting on Jan. 8 include news and updates about the following: 

  • Security and Safety Procedures Review
  • Focus Update
  • Kindergarten Registration Begins Feb. 4
  • Curriculum Coordinator Hired
  • Budget Ambassadors Appointed
  • Richmond Memorial Library Updates Goals
  • Financial Summary Report

Security and Safety Procedures Reviewed

Superintendent of Schools Chris Dailey announced that an “Emergency Go Home Early Drill” will be held on Feb. 5 as part of the required State Safety Plan. All students will be released at 1:15 p.m. and off of school grounds by 1:30 p.m.

The BOE Safety Committee Chair Amy Barone reported that the committee met in December with Batavia City Police Chief Shawn Heubusch to review and discuss school safety. In addition to providing the district’s internal safety plan to the police department, the group discussed more police presence on school property (including both an increase in patrolling the grounds as well as having officers come inside buildings during extracurricular activities), police access to school buildings in a lock-down situation, the possibility of funding safety officer positions at schools, an increase in number and type of safety drills, and modifications to existing safety equipment and building design to increase safety functionality.

Election Day, which has been highlighted as a safety concern due to the schools being open to all voters on a day when children are present, was also discussed with proposals ranging from moving the election site off school grounds to scheduling a Superintendent’s Conference Day on voting days so that students would not be in the buildings.

Focus District Update

With two of his training sessions in Albany completed and another coming up in March, Superintendent Dailey reported that the district continues to move forward with meeting state requirements and criteria for the school improvement plan that identifies areas of need as well as programs and activities to help increase student achievement.

As one of the state’s requirements for the evaluation process is to work with non-district educational experts, Dailey noted that the district is fortunate to be working with Steve Uebbing, Ed.D., and Sandra Quinones, Ed.D., from the University of Rochester. They will meet with district administration and staff to help increase understanding of the six tenets of the state’s diagnostic process as well as to facilitate preparation for the state’s visits to the district and the middle school. The visit will take place in June.

In addition, bids are going out to approved vendors for the creation of surveys to solicit feedback from students, staff and parents. Overall, Dailey said, the process in very extensive and the district continues to make progress.

As noted at previous board meetings, the district did not meet New York State’s proficiency benchmarks in the 2010-2011 school year for one subgroup of students. As a result, it has been identified by the NYS Education Department as a Focus District, which is required to choose at least one school on which to focus efforts toward improvement for this subgroup.

Because the middle school has the greatest number of students in the specified subgroup, it was chosen as the Focus School. The district has assembled a school improvement committee to develop and implement a plan that identifies areas of need as well as programs and activities to help increase student achievement.

It’s important to note that the data used for the determination dates back to the 2010-2011 school year and if data from 2011-2012 had been used, the district would have made the target cut points. So while the district is responsible for following an approved Comprehensive Improvement Plan, many of the strategies and plans are already under way and yielding positive results.

Kindergarten Registration Begins Feb. 4

Superintendent Dailey announced that kindergarten registration for the 2013-2014 school year will take place Feb. 4-8 at Jackson Primary School in the multipurpose room.

Children who will be 5 years old on or before Dec. 1, 2013 are eligible to attend kindergarten in the fall. To register, parents are asked to go to Jackson primary on one of the designated school days between 9 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. and bring with them proof of residency such as a current utility bill or formal lease agreement, as well as the child’s birth certificate, Social Security card, and complete record of immunizations. Please note that no child can be registered without the required documentation.

Parents of new first-grade pupils are also asked to register their child in the same time frame and with the same documentation.


Jackson Primary School is located at 411 S. Jackson St. The office phone number is 343-2480, ext. 4000.

Curriculum Coordinator Hired

Superintendent Dailey announced that Curriculum Coordinator Jolene Dettman will begin work on Jan. 18. The position is shared with Pavilion Central School District. She comes from Monroe 2 where she developed expertise in the Common Core and in curriculum development.

Budget Ambassadors Appointed

Sherri Bartz, Rodney Brinkman, Frank DeMare, Jacquie Fowler, Michael Grammatico, Jay Gsell, Jill Halpin, Lynn Heintz, Patti Johnson, Cheryl Kowalik, Jason Molino, Marcia Riley, Durin Rogers, Richard Seymour, and Danielle Torcello applied and were appointed to be Budget Ambassadors for the 2013-2014 district budget proposal.

Ambassadors are residents of the district who volunteer and commit to serve on a committee which meets for two (2) two and a half (2.5) hour evening sessions. Ambassadors review the preliminary budget as developed by the administration (within parameters established by the Board of Education) and recommend to the board any modification(s) they would like to see. Their recommendations, while highly valued, are advisory rather than binding as the board develops the Proposed Budget to be brought to the voters. In addition, ambassadors agree to explain their work to any interested individual in the community.

Richmond Memorial Library Updates Goals

In addition to continuing to build on its previous goals related to space utilization, technology usage, working with the business community, and fiscal responsibility, the Richmond Memorial Library Board has approved goals for 2013-2017. Library Director Diana Wyrwa presented the revised mission statement and outlined the four goals.

The updated mission statement is “Richmond Memorial Library continually provides access to physical and virtual resources and services that meet the educational, informational, and recreational needs of its diverse community in a safe and comfortable environment.”

The four goals are:

1.      Engage diverse populations with specific library programs and services.

2.      Provide multifaceted resources and assistance for all ages to continue learning throughout their lives.

3.      Act as a central source for information about and support of the wide variety of programs, services, and activities available to Batavia residents.

4.      Provide ongoing economic stability for the library.

In addition, Wyrwa announced that, in 2014, the library will celebrate being open for 125 years. Plans are being made now to commemorate that event.

Financial Summary Report

Business Administrator Scott Rozanski reported on the November 2012 revenue and expenses for the district, reviewing them in comparison to the November 2011 figures.  

Overall, the recorded revenues in the year-to-year comparison were fairly consistent, with an increase of $467,000 or slightly less than 2 percent. The most significant increases were recorded in Real Property Tax Levy and in state and federal aid. Real Property Tax Levy, which is counted as revenue when levied rather than when actually received, showed an increase of $355,000. State and federal aid showed an increase of $311,000, largely due to the state making its customary TRS (Teacher Retirement System) payments which the district is obliged to record as income.

Decreases in the “miscellaneous” category of $153,000 were largely due to BOCES refunds for both unused billed expenses as well as an increase in their state aid. In addition, the Non-property Tax Items category (utility tax) was down slightly more than $86,000. The utility tax, as has often been reported, experiences regular fluctuations and has been trending lower than last year.

Expenses were up by approximately $93,000 or slightly less than 1 percent, which was less than expected and primarily due to timing of payments in transportation.

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