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Sunday, January 18, 2015 at 7:02 pm

Photo: Le Roy hangs anti-Yik Yak posters

post by Howard B. Owens in education, le roy hs, schools, social media, yik yak

School officials in Le Roy have put up these posters in the hallways of the high school.

On Thursday, Principal Tim McArdle sent a message to parents about Yik Yak and said administrators were talking with students about use of the social media network, which is designed for anonymous posts that can only be read by people in the immediate area.

While the apps developers say it was designed for college students, there have been issues nationwide with high school students getting on the app and using it for bullying.

Previously:

Sunday, January 18, 2015 at 6:32 pm

Photos: Area student musicians evaluated for solo performances at Le Roy HS

post by Howard B. Owens in arts, education, music, schools

Young musicians from throughout Genesee County traveled to Le Roy High School throughout the day Saturday to show off their chops as soloists for area music instructors.

Some schools use the soloist evaluation as part of the students' grades, but the primary purpose is to help select the musicians who will play in the all-county music festival in March (performances at Attica and Batavia middle schools).

The event is organized by the Genesee-Wyoming Music Educators Association.

Above, Ashley Carli, from Pavilion, practices in the Le Roy gym prior to her solo session.

Katelyn Brown, from Pembroke, plays her solo in the gym prior to her audition.

Dylan Fisher warms up in the bleachers while waiting for his turn to play.

The Le Roy gym served as a rehearsal hall.

Taylor Schofield, from Pavilion, in one of the classrooms where students played their solo for a teacher who evaluated the performance.

Thursday, January 15, 2015 at 3:46 pm

Le Roy HS principal alerts parents to Yik Yak use by students

post by Howard B. Owens in education, Le Roy, le roy hs, schools, social media, yik yak

Yik Yak, the controversial social media app that allows users to share messages in complete anonymity to be read by people near their locations, has prompted Le Roy HS administrators to seek parental help in controlling its spread.

Principal Tim McArdle sent a message to all parents today informing them that Yik Yak use has been reported by students and there have been complaints about it already.

"Based on reports by students, individuals in our school community over the last few days have been using this app to bully others and post very degrading comments about students and staff," McArdle wrote in the message. "We have been in contact with other local districts that are experiencing the same situation this week."

The Batavian reported earlier this week that administrators at Batavia HS were aware of the app and monitoring its impact on campus life.

Yik Yak has garnered a good deal of national news coverage because of complaints of bullying and threats by users.

McArdle said administrators addressed students about Yik Yak during lunches today.

"We let them know the negative impacts that social bullying and harassing have on their fellow students," McArdle wrote. "We also encouraged students who may be negatively impacted to come forward and seek help. Students were invited to sign a pledge to delete the app from their phone. In just the first day alone we had a great turnout of students pledging to do this."

The app has been blocked from the school network, but that won't prevent students with mobile devices and their own online access from using the app.

"We now need your help as parents!," the principal wrote. "Please talk about this with your child and discourage their use of this app."

Thursday, January 15, 2015 at 11:44 am

Hawley calls for reform reform state aid to school districts

post by Howard B. Owens in education, schools, steve hawley

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) announced today that he is sponsoring legislation to end the Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA). Assembly Bill 8720 of 2014 seeks to end the education cuts that took place in 2009 and 2010. Hawley, along with many members of the Assembly Minority Conference, has been outspoken about restoring the GEA for several years. “School districts in New York State deserve to have these cuts restored,” Hawley said. 

“The legislature has had the financial means to restore this education aid for years now, and the apparent surplus this year should go directly to fund our schools. It is unfortunate to see good teachers being laid off and students being placed at a disadvantage because Albany couldn’t balance its budget. These cuts were never intended to be permanent, but the legislature is hesitant to repay them each budget cycle.”

Hawley’s comments come after members of the legislature made clear their plan to reintroduce Assembly Bill 8720 for the current legislative term. The new bill number is not known yet.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015 at 7:59 pm

BHS officials monitoring controversial app catching on with students

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia HS, education, schools, yik yak

Yik Yak has come to Batavia High School and administrators are monitoring the social media site with a wary eye.

Already the subject of national news stories because of reports of bullying, bomb threats and juvenile chatter, Yik Yak provides posters with complete anonymity and an audience of proximity and immediacy.

Recent posts have included invitations (yes, more than one) for people to list the biggest slut at the school, accusations of sexual crimes, and insults directed at specific students and teachers.

And according to a couple of posters, if you think that's bullying, then that's your problem.

"Cyberbullying not real," wrote one anonymous poster in all caps. "If you dont (sic) wanna be 'cyberbullied' then delete the app or turn ya phone off."

On the other hand, there are messages that decry the immaturity of high school students on Yik Yak and defend some of those insulted.

A few posts seem to even use the app as intended -- to post what's going on around them or make funny observations.

"30 likes and I'll show up to school tomorrow in a tutu and high heels," wrote one poster. The post received more than 50 likes. No reports on anybody showing up at BHS in a tutu and high heels, however.

Yik Yak is a mobile app, for use on smartphones and tablets. Messages are shared only within a 1.5-mile radius of the location of where the post was created.

The terms of service require users to be older than 17 and news reports say the company founders are concerned about use by high school students and are trying to find ways to block access on school campuses and prevent underage users from signing on.

In news reports, founders Tyler Droll and Brooks Buffington, who are given credit in some accounts for being responsive to teenage bullying concerns, admit their efforts to limit usage to adults has proven difficult.

So far, Yik Yak has received more than $60 million in venture capital funding.

Asked about the appearance of Yik Yak on the BHS campus, Principal Scott Wilson responded:

Yes, We are aware of Yik Yak. We are monitoring it and it is blocked from the district network. As with all social media sites, we expect students to be responsible. The advice we give students is to not to respond to negative posts. They should report concerns to a responsible, trusted adult. Parents, counselors, teachers and administrators can help by listening to the concerns, investigate and conduct the necessary follow-up. The anonymity of Yik Yak is a challenge for all of us when kids use it irresponsibly.

On the Web:

Tuesday, January 13, 2015 at 4:36 pm

Child found safe on Washington Avenue after leaving Jackson School without permission

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, education, Jackson School, schools

A kindergartener at Jackson Street School apparently misunderstood instructions from a nurse today and left school grounds instead of waiting for his father to pick him up, according to officials.

The child was missing for only a few minutes, Officer Eric Hill told WBTA.

At about the same time the nurse was calling Batavia PD, a child was located, dressed in hat, gloves and coat, on Washington Avenue. 

The school district issued the following statement about the incident:

Today at Jackson Primary School, a kindergarten student who was being dismissed from school early, walked out of a side door as per his normal dismissal procedures and started walking home rather than going to the school office for release. School officials immediately instituted their Emergency Procedures and contacted the police. The child was located shortly thereafter and returned safely to school and his parent.

The District will be reviewing its procedures to determine how today's incident occurred and make changes as necessary. As always, we place the safety of our students first and will take the necessary measures to protect  them.

Our news partners WBTA and 13WHAM contributed to this story.

Monday, December 29, 2014 at 2:55 pm

Audit critical of online banking security for Byron-Bergen schools

The Byron-Bergen Central School District needs to improve its online banking security, according to a NYS comptroller's audit released this month.

While the district informed the auditors that some of the report's recommendations were already being complied with or will be met, the board rejected one of the recommendations.

Auditors said that while the district has online access to all of its accounts -- including high-balance savings accounts -- such access is unnecessary.

The board countered: Actually, online banking for all district accounts is unavoidably necessary, thanks to the state.

"Due to the remote location of our school district," the district board responded, "and limited district office staff due to the ever-increasing budget constraints caused by the property tax cap, freezing of state aid and the Gap Eliminate Adjustment, we are unable to do banking transactions on a regular basis at our banking institution's branch locations due to distance and time away from other duties district office staff perform. We must be as efficient as possible in the use of our existing office staff. That efficiency is increased with the ability to our banking functions online."

The audit found that two employees were keeping their usernames and passwords on a piece of paper and while one document was locked in a filing cabinet, the other was kept in a cabinet that wasn't always locked.

Online-banking users also do not properly log out of their banking sessions and then delete their browsing history, cache and cookies, according to the audit.

The audit also knocked the district for not having copies on file of its banking agreements, but district officials said they felt the confidential information contained in these documents were best secured at the bank and not in district offices.

The district is not taking full advantage, the report states, of their bank's notification alerts for high-threshold transactions.

The district said it has instituted additional staff training in these area were best practices were not already in place.

Friday, December 12, 2014 at 3:48 pm

Batavia Middle School students spread holiday cheer to those who support local education

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Middle School, education, schools

Batavia Middle School students took time today to give back to the community that has given all year long to them.  They delivered holiday cards, paper snowflakes and snowman soup to local businesses and charitable organizations.

The students spent the first hour or so of the school day preparing the packages for delivery and then a small group of them got on a school bus and drove around the city delivering holiday cheer.

It's the first time the school has taken on such a project said 7th and 8th Grade Assistant Principal Maureen Notaro, who came up with the idea.

"We wanted to give back to some of the community agencies that give so much to us every day," Notaro said.

Student Genevieve Cutro said she hoped the event would spread a little holiday cheer.

"I like helping people very much," she said. "It's good for making people more happy."

Friday, December 12, 2014 at 6:45 am

Jackson School students will have creative work displayed at local businesses

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, education, Jackson School, schools

Local businesses are supporting the education of local kindergarteners and first-graders by displaying framed examples of their drawings and writings in their shops.

The unique program to highlight the creative work of students was created by the administrators and teachers of Jackson School.

Above, Ken Mistler, left, owner of Showtime Cinema in Batavia accepts the framed work of Mark Bomdaruk, pictured with his teacher Ann Marie Koukides.

Here's a list of particpating businesses and institutions and the names of first-graders with works displayed for January.

  • Art a la Cart, Emma Englehardt
  • Southside Deli, Gretchen Redder
  • T.F. Brown's, Mikaylah Sweet
  • Big Pauley's Pizza, Landon Hamilton
  • Kreative Kitchens, Karvel Martino
  • Wendy's, Bryce Nicometo
  • Main Street Pizza, Alexandra Crater
  • The Rack Shack, In February
  • Holland Land Office, Anthony Lecointe-Naegely
  • Bank of America, Liam Walker
  • Five Star Bank, Zofia Bailey
  • Richmond Memorial Library, Marley Santos
  • Alex's Place, Emilio Rosales
  • Genesee Community College, Emma Godfrey
  • City Hall 1, Harry Malander
  • City Hall 2, Helaina Staley
  • Tim Horton's, Julia Plath
  • City Slickers, Michala Faulkner
  • Next Level, Ella Shamp
  • Max Pies, Will Stevens
  • Showtime Cinema, Mark Bomdaruk
  • GO ART!, Sydney Parker
  • YMCA, Kayli Palone
  • YWCA, Drew Stevens
  • Sunny's, Elaina Stringham
  • Dunkin' Donuts, Lila Fortes
  • Sport of Kings, Elijah Fancher
  • T Shirts, Etc., Ethan Bastedo
  • McDonald's, Jacobi Childs
Friday, December 5, 2014 at 10:55 am

Bilingual caregiver, English/Spanish

post by Agri-Business Chi... in education, teacher, teaching

Company Name

Agri-business Child Development, Migrant & Seasonal Head Start

Job Type

Full-Time

Agri-Business Child Development is now accepting applications for a Bilingal Caregiver to work with children ages 6 wks to 3 years in a Migrant Head Start Program. Candidate is responsible for supporting assigned teaching staff in meeting the language needs (Spanish) of the majority of the children in the classroom by enabling and enhancing the children's primary language development while learning a second language. Also responsible for assisting in the provision of developmentally appropriate activities and care for Head Start children under the guidance and direction of the Teacher. Must be able to pass a TB test, criminal background check and child abuse clearance. GED or High School Diploma Prefered. Must be able to lift 50 lbs. Must be able to enroll in a CDA program and obtain an appropriate CDA credential for assigned classroom (Infant/Toddler or Pre-school) within one year of hire date. Please bring resume and letter of interest to 18 brooklyn ave, batavia, ny or email to [email protected]. EOE,ADA

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