Superintendent's Update: Friday, September 15

Dear Batavia Families and Community,

Do you recall this quote from my last update?:

“The children of Batavia can, they have power; they can do things; they are kings of their work. They attack difficulties without shrinking or cringing, and they master things.”

I shared this with our staff last week as part of our opening day festivities, as I found the quote so inspiring as we kicked off a new year.

Now, to reveal the author:

Our very own former Superintendent of Schools, John Kennedy, whom John Kennedy Intermediate School is named after (not to be confused with former President John F. Kennedy). Mr. Kennedy wrote several educational theory books in the early 20th century, and the quote above came from one of those books. As we begin the 2023-24 school year, please join our dedicated staff and me as we seek to make all Batavia students “kings and queens” of their work and who will attack difficulties without shrinking or cringing!

It has been wonderful welcoming all of our students back to school, greeting them in the hallways, at arrival and dismissal, and seeing them compete on the fields and courts as we are in the midst of fall athletics.

We seem to have resolved many of the transportation issues that came up during the first few days of school, and I thank you for your patience. I would also like to thank our clerical and front office staff, who patiently address each question and concern that arises.Our only goal is to serve our families well, and we realize that transportation can be especially challenging.

Our new parent communication tool, ParentSquare, has been well received by staff and families alike. I am able to see many of the posts and the subsequent engagement that follows, and as a parent in the district myself, I can further appreciate the value of this tool. Thank you for your enthusiastic participation thus far, and there is more to come as ParentSquare has some really cool tools we have yet to explore and implement—so stay tuned!

Last week, we were thrilled to be notified that Batavia High School received national recognition from the U.S. News and World Report, for being named a “Best High School,” ranking in the top 40% of 18,000 high schools across the country.  Congratulations to our staff, families, and students on earning this honor, and you can read more about this here.

Did you know we have several staff members who were recognized on opening day for 25 years of dedicated service to Batavia? 

Please join me in thanking them for their commitment to Batavia:

Marie Bigsby, Jackson

Elementary Teacher

Melissa Calandra, John Kennedy

Elementary Teacher

Donna Carey, Jackson

Reading Teacher

Lisa Gilebarto, Jackson

Music Teacher

Lisa Shuknecht, Jackson

Elementary Teacher

Julie Wasilewski, John Kennedy

Social Worker

One of my highlights this past summer was when I took our new employees on a tour of Batavia, along with retired teacher Anne Marie Starowitz. As a result of that tour, a colleague suggested that each update I share with you a brief nugget of Batavia's history for your reading pleasure. So here goes:

The early settlers of Batavia would go to the Holland Land Office to buy land from land agent Joseph Ellicott (of whom both Ellicott Street and Ellicott Avenue are named after). Joseph Ellicott is noted for being the founder of Batavia and Buffalo, and Batavia was almost named Mosquitoville, but thankfully, took on the name of Batavia, a Dutch name.

Finally, please do not hesitate to contact our teachers and principals as we continue with this school year. We are all here to raise expectations for our students, meet their social and emotional needs, and equip them with life skills for success beyond BCSD. 

Welcome back!

Jason A. Smith
Superintendent of Schools
585-343-2480, ext 1000