Superintendent Update: Friday, November 10, 2023

November 10, 2023

Dear Batavia Families and Community,

As we continue with ParentSquare—our new parent communication app—I want to thank our families for quickly embracing this tool and sharing such positive feedback with our staff and myself. I am also grateful to our leadership team, clerical staff, and faculty for adopting this tool as well. There is still more than can be done with ParentSquare, and we are learning more tricks each week!

I have been in education since 1994 and have served in four districts, and a frequent comment I often see and hear from families I would like to address briefly is that they are hesitant to provide critical feedback on our programs, schools, etc., for fear of “retribution” to their children. First, a key way we will grow and improve as a school is to listen to our “customers” (families, community, and students) and implement positive changes. I often eat lunch with students and always ask them, “How can we improve?” Those changes are often shared, considered, and implemented. Second, under no circumstances will a child ever receive a negative response from a staff member due to a parent-staff member interaction—no matter how intense the disagreement may be. On this, you have my word. Our principals and I are 100% committed to this promise. While we may not always enjoy hearing negative feedback, it is the only way we grow—which is what learning is all about, regardless of age.

What a wonderful celebration we had yesterday at Batavia High School to honor our veterans as we recognized Veterans Day. Our students sang and played so proudly, and we thank Assemblyman Steve Hawley (himself a proud BHS grad and veteran) for his inspiring words to our students. Thank you to Dan Grillo, Collin Murtaugh, and retired music department chair and teacher Jane Hagget for their efforts in organizing and leading this remarkable event.      


Thank you, Julia Rogers, our Community Schools Coordinator, for presenting a wonderful Fall Expo this past Wednesday night, where we were able to provide our community with an opportunity to pick out new and gently used winter clothing, enjoy some delicious food, and have a chance to visit with our community partners.

Our BCSD Reimagined (capital improvement project) information campaign is underway, and I am in the process of meeting with our school-based parent groups and staff at each school. We encourage you to attend one or both of our public presentations on:

Tuesday, November 28, at 4 p.m. at Batavia Middle School

Thursday, December 7, at 7 p.m. at Batavia High School

Members from our capital project planning team, including Board of Education members, will also be available to answer questions.

I will be on our hometown radio station, WBTA 1490, on Tuesday, November 28, at 8:45 a.m., along with our Board President, John Marucci, and Business Administrator, Andy Lang, to explain the project in detail. 

Continue to check our website and social media for more details as we arrive closer to the Thursday, December 14 vote date!

Speaking of capital projects, we at BCSD were pleased that Proposition 1 was passed by New York State voters on Tuesday, which will provide small city school districts like ours with additional leeway to borrow funds to improve our facilities for future capital projects.

Recently, I had the honor of sending many letters of congratulations to our student-athletes and musicians who were recognized for their achievements this past fall. Sending and signing these letters—which I do for every athletic season and our all-county music festivals—is a testament to the work ethic of our students, coaches, and teachers who provide them support and encouragement along the way—congratulations to all!

As this will be my final update for November, please accept my warm wishes for a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday with your family and friends. Please be safe if you are traveling (as my family and I are). 

And to close, here is this month’s Batavia history lesson for your reading pleasure:

Many Batavia streets are named after famous Batavians, including the historical and beautiful Redfield Parkway, named after Herman J. Redfield, a prominent judge who was the father of 18 children.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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