Superintendent Update: Friday, January 26, 2024

January 26, 2024

Dear Batavia Families and Community,

I hope this update finds you warm and safe as we enter the throes of winter, which will no doubt bring a warm and sunshine-filled spring.

While we have had some challenging weather the past couple of weeks, I want to acknowledge the exceptional work and commitment of our Buildings and Grounds crew, led by Chad Bliss. Chad and I were in regular contact over the past couple of weeks to ensure our parking lots, sidewalks, and entryways were ready for students, families, and staff. The snow was especially challenging over the recent holiday weekend, and the crew worked particularly hard to make sure our buildings could be open for practices and rehearsals. Kudos and bravo to Chad and his crew—thank you!

As I write this update, we are just beginning budget season in New York State, which will culminate in a public vote on our school budget on Tuesday, May 21. In a recent article in the local media, our tax share was compared to the city’s. Certainly, BCSD is the largest public employer in Genesee County, and we provide what I consider to be the hallmark of democracy: a public education for all that ultimately benefits all citizens. Over the years, I have heard comments along the lines of “If I don’t have children in public schools, why should I pay taxes?” Public schools are charged with producing well-rounded students who can think critically and are ready to become productive citizens. For some, this means entering college. For others, it means entering the workforce or serving our country in the military. All of these are noble and worthwhile choices. There are numerous well-vetted research articles that demonstrate the value of a high school diploma, and here are just a few found from trusted sources:

6 Advantages of Having A High School Diploma

Does a Diploma Affect Earning Potential?

The True Cost of High School Dropouts

The research is clear: the public as a whole benefits from a sound and effective education. At a recent BCSD Board of Education meeting, Dr. Molly Corey presented data and assessment results, which you can view here:

Academic Update

Finally, the extra-curricular/music/art opportunities and athletic programs we provide for students are not only fun to watch and be a part of, but they provide invaluable experiences for our students. In June 2023, the Board of Education heard a report on our athletic program, and while we have had successes, what I am most personally proud of is the number of students who participate. Want to see more? Here is the June 2023 presentation.

Our Board of Education and I—along with our leadership team—are committed to providing an excellent education program and experience for all students while being conscious of our role as fiscal stewards. I personally was provided with an exceptional education during my years here at BCSD, and my own children have also been and are currently recipients of the same high-quality educational program. 

On occasion, I receive emails from families recognizing a staff member or principal, thanking us for a recent program, or just a general “good news” email. Here is just one I received recently from a family:

My husband and I have two kids in 4th grade and in 6th grade. I wanted to share an email I just sent to Ms. Case after last night's beautiful music-in-our-schools concert. [My daughter] was in the a cappella group. She had a surprise solo at the beginning of the song when other members could not come to the concert. It brought us great pride to see our blossoming daughter sing so beautifully in front of a full house. We have been so pleased with our children's school experience. They feel loved, challenged, supported, and safe. They have great friends and are happy!

Finally, our recent capital project approval is further evidence of the wide support we have for our programs, faculty and staff, facilities, and most importantly, our students!

Former President John F. Kennedy had this to say about public education:

Let us think of education as the means of developing our greatest abilities, because in each of us, there is a private hope and dream which, fulfilled, can be translated into benefit for everyone and greater strength of the nation.

Thank you for your continued support of all that is BCSD!

Remember that there is NO SCHOOL on Monday, January 29, due to a Superintendent’s Conference Day.

Go Blue Devils!

Jason A. Smith
Superintendent of Schools

585-343-2480, ext 1000