Dear Batavia Families and Community,
Greetings, and thank you all for the incredibly warm welcome as your new Superintendent of Schools. What a personal and professional honor it is for me to have this opportunity to lead our District—the District where I proudly graduated from in 1990 and am proud to call home.
It has been my practice as Superintendent to provide updates to our school community every two weeks, and I intend to continue this practice at Batavia– thus the purpose of this update. You can expect to receive these updates every other Friday (less so in the summer months) via e-mail, text, website, and Facebook. I will share important updates, some highlights, and general news with you.
First, let me quickly address some important matters related to COVID:
As part of the Test-to-Stay program, parents will be contacted to obtain permission to administer the rapid tests, with the hopes of keeping children in school.
We expect to receive additional tests to distribute to the District–more information on that coming soon.
Since our District update last Friday, we’ve been given additional guidance from the Department of Health regarding booster requirements:
*Booster shots are STILL being counted towards “fully vaccinated” status. Anyone who has received two full doses of their vaccine (or a single round of Johnson & Johnson), and is asymptomatic, will not have to quarantine if exposed to a person with COVID.
The above is a complete change from what I said last night in the forum, as the booster guidance literally changed overnight. To be clear: Boosters are STILL required, and what I said last night is no longer valid regarding boosters.
*In order to fully implement the Test-to-Stay program across the District, we’ll need additional testing kits–which we expect to receive shortly– thank you for your patience.
(OK, that’s all for COVID for now…😊)
As I said, I have had a very warm welcome to our District, and I thank our principals for the wonderful tours and visits I had with each of our schools last week. I appreciate all the cards made by our students at John Kennedy and Jackson, and enjoyed my interactions with our middle and high school students as well. I intend to visit the schools and classrooms regularly, and I have enjoyed several athletic events & look forward to many more. I’m looking forward to a wonderful concert next week at the Middle School. Please stop and say hello and introduce or re-introduce yourself to me.
Speaking of upcoming concerts, next Sunday, I look forward to joining my fellow alumni and colleagues as part of the Staff and Alumni Jazz Band concert fundraiser for our Winter Guard—you can look for me on the trombone! And best wishes to our students representing Batavia in Solo Festival this weekend—this is a wonderful yet challenging way for our students to not only grow musically, but improve their overall self-confidence.
As part of my formal Entry Plan, I will meet our various parent groups in my quest to learn more about the strengths and improvement opportunities in our District.
I appreciated the opportunity to address questions and concerns last night as part of our virtual community forum, but of course, your questions need not wait to be addressed in this manner. Our leadership team prides itself on our accessibility, transparency, and commitment to communicate with our parents in a timely manner, and I hold myself to this same expectation—all my contact information may be found below.
We are also in the process of enhancing our communication strategies, which include website updates and improvements, Facebook highlights (we are working to adjust our Twitter accounts, and more info on that is forthcoming), and finding new and creative ways to tell the stories of the successes of our students, which are a reflection of our dedicated staff and supportive community.
Regarding snow day practices: As a Superintendent, I have never had a hard and fast rule of calling a snow day the day before or the morning of, as there are pros and cons to both, and is situation-dependent. Certainly, the best time to make the call is the early morning, but that presents child care difficulties. I also need to be aware of meeting our required days of attendance, or there are significant financial penalties that should never be incurred. So, let’s just hope for a continued mild winter moving forward! 😊
Finally, we will enjoy a long weekend coming up in honor of one of our nation’s great leaders: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. My son was recently asked to prepare a college essay on taking the path most or least traveled. When we think of great leaders like Dr. King, we know that he took the path least traveled (the harder path), yet his contributions to our country and world should not be underestimated. Please pause for some time this weekend and reflect on the life and legacy of Dr. King.
Thank you for your continued support of our schools, and I truly look forward to our partnership. Go Bills!!
Jason A. Smith
Superintendent of Schools
Phone: 343- 2480, ext 1000
Twitter: @JasonJasmith (an official and revised District Twitter account is pending)