Dear Batavia Families and Community,
One of my favorite weekends has arrived: Daylight Savings Time! More sunlight and more time to enjoy the outdoors, so please take advantage of this and enjoy the hopefully pending warmer weather!
Just three quick items on the COVID front:
Our mask-optional policy has been received extraordinarily well by all, and direct feedback from staff and students to me has been positive. Furthermore, there have been no reports of bullying behavior regarding masking, so thank you all.
We have plenty of COVID tests available and will be distributing them next week. Please feel free to pick up as many as your family needs. Look for an email soon with more details on pick-up location and times.
Finally, please continue to keep your children home if they are not feeling well, test if they are showing signs of COVID, and continue to practice good hygiene and handwashing.
A common theme I have uncovered during my entry plan process is how supportive our Batavia community is of our schools. Lately, I have seen this become especially evident after seeing so many families at the recent restaurant fundraisers at McDonald's, Chipotle, and Miss Batavia. What a wonderful way to build community while supporting our student programs and parent groups.
March is Women's History Month and Music in our Schools Month, and we have some special events planned throughout March to honor both of these important topics. Be sure to check out our Facebook posts for some women’s history highlights, and our annual Prism Concert will be at the end of month, complete with a Faculty and Staff Band performance.
Both Jackson Primary and John Kennedy have planned some very exciting “Tournament of Books” in honor of March Madness, and most importantly, to continue to encourage our students and families to read. I am participating in the Jackson tournament, and the book I chose is called Ruby In Her Own Time, by Jonathan Emmett, a beautiful children's book about how we learn and grow and how everyone learns at a different pace.
Congratulations to our BHS Winterguard on their wonderful 2nd place finish at the regional competition last weekend in Pittsburgh. Our team is currently seeded 8th out of 42 guards in the country. Bravo!
Next weekend is our annual BHS Production Club musical: Mamma Mia! It’s a fun and energetic show with some great dance numbers and features the classic music of ABBA! I’m dating myself here, but I fondly remember the ABBA 8-track tapes around my parent's house as a child growing up in the 70s and 80s… Showtimes are next Friday, March 18, and Saturday, March 19 at 7:00 pm and Sunday, March 20, at 2 pm. You can purchase your tickets in advance by clicking here or buy them at the door. And be sure to catch a few of the cast members on WBTA next week to promote the show–tune in on Tuesday, March 15, around 8:30 am.
Earlier this week, I spent time in the Middle School having lunch with some student representatives from Grades 5-8, and I thought I would share with you some insight as to what we talk about in these lunches, as they are not purely “social visits:”
How do I call a “snow day?” (this is always a fun one)
What is the best part about our school?
What is one way we can improve our school?
What is your favorite subject and why? Who are some of your favorite teachers and coaches?
How does a school budget operate?
What does a School Board and Superintendent do? What are our jobs?
Of course, we talk about fun stuff as well, like our favorite Batavia restaurants, our favorite TV shows, and our favorite cafeteria food.
Our Building and Grounds Committee has been meeting regularly, and in addition to reviewing general maintenance, we are also reviewing long-term capital improvements. Just like we maintain and provide upkeep for our own homes and property, school districts can and should engage in a similar process–albeit more complicated and in-depth. As a matter of fact, New York State provides incentives to encourage schools to properly maintain their buildings, in part to avoid unplanned and more expensive repairs. While we are a long way away from introducing such a project, I want to make you aware that these conversations have begun. More information will follow over the coming year or so…stay tuned.
Finally, I am nearing the end of my formal entry plan into Batavia City Schools, and I look
forward to sharing the results in the late spring.
Remember to set your clocks ahead this weekend so your children are on time for school on Monday–although that now seems like antiquated advice with smartphones so prevalent!
Have a great weekend…
Jason A. Smith
Superintendent of Schools
Phone: 585-343-2480, ext 1000