Superintendent's Update

Dear Batavia Families and Community,

I like to use conversations I have had with students to illustrate a larger point, so here is another recent example:

Last Saturday at the indoor track meet, I was chatting with one of our triple jumpers about the event and his goals for the meet. While it was a great conversation, what struck me was when I asked him what his best jump was: he looked at me, proudly smiled, and said, “This is the first time I am doing this event,” to which I smiled back and said, “Hey, good for you.”

Why do I share this particular conversation? Since I began my career in education in 1994, having high expectations for students and setting goals have been my mantras. Whether it's a first-time triple jumper, improving reading scores, reading a challenging book, attending solo festivals, trying out for the musical, or passing that challenging math test, the educational research is clear that high expectations for students—coupled with support from adults—can yield great dividends. Just one year ago, I was being interviewed by our high school students on my first day as superintendent, and I stressed this very same concept: high expectations for all, including myself and our staff. For example, each administrator has developed goals for themselves and their schools, which are monitored, reviewed, and adjusted regularly. 

Speaking of one year ago, it has been one year since I have had the honor of serving as your superintendent, and it continues to be a source of both personal and professional pride. Be on the lookout for a special video—created with the help of our BHS Co-Mayors—where I will answer some fun and reflective questions about my time at BCSD so far.

I appreciate the response thus far to my single survey questions, and I will resume those next month. We are compiling the responses and will share them with our District Strategic Planning Team at the end of January to identify strength and growth opportunities across our schools. 

Here are a few calendar and business items for you to be aware of:

  • There will be a Superintendent’s Conference Day on Monday, January 30—so no students will be in attendance. 

  • We will have our second late arrival day for students on Monday, February 13 (the day after the Superbowl). Detailed schedules will be released in the coming weeks, but I wanted you to have this on your radar now.

The January 30 Superintendent's Conference Day and the February 13 late arrival day will provide our staff with the necessary time for staff development, diversity and equity training, and wellness activities—all essential.

  • Of course, this Monday, January 16, schools are closed, and we take time to recognize the remarkable achievements of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.—one of our nation’s greatest leaders in the Civil Rights Movement. I recently read a book on the Civil Rights Movement, and Americans now rank the era via a recent poll as one of the top ten significant events of the 20th century. Please take some time to pause and reflect on the life and legacy of Dr. King and the impact of the Civil Rights Movement. 

As we approach the second half of the year, I would encourage you to have a conversation with your children in the name of high expectations and continuous improvement:

Ask your children to list the “wins” they have had this year so far. Sure, they can be athletic wins, but have them think bigger: What wins have they had with their classes? What are they most proud of so far? What have they accomplished? Listen and then celebrate those wins.

Then, ask them to identify some goals or improvement areas for the second half of the year: What do they want to get better at? What is a class or skill that they want to improve? Listen, support and encourage them as they set these new goals with your support—remember the concept of high expectations coupled with adult support.

I wish each of you well in this new year of 2023, and I look forward to my continued service to our students, family, staff, and community.

Have a great weekend, and GO BILLS!

Jason A. Smith

Superintendent of Schools

343-2480, ext 1000

Twitter:  @JasonJasmith & @BataviaCSD