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Superintendent's End of Year Message June 16

June 16, 2020

Dear Batavia Blue Devils Community,

I would have never thought that when I started my educational career that I would experience a global pandemic. It is even harder to imagine that anybody could have predicted that at the start of the 2019-20 school year it would end in a historic manner. When I arrived in January of 2020 as your Superintendent, what I witnessed immediately was an amazing and talented school staff and district community that focused on kids and each other. A couple of months later, in March, we were asked to change “school” as we knew it and move to a distance learning model as a response to a global health crisis. Although not an ideal request for anyone, I am proud to say that we did shift our work in a matter of a weekend and we did it to the best of our ability while also doing no harm to our kids and community.

Since March, we have provided over 160,000 meals to our city and we will continue to do so through our summer feeding program. We also were able to adjust our technology distribution practice and provided 1:1 laptop technology to students in grades 2-12. Furthermore, and just as important, teachers, counselors and administrators found creative ways to connect and celebrate our kids either virtually or through other socially distant appropriate methods.

I also want to mention that we inherently will have some changes across the organization. Some as a result of retirement or our district budget process and others as a result of our focus on improvement. Given that, for the 2020-21 school year there will be some administrative changes that will be evident on every school campus. I believe these changes will only enhance the current work and leadership within each building. I will let the Principals for each school communicate these changes to their respective school community.

As we close out this year, there are some words that are now common in use, that will always have a little bit of a different meaning to me and maybe also to you given our experiences this school year. Words such as social distancing, N95 mask, coronavirus, George Floyd, pandemic, ventilator, remote learning, executive order, protest, justice, and Black Lives Matter.

Please also know that as we transition into summer that our focus as a district is on reopening Batavia City Schools safely, better and stronger than before. I am currently participating in New York State’s Education Department’s Regional Reopening Task Force and will bring back all relevant information to inform our work as a district to ensure whatever method of school operation we return in for next year, that we are ready and prepared.

Lastly, being on quarantine or stay at home orders from the Governor, I hope has helped each of you reflect on what is important in life and in this world. For me, it was a reminder that no matter the challenges, the uncertainties, the injustices, the loss of a loved one, that what truly matters is our faith, our health, our family and the important role each of us play in making our district and in this often times complex world a better place for ourselves and future generations.

With that, please have a safe and healthy summer and a special congratulations to our retirees and to the Class of 2020. What a way to end!

I look forward to welcoming you back in the Fall!

We are better together, WE are Batavia!!!

Anibal Soler, Jr.
Superintendent of Schools