Superintendent Anibal Soler Jr. devoted part of his update to the Board of Education Monday night to a demonstration of a new option for people to use to access the district’s website, www.bataviacsd.org.
“We launched our new website, but we also launched our new app,” he said. Soler then demonstrated the app for the board.
“I just want to point that out, because we have viewers, folks watching,” he said at the meeting. “It is truly ‘Everything Batavia.’ It’s our complete website in the form of an app.” The district has gotten a lot of positive feedback from the app so far, Soler said.
“It’s really easy for folks to just carry their phone. We know that most of our families and students are really engaged in this through their phones on various platforms, so we thought it was really important,” he said. “And who doesn’t like to see good news in their daily feed? As board members, if you haven’t downloaded it, download it. You can access everything that’s on our website in your app. You can even save things to your calendar, share them with others …”
Earlier in the meeting, Soler said with the school year — and the mix of in-person and virtual learning — about six weeks old, the Batavia City School District is starting to get some feedback from students and parents.
“I’m going to work with the leadership team to put together a survey to try to see what’s going well, what can we work on? We know that some of our parents are really great at keeping us honest when there is a challenge. but we also know that sometimes we’ve got to hear from our kids,” he said. “Sometimes, allowing our students to have a voice around what they like, what they don’t like, what they’d like to see changed. We’ll be doing that. We’ll be sharing through all of our various forms of communication and engagement.”
Soler said principals are continuing to work, to maximize in-person learning. At John Kennedy, Assistant Principal Brian Sutton is going to be exploring bringing more of the second-graders back, to potentially fit all of the second-graders in in-person learning every day.
“Not every grade is there, but their (the second graders’) enrollment is to the point where we believe we can get everybody in,” Soler said. “We’re trying to manage the whole ‘which grades can, which grades can’t,’ but, unfortunately, some of our classes, we just have a higher number of enrollments that we can’t bring everybody back, but where we can, I don’t think it’s fair to penalize them, keep them home every other day.
“I say ‘penalize’ generally, because it’s not really a penalty, but we know parents could benefit from as much in-person (learning) as possible with child care,” he said.
Soler said at Batavia High School, Principal Paul Kesler and his team are looking at kids who are in virtual learning all the time who aren’t engaging well. The goal there is to say to a parent that the school understands the parent’s concerns about in-person learning, but in-person learning is going pretty well six weeks into the year. It would be better to bring the student into school more because he or she is not engaging through virtual learning.
Soler said Jackson Primary School Principal Maureen Notaro continues to bring pre-kindergarten and kindergarten kids off of the 100 percent virtual learning into in-person learning because virtual learning is really a different thing for the kids to deal with. “I just want to make sure that we continuously give credit to our teachers, our aides, our administrators, our support staff, who are working on this under really hard conditions. Every week, we get updates from the state … a variety of things that continues to evolve and they continue to jus adjust and move forward,” Soler said.
The superintendent mentioned Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s use of the expression “COVID fatigue.”
“It’s very real, Our teachers are doing double work. They’re working harder than they’ve ever done before. I just want to recognize them …” Soler said.