BATAVIA – As he set forth “aggressive and lofty goals” in five key categories for this school year, Superintendent Christopher J. Dailey urged his faculty and staff to aspire to be difference-makers for students, parents and the Batavia community.
Speaking at the district’s annual “Opening Day” Wednesday morning at the Batavia High School auditorium, Dailey encouraged the 300 school employees “to continue to find the good in our students.”
“We’re more than a number,” he said. “What matters to me is the difference you make in a kid’s life each and every day.”
Dailey said teachers and staff must create a positive learning environment while keeping a balance in their lives if the district hopes to meet its goals in the areas of finance, behavior, family and community engagement, technology and achievement.
“Take care of yourself, take care of others and take care of our schools,” he said, adding that “all of us represent the Batavia school district and must use that responsibility when we’re at trainings or out in the public.”
Dailey’s goals for the new school year include:
• Finances: Minimize taxes, with the tax cap to be set below 1 percent; negotiate contracts with teachers, clerical and custodial unions; find new revenue streams such as adult education courses; and complete capital projects.
-• Student behavior: Improve student behavior and institute positive intervention efforts, including regular meetings with teachers.
• Family and community engagement: Share student achievements through various media outlets; involve the community and families in school events that celebrate students’ accomplishments; utilize the Let’s Talk app on the district’s website by the end of this month.
• Technology: Apply for up to $2 million through the Smart Schools Bond Act for age-appropriate devices such as laptops and tablets for all students to use in their classrooms. “We hope to enhance our technology infrastructure to make our students more college- and career-ready by 2016-17,” Dailey said.
• Achievement: Increase the high school graduation rate to 90 percent (it was just under that last year); increase by 5 percent the percentage of students scoring a 3 or 4 on the grades 3-8 English Language Arts and Math state assessment tests in the spring of 2016; ensure that at least 70 percent of elementary pupils will be able to read at or above grade level by June 2016.
“These are aggressive and lofty goals for a small-city school district and it will take everybody in the building providing an environment that is safe … for all of us to succeed,” he said.
In the short term, Dailey said the district’s Columbus Day goal is to make sure that every student, regardless of grade level, receives a positive note or postcard from a staff member acknowledging his or her success.
Dailey recognized senior staff members in various departments – Bobbi Norton (clerical), Dwight Ruhlman (custodial), Janet O’Geen (nutritional), Susan Hawkins (faculty), James Jacobs (administration) and David Yoder (information technology).
Seven staff members received 25-year pins. They are Paul Pedersen, Michael Barone, Virginia Walker, Susan Kujawski, Jeffrey Langdon, Francis O’Geen and John Suttell.