Another day, another double rainbow

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 3 August 2020 at 9:42 pm

KENDALL – Dawn Gardner sent in this photo of a double rainbow that appeared today at about 7 p.m. on West Kendall Road. The double rainbow emerged after the sun came out following a heavy rain.

There was also a double rainbow on Sunday in Orleans County.

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Kendall school district hosts reopening forum at 6 p.m. today

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 28 July 2020 at 9:10 am

KENDALL – The school district will host a community forum this evening at 6, and will discuss reopening plans, arrival and dismissal procedures for those on busses, and expectations for those in remote learning.

The forum is available through the Zoom videoconferencing or by calling in by phone. Click here for more information.

Kendall and all of the 700 school districts in the state need to submit reopening plans to the state by Friday. Those plans need to include three options: full in-person learning, a hybrid approach with in-person learning and on-line at home, and remote learning with no in-person classes.

Kendall’s reopening committees have looked at the district’s instructional practices, technology needs, sanitation, transportation and food service.

“The safety of our students, staff and community is paramount, as are providing a quality academic program and supporting social emotional needs,” Julie Christensen, the district superintendent, wrote in a letter to the community.

She said a survey of parents showed about 80 percent intend to send their children back to school this fall. If parents choose remote learning over in-person, Kendall will be using a Google platform to post lesson materials.

“We have developed plans and purchased supplies to accommodate the goals of all students all day, every day,” Christensen said in her letter.

The district superintendent said Kendall remains committed to providing a quality education.

There are some components required by the state Department of Health to reopen schools safely, Christensen said.

• Face coverings will be required for students and staff when social distancing can’t be maintained of at least 6 feet apart. Students will be required to wear face coverings on the bus, during passing time, at arrival and dismissal, and other times when social distancing not possible.

• Health screenings will be required each day before a staff member or child enters the building. Students should have daily temperature and health checks done every day at home. If a student has a temperature over 100 degrees, experiences a new cough, respiratory distress, vomiting or shortness of breath, he or she must stay home, Christensen said in her letter.

If students have been in close contact with someone who tests positive for Covid-19, they must stay home for 14 days. If students have traveled to a designated state with a high infection rate, those students must stay home.

Students who are quarantined and asymptomatic will be encouraged to continue remote learning.

• Hygiene and sanitation practices: There will be increased sanitation in classrooms, common areas, cafeteria, busses and bathrooms. The district will post more signs throughout school buildings for proper hand hygiene and cleaning. Kendall will also make hand sanitizer available in all classrooms, common areas and on school busses. The district has also added day cleaners to increase sanitation practices.

• Food service practices: Kendall will add grab and go breakfasts, preorder lunches and maintain social distancing in the café and overflow spaces. All spaces will be sanitized frequently.

• Transportation: Routes will be modified to accommodate social distancing to the extent possible. Facial coverings must be worn on busses. In the district survey, about 50 percent of parents said they would transport their child to and from school.

Christensen said the state’s guidelines and health requirements often change on a  daily basis, requiring flexibility from districts as they prepare for the fall.

School districts seek feedback for reopening

Photos by Tom Rivers: Junior high students in Orleans County sing on March 7 at Kendall during the All-County Music Festival. The auditorium at the Kendall Junior-Senior High School was packed for the concert. A week later, the school districts in Orleans County announced their buildings would be closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Reopening plans for schools will likely include social distancing, wearing masks and reducing the capacity in the buildings for large crowds.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 11 July 2020 at 3:37 pm

Holley, Kendall, Lyndonville and Medina have online surveys

School districts want to hear from the community about possible scenarios for reopening schools this fall.

Holley, Kendall, Lyndonville and Medina all have online surveys, asking for feedback about on-line learning and returning to school in classrooms.

Albion also has formed a committee that is meeting to develop a plan for reopening schools this fall.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Wednesday said New York will finalize guidance to reopen schools by July 13. School districts need to submit reopening plans by July 31, with the state to make a decision on reopening during week of Aug. 1-7.

The state won’t have a blanket policy for all 700 districts in the state because different regions of the state have different levels of infection from Covid-19, Cuomo said.

The governor said student safety, as well as the health of teachers and staff, remains the priority on how schools will operate in the fall.

“We know we have a lot of work to do, and we need input from our families,” Brian Bartalo, the Holley school district superintendent, said in a message to the community. “It’s important to note that although we need your input, the final decision about schools reopening and how schools will operate this fall will be determined by the Governor and the State Education Department.”

The districts in the surveys ask parents if they will send their children to school if the state allows in-person classes.

The districts ask parents their level of concern with having their children ride a school bus, sit in classrooms and participate in sports and other activities.

“We need to be ready for an opening of school with safety considerations (masks, sanitizing, distancing, etc.) for all students and staff, a ‘hybrid’ model where students attend school in person on a rotational basis and do some ‘distance learning,’ and a model where students are again learning remotely, like we ended this past school year,” Bartalo said. “It goes without saying that all of us at Holley CSD are hoping and planning for as much in-person learning as is allowed by the State, the CDC and our Health Department officials.”

To see Holley’s survey, click here.

To see Kendall’s survey, click here.

To see Lyndonville’s survey, click here.

To see Medina’s survey, click here.

Kayli Miller of Albion kicks the soccer ball during a modified game last September against Barker. The sports programs could be different this year due to precautions against the spread of Covid-19.

Medina asks how the pandemic impacted your family with the following responses: no impact/no change; some impact, does not change daily behavior; noticeable impact; significant daily disruption; and severe daily disruption, immediate needs unmet.

Medina asks if the disrupted school had an emotional or mental impact on children. Medina and the other local districts had their last day of in-person classes on March 13.

Parents are also asked whether they are satisfied with the way distance learning was implemented during the pandemic.

Parents are asked if their homes are set up for distance learning, and what could be done to make that work better, whether it be WiFi access at home, a device for the student to do school work, more support with instruction and childcare.

Parents are asked if they would feel more comfortable sending their children to school if the buses and classrooms were at half capacity, rather than full capacity.

Mark Kruzynski, Medina’s school superintendent, said the parent responses will help the district as it considers its reopening plan.

“Because we will always follow all directives from the health department, local, state and federal government, many decisions about what school will look like in the fall may be ‘out of our hands,’” he said in a message to the community. “However, for those things that the district may be able to control, we want to make the best decisions possible for our students and families.”

In one of Medina’s questions, parents are asked if students/staff return to school in September, which measures are most important at school? They are also to check all that apply.

  • Wearing masks at all times
  • Wearing masks only in situations when you cannot be 6 feet apart
  • Hand sanitizer in each classroom and common area
  • COVID-19 testing for staff and students before re-entry in the fall
  • Daily testing of student/staff temperature
  • No lunchroom use for students
  • No playground use for students
  • Limited hallway travel and changing of classes
  • No sharing of any classroom resources or materials such as books, games, supplies
  • Staggered start and end times to the day

Among the questions asked by Kendall, was there too little or too much communication from the district/administrators during the shutdown, or was it just enough.

Lyndonville asks parents what is their expectation regarding student athletics, performing arts, and extra-curricular activities if students return to school in the September? The responses include:

  • I FULLY expect these events to be provided for student participation in a traditional format with reasonable safety measures.
  • I am CONCERNED about students participating in these events because of social distancing challenges while participating.
  • I would NOT allow my student(s) to participate in these events at this time.

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Kendall student will be part of first virtual Girls State program

Staff Reports Posted 30 June 2020 at 11:55 am

Provided photo: Madison Nardi and about 400 other students will be part of the first virtual Girl State program. The program runs from June 28 to July 12.

KENDALL – Madison Nardi, who will be a senior at Kendall in 2020-21, will be attending the first ever virtual American Legion Auxiliary Girls State.

Madison is one of 400 young women selected to attend the 79th American Legion Auxiliary Girls State session.  As part of the annual program, outstanding students are chosen from their local high schools to spend a week learning about the inner workings of state, local and county government. Madison is sponsored by the Jewell Buckman Auxiliary Unit in Holley.

This premier leadership conference is designed to provide practical insight into the workings of the government, promote youth civic engagement, instill a sense of pride in America, and empower the next generation of women leaders, providing them with a network that lasts a lifetime.

Madison Nardi is a rising senior at Kendall High School. She is active in many ways in her school and community, including varsity volleyball and various other clubs.

The program included workshops lead by a political instructor, presentations on women in leadership, Activities that inspired patriotism and pride, as well as information on the American Legion Auxiliary.

“The ALA Girls State experience is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for young women across our state and while we couldn’t hold the program in person, our team worked hard to ensure that this cohort of High School Juniors get to learn some of the important principles of democracy and about the American Legion Auxiliary ” said Jennifer Farley, American Legion Auxiliary Girls State chairman. “Our hope is that after attending the virtual ALA Girls State, the girls will be inspired to participate in the democratic process, volunteer in their communities and be filled with patriotism and pride.”

ALA Girls State:​ The American Legion Auxiliary’s marquee Girls State program, first presented in 1937, is one of the most respected and coveted experiential learning programs presented in the United States.

The program epitomizes the ALA’s mission to honor those who have brought us our freedom through our enduring commitment to develop young women as future leaders grounded in patriotism and Americanism. The young women become knowledgeable of the democratic process and how our republic form of government works at the state and national levels.

To learn more about the Auxiliary’s mission, visit​.

For more on the Girl State program, click here.

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Kendall commencement allows grads to celebrate together on lawn at Fire Department

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 27 June 2020 at 2:30 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

KENDALL – Hailee Mitchell (left), the salutatorian, and Katherine Pearson, the class valedictorian, walk past a 2020 sign at the beginning of the Kendall commencement on Friday evening.

The district held the celebration on the Kendall firemen’s grounds, where there is usually the carnival.

The state set a maximum size at 150 people for graduation ceremonies, unless people were in cars. Kendall decided to have an outdoor ceremony and allow families to drive-in and park.

The 51 graduates had seats on chairs that were spaced six feet apart to meet the state’s social distancing guidelines.

Carol D’Agostino, the high school principal, addresses the graduates and the crowd. She is joined on stage by Lisa Levett (left), president of the Board of Education, and Julie Christensen, district superintendent.

The stage was donated for use by Kludt Farms. Christ Farms decorated the stage for the event.

Sarah Delmont, one of the class advisors, hands out masks that she made for all of the seniors. They had the Kendall logo on them.

Isaiah Curtis-Korn heads to the stage for his diploma. He is wearing a mask for Kendall’s Class of 2020.

Kasandra (Cliff) Hopkins, the salutatorian for Kendall’s Class of 2002, delivered the commencement address. She works as administrator of the Northway Surgery & Pain Center near Albany. Her mother is Kendall teacher Renee Cliff.

Hopkins has been an EMT, registered nurse and earned a master’s degree in nursing.

When Hopkins gave her speech in 2002, it was to her classmates whose senior year started with the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. This year’s senior class was born not long after the 9-11 attacks.

“The world is constantly changing,” she said. “Each generation has a challenge to rise up to.”

The pandemic has been disruptive, but Hopkins said it has also given students more time with their families. Students have needed to adapt to on-line learning and using more technology.

Hopkins quoted from the lyrics of “Be a Light” by Thomas Rhett.

“In a time full of war, be peace

In a world full of hate, be a light

When you do somebody wrong, make it right

Don’t hide in the dark, you were born to shine

In a world full of hate, be a light.”

Hopkins said it isn’t a coincidence Kendall picked the eagle as a mascot.

“We are proud and we are made to soar,” she said.

David Klafehn takes photos of a memorable graduation ceremony at Kendall.

Elizabeth Sutphen stands on the stage before receiving her diploma.

Amber Salonen is happy after receiving her diploma.

Parents and family members of the graduates watched the ceremony from the back of pickup trucks and from lawn chairs.

Brianna Drennan accepts her diploma from Carol D’Agostino, the high school principal. They each kept an arm’s length away.

Hailee Mitchell delivers the salutatorian speech. She praised the small-school atmosphere at Kendall which nurtures students. She commended her classmates for pushing through the past three months, especially with the disappointments of having the senior trip, spring fling and spring sports all cancelled.

Julie Christensen, the district superintendent, praised the community for its support of the students during their school career, and especially since mid-March when the pandemic hit.

She said the Class of 2020 is high-achieving. Among the 51 students, 56 percent were on the honor roll every marking period of high school.

Mason Kuhn is congratulated by Carol D’Agostino. Mason served as one of the class officers.

Katherine Pearson gives the valedictory address. She said a “silver lining” in the pandemic is students graduate knowing they are loved by the community.

She thanked local residents for adopting seniors and giving them gifts during the quarantine. She also said teachers showed their love and commitment to students with a parade by every students’ home and by being creating in their online lessons.

Pearson said her family suffered the loss of her uncle, Wayne Younglove, on June 9. He lived an adventurous life and enjoyed riding snowmobiles, going boating and racing cars. She urged her classmates to follow his example and be brave in trying new things and exploring the country and world.

“I’m graduating with 50 other amazing people who will do wonderful things in life,” Pearson said.

Chloe Tonas decorated her mortarboard on her graduation cap. She and her classmates gathered outside the Kendall fire hall before the ceremony.

Chloe thanked the school administrators for working out a graduation where the class could be together and many family and friends could attend.

These graduates walk by the large 2020 sign created for the ceremony.

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Kendall student, soon to graduate, adopts a teacher who believed in her

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 June 2020 at 9:14 pm

Photo courtesy of Crystal Botello: Alma Botello stopped by Kelly Picardo’s home today and presented her with a basket of goodies. Picardo was Alma’s teacher in third and sixth grades. Picardo helped Alma build her confidence in the classroom.

KENDALL – The Kendall community has adopted seniors in high school, showering them with gifts and goodies since the Covid-19 pandemic.

Alma Botello, 18, had two different people adopt her. She appreciates the efforts of the community to make her and her classmates feel some love at the end of the senior year, which has been disrupted since mid-March.

They have been doing on-line learning at home and haven’t been allowed inside the school.

Alma and her mother, Crystal Botello, thought it would be a nice gesture to adopt one of Alma’s teachers who made a big difference in Alma’s school career.

Alma immediately thought of Kelly Picardo, Alma’s teacher for third and sixth grades. Picardo was a constant encourager, and helped Alma build her confidence in the classroom, especially with her least favorite subject of math.

“She was always there and she was a voice in the back of my head, telling me, ‘You can do this,’” Alma said this evening by phone.

She and her mother filled a basket with treats and pool toys, and stopped by Picardo’s home today.

Alma has stayed in touch with Picardo over the years, visiting Picardo’s classroom in the elementary school for open houses. Alma has younger siblings in the school.

She has stayed in touch with Picardo, and continues to hear her voice in her head when the schoolwork is difficult.

“Mrs. Picardo always said I could do it,” Alma said.

She will graduate on June 26. Then she will enroll at Genesee Community College and plans to work at a childcare center. Her goal is to become a special education teacher.

“Mrs. Picardo definitely inspired me,” Alma said. “Being a teacher is something I’ve always wanted to do.”

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Kendall has nearly 4 times voter turnout; school budget passes

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 June 2020 at 7:59 am

KENDALL – School district voters passed the budget, a proposition for transportation and elected two Board of Education members.

The district counted 822 absentee ballots for the budget on Tuesday. That turnout was nearly four times the 217 people who voted in the last election on May 21, 2019. There wasn’t in-person voting this election and budget vote due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Proposition No. 1 – school budget, passed 581 to 241. The $17,603,596 budget is down slightly from the $17,774,362 in the 2019-20 school year. The budget will increase taxes by 1.99 percent. 

Proposition No. 2 for Transportation Fund Usage, passes 605 to 219. The vote authorizes the district to spend up to $250,000 from a transportation bus reserve for transportation vehicles.

Board of Education members: Bryan Hardenbrook was elected to a five-year term with 673 votes, and Rachel Fisken was elected to 3-year term with 645 votes.

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‘It’s time for every person to step up’

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 15 June 2020 at 10:04 pm

Kendall held Black Lives Matter demonstration on Saturday

Photos courtesy of Mark Washington

KENDALL – About 20 people participated in a Black Lives Matter demonstration on Saturday in Kendall from noon to 2 p.m.

The demonstrators stood at Kendall’s main intersection at Route 18 and Kendall Road.

Ruthie Seabolt and her mother, Cynthia Blosenhauer, were the lead organizers of the event.

“It’s time for every person to step up and pay attention,” said Seabolt, 21, who will be a senior at the University of Rochester majoring in international relations and political science.

She wanted her small town to show its support for the Black Lives Matter movement against racism and police brutality.

She admitted she was nervous and a little scared before the demonstration. She didn’t know what kind of response there would be.

There were a few of what felt like angry stares. But there were far more supportive beeps from the motorists.

“It was actually really nice,” Seabolt said this evening. “We got a lot of honks.”

One African American woman stopped her car and came over and spoke to the group.

“She said it’s good to see people stand up,” Seabolt said.

One of the demonstrators on Saturday holds a “Black Lives Matter” sign in Kendall.

Seabolt attended a Black Lives Matter protest a week before in Brockport. She is pleased to see the demonstrations have gained a national following, and have spread to other countries.

The protests started in response to the killing of George Floyd, who was in custody of a Minneapolis police officer on May 25. Floyd was on the ground and died after being held down for nearly nine minutes while an officer had his knee on Floyd’s neck.

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Classic car catches on fire in Kendall, owner uses extinguisher to prevent spread

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 13 June 2020 at 6:41 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

KENDALL – Jack Gillman is pictured with a 1966 Ford Thunderbird in his barn behind his house I  Roosevelt Highway.

The engine started on fire this afternoon and was spreading through the car. Gillman, a former Kendall town supervisor, called 911 and then used two fire extinguishers to keep the fire contained to the car.

His neighbor Dan Hance also came over with a fire extinguisher to prevent the car from being totally engulfed in flames.

Justin Niederhofer, an Orleans County fire investigator, looks at the engine to pinpoint the cause.

Gillman has been working to restore the car the past 20 years. It only needed to be painted before he was finished. He drove the car earlier today.

He said the engine was flooded out and the carburetor backfired, causing a spark with caused the engine to catch on fire. The flames melted the battery, wiring and the brake system.

Gillman isn’t giving up the car. He said if he can find another engine he thinks the car could be on the road in about a month.

Kendall firefighters were dispatched to the scene just before 4:30. They were able to ensure the fire was put out.

“Luckily he had a fire extinguisher and was able to knock it down,” said Jordan Willis, a captain with the Kendall Fire Department.

Gillman said without the fire extinguishers the entire barn likely would have caught on fire.

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Holley, Kendall superintendents join Monroe County school leaders in denouncing racism

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 9 June 2020 at 10:27 am

‘Our school communities have the power to turn pain and prejudice into healing and understanding. Let this moment in history be defined as a tipping point – a moment to truly come together.’

The school district superintendents at Holley and Kendall have joined Monroe County school leaders in a joint statement, denouncing racism and acknowledging “that discrimination exists in all of our communities.”

Brian Bartalo, Holley Central School superintendent, and Julie Christensen, Kendall Central School superintendent, are among 23 district superintendents pledging to take action to equity and inclusion for all students.

The statement from the 23 superintendents is as follows:

We, the superintendents of Monroe County school districts, stand together against racism.

We acknowledge that discrimination exists in all of our communities. We see it in the bias that exists within our districts. We see it in the trauma that hatred and oppression inflict on our students and families. We see it in the educational inequities that continue to perpetuate glaring disparities in student outcomes.

We know that the fight against racism, oppression and hate cannot fall solely on families of color or within the confines of only some school districts. We all must lead this transformation together. That’s why today, we are publicly committing to leading the change that will create lasting equity in our schools.

We will listen, and learn from those who have experienced these tragedies and who live with the fear and pain of racism every day. We take responsibility for educating ourselves and will be intentional in rebuilding our education system which has not served underrepresented student populations well.

All Monroe County school superintendents pledge to:

  • Assess policies and practices in order to ensure equality in hiring practices, provide access to high quality instruction, and decrease disproportionality in student achievement and discipline
  • Accelerate professional development in areas including culturally responsive education and restorative practices
  • Participate in the Regional Equity Network to promote equity in schools across the county
  • Partner with BOCES and the University of Rochester Center for Urban Education Success to develop common units of study to be included in the curriculum across all of our schools that will focus on how race, class and inequities have shaped Monroe County from 1964 to today
  • Listen and respond to the voices of our students and families of color, respect and value their experiences and perspective
  • Engage our students in student-led change initiatives (i.e., ROC2Change)

We stand united in our support of equity and inclusion and we claim schools as a place of love and acceptance for all. Our school communities have the power to turn pain and prejudice into healing and understanding. Let this moment in history be defined as a tipping point – a moment to truly come together.

Our children deserve better and we will do better.

In solidarity,

The Superintendents of the Monroe County Council of School Superintendents – BOCES I, Daniel White; BOCES 2, Jo Anne Antonacci; Brighton, Kevin McGowan, Ed.D.; Brockport, James Fallon, Interim; Churchville-Chili, Lori Orologio; East High School, Shaun Nelms, Ed.D.; East Irondequoit, Mary Grow; East Rochester, Richard Stutzman, Interim; Fairport, Brett Provenzano; Gates Chili, Christopher Dailey;

Greece, Kathleen Graupman; Hilton, Casey Kosiorek, Ed.D.; Holley, Brian Bartalo; Honeoye Falls-Lima, Gene Mancuso; Kendall, Julie Christensen; Penfield, Thomas Putnam, Ed.D.; Pittsford, Michael Pero; Rochester City, Lesli Myers-Small, Ed.D.; Rush Henrietta, Lawrence Wright; Spencerport, Daniel Milgate; Webster, Carmen Gumina; West Irondequoit, Aaron Johnson, Ed.D.; Wheatland-Chili, Deborah Leh, Ed.D.

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