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The Beacon | Newsletter of the Western New York Educational Service Council
Safe Schools Conference Draws 800 to UB

May 2008

Part of event planning team members
Part of planning team, from left to right: Dave DeLoria, Bill Regan, Mike Bryant, Bren Price, and Sam Palmiere

The 5th Annual Safe Schools Initiative workshop was held at the Center for the Arts on the UB North campus on March 10, 2008 to a capacity crowd of educators and law enforcement officials. No fewer than 6 federal, state and law enforcement agencies joined the University oat Buffalo and the WNYESC in sponsoring this event.

A notable group of presenters included Sam McQuade from RIT on "Computer-Enabled Crimes by Adolescents," Jeffrey Usherwood from Cyber Science Labs on "Child Exploitation," and David DeLoria, retired Superintendent, Livonia C.S., detailing how to implement "Safe Schools Programs in School Districts." The finale was a "Special Briefing on the Virginia Tech Shooting" last spring by Capt. George Austin, and Special Agent Michael Bowman of the Virginia State Police. They emphasized that no school campus is immune from critical incidents and preventative measures are effective in preventing and managing incidents.

The Council will continue to collaborate with UB, the US Secret Service, Erie County Law Enforcement, the US Attorney’s Office, the WNY Chiefs of Police and others to provide updated information on Safe Schools each year.

Hodgson Russ AttorneysThe Western New York Educational Service Council is proud of its partnership with the law firm of Hodgson Russ LLP Attorneys. We appreciate their support as our Corporate Sponsor and recognize their outstanding service to the schools of Western New York.

Focus on Research to Practice: "City Voices, City Visions"

Dr. Suzanne Miller's Research is Subject of Upcoming Workshop

Suzanne MillerThe City Voices, City Visions (CVCV) Project is the only large-scale digital video composing project of its kind in the country. The project has prepared more than 180 teachers—now in 23 urban and suburban schools in Western New York—how to use readily available technologies as learning tools to engage students to understand, evaluate and remember more of what schools want them to learn.

Professional organizations like NCTE and IRA are urging teachers to take note of what's happening outside schools and to bring these "print-mixed" texts into the classroom. Graphic novels, Web pages, music mashes, video—all of these and more appear in students' everyday lives outside of school. A growing body of research shows that these millennial students who have never known a world without computers and the Internet have developed all kinds of social literacy practices in these activities. The problem is, they know how to make sense of and to make digital texts—but most often they don't have opportunities to use those skills and strategies in school. In too many classrooms, students are being prepared for the print-only industrial, clerical world of the late 1800s and 1900s. It's probably no surprise, then, that a 2006 national survey of students showed that only 28 percent of graduating seniors felt that what they learned in high school was meaningful and useful in their lives.

On Friday, September 26, 2008, the CVCV project will hold a day-long conference on Integrating Digital Technologies as Powerful Learning Tools across the Curriculum. Teachers of ELA, social studies, science, ESL and more, will present the exciting work they have done with their students using technologies to compose understanding of difficult curricular concepts. The conference will kick-off with the premiere of a documentary created by WNED featuring CVCV teachers and students at work in their classrooms. Director Suzanne Miller will present the findings of a two-year study of the positive impacts of integrating digital technologies in the curriculum on student attitudes, learning, and state-test achievement. The Western New York Writing Project will present the work of teachers who have completed both projects and have integrated them in classes. Participants will receive QuickStart Guides on using digital technologies in classrooms, and a DVD of project videos made by students on curricular topics. Breakfast and lunch will also served at this workshop. This hands-on research study and the conference are both supported by a generous grant from the John R. Oshei Foundation.

A pioneer in using digital video as a learning tool in the classroom, Director, Suzanne Miller began her project in 2000, years before YouTube became a cultural phenomenon. Dr. Miller has directed numerous projects, including several funded by the Department of Education and the National Council of Teachers of English. City Voices, City Visions—her current school-based program for infusing digital videography and other digital arts into classrooms—has been funded by the New York State Education Department. Currently the evaluation component of the project is being funded by the John R. Oshei Foundation.

Save or Pass Along These Dates

August 6, 2008 30th Education Law Conference
8:30 a.m.–3:00 p.m.
Millennium Hotel, Galleria Rd., Cheektowaga, NY
Sept. 26, 2008 "City Voices, City Visions" Digital Videography Workshop
9:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m.
WNED, Buffalo, NY
Nov. 6, 2008 CIDEL's "Call to Leadership"
4:30 p.m.–6:30 p.m.
Salvatore's Restaurant, Depew, NY

The 2007-08 New Principals' Seminar Series

New Principals' Seminar Series group photo
From left to right: Karen Tomidy (Attica); Joel Weiss (Clarence); Erica Swinehart (interviewee); Keith Wing (Byron-Bergen) were involved in a mock interviewing experience. The process benefited all involved by virtue of observation and feedback from Joel Weiss. It is anticipated that a similar series will be offered next year at both locations.

The Council sponsored two successful New Principal Seminar Series this school year, one in the Buffalo metro area and the other at the GV BOCES in LeRoy. Designed for new or nearly new principals and assistant principals, participants were provided information and best practices on topics such as Time Management, Communication and Collaboration, Data Analysis, Instructional Evaluation and Interviewing New Teachers.

Former West Seneca East principal, Renee Goshin, led the Buffalo group, while Bren Price coordinated the GV BOCES contingent. They were assisted by exemplary Principals from the area who offered their expertise and mentoring skills: Jill Pellis, Williamsville; Joel Weiss (Clarence); and Donna Eno (Iroquois).


Alfie Kohn Draws Large Audiences to Clarence Middle and WNED

CIDEL, Erie 1 and O-N BOCES, the WNYESC, WNED and a host of other groups arranged for an historic meeting and conversation between notable and quotable educational critic, Alfie Kohn, and renowned psychologist, Dr. William Glasser, whose mission is to teach all people choice theory and to use it as the basis for training in reality therapy. The title of the session on April 23rd was "Grading and Homework," an on-going, controversial topic. Unfortunately, Dr. Glasser suffered a mild stroke three days before the event and could not attend. As a result, Kohn effectively presented his case for discarding formal homework and grading systems in schools so that teachers and students could focus on learning. About 350 people attended his evening lecture at the beautiful new Clarence Middle School Aud. on Tuesday. The conversation, including a Q&A and panel discussion, continued on Wednesday for 275 educators at WNED. "He’s a brilliant and convincing speaker," one attendee said, "but the practicality of changing our socio-cultural thinking and our educational systems present many barriers."

Take Note of This Online Opportunity

The UB Graduate School of Education currently offers two online degree programs designed to meet the ever-changing demands of the 21st century learner. To learn more about the M.S. Rehabilitation Counseling and the Ed.M. in Science and the Public Degree programs, visit:

Thanks to the UB Graduate School of Education

The WNYESC recognizes its invaluable partnership with the Graduate School of Education at SUNY Buffalo. The Council deeply appreciates support from Dr. Mary Gresham, Dean of the Graduate School of Education. We also thank the Faculty and Staff for their encouragement and participation in the Council.


Dr. Lynn Fusco, President; Supt., Alden
Mr. David Adelizi, Vice-President; Director, Williamsville Teachers' Center
Dr. Darleen Michalak, Sec’y, Deputy Supt., Erie I BOCES
Mr. Richard Galante, Treasurer; Supt., Medina
Mr. Paul Hashem, Supt., Lackawanna
Dr. Barbara Peters, Supt., Tonawanda City
Ms. Laura Chabe, Supt., Amherst
Ms. Diane Collier, Associate Supt., Buffalo City Schools
Dr. Robert Olczak, District Supt., Cattaraugus-AlIegany BOCES
Dr. Christine Kroll, Assistant Dean, Ed. Outreach Network, GSE, SUNY Buffalo


15th — E-N Scholastic Achievement Dinner, 6:00 p.m., Marriott

11th — Board Meeting, 11:30 a.m., Eagle House

6th — 30th Education Law Conference, 8:30 a.m.–3:00 p.m., Millennium

17th — Board Meeting, 11:30 a.m., Eagle House
25th — Administrative Study Group, 4:15–6:30 p.m., Marriott
26th — "City Voices, City Visions" Workshop, 9:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m., WNED

8th — Response to Intervention Workshop, 9:00 a.m.–2:30 p.m.

      — WNYMATH Conference, TBA

Membership Commitment

It is our goal to provide high quality, cost-effective programs and services for our members. Whether it be professional development, consultant services, data-driven studies, superintendent searches, connections to research and higher learning or leadership development, the Council is dedicated to supporting all educators and schools in Western New York.


Bren T. Price, Sr., M.S.
Executive Director
Susan Paulson
Executive Assistant
Bonnie Domogala
Karen Lewis
Office Assistant
Vincent Coppola, Ed.D.
Search Consultant
Thomas Ramming, Ed.D.
Search Consultant

Located at: SUNY Buffalo, 222 Baldy Hall, Buffalo, NY 14260-1000
Tel. 716-645-2932 • Fax 716-645-3840 • Email:

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