Jan 2023 – C/W CSTAC Community School Spotlight:

Batavia City School District’s Family and Community Engagement Center (FACE): Making Crucial Connections

The Batavia Family and Community Engagement Center (FACE) is designed to provide a comfortable and inviting setting for families. Housed in a former kindergarten room at our Robert Morris campus, the Center’s features include laundry facilities, computers, seating area, a book nook, flyers and brochures from agencies in the area, and a play area for children. The Batavia City School District’s (BCSD) Mission is “to unite our Batavia community and schools through shared resources, working partnerships, and open, collaborative communication.” To date, FACE has 14 formal and 90+ informal partners from all areas of the Batavia community (agencies, clubs/organizations, government agencies, businesses, faith-based organizations, medical services, and others). 

With their help, the FACE includes a Community Closet, where students, families, and community members are provided access to food, clothing, hygiene items, and other educational items. Students and families may request to make an appointment to access items and referrals to other agencies and organizations. Programming is available for families, such as Daisy Troop, Young Lives for teen moms, and English classes for parents who are learning English. WNY Independent Living staff, the Alzheimer’s Association Walk committee, and GLOW (Genesee, Livingston, Orleans, and Wyoming counties) with Your Hands Healthcare have all met at the FACE. FACE is currently working with Community Action to host a budgeting class in the future. 

This past holiday season, FACE received generous donations from local donors such as BCSD staff, families of students, BCSD Foundation, Inc., local churches, KMS Dance Academy, Daisy Troop 42075, Zonta Club, Department of Social Services (and “Stuff the Cruiser” donors), Batavia Police Benevolent Association, Batavia City Firefighters and their toy drive, Literacy West NY, and anonymous donors. Students from the Genesee Valley BOCES Health Academy helped set up while student volunteers from the high school New York State Alternate Assessment (NYSAA) classroom and regular volunteers (students and community members) kept things organized.

As FACE expands family and community engagement, the focus is on Family Empowerment. Anytime we can help build a culturally responsive community, we empower our members. As author and cultural strategist Verna Myers has written, “Diversity is being invited to the party; inclusion is being asked to dance.” As students are community members and future leaders, the hope is that children and their families are always “being asked to dance.” That is why BCSD is releasing a needs assessment on February 1 to ask the great community what it can do to strengthen support for students and families. BCSD is so appreciative of the larger Batavia community’s support and interest in our community schools.

BCSD’s vision to “build a better Batavia by promoting equitable learning opportunities, cultivating healthier families, and establishing a stronger community” is coming to life as Batavia becomes a more culturally responsive community.

Check out photos from the Center below!

Do you have a community school story that you would like featured in our e-newsletter?

Email Tara Edmunds at cstac@binghamton.edu.