By Jennie Acklin

ECS Board of Education President Connie Hellwig called the first meeting of the 2017/18 school year to order Tuesday evening, Sept. 7 at 7 p.m.

Superintendent Robert Miller acknowledged the “excitement in the air” with the return of students on their first day. School bus routes were discussed, with a change request coming from West Valley school district, requesting the pickup of students at Beaver Meadows Road and Route 219 be moved to Irish Hill and Kuhn Roads. The board is looking into the request, and will reply to WVSD.

Miller mentioned that there will be an athletic committee meeting on Sept. 6 to discuss the purchasing of team apparel.

Miller and Elementary Principal Connie Poulin attended the Ellicottville Rotary’s Tuscan Moon fundraiser event at Holiday Valley Aug. 26.  He commented that the ECS students who volunteered as servers were helpful and friendly, and felt it gave them a positive environment for community service. The majority of the volunteers were seniors and juniors, and a few sophomores as well.

Ellicottville will host the first annual Ellicottville Lacrosse Festival Sept. 22-24, and welcome 30 teams with hundreds of competitors from all over. The tournament will be held at ECS and the Ellicottville Village Park.  (In addition to games, off-field fun includes a 3 on 3 Mini Tournament, Wooden Stick Making Demonstrations, Wood Stick Game, Lacrosse Vendors, Food Trucks, Dunk Tank, Powell Fun Zone and Live Music. For more info, visit

There will be a tour of the lacrosse tournament fields and practice areas this Thursday at ECS. Because the tournament is an all day event, there will be varying amounts of traffic in the parking lots and on the fields. Miller stressed that all 30 teams will not be there at the same time.

Poulin’s report focused on the positive return of students to class, and the welcoming of new teachers as well. The kindergarten class hosted a meet-and-greet for parents, students, and the new teachers. Poulin also mentioned that  the biggest challenge of the first day was the change of bus numbers and new bus drivers – but the changes and glitches were worked through successfully. She also commented on how nice it was to see veteran teachers helping the new teachers navigate through the day.

High School Principal Erich Ploetz opened his first school year at ECS with a “Measure of Success” assembly, striving to deliver inspirational messages and important policies to “eager students and smiling faces.”

Buildings and Grounds Committee Report

Board members toured the ECS grounds prior the the 7 p.m. meeting, reviewing the recent elementary entranceway renovations. Miller acknowledged the need for curb renovations. The high school weight room was recently cleaned out and cleaned up. The focus of weight lifting activity takes place in the gym, and the old weight room will be used as a combination aerobic area / weight room. Updated fresh air exchanges were recently installed, and the elevator underwent a quick-fix repair.

French Club Trip to Montreal

A concept discussion took place about the ECS French Club’s annual trip, possibly this spring to Montreal, Quebec. There was a conversation about possibly combining it with the senior class trip, which would combine a larger number of students, and ultimately lower the cost per student. Potential turmoil overseas in Europe was of concern, and prompted class advisors to consider a location closer to home, while still focusing on French culture and language. The board approved the preliminary concept, and authorized Mrs. Whistler (French Club) and Mrs. Wilder and Mrs. Waldron (Sr. Class Advisors) to see how much interest there would be from students to go on the trip. Other locations for the senior trip are also being considered.

Three items were presented under new business. First, the list of 2017/18 home school students was approved. Second, board member Robert Van Wicklin received approval to attend the Commissioner’s Roundtable on Sept. 8 at NYSSBA in Latham, NY. The final item was authorization of a five-year contract with Jamestown Community College (College Connections), beginning with the 2017/18 school year.

The next meeting of the ECS Board of Education is scheduled for Sept. 19, 2017 at 7 p.m.