By Kathleen Kellogg

Superintendent Robert Miller told members of the Ellicottville Board of Education on Tuesday that he is looking into the cost of a consultant’s walk-through and safety assessment of the school building in the wake of the March 23 lockout and shelter-in-place. He said the consultant is a retired New York State Trooper.

“School safety — it’s in the front of my mind due to what happened in March,” Miller said.

He said he has met with the Ellicottville Police Department and the New York State Troopers, and the next meeting will be with the Safety Committee as he begins to draft changes to the safety procedures.

Miller said the Cattaraugus County Emergency Services Department is always ready to help and local law enforcement agencies can also perform an assessment.

“We have a plan, it isn’t perfect but did it work? Absolutely,” Miller said, adding new procedures  will cover safety, technology and professional development.

He also reported to the board that he is looking into a service contract with UNS for preventive maintenance and remote computer support for the school’s boilers, adding he will also ask the Building and Grounds Department about a contract and what part of the job can be performed in-house. 

Miller then updated the board on the federal requirements on accurate expenditure reports that must be submitted in December and will be reviewed by a local comptroller.

“We have to be more careful with budget estimation and protection,” Miller said. 

Elementary Principal Connie Poulin reported first graders’ April 20 field trip to the Buffalo Botanical Gardens was aligned to The Living Environment performance indicator with the state Science Standards for Elementary Level Students. The trip was made possible by the Cassetta fund and that source will also pay for the second- and third-graders’ May 8 trip to see “How I Became A Pirate” at Shea’s Buffalo Performing Arts Center 

Poulin also commented that the district sends one teacher for every 25 exams in the Grade 3 ELA regional scoring process that began Tuesday at Good Times in Olean, organized by the CABOCES ISS Department. In the meantime, the district is fine-tuning ELA testing accommodations required by a variety of students, with State Math Testing scheduled May 1 and 2, she said.

Poulin also reported on PTO events, including the April 13 Dime Carnival and the upcoming Book Fair on Thursday and Friday.

“The Climb” PowerPoint presentation delivered the message “you are safe, you are known… and you are loved” to students in 6th to 12th grades March 26 to help restore healthy communication and relationships with teachers on the Monday after officials imposed a shelter-in-place and lockdown due to perceived threat.

Middle School/High School Principal Erich Ploetz said his presentation “lives on with the Student Council,” where a Random Acts of Kindness Week is planned as an advertised challenge to make a positive impact on the school and the outside community. He invited ideas for future challenges that can be passed to the Student Council.

A research-based assembly, attended by the sixth grade and two earth science classes, on “Glaciers in Greenland, an overview of Global Warming and Deglaciation” was provided April 18 by Carolyn Roberts, Ploetz reported. Roberts is studying for her Ph.D. at the University at Buffalo.

Ploetz also noted the district has been assigned to take the Global Geography and History Transition Regents Field Test, as well as the computer-based Grade 8 ELA Field Test, and the Geometry Field Test, consisting of practice questions for future testing. Also coming up are the Standard 3-8 State Math Assessments, the Grade 4 and 8 Science Performance and Written Tests, and the Regents Exams.

IN OTHER MATTERS, the board:

• discussed ongoing preparations to finalize the 2018-19 school calendar, which provides 990 hours of education for the students, 184 teacher days and 176 student days. 

• approved the following election inspectors to be paid $125 for the May 15 budget vote and board member election: Shirley Ditcher, Sandra Reed and Ann Marie Fitzpatrick.

• approved Alexis Saunders of Geneseo College for a Community Internship Program in Psychology for 40 hours from September to December 2018.

  approved Dave McCann as a fitness room supervisor for the 2017-18 school year.

• approved Alexis Saunders to the substitute teacher list (non-certified) at $75 per day, contingent upon a successful fingerprint clearance from New York State.

• learned from Miller that the French Club will collaborate with a Brockton French club to travel May 3 to 6 to Quebec.

• held a closed-door session for three personnel matters and one contract negotiation with Ellicottville Teacher Association. 

The next Board meeting, preceded by a public hearing on the 2018-19 budget proposition, will be held at 7 p.m. May 8 in the high school cCafeteria. Another meeting will be held at 8 p.m. May 15 following a district-wide vote on the budget, propositions and board representatives.