Construction, Back-to-School Progressing Well

By Jann Wiswall

The ECS school board was treated to a PowerPoint presentation prepared by senior class officers Molly Woodarek (president), Alexis Woodin (vice president) and Becca Hagon (treasurer) at its meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 23. The students outlined plans for this year’s senior class trip to Boston.

The May 2015 trip includes motor coach transportation, a three-night stay, four days of sightseeing, meals and admission fees to many of the city’s cultural and historic gems. To date, 25 of the 37 seniors have signed up for the trip, which will have three chaperones. The cost is $745.

The board was impressed with the presentation and enthusiastically approved the trip.

Following their presentation, ECS Superintendent Mark Ward reported that the capital construction project is moving ahead on schedule. Demolition, which is now visible from the outside, is progressing and photographs are being taken daily to illustrate and document progress.

The only potential glitch is that steel manufacturers are running behind schedule throughout the region due to extensive construction projects that are underway in Buffalo. The ECS construction team is working hard to make sure this doesn’t become an issue.

Ward also reported that final preparations are being made for the all-school emergency evacuation drill, which will test the school’s emergency systems and processes. The drill, which also involves local fire departments, as well as local, county and state police and emergency personnel, will enable the school to identify any weaknesses and improve processes. The date for the drill has not yet been finalized.

Ward shared the state comptroller’s office’s audit report of the school’s purchasing program. Most of the comptroller’s four recommendations have already been addressed by the school.  As stated in his response letter, Ward noted that the report “will allow us to strengthen controls, maintain appropriate purchasing documentation and improve accountability.”

Principal’s Reports

Elementary School Principal Connie Poulin reported that the K-6 Reading Celebration has been well received and that participation and competition for prizes is strong among the students. She also said that students who are new to Ellicottville this year are adjusting to their settings; teachers and staff are also meeting with parents to help them “understand Ellicottville’s ways.”

Project KNOW, an age-appropriate sexuality education program, begins for certain grades next week. Fifth grade parents are invited to a program orientation on Wednesday, Oct. 1 at 7 p.m.

In her role as special education chairperson for the district, Poulin has been busy applying for federal and state grants to support Ellicottville’s programming and has attended a presentation from a state attorney on new regulations and laws that impact the program.

Middle/High School Principal Bob Miller reported that the open house for parents on Sept. 18 was well attended, as have all of the fall sporting events to date. Details about homecoming weekend events are being worked out between ECS and its sports-partner schools. The homecoming pep rally will be held outside, weather permitting.

The “My Big Campus” online learning platform for juniors and some seniors is getting good reviews from teachers and students alike. Miller said he would arrange for the board to see a presentation about the program at an upcoming meeting.

Miller also noted that parents of sixth graders will be receiving a letter introducing them to the qualification requirements for entry into the seventh grade accelerated math and science program.

The Oct. 7 meeting of the school board has been cancelled. Its next regular meeting will be held on Oct. 21 at 7:30 p.m. in the high school library. All are welcome.