By Elizabeth Riggs

The upcoming Costa Rica and Washington D.C. trips and Ellicottville’s rankings in the recent Buffalo Business First were the highlights of last Tuesday’s Ellicottville Central Schools Board of Education Meeting.

In a special school guide published by Buffalo Business First, Ellicottville was ranked 22 out of 257 schools in the Western New York Elementary School Rankings. The school also placed ninth in the category of math and 32nd in the category of English.

“No other elementary school in the county is ranked ahead of us,” said Superintendent Mark Ward. “A tip of the hat to our staff.”

The Board also announced Mr. Ward’s donation of a red oak tree, which has been planted on the school grounds.

“We don’t have a red oak tree and a red oak is a pretty main frame tree in this neck of the woods,” said Ward of his gift to the school. “When you see it, you can think of me.”

During the elementary report, Principal Connie Poulin reported that the school is in the process of planning for the special education extended school year, a state-mandated, six-week program for students who demonstrate regression of skills over time away from instruction.

“We’ve identified 32 students with IEP schedules that will participate,” said Poulin. “It will start on July 11 and be held on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays with morning and afternoon sessions.”

Poulin also noted that the elementary teachers are continuing to focus on curriculum and are working together to plan instruction for the upcoming school year.

“Our teachers are preparing for the future doing curriculum planning,” Poulin said. “Specifically, we will be doing some curriculum work relating to participation with science kits.”

The science kits, provided to ECS through BOCES, were one of many items funded in the 2017-2018 budget.

In other news, Poulin announced that this year’s Reading Celebration, an annual fall event, will once again feature a guest author. The district is currently working to bring in WNY author Cynthia DeFelice, whose works include adventure and suspense geared toward middle school readers.

Middle and High School Principal Bob Miller reported that up to 14 students will be attending the Costa Rica student trip taking place in February 2018. Students will have the opportunity to do community service and volunteering in addition to sightseeing.

“It’s just an exciting opportunity to give that many kids the opportunity to travel to there,” said Miller.

Miller also reminded the board of the upcoming eighth grade class trip to Washington D.C. Currently, 48 of the 60 students in the class will be attending, departing on Monday, June 19 and returning on Wednesday, June 21.

Additionally, Miller reported that the fourth and eighth science performance exams took place last week with no issues. This marked the end of state testing for elementary and middle school students.

In other business, the board also voted on several personnel matters, including: approval of Chris Mendell as the Summer Driver Education teacher, approval of tenure of teacher assistant Heather Reed, approval of temporary summer cleaners Karen Chapman, Kristen Pearl, Leanne Pfeffer, Cathy Dunkleman, Jennifer Hasper and Randy Will, approval of the resignation of part-time cafeteria worker Christina Conklin, and approval the addition of Kelly Shantler to the substitute teacher list.

The next ECS board of education meeting will be held on Tuesday, June 20 at 7 p.m. in the high school library.