By Louisa Benatovich

On July 30, a public hearing preceding the Ellicottville Central School Board of Education meeting delineated the additions to the district’s Code of Conduct and Discipline Code.

The additions, four points entitled “Expectations Regarding Care & Storage of Personal Belongings,” seek to decrease the carrying of backpacks around the school. Students, according to the Code, must keep personal belongings, including book bags, locked in a locker at all times.

Any left unattended will be confiscated and searched for ownership and/or contents. From now on, bags will no longer be allowed in the hall, classrooms, cafeteria, or into restrooms. Exceptions to these new regulations may be granted for medical purposes.

In the spirit of change, Superintendent Bob Miller addressed possible adjustments for the district in his report of the evening. One such item is a potential Ellicottville Central School app. Still in the researching phase, the app would be a home base for all school-related software, including Facebook and Twitter.

Another item in the potential for the school is an ECS Foundation. Akin to a Sports or Music boosters, this organization of both alumni and community members would pride itself on fundraising for items the school might need.

“It’s still in its conceptual phase,” said Miller, “but if implemented, the foundation would serve to fill in for what our budget doesn’t cover.”

Miller was also able to attend a Community Health and Improvement Plan summit. This county-based service works with Community Action, Olean General Hospital and other local organizations to make their services accessible to everyone.

Miller met with the group to ascertain ways the school can address food banks and mental health in the district, as well as how, precisely, the school fits into the outside lives of its community.

In his report, Principal Erich Ploetz was proud to announce the success of the first Annual Summer Retreat. Held at the BOCES Ropes Course Lodge on July 12, the event was a brainstorming session for students from grades 7 through 12.

“Topics such as student advisory and mental health awareness were discussed,” said Ploetz, “and student feedback will be utilized to include the student voice in the decision-making process at the secondary school.”

Additionally, plans for striping and numbering the student section of the parking lot are underway. Seniors have until Aug. 9 to exercise senior privilege, after which all applications will be reviewed and spots assigned.

In other business, some discussion was had over the implementation of Policy #3280 (Use of School Facilities, Materials, and Equipment) upon the request of board member Shana Chudy. The policy stipulates that school facilities, including the Ward, may be used on Sundays for Jazz Band and Jazz Chorus rehearsals only. After Chudy questioned why open gym could not be a possibility, all board members offered their input. Board member Carl Calarco said there are a safety and security component. “One more day the school is open is another chance for something to go wrong.”

Miller also explained the difficulties with cleaning the space before school on Monday morning. Open gyms would require some ECS staff to work overtime to prepare it for the rest of the week, and mistakes could be made, resulting in injury.

Also, it was said Sundays are for family, and no parent should feel pressure to take their child to and from school every day of the week. There is now talk of shutting the building down completely on Sundays, but, for now, all remains the same.

Additionally, Spanish language instructor Jamie Edwards will be teaching two different college-level Spanish courses during the same class period. The new arrangement is more efficient and a way for students to further their language education while providing savings for the district.