By Kellen M. Quigley
As classes resumed this week for the Ellicottville Central School District, Superintendent Bob Miller said signs of school starting were most certainly evident the past few weeks.
“The floors have been freshly sealed, practices for fall sports have started, teachers are getting their rooms in order, summer maintenance on the busses has been performed and the list goes on,” he said. “I always get excited at this time of year and look forward to the students returning and getting going on another great year.”
After a busy summer at the district, Miller said students and staff will see a few changes and additions to the opportunities that ECS offers.
“Seventy-five new laptops have been purchased to replace ones that are five years old,” he said. “We do this on an annual basis in order to keep current with technology use and requirements.”
The district is also adding three additional Clear Touch Screens for educational use in classrooms and switching to a software program called FastBridge for progress monitoring of students, Miller said.
Among the other new things this year are the hiring of a full-time school psychologist, expanding parent/community outreach evenings, installation of the new floor in the lower level of the Elementary School and a redesigned Response to Intervention system to identify students that need extra assistance quickly and provide for better progress monitoring.
Miller said there is also a continuation of “The Wellness Committee,” a combination of students and staff, at the middle and high school level to promote overall student emotional/social health and wellness.
“At the same time, we are also looking to the future to ensure that ECS remains an educational leader in Western New York,” he said. “We are now working with a new financial advisor to develop a long-range financial plan for the district.”
The Building, Grounds and Transportation Committee has started planning for the next capital improvement project with an anticipated vote on the project in December 2019, Miller said.
“This project will continue to address deficiencies noted in the building condition survey that were not addressed under previous capital improvement projects, with a focus on improvements to roofs, parking lots, exterior lighting, cafeteria upgrades and safety items,” he said.
In more behind-the-scenes work, Miller said the district recently completed a self-imposed “audit” of the Special Education Department. The report has been completed and the district will be acting on many of the suggestions accordingly.
He said the Board of Education will be having an evening “retreat” in September to discuss and establish goals for the future. They are still researching and anticipate developing a system to more efficiently reach out to parents and the community through social media and cell phones.
Concerning extracurricular activities, the Athletic and Performing Arts committees have merged into one committee.
“This will allow for better consistency and thorough planning,” Miller said. “The committee has already met and is working through revisions to change the Athletic Policy into the Athletic and Extracurricular Activities Policy as well as updates to the Eligibility Regulations.”
In addition to these items, Miller said the district working hard on programming for all students in grades Pre-K through 12. From curriculum to safety plans and everything in between, he said they want every student to have access to the staff, materials and supplies they need to reach their highest potential.
“ECS has always been a leader in providing a great education to students and will strive to continue that tradition of excellence,” he said. “We also realize that the school cannot provide such an education without the outstanding support that parents and the community have offered and continue to offer and we thank you. I have no doubt that the 2019-20 school year will be filled with success.”