By Rich Place
Members of the Ellicottville School Board got a first hand look Tuesday at the school’s new security system recently installed throughout the campus.
Superintendent Bob Miller launched the web-based system onto a projection screen, which allowed school board members to view up to nine cameras at once and see what various cameras throughout the district observe.
The upgraded security system — which features 66 cameras both inside and outside of the school building — was paid for through the SmartSchools Bond Act, Miller said.
“We are not sitting in our offices looking at this,” he told the board. “Trust me, we’ve got much better things to do. It’s there if we need it and that’s the beauty of it. If something is broke, if there is vandalism, if something is stolen out of a locker — we have the ability to go back.”
Miller exhibited the various features of the system, beginning with the ability to drag camera views into a nine-screen pane with all cameras streaming simultaneously. With the click of the mouse, a specific camera view can be made full screen and, with some clicking and dragging, the camera can be zoomed to a specific area.
The system features single and double cameras as well as cameras that take panoramic shots.
“They are motion activated so they are not recording at all times,” Miller said. “If something is happening in the hallway it does pick it up and it does record it.”
The motion activation feature reduces the storage the system uses, he said. Then, as he clicked on a gymnasium camera and peeked at an ongoing basketball game in real time, he used a timeline to rewind the action by an hour.
“If we’re onto something within a couple of days, we are good,” he said about the length of time a recording is available for viewing. The cameras also have infrared technology, Miller said, allowing it to better pick up action if the room is dark or outside at night.
“We are learning a lot about this system,” he said. “It’s nice — it’s already solved a couple of discipline situations for (middle and high school principal) Mr. (Erich) Ploetz.”
IN OTHER BUSINESS at the meeting, elementary principal Connie Poulin said a visit on Tuesday from author Cynthia DeFelice was “really well received.” The Geneva-based author presented to elementary students in separate age-based groups.
Middle and high school principal Erich Ploetz had a handful of brief updates since the last time the board met in early December. Among them, he informed the board the school’s robotics teams traveled to University of Rochester on Dec. 10 for their regional competition, with the best finish being 10th of 60 teams. The fifth grade team won the Core Values Award.
He also said more than 2,500 non-perishable food items were donated through the school’s homerooms as part of Project Christmas.
Also, Ploetz quizzed school board members following his recap of the middle school spelling bee, which was held Jan. 3. The winning word was “regenerate” but he said he was surprised at what he felt was the most difficult word, “agog,” which stumped a handful of students in the early rounds.
The next meeting of the Ellicottville School Board of Education is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 23 in the high school library.