By Ginna Hensel

During the Ellicottville Central School Board of Education’s recent meeting, High School Principal Erich Ploetz announced that one of Ellicottville’s own teachers was named a New York State Master Teacher.

Melissa Reedy, a high school math teacher, now is part of the elite Master Teacher Program that is sponsored by New York state. The New York State Master Teacher Program is for the “best of the best.” It has been around for 10 years and represents STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) teachers from grades K-12. Ploetz commented that it is a rigorous and competitive process. Reedy is the second teacher to earn this prestigious honor and will continue with her professional development at Buffalo State College. 

Also included in Ploetz’s report was the recognition of mental health resources and awareness in Ellicottville. Ploetz informed the board Joe Prior, the school’s full-time psychologist, presented to all high school ELA classrooms to discuss mental health concerns, resources available and confidentiality concerns.  

Elementary Principal Maren Bush reported to the board that the first “elementary spirit day was a success!”

Bush also assisted the board in the reading of a new policy on Therapy Dogs. Bush has requested that a policy be added where a therapy dog would be allowed to come into the Elementary and interact with the kids. Bush already has a dog in mind, Toby — her own dog! Toby is currently going through the training to become a basic certified therapy dog. This is in the very early stages of planning. More discussion of the possible 

Superintendent Bob Miller told the board the kitchen had to throw out food given to ECS from the state. He said that the school had received a notice from the state reporting the freezers which held food ECS bound had failed and caused food to spoil. The kitchen staff has safely and successfully removed the food before it was served to any students. Vicky Williams, head of the cafeteria, and Miller are now working hard together to find food to replenish the spoiled food.   

Miller also briefly touched on the Red Flag Law. The goal of the law is to protect any minors that may pose a threat to themselves or other people. The school is awaiting more information from the State.

IN OTHER BUSINESS, There was a presentation made by Helena Brierton. Brierton is a middle/high school science teacher and the faculty sponsor of the Climate Club. Her presentation was a proposal to send three students to the Youth Climate Summit.

The Youth Climate Summit is a statewide conference for students to get together and discuss climate change. Three ECS students have requested to go. The conference will take place on Nov. 6 and 7. The students and Brierton hope to bring back ideas from the conference to help ECS become “more green.” 

The Master Teacher Program of New York State has offered to cover the conference related expenses, the students would be required to cover the cost of one meal and hotel fees. The proposed field trip was passed unanimously by the board.

The other presentation was from Cathie Nason, the business and computer teacher. Nason presented the board on two proposals, first to make Personal Finance a requirement for students to graduate from Ellicottville.

Currently, personal finance is being offered as an elective with the option of JCC credit. Nason argued that most students do not have a grasp on basic personal finance. They come into her class not understanding financial problems they could face if they don’t learn to manage finances correctly. Nason also commented that she has had recent students come back and share with her how beneficial Personal Finance has been to them.

The other half of Nason’s presentation included a possible grant if Ellicottville was to make Personal Finance a requirement. Next Gen Personal Finance, NGPF, is holding a Gold Standard Challenge where the NGFP organization will be donating $1 million in grants to schools that make Personal Finance.

If Ellicottville completed the necessary paperwork for the competitive grant the district could receive up to $10,000.  This money could go towards anything in the school from functions, extracurriculars, field trips, new materials and more. The board plans to make this topic an ongoing discussion at a further meeting.  

The board passed a resolution for a proposition for capital improvements to be voted on by the public on Dec. 10. Another resolution passed for the SEQRA Negative Declaration for Proposed Capital Improvements Project. This resolution passed with one opposition.  

Other resolutions passed include the appointment of sport chaperones, appointment of SAT Prep Class teachers, teacher mentors, cleaners, and other substitutes.  

The next regularly scheduled board meeting is on Oct. 29.