By Christopher Gordon

Changes to graduation requirements were outlined at the ECS school board meeting Oct. 25 by elementary school principal Connie Poulin.

One aspect she stressed is not all students who graduate receive a diploma. Some receive a high school diploma, while others receive credentials.

In order to receive a Regents diploma, the student must receive 22 credits and a grade of 65 percent or higher on four regents exams (ELA, math, social studies and science) as well as either an additional course or courses in math, social studies, science, LOTE, CTE, arts or to obtain a CDOS Credential.

A student can qualify for a local diploma if they earn 22 credits and have a low pass score of 55-64 on Regents exams. There is one compensatory option as a student can earn a score of 45-54 on one or more of the required exams – which excludes math or ELA – if they receive scores of 65 percent or higher on other exams. They must also meet the district’s requirements on attendance and courses.

There is also a chance for the superintendent to make a determination on graduation if a student with an IEP scores below 55 on the Regents exams and the superintendent can show that the student otherwise showed they are proficient in the subject.

“It’s a last ditch effort to get them through,” Superintendent Mark J. Ward said.

There are also what are known as credentials. The credentials – also known as Career Development and Occupational Studies Commencement Credential – is given in conjunction with a diploma.

Credentials are for some students that have disabilities. Those students must be provided opportunities to earn a diploma.

There are a couple of options with credentials. Option 1 includes a career plan that is completed annually. It must include two units, or 216 hours, of study in coursework for CTE which includes work-based learning. The student must have at least 54 hours of work-based learning as part of the qualifications. The student must also complete an employability profile as part of the plan.

Option 2 would be to attain a nationally recognized work readiness credential.

According to Poulin, the updates were made in June and she thought now was a good time to give the board an update.

Also during the meeting, the board started making its plans in regards to another major change on the horizon.

With the impending retirement of Ward as superintendent, the board decided it wanted to set up a retreat to discuss plans to search for his replacement.

Ward said during the meeting that he has been employed by the district for nearly 40 years, so he will not be easy to replace.

The board will be holding a retreat on Tuesday, Nov. 29. At that time, they are expected to formulate plans on the search for Ward’s replacement. The board originally discussed whether to hold the retreat Nov. 22, but not all members could make it due to traveling for Thanksgiving.

In other news, the board will meet just once in November. The board will hold a regular meeting Nov. 15 at 7 p.m. at Ellicottville High School. The board normally meets the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month, but postponed the meeting which normally would have been held Nov. 8 due to Election Day.  And due to a Nov. 22 being Thanksgiving week, there will be no board meeting that week either.

Holiday season will impact the board’s schedule again in December, as it will hold only one meeting that month, on Tuesday, Dec. 6.