_logoBy Jann Wiswall

The big news this week for the Ellicottville Central School (ECS) District is the decision by West Valley Central Schools to enter into exclusive discussion with ECS to bring its sports program here.

The West Valley community made its decision at a board meeting on Monday, Jan. 26, selecting Ellicottville as its preferred partner over the Franklinville and Springville school districts. Several ECS board members attended that meeting.

At ECS’s board meeting the following evening, Jan. 27, the board and Superintendent Mark Ward agreed that it is pleased that West Valley selected ECS, but that West Valley’s choice must be accepted by the ECS community before any further discussion takes place. As Ward said, “now ECS has a lot of work to do.”

That work starts with an open discussion with the community – parents, students, coaches, boosters and all other interested parties.

“The community will have important suggestions and ideas about how to make it work, but not everyone will be happy” about joining forces, Ward noted. “We need to hear those concerns and weigh the pros and cons in order to make the right decision for everyone involved.”

He did remind the board that all teams would still be the Ellicottville Eagles. There would be no combination of names or mascots with West Valley.

The first step in the process is to hold a community meeting on the subject, which the board scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 25 at 7 p.m. in the school cafeteria. Announcements about the meeting will be placed in local newspapers and reminders will be sent to all parents and other interested stakeholders.

In other business, Board Chair Carl Calarco reported that the State Education Department (SED) has approved the school’s roof replacement plans as presented. The plans were sent to SED for review before district voters approved the newest capital project in order to speed the process. The roof work, as well as construction of the new south vestibule and installation of the sound system in the new multi-purpose room (all of which was approved by voters on Jan. 21), will be completed while workers are on-site completing the larger capital project that is under way. Bid requests for the roof project will be advertised on Feb. 2.

Principals’ Reports

Connie Poulin, elementary school principal, reported that teachers have been doing their mid-year benchmarking to assess student achievement. The school is looking at moving teachers and aides around to provide extra support where it is especially needed. In addition, during recent faculty meetings, teachers have been discussing best practices in writing instruction at each grade level.

Both Poulin and Middle/High School Principal Bob Miller are looking forward to the upcoming 6th grade transition night, an annual event that celebrates the student’s advancement to middle school. Poulin noted that this is a “great group of kids,” which she expects will be a nice addition to the middle school next year.

Miller reported that a handful of students are taking Regents exams this week to improve past scores. He also reported that the 7th grade leadership program, the middle school spelling bee and sophomore career day at BOCES all were successful. In addition, the honors English class students were invited to St. Bonaventure University’s Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts to see a performance of the play Wuthering Heights. While there, students were able to visit the facility’s art galleries and had a meal in the university dining hall. “This was a great opportunity to learn a bit about life on a college campus,” he said.

The next meeting of the Ellicottville Central School Board will be held Tuesday, Feb. 10 at 7:30 p.m. in the high school library.