By Mark J. Ward, Superintendent (Reprinted from ECS September 2013 newsletter)

As the staff makes the final arrangements to prepare the building for its “fifty second opener,” we will be starting with the fewest overall changes that we have seen in a number of years.

The single most important change that will be taking place during 2013-14 will be the full implementation of the new Common Core Curriculum throughout grades K-8. While some of the changes were introduced at various grade levels this past year, we will see many more changes in math and ELA.

We plan to provide feature articles throughout the year that will help you as parents and community members better understand just what the new Common Core Curriculum is and how it is changing education in this country. This is not something unique to New York State, rather it is across the country and it is designed to get our students better prepared and ready to meet the challenges of college and the work force when they graduate from high school.

Due to fiscal restraints, we have eliminated the district calendar that is normally sent home during the summer. We will continue to send “bi-monthly calendars” by way of the newsletter. The information contained in the calendar will be published in the newsletter and will also be available at the district’s web site.

We are pleased to announce that Crystal Wilder has been approved and will be offering a college level course from JCC called Music Theory.

JCC Ceramics will once again be offered to high school students for college credit.

When students come back to school, they will notice that the high school library has been redesigned to create an instructional area on the far side facing the parking lot. This will allow teachers to use the library for teaching/instruction while the rest of the library can remain open for regular use. Stacks and library furniture have been changed to accommodate the change.

The district has purchased 115 new Dell Notebook computers that will be available in the library, in labs and one mobile lab for classroom use. These are in addition to the three mobile iPad labs that we currently have. The wireless computers can also be used with larger monitors that exist throughout the building.

The district is excited to announce that we have recently contracted with the Casella Waste Systems Inc. to provide refuse and recycling services for the district. With the help and support of Casella, we plan to implement a district-wide program emphasizing zero-sort recycling, and bring more awareness to the value of recycling. Every classroom will be have a recycling container that students and staff can use for cardboard, paper, plastic, aluminum and glass.

The state has recently released the 2012-13 testing data for grades 3-8 in ELA and Math and ECS clearly did a great job overall. The 4th grade math scores and the 6th grade ELA and math scores ranked us in the top 10 in WNY!! We plan to do a special article in the October newsletter to explain the testing results and how our district compares locally and across the state.