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ECS School Board: APPR, Building Walk-Through and Open Houses on Agenda

By Eva Potter

The Ellicottville School Board met on Sept. 11 at 7:30 p.m. in the high school library. Two members of the public attended but did not speak. According to Superintendent Mark Ward, one was a parent of a new district family who came to be supportive as he is very happy his children are attending ECS.

Ward addressed the board regarding the upcoming building walk-through. Parents and district residents are invited to view firsthand some of the areas that the district may target for improvements, including the parts of the building dating back to 1962, as well as some concerns in the elementary wing that opened in 1988. The board of education will join participants on the walk-through on Thursday, Sept. 13 at 7 p.m. A short, public board meeting will follow.

Elementary Principal Connie Poulin and Middle/High School Principal Bob Miller addressed the new state Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) of teachers, as well as student testing requirements the state has imposed upon schools. Poulin and Miller reported on some of the things they are doing to meet these expectations.

As part of the process, Ward said Poulin and Miller are “having valuable and good conversations with teachers. All of the programs have to go through pre-testing between now and the early part of October, so they can establish baselines in all these subjects.”

Current ECS district enrollment stands at about 615 students, according to Ward.

He said, “Interestingly enough, in 2008-2009, our enrollment was about 612. So, we really, in the last five years, have not lost or gained. We’re hanging in there, which is good probably because we were on a free-fall for about 10 years – almost everybody in the area was.”

Reductions in enrollment figures the last 10 years were influenced by regional economic conditions and affordability of housing within the district. Even so, Ward said parents “do like to send their children here, so we’re happy about that.”

On Sept. 20, the Drive4UR School event will be held during the district’s open house. The elementary open house is 6:30-7:30 p.m. and the middle/high school open house is 7:30-8:30 p.m.

The Drive4UR School event is sponsored by Emerling Ford as a fundraiser for the ECS Sports Booster Club. For every no-obligation test drive, Ford will donate $20 to the school. The club’s goal is to raise the maximum amount of $6,000. Ed McClure, a master certified sales representative at Emerling Ford, will be there to answer any questions regarding Ford vehicles. The Sports Booster Club encourages the public to come out and help them raise money for school sports programs.

The ECS Sports Boosters are also sponsoring a cookout during the open house evening starting at 5 p.m., featuring hot dogs, hamburgers, salad, chips and a drink for $3.

The next board meeting will take place Sept. 27 at 7:30 p.m. in the high school library.

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