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ECS Board Preps for Back to School

SchoolBy Jann Wiswall

ECS doesn’t much look like it’s ready for kids right now, with construction materials, dust and workers filling the halls, but it will be ready for the first day of school on September 3, Superintendent Mark Ward assured the school board at its meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 25.

In fact, 46 of the 52 members of the class of 2016 gathered at school the same evening for the annual senior ice cream social hosted by Principal Bob Miller and students were visibly excited about the new space and selecting their new lockers.

Ward said most of the new space will be open in time for next week’s opening, including the new band and chorus rooms; the gym and several other new spaces will open soon after.

Ward also said students, parents and staff should be prepared to see a lot of new faces this year as four new full-time teachers, seven or eight teacher aides, several substitutes for teachers on maternity leave, a new teaching assistant and a number of new maintenance and cleaning employees have been hired.

A ribbon cutting for the new space has been scheduled for Sunday, September 20 at 2 p.m. The entire community is invited to attend the formal opening ceremony, which will be held in the new gym. Band and chorus members will perform and tours will be offered.

Ward reported that enrollment for 2015-16 is up three percent to 621 students this year. The increase of about 20 students includes new students moving into the district as well as out-of-district enrollees. There are also two exchange students from Germany who will be studying at ECS all year.

ELA and Math Test Results

Ward said he had received an unsigned letter from a district resident congratulating the school on its excellent Common Core English language arts and math test results.

The author cited information reported by Buffalo Business First, which ranked all public and private schools and districts in Western New York (Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Niagara, Orleans and Wyoming counties), using four years of raw data supplied by the New York State Education Department. Schools were not ranked if they did not participate in the statewide testing program or had not generated two years of test data.

ECS has showed gains in almost every academic ranking category since last year and ranked #1 for the third year in a row for teacher experience. Compared to the entire state, Ward said grades 3-6 performed far above average by all measures; grades 7-8 exceeded or came close to the state average except in 8th grade math, where results came in several points below average.

Statewide, grade 7-8 test scores have been low, indicating some challenges for middle school teachers everywhere.

At ECS, the grade 7-8 results provide the school with important data that will be used throughout the year to guide teachers and administrators on ways to improve the teaching and learning experience.

“This will be Bob’s [Principal Miller’s] main focus this year,” Ward said, and the board may be asked to authorize additional funding to support academic intervention services and, perhaps, additional teacher aides for these grades.

The Buffalo Business First report can be found at www.bizjournals.com/buffalo.

The next meeting of the ECS Board of Education will be held on Tuesday, Sept. 8 at 7:30 p.m. in the high school library. All are welcome.

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