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College Credit Program to Expand at ECS in 2016-17

ecs2015By Colleen Mahoney

Ellicottville Central School students earned 384 college credits through the district’s Jamestown Community College connections program last year, Middle/High School Principal Robert Miller reported.

Miller discussed the program during the board of education’s Aug. 30 meeting.

“We have had kids go to [State University of New York schools with those credits] and graduate in three years,” Miller said. “It’s nice to see kids and the community are benefitting.”

The program has saved students in the district up to $76,042 in college fees, he said.

Miller reported that the district will be adding a pre-calculus college-level course this year to qualify more students for calculus. He called the addition a “game changer” for students.

The school is also adding an advanced math academic intervention program for students who are doing well in the advanced math classes, such as trigonometry and geometry, but either aren’t doing well on the Regents exam or aren’t getting the extra help they need.

“If we have kids who want to take challenging classes … let’s find a way to support them,” Miller said.

Because the advanced math AIS offerings aren’t mandated by the state, Miller said the school has a little more freedom in how they are presented. He said the program can focus on what is being taught in the classroom or on help studying for an upcoming test.

Although the school has math teachers who stay after school to help tutor, Miller noted, some students have other obligations after school hours and can’t attend. This will give all students with an interest the opportunity to excel.

Elementary School Principal Connie Poulin discussed the Accelerated Reader program the school will implement this year. The Accelerated Reader program is software that tracks reading in kindergarten through 12th grade. There are more than 180,000 titles in the program for students to choose from, Poulin said, allowing “the kids to choose what they want to read.”

This will help address feedback from parents that “we were too selective.”

Poulin reported that the staff had been trained on the program, but she doesn’t think they will be using the complete package in the beginning of the school year. The staff will attend another training session later in September, before the students’ first assembly.

“I’m excited to see how far this will take us this year,” she said.

Superintendent Mark Ward asked the board to entertain ideas for an engraving above the clock and bells case in the high school foyer. He said the area directly above the clock and bells “needs a little something” as it looks plain. Ward also suggested adding a plaque with a description of the clock and bells and their significance to the district.

Ward also suggested adding the district’s mission statement in the hallway to the gym.

“I think the more you make [the mission statement] part of what you do … the more people will buy into it,” Ward said.

The building and grounds committee toured the athletic fields before the meeting and suggested erecting a central flagpole that is visible from all of the athletic fields. Board Member Leonard Zlockie explained that a central flagpole, which could be lit, would be easier to find when singing the National Anthem at the start of all games. The board will consider the idea.

The Ellicottville Central School Board of Education will next meet Tuesday, Sept. 13 at 7 p.m. in the high school library.

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