By Louisa Benatovich
As the Ellicottville Board of Education members bade goodbye to long-time member Nicole Klein at the June 18 board meeting, the finality of the 2018-19 school year truly became apparent. This second-to-last roundup of the school’s governing force was a short-but-sweet reminder of the progress ECS has made throughout the months.
In celebration of this, the long-awaited results of the district’s commitment to excellence were finally announced. Overall, the district was 21st out of 96 Western New York School districts.
“We are proud to announce Ellicottville Central School’s Business First Rankings for this year,” said Superintendent Bob Miller in his report. The Elementary School, under Maren Bush’s new leadership, came in 20th out of 252 schools in Western New York, Ellicottville Middle School ranked 28th out of 191 and Ellicottville High School was 49th out of 131.
Though it isn’t certain exactly how these ranks are determined, one test score can have a large impact on ranking. After all, if five students fail in a class of 40, that is 8 percent of the determining factor. Nevertheless, the school district is incredibly pleased with the results and hopes to continue to keep up the high standards into the foreseeable future.
In his report, High School Principal Erich Ploetz commented on how quiet it had seemed that day without the middle schoolers, who had celebrated their last day on June 17. Other than that, the school remained a bustling final exam warzone until June 25.
On the last day of school, the Class of 2019 walked the halls in their caps and gowns to the tune of “September” by Earth, Wind, and Fire. It was a wonderful opportunity for students of all grade levels to witness what is awaiting them in just a few short years.
Thanks to the generous donations of students and faculty, the school was also able to offer the Bishop family a sum of money to help cover medical expenses and other outstanding costs after a car accident left senior Hunter Bishop and alumni Austin in a coma. With the family recovered and ready for graduation, the district was happy to be able to help on their journey.
Elementary Principal Maren Bush shared some pictures of her students enjoying the year-end field trips, as well as some mini-grant success! The Cattaraugus County Youth Bureau awarded Lisa Schwartz a PEDALS grant. Dr. Marie Davis also received a local community mini-grant from the Ellicottville Rotary. This will allow her to provide an all-expenses-paid tutoring program for students with reading difficulties at the school this summer.
IN OTHER NEWS, long-time bus driver Ed Crowley is retiring from the district effective this August. Senior maintenance mechanic, Randy Wiser, has resigned from the district, as well.
Superintendent Miller discussed changes in Voting Laws concerning time off for school workers. The typical four hours provided on Election Day is particularly detrimental to a substitute teacher’s school day and leaves the district understaffed. Comprises are being reached so as to fully serve all parties involved.
Additionally, legislation concerning mandatory vaccinations has just been amended. Parents with non-vaccinated children will be receiving confidential letters from the school detailing the new regulations. In short, certain requirements must be met for a child to attend public school and administration will now be much stricter in their enforcement.
An Athletics for Home-Schooled Students bill is being introduced into the NYS State Legislature. This would allow home-schooled students to join ECS’s sports teams. The venture would pose a variety of problems all the way from student accountability to district size rankings. Both NYSPHSAA and NYSCOSS are against it.