RIPLEY - Ripley Central School Board of Education members signed a contract at their recent regular meeting that officially enters the elementary school into the EL Education network.
Ripley has been incorporating aspects of EL Education learning into its curriculum for the past two years. Now that it has been accepted by the network as an EL Education school, it will strive for the next three or four years to become fully credentialed.
"The criteria for becoming credentialed is very rigorous," said Ripley superintendent Dr. Lauren Ormsby. "Our school would have to show superior gains in academic achievement, character and the quality of our work. '
Ripley technology coordinator Kim Oakes (left) and superintendent Dr. Lauren Ormsby stand beside a sign for the First Annual NYS Maker Summit in Albany. They were part of a special panel on implementing a Maker’s Lab.
While continuing to focus on the EL Education principals, Ripley will now receive greater support from the network to further its progress, Ormsby said.
"This work will look much the same as the work we have been doing, only the amount of support we receive will increase," she said. "We will present our progress at the end of each year in a format similar to the student led conference, with the goal of becoming a credentialed school. "
Board president Robert Bentley said being accepted as an EL Education school was a great achievement. "It's a great professional development tool for our teachers. It goes far beyond what New York State normally requires," he said.
"We are happy to be moving ahead with this."
Ormsby said that being accepted into the network shows the work that the teachers and staff have been doing. "Although the acceptance of RCS Elementary into the EL Education Network does not change the work we will be doing it is a fantastic accomplishment and a recognition of the hard work and commitment of the RCS faculty and staff," she said.
Ormsby said she was believes that becoming an EL Education school will not only help the students become better learners but help them to change the community they live in. "Together we have endeavored to change the definition of success and achievement for our students," she said. "We are very optimistic to see how this work will impact our students down the road."
In other business, the board listened to the first budget presentation. Although the assessed value of Ripley has decreased by about $500,000, Bentley said the district does not plan to increase taxes.
Although plans to build a Dollar General store and a wedding reception hall are underway, these projects will not be completed by the May cutoff date for the annual town assessment. Because of this, Bentley said, the assessed value of the town dropped sharply. Still, the district wishes to avoid raising taxes to make up the loss of revenue, he said.
"We've been able to look at two or three options," Bentley said. "The finance team decided we can come out with a zero percent tax rate change despite that."
Bentley said the district should have "hard numbers" from the state by the next meeting and will be able to solidify its plans.
In another matter, Ormsby and technology coordinator Kim Oakes traveled to Albany over the weekend to be part of a featured panel at the First Annual Maker Summit. They discussed the development of our Maker Lab and the inclusion of Maker education in our early childhood and elementary programs, Ormsby said.
The board learned that Chautauqua Lake and Silver Creek teachers visited RCS to learn more about the structure of Crew. The experience included professional development, classroom observations and participating in a school-wide crew celebration, Ormsby said.
The board discussed the success of the Chautauqua Lake boys and girls basketball teams. "Ripley contributed to both of these teams," Bentley said.