Welcoming the students from Ripley has helped to stabilize the course offerings for all secondary school students at Chautauqua Lake this school year. Elective courses that might not have been offered this year, due to low enrollment, are continuing because the district now has the critical mass to run those courses. With more students participating in shared learning experiences, class sizes are larger as expected.
Throughout the discussions with Ripley, Chautauqua Lake consistently used 130 students as the estimated enrollment in order to calculate tuition. In addition, the district continued to use this estimated enrollment to plan for staffing, equipment and supplies.
We are pleased to see that even more students than expected are taking advantage of the educational opportunities afforded by the tuition arrangement. On opening day, 147 students from Ripley were enrolled at Chautauqua Lake. As in any public school, enrollment is constantly in flux throughout the school year, as families move in and out of each district.
Students in an earth science class at Chautauqua Lake Central School use netbooks to research such topics as density, graphing and classification systems, as part of an introductory lesson. From left to right are Jasmine Schofield, Collin Bailey, teacher Steven Johnston, Tanner McCutcheon and Mitchell Gleason. Collin and Tanner are students from Ripley now attending Chautauqua Lake in the first year of a five-year tuitioning agreement.
Additional sections of required courses, such as health, social studies, math and science were added in 2013-14, along with several new local electives and distance learning classes, including Mandarin Chinese and American Sign Language. Furthermore, many college credit bearing and advanced placement courses were continued that might otherwise have been canceled.
During the planning process, district officials estimated that an additional 4.5 full time equivalent teachers would be needed to meet additional instructional needs. At this time, the district has added 4.4 full time equivalent teachers. Staffing costs were estimated in advance, as part of the five-year tuition agreement.
Due in part to the tuition arrangement, all athletic and co-curricular opportunities were preserved for all students as they existed last year at Chautauqua Lake.
"Since the first day the tuitioning of Ripley students was approved, both Ripley and Chautauqua Lake administrators and instructional staff have worked collaboratively to ensure that all our students had a smooth transition into the 2013-14 school year.
"We developed a transition plan that included everything from meetings between our Student Administrations to grade level shadowing days in the spring, in which students from Ripley shadowed Chautauqua Lake students. Guidance counselors and I met with each individual Ripley class. We provided tours of the building for students and their parents, and we set up a dance and fun night, attended by students from both schools.
"In addition, Chautauqua Lake coaches went to Ripley to meet with their student-athletes, and we made sure to set up opportunities over the summer for student-athletes from both schools to meet each other before the start of the fall sports season.
"We are excited to report that the transition plan was very helpful in ensuring a successful opening to this school year. It has been honor to open the doors of our secondary school to one of our area school districts, and we will continue to do everything we can to ensure the success of all our students."