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Ripley receives Expeditionary Learning School designation

September 22, 2016
By David Prenatt - , Westfield Republican

RIPLEY - Ripley Central School is officially an Expeditionary Learning School.

Ripley Superintendent Dr. Lauren Ormsby updated board of education members regarding the district's contract with the Expeditionary Learning network. The district was chosen by the network to become a member earlier this summer for full membership.

"We have ten individuals who are scheduled to go to the national conference in Detroit on October 27th to 29h." The district can now post job openings on the E.L. web site so we get applicants who already have experience in expeditionary learning, she said, Ormsby said.

"We're starting our new year with Expeditionary Learning and it's really exciting," Ormsby said. "The more I'm reading this contract and seeing what they are giving us, the more exciting it gets."

In another matter, Ripley Central School Technology coordinator Kimberly Oakes gave board members an update on the district's pre-K 3 program. Oakes said the first parent workshop was held the day before (September 14) and "we had representation from every family except one."

Oakes said the "Meet and Greet" part of the workshop was held in the library for about an hour and was followed by child/parent interaction in the classroom, which included, art activities, song and dance. Parents were receptive to it and enjoyed the opportunity, she said.

Oakes said it was interesting to see the change between last year and this year, noting the increase in participation and involvement of the parents. "We want to create a community among the parents because they're going to be together for a very long time," Oakes said.

Oakes also told board members that she and several other staff members traveled to Boston for Tools of the Mind Training. This is a research-based program, which gives teachers the tools to ensure that every child becomes a successful learner, she said. The program focuses on building self-regulation and self-control. It is play-based, and the children participate in play planning, Oakes said.

In other matters, Oakes reported on the Smart Schools Investment Plan, which began with Project #1 for the purchase of devices, and has been submitted to the state. Dr. Ormsby said Project #2, the Smart School Investment Plan Wireless Project, went out to bid and 3 people bid on it. This project will allow us to rerun all cables throughout the building, using CAT 6A cable, and to run through dead zones to create better access, Ormsby said.

Oakes told board members that, according to the Smart Schools Investment Plan, "We must get preliminary approval, which is what we're doing now." We must post this for 2 weeks, and solicit feedback from the community, and at the board meeting on October 20 the plan can be approved. Then it can be submitted to the state, she said. "It will be at least January or February before we can initiate the project, and that's if we get approved," Oakes added.

Board member Ted Rickenbrode asked if project #1 is still with the state. Oakes replied in the affirmative and said she had received a response from the state immediately after submitting the plan, but "I haven't heard anything for months now," she added.

Dr. Ormsby reported that there are 120 students enrolled in the after school program, which is approximately 90% of the students in the school. The after school program was originally added for the 2012-2013 school year when Ormsby announced that "In the After School Program students will work with classroom teachers on a variety of fun and engaging projects that will support academic growth."

Ormsby highlighted some of the after school activities for members of the Board of Education. There's a maker club with Mr. Kondrick, and the students will be going to a maker fair, she said. She said Mrs. Kondrick has a disaster club in which students study natural disasters.

There are three Elite Clubs this year: Girls on the Run, Heart and Soul for 7th and 8th Grade students, and Boys on the Right Track, Ormsby told board members. "We handed out applications and received many back the next day," she said.

Board member Larry Freleigh concluded the meeting by inviting board members to a ceremony with Senator Catharine Young on October 8 at First Presbyterian Church in Ripley. "Some of you know I lost a son in Kuwait years ago. Senator Young is coming to present the medals that he would have received," Freleigh said.



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