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Fire alarm upgrades needed at Ripley Central School

November 2, 2016
Westfield Republican

By David Prenatt

RIPLEY - Ripley Central School District will mostly likely have to update their entire fire alarm system in the near future, board of education members learned at their regular meeting Oct. 20.

Article Photos

Photo by David Prenatt
Nicole Ruf, an auditor with the accounting firm of Drescher & Malecki, LLP, reports the results of Ripley Central School District’s annual audit to board of education members.

Ripley Superintendent Dr. Lauren Ormsby and board president Robert Bentley informed board members that there is an issue with the school's fire alarm system. One of the panels has been consistently reporting errors, Ormsby said.

Bentley noted that the district's fire alarm system is 13 years old. The average life expectancy for most systems is 10 years, he said.

Ormsby noted that the staff used to be able to override the error alarm but that capability seems to have gone away. She said parts have been ordered to repair the current system. "We're also looking into doing an emergency project to replace the fire alarm system," Ormsby said.

Bentley told board members that initial estimates to rewire the whole building are between $250,000 and $300,000. Ormsby said it will be necessary for the board to pass a resolution deeming this situation an emergency.

Then we can approach the state for a review of the situation she said.

Bentley stressed that there is no danger to occupants of the building. He told the board that "We are moving forward with drafting a resolution to send to the state." He said the board would probably be able to pass the resolution at the November 17 meeting.

In a related matter, board members learned at that the school will conduct fewer fire drills, but more lock-down drills this year.

In accordance with new state requirements, there will be 8 fire drills and 4 lockdown drills, of which two will be unannounced Ormsby said.

In other business, Nichole Ruf, an auditor with the accounting firm of Drescher & Malecki, LLP, gave the district an unmodified report. This is the highest level that can be given, and indicates that the district is in line with state regulations. Ruf also said they did not find any problems in internal controls.

RCS director of Innovative Programming, Instruction and Technology, Kim Oakes, presented the board with a "thank you" video from the students and staff. She said the 6 minute video was created for School board Recognition week.

Oakes also updated the board on the Smart Schools Investment Plan. Oakes said she has received no new information from the state on the status of Project #,which is intended for the purchase of devices.

Project #2, the Smart School Investment Plan Wireless Project was posted for two weeks and no feedback was received from the community. The board subsequently approved Project #2, and Oakes said it could now be submitted to the state.

Oakes, told the board that Ripley Central School has been recognized as an emerging STEM school. Ormsby noted that STEM refers to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. Oakes and Ormsby displayed the plaque which the school was awarded for this designation.

Oakes also told the board that thirty students from Ripley Central School would be attending the Fredonia Mini Maker Faire on October 22. Twelve students will be presenting things they have invented, she said. Oakes noted that the Maker Faire is open to family members and admission is free.

Dr. Ormsby told the board that members of Ripley Central School's faculty and staff put on their "student hats" on October 20 and 21 in order to experience a slice of an expedition in EL Education.

She said that Oct. 20 was the first of two half days of this experience for the teachers. "We did some background work, then got on a bus and went to the Grape Discovery Center," Ormsby said. Tomorrow we will meet with two experts, then the participants will have 45 minutes to come up with recommendations for positive economic growth through improved marketing of the grape industry.

Ormsby said the faculty and staff will come to understand the essential components of a learning expedition. "we will debrief the whole experience," she added.

Dr. Ormsby also informed board members that the book The Marshmallow Test by Walter Mischel, which describes how self-control can be instrumental in leading a successful life, is being implemented at the school.

Ormsby explained that a child is given one marshmallow, and told that if he or she can forestall eating it until the adult returns to the room three minutes later, the child will be given an additional marshmallow.

Ormsby said there is no failing the test. "We look for the strategies children are using to delay eating the marshmallow," she said. Use of self-control, and the strategies kids use, like looking away, singing, etc. are what we look at, she said.



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