Gowanda Central School to combine more programs with Pine Valley

GOWANDA — Gowanda Central School has already merged with Pine Valley for multiple athletics, including football and soccer. However, at a recent board of education meeting, more possibilities for shared programs were discussed.

During the board members’ round table discussion, board member Janet Vogtli asked Superintendent Dr. Robert Anderson if there was any progress toward combining academic programs with Pine Valley. Anderson explained, “We’re fortunate we can offer a lot of programs that other schools can’t.” Computer science, physics and chemistry are among those classes.

He added that Pine Valley does not have an instructor for physics or chemistry, and that in the past, Gowanda’s physics teacher has taught physics online to Pine Valley students. Once a month, the teacher visited Pine Valley to conduct labs with the students, which is a logistical consideration that must be made moving forward, as both chemistry and physics require lab work.

Anderson said that currently, the district is looking at next year’s master schedule to accommodate the Pine Valley students. Board member Dan York asked if Pine Valley students would be transported to Gowanda or if the students would stay at their district and participate in Gowanda’s classes via long-distance learning. Anderson explained that the district is considering teaching Pine Valley students at Gowanda, if possible.

Also during the round table discussion, student board member Skyler Capozzi voiced his support of a later start time for middle/high school students, which was a topic of discussion at the Dec. 5 board of education meeting. Anderson said that he will soon be conducting a transportation study to look into the efficiency of the district’s transportation schedule and see what a single bus run at a later start time would look like. He explained that this information would then be presented to various “stakeholders” including parents, students, teachers and staff in the process of exploring a later start time. Currently, Gowanda Middle/High School students start their day at approximately 7:15 a.m., and elementary students start their day at 8:30 a.m.

In his superintendent’s report, Anderson was pleased to share that the new Raptor software had been implemented on Jan. 14. Now, all visitors to the school must present a government-issued photo ID in order to enter the building beyond the main office or district office during school hours. Not only does the system maintain a record of individuals entering or exiting the building, but it also produces a self-adhesive ID badge for visitors to wear inside the building.

Board member Mark Nephew asked Anderson if tribal IDs would be accepted. Anderson said they would; however, driver’s licenses or state-issued IDs are preferred, as they are linked to the sex-offender database and the state’s criminal database. Anderson said the next month will be an adjustment period for the new software, and that the system will be fully implemented by Feb. 25.

In other board business, the board conducted a second reading of the sexual harassment policy, which has been updated to reflect current state law. The board will vote to approve it at the next board meeting on Jan. 23. On that day, the board will conduct a second reading of the non-fraternization between employees and students policy, and Anderson expects the board to vote on the policy at the Feb. 6 meeting. The Jan. 23 Gowanda Board of Education meeting takes place at 7 p.m. at the Seneca Nation of Indians Early Childhood Learning Center, 2016 Henodeyesta Drive, Irving.