Gowanda school board offers farewells

GOWANDA — In their last meeting of the school year, the Gowanda Board of Education recognized students’ outstanding accomplishments, as well as the exemplary service of board member Dan York, whose term expired on June 30.

In his superintendent’s report, Dr. Robert Anderson congratulated the class of 2019 on their graduation and thanked York for his time on the school board. During his three-year term, York served as board vice president until April, when he became board president after former board member Cindy Sutherland moved out of the school district. He decided not to run for re-election in May; Ronald Cook, who was recently elected, will be filling York’s seat.

High School Principal Rebecca Moraites shared the elementary school report on behalf of Carrie Dzierba, elementary school principal, who was absent from the meeting. Dzierba’s report shared highlights from pre-kindergarten and kindergarten graduations, and an exciting piece of news from the state education department.

“The elementary school received unofficial results from the fourth grade science assessment, with 81.69% of students exhibiting proficiency,” said Moraites. “This is definitely something to be commended.”

Middle School Principal Todd Miklas was pleased to share a positive report on the eighth grade class trip to historic Boston. “The students had a great time, and there were no issues,” said Miklas of the trip, the first ever eighth grade class. “It was very educational and only positive comments from our parents, so hopefully we will continue this next year.”

Miklas reported that approximately 10 students from each grade have been recommended for summer school this year. “I just want to let the board know one of my goals is always progress in monitoring communication with families,” he said.

“All through the year, I’ve probably personally hosted over 100 conferences with families at 10 weeks, 20, 30 and 35 weeks, informing them all along the way and offering interventions and suggestions as to where their students are — if they’re in academic jeopardy — so it’s not just an end-of-year announcement that they’re recommended for summer school or being considered for retention.”

Miklas explained his reluctance to recommend students for retention, as the social and emotional repercussions of repeating a grade, especially in middle school, can be challenging. “Overall, it’s been a successful school year, and I’m very proud of our school culture, in terms of students wanting to be in school and some of the great things we’re doing,” Miklas stated.

Moraites shared her report on high school end-of-year activities. “We’ve had a number of awards ceremonies, but the one I’m most proud of was our Senior Walk at the elementary school,” she said. “For a last minute thing, parents pitched in, teachers pitched in and students came together, and it was wonderful to see. One of my favorite moments was when the kindergarteners were blowing bubbles for the seniors as they walked through.” Moraites said that she is already planning next year’s event, which will lead into the senior breakfast and yearbook signing celebration.

New board member David Barnes was appointed to the building committee to fill the spot vacated by York. The building committee, whose other members include Mark Nephew and Dana Szalay-Delaney, will be meeting later this month to interview the four construction management firms who responded to the request for proposals for the capital project.

The Gowanda Board of Education will meet on Wednesday, July 10 for the annual reorganization meeting at 6 p.m. in the middle school library, which will be followed by the regular school board meeting. There, the board will determine who will serve as the new president and vice president.