RIPLEY - At the Ripley Central School board meeting, Ripley Superintendent Dr. Lauren Ormsby said the opening celebration for "Eagle University," the new elementary summer program, was a "smashing success." More than 100 students are signed up for at least one of the three sessions, and 85 attended the first day, she said.
The program represents a departure from the classic form of a remedial summer school, Ormsby said. Rather it is a program for any student to continue learning throughout the summer as well as take part in educational experiences.
"Eagle University" meets from 8 a.m. to noon, followed by the town recreational program from noon-4 p.m. It involves 15 teachers, two bus drivers and the custodial staff. Also, some of the town recreational staff come in the morning to help out. Breakfast and lunch are provided through Chautauqua Opportunities, she said.
Ripley superintendent Dr. Lauren Ormsby is pictured describing how Ripley elementary school students are growing four types of lettuce in this planter, as part of a garden used for the Eagle University Program.
Photo by David Prenatt
"The kids are getting themselves up and dressed to be here at 8 o'clock," Ormsby said. "They want to be here and they are happy here."
The program employs "college rules" of conduct, Ormsby said. That is, the kids can sit where they want, and move about if they want. "We're giving them a little bit of freedom and they are living up to it," she said. "The first day we told them to sit where they want and they all went to their assigned seats from school."
Each session is two weeks long and involves different teachers and courses. There are also continual activities, such as the elementary school garden located in the courtyard, she said.
The program is currently open to any child living in Ripley for the summer.
"We were going to open up to other districts, but when we saw that we had 100 students signed up, we decided we should hold off for now," Ormsby said.
Ripley Central School Board of Education approved contracts with the Civil Service Employees Association and the Ripley Educational Association recently at its regular board meeting.
Board member Ted Rickenbrode said that negotiations went well with a lot of cooperation on all sides. "People at the table negotiate with us and we came up with these contracts quite quickly and quite efficiently in my opinion," he said.
Both contracts are for three years. The contract with the REA allows a pay increase of 3.36 percent the first year, followed by 3.31 and 3.25 percent increases, successively.
Rickenbrode said the increases represented a $1,200 flat increase each year, plus a 1.48 percent cost-of-living adjustment. There was no change in health care, except for newly hired employees. The contract also stipulates that teaching assistants be present on informational days, he said.
The contract with the CSEA calls for a 2.78 percent pay increase the first year, followed by 2.33 and 2.16 percent increases the two years after that, Rickenbrode said. While the contract increases pay, it also includes a "give-back" on health benefits, he said.