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The wheels on the bus go all around: districts prep for back to school

SPRINGVILLE — With the first day of school right around the corner, parents are shopping for new crayons and the latest in backpacks, kids are getting in those last few hours of sunshine, teachers are decorating their classrooms and attending staff orientations and administrators are working on plans to make the whole machine run like clockwork, when those first buses roll up to the doors.

Eric Lawton, superintendent of West Valley Central Schools, said he is excited to get the students back in the building, next week.

“By this time of the summer, I’m really dragging,” he said, with a laugh. “It’s great to have the kids around. They give me my energy. I can’t wait to have them around the halls, again.”

At West Valley, Lawton will welcome several new faces, which he said is “always exciting,” as new teachers join the WVCS staff. An Aug. 28 orientation left Lawton feeling “energized and motivated,” after speaking with his team, about the school year ahead.

“After talking to our teachers, everyone is really pumped up, really excited and really motivated, to get started. I think we’ve got a great year ahead of us.”

Among the plans the administration has for that district are a building project that will tackle the leaky roof, as well as some other construction projects that can be addressed, at the same time. The school sign was recently repaired and contractors are being interviewed, about repairs to the building, which Lawton said is among his top priorities.

“We’re looking forward to speaking to architectural firms about that and hopefully, getting it all taken care of, without extra cost to the taxpayers.”

At Springville-Griffith Institute, new measures will be in place to “create an environment free of discrimination and harassment and [to] foster civility in the schools, to prevent and prohibit conduct which is inconsistent with the district’s educational mission,” according to a statement by Paul Connelly, superintendent of schools at S-GI.

To that end, S-GI will be placing video cameras throughout the district’s public areas, increasing lighting in outside areas and instituting a part-time School Resource Officer, thanks to the advocacy of New York State Senator Patrick Gallivan.

“This part-time SRO will be in addition to the already excellent support we receive from the sheriffs, the state troopers and our local law enforcement,” said Connelly.

“These increased safety measures are a result of a safety and security audit that was conducted in our district buildings during the 2012-13 school year, and the work and recommendations of our district safety committee, as a result of that audit.”

Connelly also reminded students and parents of the Dignity for all Students Act, which “condemns and prohibits all forms of discrimination, harassment and bullying, including cyberbullying, of students, based on actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender or sex by school employees or students on school property, at school-sponsored activities and events that take place at locations off school property,” according to that statement.

In addition, S-GI will be opening a Family Support Center, this fall. It will be located in the Springville Elementary School, with a stated goal to support and assist district staff, students and families.

It will be staffed by school social workers and district support staff, who are equipped to provide links and resources to the appropriate community groups and organizations.

Those resources can provide the necessary services students and families need to help them cope with difficult situations or circumstances and help families find peace.

West Valley Central School students will hop off those buses on Sept. 5, along with Springville-Griffith Institute High School and Springville Middle School students. Springville Elementary School and Colden Elementary School students will kick off the new year with a full day of classes on Sept 6.

For more information or to access a full school calendar for WVCS, visit www.wvalley.wnyric.org. To learn more about S-GI and its schedule and policies, visit www.springvillegi.org.
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