by Timothy Chipp
Niagara Gazette — Field trips are getting a review in the Niagara-Wheatfield School District.
School Board President Steven Sabo suggested the board examine its policy concerning the out-of-school excursions Wednesday, a notion the others in attendance agreed to.
"We'd received some comments from people in the district, some parents, about the field trips," Sabo said. "As a board, one of our duties is to review the district's policies and update them as needed. We've looked at, and updated, several already."
Chief among the concerns, Sabo said, is the board's lack of oversight concerning field trips taken during school hours. He said the board doesn't have to approve any off-campus visit, anywhere, as long as it happens during school hours and the class returns before the end of instruction time.
He said the board is looking to be informed of these trips, even the ones during school hours, because of liability concerns.
It also concerns him, he said, that a teacher could take a class of students to a location during the day with no approval when the board would deny the trip if they were asked for a night trip or overnight.
He added the updates aren't being rushed and there's no timetable for the changes - if any are made - to be approved.
Sabo said the district should also look into making a pre-approved list of field trip destinations, including popular choices that are not age-specific or controversial in any way. He used Becker Farms in Gasport as an example of a location many districts allow their children to visit.
Interim Superintendent James Knowles told Sabo he'd work to put together some sort of list.
"I think we can go back and look at all the places we've allowed the students to attend and create a list of the most frequented places," he said.
In other news, the board recognized several students for academic success and musical prowess.
Jack Buddenhagen and Danielle Crocoll, both musicians with the school band, recently received word they'd been accepted into the All-Eastern Honors Ensamble band, an accomplishment last achieved by a district student in 1997.
The band pulls the best of the best musicians from several mid-Atlantic area and New England states to create a band which will perform in Connecticut in April.
Scholarships were also awarded to several students who achieved high honors on Regents exams.
Josh Miller and Kirsten Scherrer each received $1,500 awards, while Francesca Viola, Nicole Golias, Daniel Miera, Kali Ryan, Mary Warne, Marissa Watroba, Rachel Szeliga, Rachel Coddington and Todd Phillips each received $500.
The amounts are good for four years of higher education.