The Indians mascot for Waterville Central School will be changed over the next two years.
WCS Superintendent Dr. Jennifer Spring reviewed the new New York state directive to eliminate all team names that are discriminatory at last week’s Board of Education meeting. A court case involving a school district near Albany prompted the statewide change, and that district’s mascot is Indians.
Spring said districts have to commit by the end of June to changing their mascot or face sanctions by the state. Those include losing state aid and removal of school administrators and Board members.
WCS Board President Tim Jones said Waterville had no plans to jeopardize its state aid. “Times change,’’ he said. “We’re going to do what we have to do.’’
Spring read a statement put out by Oneida Nation Representative Ray Halbritter, who said schools need to be places of safety where all are comfortable. Halbritter said for far too long old traditions have been permitted to exist.
Initial cost estimates show the replacement of athletic uniforms will cost $35,000. Spring said there has been no mention by the state for reimbursement of costs incurred in changing a mascot.
Banners and places in the building with the Indians logo can be painted over, she said.
Board members did not vote, but spoke about moving ahead with a committee to study the options for a new mascot. Spring said a digital engagement survey would be set up on the school website.
While the mascot is being addressed, Spring said it is a good time to get clear on WCS’s colors. “It’s purple but what shade,’’ she said. “And is it yellow or gold?’’
Maggie Chapman, who graduated in the WCS Class of 1967, shared four ideas she drew for a new mascot. These were the Waterville Waves, Suns, Rockets and her favorite, the Flames.
Teacher Deborah Nicotera said years ago students asked members of the Brothertown Indians tribe their thoughts on using Indians as the mascot. “Their response was there are so many things you can use,’’ she said.
Two students at the meeting, Amanda Legacy and Sierra Miller, suggested using Eagles to coordinate with the Waterville Pop Warner mascot.
The meeting opened with Spring introducing Amanda Eaves, the District’s new Business Manager.
Everyone at the meeting then went into the auditorium. Music teacher Taylor Kochan introduced the Senior High Swing Choir, who performed a song from their holiday concert last week.
Memorial Park School Principal Karen Hinderling provided an update on the elementary school by the numbers. MPS has 439 students, 30 BOCES students, 21 Kindergarten through sixth grade teachers, five Specials teachers and four Special Ed teachers, among other staff.
Data shows 48 percent of the students are economically disadvantaged. The School Based Health Center has 182 MPS students.
While enrollment is within five students of where it was five years ago, this year’s third grade is small with 45 students. Fifth grade has 64.
Hinderling reviewed state assessment results in ELA and Math from last year, compared to previous years and BOCES and statewide percentages. Last year all MPS students used the computer for the ELA test, while students in fifth and sixth also did for the Math test.
Hinderling said third graders are not used to writing essays on the computer. “They still do most of their work on worksheets,’’ she said…