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Ten Buffalo Public Schools Taken Off State Watch List

It might
sound strange to some, but the Buffalo Public School District has reason to
celebrate.  The school system has been plagued with drastic problems for
years; however, a major achievement was announced last week when the New York
State Education Department took ten Buffalo public schools off the Department’s
watch list.  Four of those schools had been listed as SURR (Schools Under
Registration Review).  Here is a list of the ten schools, all of which are
now “Schools in Good Standing” with the state:

·      
Bennett
Park Montessori School #32

·      
Harriet
Ross Tubman School #31

·      
Poplar
Street Academy School #11

·      
Native
American Magnet School #19

·      
Hamlin
Park School #74

·      
Public
School #82

·      
Build
Academy School #91

·      
Southside
Elementary School #93

·      
Stanley
M. Makowski Early Childhood Center School #99

·      
Buffalo
Academy for Visual and Performing Arts  

This feat is
especially remarkable when comparing Buffalo to the other school systems that
make up New York State’s “Big Four” school districts.  Among the
other three major districts in the state, Rochester had two schools taken off
the state watch list, Syracuse had two as well, and Yonkers had none.

The School
District’s Academic Achievement Plan, which was implemented four years ago, has
been credited with this turn-around.  According to Superintendent Dr.
James A. Williams, “Our team created and implemented an Academic
Achievement Plan that was focused on raising student achievement across the
District. Teachers deserve credit for working hard in the classroom and for
their dedication towards the noble goal of providing children the best
education possible. Because we have raised the bar academically and created a
culture of expecting strong academic results, we are a District on the rise and
moving in the right direction”.

The BPS has introduced a number of academic reforms to meet the
requirements laid out in its State-approved “Contract for
Excellence”.  Some of these reforms include the following: an
extended school year at 17 Buffalo schools, reducing class sizes, and Saturday
educational programs for students and parents.  The district has also
added many specialists to help teachers in the classroom such as mathematics, reading, and technology coaches, as well as Spanish, Burmese, Somali, and
Arabic teacher aides, and additional social workers and guidance counselors for
E.L.L. students.  The BPS has also invested a total of $1
million in English Language Learner initiatives. 

Deputy
Superintendent Dr. Folasade Oladele believes that due to these reforms
“Educators from across New York State and the nation are using the Buffalo
Public School District as a model of academic success. That success could not
take place without our strong academic team of administrators that have been
directed to support our teachers in the classrooms”.

BPS Executive Director of Evaluation, Accountability, and Project
Initiatives Amber Dixon also gave teachers their credit when she said, “This continued success underscores how much we can achieve when there is
strong collaboration between the Buffalo Public School District and the Buffalo
Teachers Federation.”

In addition
to getting ten schools taken off the State “watch list,” Buffalo Public Schools have shown many other signs of academic improvement in the past
year.  Math test scores are up 117% over the past four years, and ELA test
scores are up 81% over the same period.  The last four years have also
seen a 7% increase in graduation rates, six Buffalo schools have been removed
from the State’s SURR list, and Buffalo Public School graduates are earning a
record $21.8 million in scholarship money.

 

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