This past Friday, I arrived at WBFO’s Studio B to tape my final Buffalo Rising Roundtable with News Director Mark Scott (who I will miss terribly).
Flanked by my old boss, Buffalo Rising founder Newell Nussbaumer, and my new boss, Superintendent of Buffalo Public Schools Dr. James A. Williams, we talked about what we always talk about in a way – Buffalo’s efforts to rise.
I don’t see my new duties for the schools (title: Special Assistant to the Superintendent for Community Relations) as being much of a departure from what I did for Buffalo Rising these 3+ years. I will continue to report good news, will have a hand in change to some degree, and I’ll be doing that Buffalo Rising-type community blending with involved stakeholders – all toward the greater good.
Since the show aired on WBFO this morning, I’ve already gotten calls of congratulations from people who know me, know my philosophy when it comes to community, and will be happy to have a greater voice with the BPS. One call in particular came from a member of the arts community who is excited about doing past and future art projects with the BPS and wants the message spread far and wide. Will do.
You’ll hear my new boss say in the podcast that what separates good schools from great schools is often the humanities. With a state budget that will cut the BPS to the tune of $50 million, it’s a good thing to know that the area’s abundance of artists is willing to work with our students in order to round out this very essential part of their education.
With the advent of the Academic Achievement Plan in the early grades in 2005, we’re about to see a hike in student achievement for those entering high school. The math and reading is going up, the dropout rate will continue to lower, and we’ll graduate students who have a better understanding of, and bigger investment in, higher education.
Like I say in the podcast, Buffalo’s rise will largely rely on jobs and education. It’s in our best interest as one of the Big 5 Cities Districts to see that every child is educated to the best of his/her abilities – and we’re getting there on the strength of new curriculum and the teachers and administrators who make it their daily duty to bring it to the students. Dr. Williams is especially aware of the input of educators and eschews the term “dedicated” teacher, feeling the word is redundant. “Of course they’re dedicated,” he reasons.
So last weekend, I rounded out my first week at my new job that involved huge budget cuts, oddly interpreted data from Albany, and talk of the demise of State Regents diplomas – with a championship basketball game win by the Middle Early College High/OTC basketball team (left). Like Dr. Williams said, the job will be a challenge – and it will be fun. I don’t doubt either of those assessments, and I’m ready for both.
Thank you again, BR readers. It’s been a lot of fun, and I’ll truly miss the daily involvement, but I’ll do my best to chime in from time to time (as promised to Newell). Stay tuned.