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Persistence Preparatory will take root on East Side

A new tuition-free, college preparatory, public charter school is opening on the East Side of Buffalo. Persistence Preparatory Academy (“Persistence Prep”) will start off with 108 students in kindergarten and first grade when it opens in August, with intentions on eventually becoming a K-8 school.

Persistence Prep is founded on the core belief that access to a high-quality education is a fundamental civil right.

The school is being set in place to give its students a chance to further their educational aspirations of heading to college. Founding beliefs also put an emphasis on students making positive change in their communities.

 “All children, regardless of race, socioeconomic status, or the zip code in which their family lives, can achieve at high levels. Persistence Prep is dedicated to providing a structured, safe, and supportive learning environment so that students can develop the skills they need to successfully navigate their future academic, professional, and personal goals. We feel that we have developed a model that will truly set our school apart – we are not just invested in our scholar’s learning, but also in ensuring our students understand their capacity to be true change agents in their communities,” said Joelle Formato, Founder and Head of School, Persistence Prep – a native Buffalonian and career-long urban educator, who has the support of both The Cullen Foundation and Building Excellent Schools.

The charter school movement continues to excel in the city, which has helped to create a different type of playing field for teachers, students, and families.

Persistence Prep’s model is based on best practice teaching/learning scenarios derived from 50 high-performing urban charter schools across the country. The school will focus on:

  • Longer school day and year
  • Intense focus on literacy
  • High-quality teachers driving results
  • A school culture infused with joy and rigor
  • Families as partners
  • Targeted supports throughout the day
  • College preparation begins in Kindergarten
  • Curricular materials reflect the history and experience of all students
  • Students will have a clear and convincing understanding that they are college bound
  • Students will fully understand the immense power of their voice to impact and create change within their communities

Many of the school’s beliefs were based on a Fellowship completed by Formato through Building Excellent Schools, which allowed her to travel the country in search of best practices. Formato also designed the school’s blueprints with the help of grassroots community outreach and voiced opinions by parents and other community members.

The persistence Prep team is currently finalizing space on the East Side.

Persistence Prep is currently accepting applications for its Founding Classes of Kindergarten and First Grade. Only 54 seats are available at each grade level. The deadline to apply is April 1, 2018.  Families seeking information about enrollment, or those wishing to help support the work of Persistence Prep, should visit or contact Head of School Joelle Formato (; 716-909-3666).  To learn more, visit

Written by queenseyes


Newell Nussbaumer is 'queenseyes' - Eyes of the Queen City and Founder of Buffalo Rising. Co-founder Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Co-founder Powder Keg Festival that built the world's largest ice maze (Guinness Book of World Records). Instigator behind Emerald Beach at the Erie Basin Marina. Co-created Flurrious! winter festival. Co-creator of Rusty Chain Beer. Instigator behind Saturday Artisan Market (SAM) at Canalside, Buffalo Porchfest, and Paint vs. Paint. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market on Elmwood. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Throws The Witches Ball at Statler City, the Hertel Alley Street Art Festival, and The Flutterby Festival.

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