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State Assesments Give Some Buffalo Schools High Marks

By Eileen Buckley

Buffalo, NY – Some Buffalo schools beat out other Western New York School districts in 4th and 8th grade standardized English testing. The results were released Wednesday by the State Education Department.

A breakdown of the test results show that the Frederick Law Olmsted-School #64 and Tapestry Charter School of Buffalo have the highest percentage of fourth graders who posted superior work on the level four English exams.

They were followed by Smallwood School in Amherst. Joy Pepper is the director of the Tapestry School. She said 50-percent of her fourth graders scored the highest on the tests which is a combination of English and Reading.

Pepper said small class size makes a difference for their students.

"Our students have the opportunity to work with a teacher assistant in the classroom," said Pepper. "That one-on-one attention certainly helps with their writing and reading skills."

Tapestry has only 192 students in grades Kindergarten through 7th. Under the 8th grade English test results, City Honors in Buffalo topped the list, followed by Amherst Middle and Frederick Law Olmsted School #56.

Michael Gruber is principal of both Olmsted schools. He said students are exposed to "good teaching."

"The kids are really getting a deep education in all subject areas. I think that carries over, and we do a lot of exploratory activities," said Gruber.

But neither Gruber nor Pepper would boast about scoring higher than some of the suburban districts. In fact, both remained humble about the test results.

"All schools, whether they are suburban or urban, we are all in this together," said Gruber. Everybody really works hard to get the students up to the level of proficiency and it is nice to get the high grades, but you have to stay focused and remain humble."

Pepper agreed.

"We try not to compare ourselves to other schools. Each child in a school is an individual and each one is fostered to do their own best scores."

Statewide, 70 percent of fourth graders met all state learning standards in English this year. That is a record.