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Education

City schools working on improvement plan

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Mike Desmond/wbfo news
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Widespread frustration with sagging graduation rates has prompted city school officials to develop the District Comprehensive Improvement Plan. But little public interest was on display Tuesday night at a meeting at Makowski School.

There appeared to be more district administrators in the room than parents, although in a city like Buffalo it's not unusual for a teacher or administrator or parent facilitator to also be a district parent.

After years of being at these meetings as chief of student support services, Will Keresztes was there as acting superintendent.

Keresztes says doing this project and others is complicated because Albany is having trouble delivering the data on student performance and the related issue of teacher evaluations.
          
"We don't have that situation right now with the State Education Department. And, I think they are doing everything they can to improve. So, I'm very optimistic," Keresztes said.

"The whole APPR system, it's just getting launched throughout the state. I think there are going to be some challenges about that but I'm excited about the future."

Right now, the future is summer school for students who need credits to graduate or to move on to a higher grade.

Of the parents who were at the meeting, they say there is a sense student achievement is improving, that kids are doing better. Dorothy Gray has three kids in city schools, including a fourth grader at Martin Luther King school where she's a parent facilitator. That's a school Keresztes is recommending being kept open after the school board decided to close it.

Gray says she makes sure her children work hard on education.

"When my kids come home, they have to do their homework right away. We do work together and then they have the rest of day for themselves," Gray said.

Other parents say the future looks a little brighter, especially with the carrot of a college education through Say Yes in the years ahead.