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Buffalo Public Schools begin new school year

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

Buffalo Public School children headed back to the classroom Thursday for a new school year.  But many are returning as the school district struggles to improve student achievement.

Interim city Schools Superintendent Don Ogilvie appeared at some of the city schools Thursday morning. 

WBFO News caught up with Ogilvie during his last stop at PS#74 Hamlin Park School on the city's east side. 

"The first day of school is almost sacred portions.  I mean the enthusiasm. Whether they're a little hesitant or not -- they still want to be here. They realize this is their purpose. This is what they do," said Ogilvie.       

Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley
Hamlin Park School in Buffalo.

Hamlin is one of the city's low-performing schools.

Ogilvie refused to use that term in describing Hamlin Park.

"I want to drop the labels. Good standing, priority or focus and say we are all schools seeking to improve," noted Ogilvie. "We will set those labels aside."

Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley
Instruction for students to report inside at Hamlin Park School.

The school has a brand new principal assigned to Hamlin read to work to improve student achievement.  

Elizabeth Giangreco previously served as principal at PS# 3 D'Youville Porter Campus School for the last four years.

Giangreco tells WBFO News she will focus on professional development for teachers and boost student attendance to improve low performance. 

Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley
Hamlin Park principal Elizabeth Giangreco (middle) awaits the arrival of students Thursday morning with other school staffers.

"Right now -- my plans are for increasing student achievement and providing teachers with the instruction strategies they need to do that, but a priority is keeping kids in school," said Giangreco.

Ogilvie said an "unexpected departure" of the previous Hamlin Park principal required a new appointment.

It appeared city schools opened without any issues, however, some parents were reportedly putting their children on the wrong buses. 

But Ogilvie, who visited three city schools Thursday morning, said there were "no issues, knock on wood."

This is Ogilvie's first school season with the Buffalo District since he was named interim leader in July.