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Positive messaging delivered as MLK School phases out

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WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley
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Three Buffalo Public Schools are being phased out for failure to perform. Bennett High School, Riverside High and the Martin Luther King Multicultural Institute are considered "out-of-time" schools. But as WBFO's Focus on Education reporter Eileen Buckley learned, the principal at MLK is working hard to keep students positive.

Last Friday MLK Principal Ramona Reynolds hosted special guests at a assembly featuring motivational speakers. They brought messages of working hard and achieving success. 

WBFO News had a chance to speak with Principal Reynolds following the event. Her school has been phasing out for nearly three years.   

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Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley
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Inside MLK School in Buffalo.

"It's very sad. We don't want to see our school close, but the truth of the matter, for myself, and as well as all the other, I'm going to say other educators, regardless of the positions they have in this building -- our passion is to working with kids, so we will continue to work with kids. Our students will transfer to other buildings," said Reynolds.  "We want to leave them with the message of, yes, we're closing, but yes you can do well, you can be successful."

Low scores on standardized tests at MLK, Bennett and Riverside all led to the phase-outs for the schools.

Reynolds said it has been difficult for students over the past few years who have continued to hear they attend a "failing" city school.   

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Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley
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MLK Principal Ramona Reynolds said they are spreading positive messages to students during the final phase-out of the school.

"After experiencing years of directly or indirectly being told your not good enough because of your scores, you're not good enough. That tends to have an impact on kids," said Reynolds.

"What we were able to accomplish over the last few years, with the exception of one year, is we've been able to grow our students. And so while we don't have many kids who are scoring proficiently at levels three and four, we have been able to move our students who were scoring at a level one to a mid/high one to a two."

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MLK students school at an assembly.

Inside the assembly, it felt nothing like a school that will be shuttered at the end of the school year. Students were happy, well-behaved, listened closely and asked their guests great questions.

"I'm happy that you weren't able to feel of spirit of closing out. We really have been steadfast that this would be the year that we would infiltrate this building with as many positive messages as possible," responded Reynolds.

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