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Phase-in leader for Lafayette International explains future plans

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

There is a major effort under way to help English Language Learners achieve better outcomes at Lafayette High School.  WBFO's Focus on Education Reporter Eileen Buckley met with the new phase-in principal John Starkey who will lead the future Lafayette International High School.

"I'm a native Buffaloian. I'm a Buffalo State graduate," said Starkey.  Starkey has an extensive education background working with English Language Learners.  He is a trained as an English as a second language teacher.   "It was really a perfect fit for me because that is my niche, that's what I was trained in as an ESL teachers in my time at the International High School at LaGuardia Community College.

Starkey arrived last fall in Buffalo after serving as a 'master principal' at in the New York City School District.  Starkey and his multi-lingual planning committee will appear Wednesday evening before the Buffalo School Board to discuss the phase-in plan of a full-scale Lafayette International Academy.  

"Next year there will be the 11th and 12th grade of Lafayette proper, also known as phase-out.  Then there's the Newcomers Academy that started this year at Lafayette, which is for students 7th through 12th, The concept of that school is build their proficiency  so they can transition  to other Buffalo schools and then there will be the school I will be running which will be  Lafayette International High school," stated Starkey. 

Starkey explained thee concept they're trying to engage the community is to create a portfolio performance based curriculum with wrap around support in a community school concept.

Starkey immediate focus has been on the Puerto Rican group since he arrived in November, noting a need to improve the disparity in graduation rates among the Latino students.

"Last year, the Latino students here at Lafayette, the English Language Learners, had a 5% graduation rate, a 60% drop out rate, 85% chronic attendance issues," explained Starkey.

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