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School bells ring again for thousands of WNY youngsters

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Michael Mroziak, WBFO
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For countless Western New York children, summer vacation has ended and it's back to class. In Buffalo, the superintendent of public schools led special guests in a tour of selected schools while urging parents to make sure their children are in class one day one, and every day after.

Buffalo Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Kriner Cash greeted students arriving at BUILD Academy #91 to begin the day. He was joined by Board of Education President Barbara Seals Nevergold, Board Member Dr. Theresa Harris-Tigg and several elected leaders.

"We believe that BUILD Academy represents sort of the epicenter of our work this year, because we need to rebuild the East Side and BUILD sits in the middle of the East Side of town," said Dr. Cash, when explaining why the Fougeron Street school was the first of three schools showcased to begin the day. "It's very exciting and important to be here in this work. We want BUILD, within two years, to be turned around academically and then become a community school as well."

The other schools visited by members of the Board of Education Tuesday morning were International Preparatory School #198 and Southside Elementary School #93. 

Dr. Cash also spoke of a "bargain" involving the schools, community and families. The parents, for their part, are urged to make sure their children are attending regularly. 

Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes, one of the elected officials who toured BUILD Academy, invited parents and guardians to call her directly if they had difficulty getting their kids to class.

"Call me. 897-9714. I want to help you, because here is where your children belong on the first day of school," Peoples-Stokes said. "It's great activity going on here. The children are very excited about it. Don't let yours miss out on it."

Some of the younger students were just finishing up breakfast as Cash and his guests visited their classroom. Tuesday was spent by teachers mostly discussing ground rules and expectations for the new year. While visiting one of the fourth grade classrooms, Dr. Cash asked students what goal they had.

"To get a diploma," replied two of the students in that room, to the applause of the visitors.

Michael Mroziak is an experienced, award-winning reporter whose career includes work in broadcast and print media. When he joined the WBFO news staff in April 2015, it was a return to both the radio station and to Horizons Plaza.
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