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City receivership schools earning mixed grades from state

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WBFO News file photo
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In a review of Buffalo Public schools in receivership, the New York State Education Department said some of the city's most troubled schools are meeting their own goals for improvement.Underperforming schools placed into a receivership district give Buffalo Schools Superintendent Dr. Kriner Cash direct negotiating power with unions representing teachers and administrators. Each school was required to establish what its management thought were the worst problems of that building and were then rated on how well they did in meeting those stated goals.

Many schools did well, like International Preparatory School at Grover at 95 percent — a school associated with many students who do not have English as their first language — while BUILD Academy earned a 27 percent. School Board President Barbara Seals Nevergold said these scores are not based just on Regents tests.

"Other things such as improvement in school climate, for example, improvement in attendance, improvement in fewer suspensions, lower suspension rates, lower rates of behavior that required office attention," she said.

Some of the schools in the receivership group are being phased out, with a new group of students and new principals coming in while others leave. That includes Bennett High School, which is getting a high-tech program but only reached a 55 percent rating in meeting its goals last year.  

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Bennett now hosts a computer curriculum for students as an innovation school.

National statistics said people without high school diplomas are facing nearly impossible odds in the job market and in building a successful life.

The city school district is setting up programs as early as pre-kindergarten to try to ensure fewer students have the academic problems that lead to academic failure and dropping out.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.
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