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Buffalo schools expanding programs to help troubled students

Mike Desmond/WBFO News

Buffalo schools are expanding the programs for kids who don't succeed in traditional classrooms.

The district has long had the Academy schools for class problems, which is being re-designed again and has the Career Collegiate Institute for students who want a different academic path to an equivalency diploma. The school system is also adding a computer-based program. and a new program for kids with extreme, extraordinary needs.

Associate Superintendent for Student Support Services Eric Rosser says some students may have been expelled from a charter school or another school outside the district.

"What we don't want to continue to do is to place them in our traditional school environment," Rosser said.

Superintendent Kriner Cash offered a more blunt assessment.

"American public education is a dinosaur. It doesn't work for these kids anymore," Cash said. 

"So, all we're trying to do is be nimble, flexible, agile, get them into something where they can go and grow fast."

Board member Larry Quinn has taken an active interest in the issue, including the Leadership Transition Educational Program. It's for students who may have spent time in jail.

"They're coming out and they are not socialized well and they've missed time.  And, they are also emotionally troubled as well," Quinn said. 

"Throwing them back into general circulation in a classroom really isn't going to work."

For some troubled students, there is also the new Virtual Pathways Program, which helps students earn class credit accrual toward graduation. It's done on computers, with 87 students currently enrolled. Many of the students will also have a partnership with the Buffalo Center for Arts and Technology run by former Interim Superintendent Amber Dixon.


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.