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Buffalo School District reopens Pinnacle Charter building

WBFO News file photo

The former Pinnacle Charter School in Buffalo opened Monday with many of the same students and many of the same teachers and building, but it is now under a new name -- Buffalo School 115.

The Buffalo Public Schools District is under great pressure from Albany to improve by delivering better test scores and a higher graduation rate.

On Monday night, the school board's Student Achievement Committee heard about schools in special situations.

Yamilette Williams is the district's new director of Curriculum, Assessment and Instruction. Williams said the district moved quickly to take control of Pinnacle.

City schools hired 34 Pinnacle teachers and some other staff. I t's not clear how many of the 550 Pinnacle students are at School 115.

Some were from the suburbs, although most were from the city.

The school system had nine-days from the decision to take over the academically-failing school and turn it into a city public school in time for the new school year.

Along with the former Pinnacle, they also heard about the new Educational Partnership Organizations for Highgate Heights Elementary (School 80) and East and Lafayette High Schools, which are being run by Johns Hopkins University in cooperation with Erie One Boces.

Dennis Ford is director of educational transformation for the Westminster Foundation which is running School 80. Ford said a key element in changing the school is dividing it into three grade-related houses.
"We know that this is going to give us an opportunity to really focus, provide necessary resources that are appropriate for each level. And, we want to stop trying to tackle a problem by looking at first grade the same way we might look at eighth grade. We need to really really individualize and differentiate that focus."

So far, East and Lafayette will be sending 78 students each afternoon out to BOCES for vocational and special education classes.

Johns Hopkins is running a nationally-proven system of working with teachers and students in the two schools. Both of which are facing closure if their test scores don't improve.


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.