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Buffalo School Board targets higher graduation rate

WBFO News file photo

Considering the Buffalo Public School District has struggled with graduation rates hovering near 50 percent, the school board is aiming high as it seeks additional state funding to help dramatically improve those rates.

The city school system is looking for state cash to completely turn around schools, whether it is McKinley High School or School 3, the D'Youville Porter Campus school.

The goals are better test performance, and, by 2018, an 80 percent graduation rate.

Each school will get a little different treatment, based on its needs but focusing on staff development and leadership coaching as well as after-school programs for students.

"This to support existing staff that are in the buildings," said Yamilette Williams, chief of curriculum, assessment and instruction.

"This is not about increasing staff or changing it, it's about changing behaviors, adult behaviors by way of improving instructional practice, improving how principals are leading their schools so that they can improve their academic achievement."

This year, the applications for School Improvement Grants are going in on time. The district has a history of applications either being completely rejected or bouncing back and forth between Albany and Buffalo because the State Education Department perceived problems.

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.