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Buffalo School Board targets higher graduation rate

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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.