Sometime in the next few weeks, the State Education Department is going to release the next list of "persistently lowest-achieving" schools in New York. Once a school gets the label, it's eligible for up to $6 million over three years to implement a turnaround plan, which could include closing in its present format.
Last school year, as you may recall, that list included seven schools in Buffalo: Bennett, Burgard, Lafayette and South Park high schools; Riverside Institute of Technology; Martin Luther King Multicultural Institute; International School 45.
This year, another seven Buffalo schools will acquire the unwanted designation, numerous officials have confirmed. State Ed has not yet announced which schools those will be -- but district officials have indicated some of the schools the seven may be drawn from:
- Buffalo Elementary School of Technology (School 6)
- Bilingual Center (School 33)
- Futures Academy (School 37)
- Lovejoy Discovery School 43
- Dr. Charles Drew Science Magnet (School 59)
- Grabiarz School of Excellence (School 79) (pictured at right)
- West Hertel Elementary School 94
- Waterfront School 95
- Campus West School 96
- Grover Cleveland High School
We already know that Grover Cleveland is in its final year anyway, so it seems there would not be much point in naming a soon-to-be-nonexistent school to a watch list.
That means we still don't know which seven of the remaining nine will make the state's watch list.
Earlier, we reported, based on a presentation to the board, that all the district's PLA schools for this year would be drawn from the list above. Amber Dixon, who oversees accountability in the Buffalo Public Schools, clarified that the list of 10 schools noted above are just some of the schools that could be identified as persistently lowest-achieving. Some Buffalo high schools could, in fact, also land on the list, she says.
(You might remember that last year, when four Buffalo high schools landed on the watch list, Superintendent James A. Williams often pointed out that in his first five years here, the district focused its efforts on improving instruction at the elementary level, and had made great gains...)
Worth noting: The district has already announced plans to close Campus West, whose lease with Buffalo State College expires in June. And staff report that administrators have told them that Grabiarz School will technically close at the end of this school year, and reopen as a pre-k through eighth grade building next year (it's currently grades give through eight).
Could City Hall be planning ahead for the restructuring plans it's going to be required to submit next spring?