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How to Fix Buffalo's Schools

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Robert Kirkham/Buffalo News

How to Fix Buffalo’s Schools is an occasional series highlighting urban schools across the country that have made outsized progress on some of the seemingly intractable problems plaguing inner-city schools.

The successful schools were selected through statistical analysis of data on academic performance and demographics. The schools chosen are some of the best examples of successfully educating students with backgrounds similar to those in the Buffalo Public Schools.

Through the next few months, News reporters will take readers inside urban schools that succeed.

Read Editor Mike Connelly's introduction to the series here.

Published July 13:

Published July 12:

Published June 21: 



No-show buses strand Buffalo high school students

NFTA buses that were supposed to pick up Buffalo high school students throughout the city on Monday didn't show up, leaving kids to make their own way to a local bus stop, to call for a ride from family and friends, or in at least one case, to make their way home on foot.

Here's one parent's angry take:

"I am a parent of a 9th grader who had to walk home yesterday because the NFTA buses that are supposed to pick up students in grades 9-12 at the end of the school day from various schools - Olmsted, Hutch Tech, City Honors - never showed up. For the schools that draw their students from all over the city - this was a huge problem. It was one of the few days that neither I, nor my husband, could swing by and take her home.

Plan for Cloverbank drop off angers parents

Some parents at Cloverbank Elementary School in the Frontier Central School District don’t like the district’s plans for a new area to drop off their children.

The district said it’s a safety issue, and the new area is to separate students being dropped off and picked up by parents from school buses pulling up to load and unload children in the main parking area.

But the loss of grass and trees in front of the school has angered some parents, and saddened others, who are expected to attend tonight’s School Board meeting at 7 p.m. in Frontier Educational Center, 5120 Orchard Ave.

View the plan for the parking area here

-- Barbara O'Brien

Attorney explains superintendent's exit compensation

Attorney Karl Kristoff explains Buffalo Schools Superintendent Pamela Brown's exit compensation to News Education Reporter Sandra Tan:

Interim Superintendent Will Keresztes' first remarks

Below are the remarks of Will Keresztes, the Buffalo Public Schools' former chief of student support, which were made at the school board's special meeting Monday after he was unanimously voted to serve as interim superintendent of the district.

Keresztes Remarks 6-16

Read Supt. Pamela Brown's resignation agreement

Below is the separation agreement approved this evening by the Buffalo Board of Education and signed by Supt. Pamela Brown. Brown resigns effective today but leaves with a full-year's salary, a $10,000 performance bonus, a payout for unused vacation time, and a $2,000 consulting fee.

Attached to the agreement are also letters of recommendation for Brown, signed by board President Barbara Seals Nevergold, for a variety of positions Brown may choose to apply for.

-- Sandra Tan

Supt. Pamela Brown's Resignation Agreement

More on Will Keresztes

On the heels of Supt. Pamela Brown's resignation, Will Keresztes, the Buffalo school district's chief of student support, has been named the next, immediate interim superintendent for Buffalo Public Schools, effective immediately. He will hold the position until at least July 1.

Below is his resume:

Keresztes Resume

Live blog of special Buffalo School Board meeting at 4 p.m.

Please join us for a special board meeting called for 4 p.m. today in Room 801 of City Hall regarding the separation agreement for Superintendent Pamela Brown. The board is expected to approve a separation agreement, name Chief of Student Support Will Keresztes as immediate interim deputy superintendent (until July 1) and release the job description for a long-termer interim superintendent who would hold the position for 1-2 years.

The live blog will begin shortly after 4 p.m.

Live blog: Buffalo school board debates leadership etc. starting at 4 p.m.

Please join us here for our live blog of the Buffalo School Board meeting. The board will hold a special meeting at 4 p.m. today in Waterfront Elementary School to continue the discussion of selecting a future interim superintendent. That will be followed by the board's regular meeting at 5:30 p.m., which will likely include a vote on changes to the district's Parent Involvement Policy.

The regular meeting agenda packet can be found here. You can also watch the meetings live.

Credit union pulls out of Bennett High School

As noted in today's story, the Buffalo Metropolitan Federal Credit Union is ending its student-run credit union branch, which has been in place for three years, because of concerns about safety at the school. Below is the letter they sent to the school.

UPDATE: The Credit Union Times has also picked up on this story. Here's what they posted today.

-- Sandra Tan

Credit Union Letter

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About School Zone

Denise Jewell Gee

Denise Jewell Gee

Denise Jewell Gee joined The Buffalo News in 2007 and currently covers education and suburban schools. She also writes a column for the City & Region section and previously covered government in Erie County and Niagara Falls. Gee graduated from Boston University with degrees in journalism and political science.

@denisejewellgee |

Tiffany Lankes

Tiffany Lankes

Tiffany Lankes joined The Buffalo News in 2013 and primarily covers the Buffalo Public Schools. She has written about education since 2003 at newspapers in Florida and New York. In 2008, she was a nominated finalist for The Pulitzer Prize. Lankes is an Amherst native and graduate of Sacred Heart Academy and Syracuse University. She started her journalism career writing for the News’ NeXt section.

@TiffanyLankes |

Sandra Tan

Sandra Tan

Sandra Tan has been a cityside reporter for The Buffalo News since 2000 and currently covers the Buffalo Public Schools beat. She previously covered the Williamsville school district and was a full-time education reporter for five years prior to joining The News. She graduated from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism.

@BNschoolzone |

Deidre Williams

Deidre Williams

Deidre Williams began working for The Buffalo News in 1999 and currently covers Buffalo Public Schools. She formerly was a suburban reporter on the Northtowns beat and has been a cityside reporter covering communities since 2004. Williams has a mass communications degree from Towson University.

@DeidreWilliamsB |