Office of CLRI logo


    Welcome to the

    Office of Culturally and Linguistically

    Responsive Initiatives


    "We Lift as We Climb." - Mary Church Terrell

    It is our greatest joy to provide culturally relevant curriculum, resources, and experiences to the students in the Buffalo Public School District.


    Vision Statement:

    The vision of the Office of Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Initiatives (CLRI) is that all staff support schools in establishing a community that embraces, values, and infuses culturally and linguistically responsive teaching and learning for all students.


    Mission Statement:

    The mission of the Buffalo Public Schools’ Office of CLRI is to share the value and best practices of culturally and linguistically responsive practices in order to support and respond to the growing needs of our diverse student population. The Office of CLRI will provide supports, resources, exemplars, and a framework for stakeholders to receive lifelong meaningful learning experiences that inform, train, and support systemic culturally and linguistically responsive practices.


    Please click the link to see the BPS Guidance for Teaching Sensitive Language document. 



    Join the Office of CLRI in our book study of 400 Souls by clicking on the flyer below. 

    400 Souls

    If you are having trouble viewing the image, click here: 400 Souls Book Study




    The Office of Culturally & Linguistically Responsive Initiatives

    & The Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect

    presents Letters from Anne & Martin.

    It is with great excitement that this dramatic presentation will be performed in three Buffalo Public Schools.

    Click here to view the trailer.


    anne and frank flyer




    View the live stream event here: 



    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE October 8, 2021




    in HONOR of international day of the girl, State Education Department Issues Guidance to Schools Regarding the CROWN Act


    CROWN Act Prohibits Discrimination Based on Hair Texture or Hairstyle


    In honor of International Day of the Girl, the New York State Education Department today released guidance to assist local education agencies in their obligation to implement and educate students about the CROWN Act, State Education Commissioner Betty A. Rosa announced. The CROWN Act, which stands for Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair, prohibits racial discrimination based on hair texture or hairstyles and protects students’ rights to wear or treat their hair however they desire, without the threat of racial discrimination or loss of access to school. Each year on October 11, International Day of the Girl celebrates the importance, power, and potential of girls around the world.


    “The Board, through its Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Policy, is committed to building the self-esteem and identity of those students who have been historically marginalized in our schools and in society,” said Board of Regents Chancellor Lester W. Young, Jr. “New York was one of the first states to pass the CROWN Act and while enacting the law was a crucial first step, a law alone cannot change stigma. That is why we are providing our educators with guidance and resources to engage students on this important issue.”


    “For many students across our state, especially girls, the way in which they wear their hair is more than just an expression of personal style, it is representative of their heritage and their story,” said Commissioner Betty A. Rosa. “Every child has a right to feel proud of their culture and should never be forced to change their hairstyle to fit in.  Our CROWN Act guidance and resources will enable teachers to have meaningful conversations on discrimination and how it effects their fellow students.”


    In 2019, the Dignity for All Students Act (DASA) was amended by the CROWN Act to add the definition of race that includes traits such as hair texture and protective hairstyles such as locs, braids and twists to protect students’ access to their public education, regardless of how they choose to wear or style their hair. While DASA already protects the right of all students to learn in schools free of discrimination, harassment and bullying, it was clarified that those rights include self-expression through hairstyle.


    The CROWN Act provides the opportunity for districts and schools to engage students, staff and the community in the process to revisit and revise their codes of conduct and dress codes to include the provisions of the CROWN Act and the Commissioner’s Regulations regarding DASA.


    Under DASA and the CROWN Act, schools are responsible for ensuring that:

    • teaching staff and other school personnel are aware of the Crown Act;
    • school personnel understand that formal disciplinary action against students based on their natural hair texture and protective hairstyles is prohibited;
    • school personnel understand that, given their inherent position of authority over students, they are responsible for preventing racial discrimination and supporting all students’ access to school, participation in activities and inclusion for opportunities inside and outside of the classroom; and
    • the CROWN Act helps to promote school belonging and engagement for all students, reduces disparities in school discipline, increases educational engagement and academic success and protects students, regardless of gender or gender identity.


    In December 2011, the United Nations declared October 11 as the International Day of the Girl, to recognize girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls face around the world. International Day of the Girl Child focuses on the need to address the challenges girls face and to promote girls’ empowerment, and the fulfilment of their human rights.


    For additional information on the CROWN Act or DASA, please visit the Department’s Dignity for All Students Act website.





    Statement on Refugees

    By Ray Hart, Executive Director

    Council of the Great City Schools 

    The Council of the Great City Schools, a coalition of the nation’s largest urban school systems, is a longtime champion and strident supporter of immigrants and refugees from around the world. Over the years, our urban centers and schools have been on the front lines of countless waves of immigration, welcoming families and children who have fled war, poverty, and injustice. We continue to address the learning needs of a new generation of refugees from around the world, including Afghanistan and Haiti, who have been displaced from their countries because of political and economic tumult.

    We recognize that these brave, young newcomers are an important part of our nation’s diverse tapestry. As urban school communities have done in the past, we will open our doors and our hearts to those seeking refuge in our country. To families and friends in our communities who are watching with both hope and horror as refugees struggle in extremely harsh conditions and face poor treatment along our southern border, we offer what support we can.

    These students have already faced unimaginable circumstances, and in the coming months and years will face the challenge and opportunity of learning a new language and culture, and of rebuilding their lives in a new country. Most will face the fear and grief of having lost loved ones or having left family behind. Some may come with interrupted formal education.  And all will need our full commitment to help them realize a promising future.

    The everyday heroes working in our big city schools will once again rise to the occasion, ensuring that these students and their families are treated with kindness and respect, that their experiences and backgrounds are acknowledged and honored, and that they receive the support and services they need to rebuild their lives. Urban educators are committed to supporting immigrant and refugee students not just because these students are in need, not just because it is our legal obligation, but because as a nation, we need them. As our history has demonstrated, the diversity, energy, and bravery newcomers bring make us stronger as a nation and contribute to America’s growth and success.



    Celebrating Summer 2021

    My Brother's Keeper

    (Click to view videos)


    STEAM DAY with MBK



    Broderick Park Celebration 

    MBK Broderick Park.mp4 from WNYMedia Services on Vimeo.









    Exciting News!

    Buffalo Public Schools Receive 1619 Project - Pulitzer Education Center Grant



    Click here to see the article

    "Michelle Obama, Mia Hamm among 9 chosen for Women's Hall of Fame

    The National Women's Hall of Fame inducts a new class every other year in Seneca Falls, the site of the first women's rights convention. Here are this year's inductees: 

    Michelle Obama, 

    Mia Hamm

    Indra Nooyi

    Gen. Rebecca Halstead

    Katherine Johnson

    Octavia Butler

    Joy Harjo

    Judy Chicago

    Emily Howland



    Click here to watch the 

    Black History Virtual Award Ceremony

    by Mayor Byron Brown  

    Dr. Fatima Morrell received an award for her ground-breaking work in education

    and continuing efforts for equity in education.



    A Tribute to Black History Month




    The Office of CLRI is proud to announce

    the release of the Emancipation Curriculum

    Please click the timeline below to access the Emancipation Infusion Guides and the complete Emancipation Curriculum by grade band.

    Emancipation Timeline Image

    Purpose of the Emancipation Curriculum

    Emancipation Curriculum Cover Page & Access Instructions

     Culturally and Linguistically Relevant Curriculum FAQ



    The Office of CLRI Honors

    Ida Dora Fairbush

    Buffalo Public School's First African American Teacher - appointed in the late 1890s.

    Ida D. Fairbush was also the recipient of the Jesse Ketchum silver medal in 1884.

    Ida D. Fairbush


    Bishop William Henderson

    Bishop William Henderson



  • office title


    Fatima Morrell, Ed.D.

    Associate Superintendent 

    Office of Culturally & Linguistically Responsive Initiatives 

    Buffalo Public Schools

    2008 City Hall

    Buffalo, New York 14202

    Phone: (716) 816-3584

    Fax (716) 851-3746