March Highlights

  • Check out this video recap of the March 5th Saturday Academy at Burgard High School!

  • Do you know about Fiber Art? Fiber Art, also known as Shibori, is a Japanese tie-dyeing method for fabrics. Fiber Art classes run Tuesday nights in March at South Park High School as part of our Community School Adult Ed. 

  • During the March 5th Saturday Academy, BestSelf took over our South Park Parent Center for an essential oils class! Participants learned about the benefits of the oils while making their own essential oil rollers.

  • On Friday, March 11th, BPS Community Schools and Say Yes Buffalo hosted NYS Elected Officials and NYSUT - A Union of Professionals at #94 West Hertel and #89 Lydia T. Wright School of Excellence.  Guests included Assemblymember Jon Rivera, Sean M. Ryan, and the staff from Senator Timothy Kennedy and Assemblymember Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes offices. 
    NYSUT, along with school leaders and legislators, are calling for $100 million in additional Community Schools funds statewide.  The Buffalo Public Schools Community Schools model was chosen as the shining example of what the additional funds could bring to the state.  Beginning in 2016 with 13 schools, Buffalo now proudly boasts 24 Community Schools with ever-growing programs in each. 
    The visit started at #94 West Hertel Academy, where Principal Cecelie Owens and Navigator Victoria Vaccaro welcomed all guests with impassioned words about West Hertel’s journey as a Community School, growing into a school in good standing. 
    Guests heard from Ms. Yadrieliz “Ya-Ya” Caceres, Parent Engagement Liaison, whose son has attended #94 since Kindergarten.  Ya-Ya has seen firsthand the effects of being a Community School elevates a student’s and family's educational experience.   
    Community Schools offer a number of supports throughout the school week including social-emotional supports, mental health supports, additional staffing, supplies, and more.  Buffalo Schools partners with Say Yes Buffalo, BestSelf, Northwest Community Center, the YMCA, the Belle Center, and Matt Urban as CBO partners to provide these supports.  Special Education teacher at #94, Ms. Caryn Porretta, expressed that, “Without all the aspects of Community Schools, I wouldn’t be able to do my job to the same degree.  My students use the services daily and know the support staff by name.” 
    After the visit to #94, guests traveled over to #89 Lydia T. Wright School of Excellence.  Principal Natasha Hendricks and Navigator Breonna Norwood provided a tour of the school, showcasing some of the ways Community School funds have been used in their building. 
    Probably the most well-known part of Community Schools, are the popular Saturday Academies.  During these Academies the 24 schools open their doors to welcome the students, parents, and the community in for engaging and enriching activities.  “When Saturday Academies started, I didn’t understand why anyone would want to go to school an extra day,” Ms. Showard, a current parent at #89, “but now my daughter doesn’t miss an Academy.”  These events have become a staple in the community and continue to grow.   
    NYSUT Executive Director, Melinda Person, explains why the Buffalo Community Schools are a shining example for the rest of the state, “To put it simply, this model works because it removes the obstacles to learning.”  Person’s words are exemplified in Jacob (8th grader at #94) and Envy (7th grade at #94), who took part in the roundtable discussion with guests at West Hertel.  They explained how the administration and support teams at school didn’t let them fall through the cracks, their success was a priority.  
    The BPS Community Schools extends our thanks to Interim Superintendent Dr. Tonja Williams, BPS staff, students, partners, invited guests, and all those who took part today. We look forward to seeing you at future Saturday Academies.
  • A highlight of the 3/26 Saturday Academy at Riverside High School was Justin Becton giving FREE haircuts to attendees! Thank you Justin Becton!


  • #37 MJD Futures Preparatory School's 3/26 Saturday Academy got into the Easter spirit with egg dying and a visit from the East Bunny!