- PS 95 Waterfront Elementary School
Magna Grand Prize Winner
It is with great honor that the Buffalo City School District is excited to announce that the District and the Office of Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Initiatives has earned the National School Boards Association (NSBA) 2023 Magna Award Grand Prize for districts with an enrollment over 20,000 for their development and implementation of the Our Story Project. As a grand prize winner, our District will be featured in the April issue of the American School Board Journal and at the NSBA’s Annual Conference in April 2023.
The NSBA’s Magna Awards program has a long history of recognizing exemplary school district programs. This year’s awards focus on celebrating district initiatives that focus on innovation in education, recognizing district programs that solve a challenge with creativity and out-of-the-box strategies, exhibit success over time, and demonstrate longevity and sustainability. The Office of CLRI’s Our Story Project has exemplified all of these criteria since the program’s inception in 2016.
The Our Story Project is an afterschool and Saturday Academy, culturally responsive research program that provides extraordinary, extended learning opportunities to the participating scholars. It is currently in its seventh year and has operated out of ten high schools (#195, #197, #208, #301, #304, #305, #309, #363, #366, and #415) servicing approximately 150 high school scholars each year. The Our Story Project has successfully provided scholars with a pathway to edify their voices, see themselves represented in the curriculum, and close disproportionate achievement outcomes for students of color within our District. Through this program, scholars learn about themselves and their histories via accurate and uplifting representations in the curriculum. Their deep, rigorous, and engaging learning culminates with each scholar developing a final project which showcases their own personal story, history, culture, and identity. Scholars are encouraged to use multiple modalities to present their projects including writing, spoken word, and the visual and performing arts. Scholars also hone their public speaking skills as they present these final projects at an official culmination ceremony attended by a multitude of district stakeholders, including teachers, administrators, parents, central office staff, board members, and community members and leaders. Additionally, Our Story Project scholars participate in many high-leverage, interactive, and culturally responsive opportunities such as culturally responsive field excursions, distinguished speaker engagements, mentorship, internships, and technology skill development.
On behalf of the Buffalo Public Schools, we extend special congratulations and gratitude to the Office of CLRI, under the leadership of Chief Fatima Morrell, and the educators and scholars in the Our Story Project. We celebrate your hard work, dedication, and passion!