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District Administration magazine names Buffalo one of 34 Districts of Distinction

District Administration magazine names Buffalo one of 34 Districts of Distinction

Innovative districts nationwide honored in DA’s annual awards program

In its July/August edition, District Administration magazine honors 34 school districts as “Districts of Distinction.” This is the ninth round of honorees for this national recognition program, which began in November 2014.  Honorees are selected based on quantifiable results and the replicability of their initiatives with new ideas that solve challenges. The July 2019 Districts of Distinction honorees hail from 34 school systems from 19 states.  Honorees in this round have launched programs that range from partnering with outside organizations for career training to improving literacy to using music to support at-risk students and English language learners. 

In 2016, Superintendent Kriner Cash proposed the idea of Strong Community Schools as the epicenter for the community to assist students in realizing their greatest potential.  Grown from Seven (7) original elementary and high schools to twenty-one (21) at present, Community Schools were chosen by targeting the neighborhoods that contained a combination of the highest degree of poverty and the greatest level of gang activity and crime. 


Our 21 Strong Community Schools include 68 fully engaged strategic partners from higher education institutions, banks, health care organizations, faith-based groups, and businesses.  At this time, the Governor and State Legislature have committed more than $18 million in sustainable funding.


11,749 students—37% of our District— attend Community Schools.  In 2016-2017, no Community School was ranked in Good Standing by the New York State Education Department.  Now, 12 of 21 are in Good Standing with others moving up incrementally in the accountability rankings.  In 2016-2017, 12 Community Schools were in Receivership.  Today, just 2 remain in Receivership.


Successfully launching Community Schools requires a strategic community-based partner to help manage the comprehensive programs available to families.  Our strategic partner is Say Yes Buffalo, who provides last dollar college scholarships to our graduates.  They also provide management support for the vast array of programs in our Community Schools.  Additionally, a dedicated, sustainable funding stream is essential to bolster rather than supplant school programs.  Districts must work closely with state legislators to cultivate reliable funding over a period of years.


“We are delighted to be pioneers of the Community Schools movement and grateful for the support we have been given.  It gives us further pleasure to consult and promote best practices to districts across the nation who intend to launch Community Schools,” said Superintendent Kriner Cash.  “Many thanks to our vast network of partners who recognize the vital role of these schools as community hubs that benefit everyone they serve though academics, as well as social, emotional and physical health.”


“These districts have developed innovative programs to support students in their education and well beyond the classroom,” says JD Solomon, editorial director of District Administration magazine. “We hope our readers are inspired by the efforts of these honorees to create successful initiatives in their own districts.”



About District Administration

District Administration, part of LRP Media Group, provides K-12 leaders with critical news and information for school district management through its monthly magazine, website, e-newsletters and the District Administration Leadership Institute. For more information, visit