A long-awaited progress report on the Buffalo Public Schools has been posted at the state Education Department website, Superintendent Pamela C. Brown revealed during an impromptu news conference late Friday.
At Wednesday night’s School Board meeting, developer Carl Paladino accused Brown of having been in possession of the report by Distinguished Educator Judy Elliott for five weeks while seeking to hide it from the public because the superintendent was unhappy with its contents. Friday, Brown reiterated that, until Thursday, she had not been in possession of a final, approved report by State Education Commissioner John B. King Jr.
“As you will probably recall, there were statements made implying that I was attempting to hide and change a report that had been provided by the distinguished educator, Dr. Judy Elliott, and that I had been in possession of this report for a period of five weeks,” Brown said during a hastily called news conference in Buffalo School Board headquarters at City Hall.
“As previously stated at the Buffalo Board of Education meeting on March 13 in response to those questions and allegations, I was not in possession of a final, approved report by State Education Commissioner John King until I placed a call to Deputy Commissioner Ken Slentz [Thursday] evening and asked him if a final decision had been made as to the content and the format of the final report. And he indicated to me that a decision had been made and the report would be posted on the NYSED website ... [Friday] morning,” she said.
“And once I knew the content and the format of the report would be, I released a draft to the Buffalo Public Schools Board of Education so that they would know, and certainly anticipated that this document would be available to the public [Friday],” Brown added.
The document is posted online at www.p12.nysed.gov/accountability/de/home.html. At the bottom of the page, click on the Buffalo Public School’s Action Plan Status Update.
At Friday’s news conference, Brown mentioned several times that she is committed to fostering an atmosphere of transparency and accountability. Without linking them to the contents of the report released Thursday, the superintendent noted recent achievements in the district, including a 2 percentage point increase in student attendance and 90 percent of the district’s graduating seniors having submitted at least one college application.
Brown added that Thursday, the district celebrated the conclusion of the first phase of a strategic planning process that was launched in December.
The superintendent noted that Buffalo is the first district in the state with an appointed Distinguished Educator, whose role, Brown said, is to act in a collaborative fashion with the superintendent and the School Board. Brown acknowledged that she had had access to drafts of the document and that she also requested revisions that reflected measurable signs of progress in the district.
“Once I drafted these interim targets and shared them with Dr. Elliott, she, in fact, indicated that she felt they were an enhancement to the action plan. So those are some edits that I requested that were well-received by the Distinguished Educator and Commissioner King when they were shared with him.”