Brown, task force working to improve school district

Everyone is looking for answers to the Buffalo Public Schools’ “abysmal and falling graduation rates at many of its underperforming high schools.” How do you take a company from good to great or a professional sports team to a championship? One way is to provide the best leadership, resources and personnel in key positions.

What is missing in the district is an overall differentiated accountability in and service and support to its schools. There is no evidence of coherent support or oversight from the district for priority schools. Principals voice that they are disconnected, unguided and unsupported due to lack of service and support from the district. All of this, and more, is spelled out in the Outline of Distinguished Educator’s Action Plan by Judy Elliott, which was submitted to the district on Oct. 5, 2012.

In addition, the consulting firm of Cross & Joftus submitted a systems review of the schools to the district on May 15, 2012. In that review, it was stated that “BPS does not have a systemic approach to or plan for preparing all students for college and careers. Without a plan or appropriate supports in place, district departments and schools operate as islands.”

The good news is that Superintendent Pamela Brown is working on these issues, among other strategies, to move the district forward. There is a 2013 Strategic Planning Process Task Force in place working on these very issues. Members have been meeting since January. Brown is working on building trust, collaboration and communication in a thoughtful, transparent and coordinated manner.

Implementing the recommendations from the Strategic Planning Process and creating a culture in which all employees bind together in support of their district’s new grand vision and strategic direction is the next step for Brown.

Peter A. Hazzan

Member, Strategic Planning

Process Task Force