By Cathy Skora

It is exhilarating to see so many grass-roots efforts happening in Buffalo. There are many projects now moving forward that appeared to be stuck in time for years, like waterfront development, abandoned housing issues and community revitalizations. We are, indeed, witnessing a marvelous evolution in Buffalo based on what the city needs, as determined and as driven by this population.

Part of this evolution is the innovative thought and care that is being given to education to assure all students in Buffalo have an opportunity to learn as students, to grow as individuals. The East Waterfront Charter Restart Project is a great example of this innovation leading to an evolution in education.

It is a given that we must offer a valid approach to providing an educational platform different from the one in place that is failing our students. The East Waterfront Charter Restart Project would represent yet another effort in the city of a successful educational model in place of failing approaches. This effort joins other forward-thinking and committed individuals across the city who have come together to form educational institutions based on new ideas, approaches and models in hopes of giving Buffalo kids a chance to succeed.

The East Waterfront Charter Restart Project is yet the newest example of this positive evolutionary process: No one is sidetracked by pointing fingers or accusing anyone of failing or wrongdoing, but rather looking at the persistent low test scores and graduation rates as starting points to think of how things might be done differently.

This is how change for the better begins — with an analytical focus on facts used in turn to come up with a valid plan on how things might work better. And the many successful charter schools in the area are proof that our public academic system can succeed by doing things differently.

Change resulting in improved education need not involve uprooting and moving students around the city or constructing new buildings; rather, the East Waterfront Charter Restart’s innovative approach to assist two failing schools simply takes a different approach in the management and model of the school. This is to be applauded as it builds on the existing constructs, while implementing the latest educational research and proven techniques to present our city with the best educational experiences for students.

Albert Einsein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Bravo to all of the Buffalo populace concerned about education in Buffalo who take action to make a difference by trying a different approach to education via charter schools. Best wishes to the East Waterfront Charter Restart Project in its efforts to continue the saga of the education evolution in Buffalo.

Cathy Skora is a creative studies and change leadership educator.