The new leadership for Buffalo Public Schools led its first community meeting Tuesday night to review an improvement plan for the district.
But attendance was less than overwhelming.
About 25 community members, teachers and other stakeholders showed up at Stanley M. Makowski Early Childhood Center on Jefferson Avenue to get an overview of the draft District Comprehensive Improvement Plan and to give input.
The purpose of the plan is to sketch what the district intends to do to create better academic outcomes for students, said interim Buffalo School Superintendent Will Keresztes.
It covers four key components: talent management; leadership; curriculum and instruction; and parent and family engagement.
“In that plan, parents play a critical role,” said Keresztes, who took over as temporary chief Monday following the resignation of his embattled predecessor, Pamela C. Brown.
Throughout much of her two years as chief of schools, Brown often was criticized by parents, some School Board members and the New York State Education Department leaders about a lack of parent involvement on district plans such as this one.
But with Keresztes, many parents who attended Tuesday’s meeting were cautiously optimistic that they will have a greater voice in decisions made by the Buffalo Board of Education. They feel that some doors that were closed before are now opening.
“I think he gets it in a way Brown didn’t,” said parent Mikayla Johnson.
Samuel Radford III, president of the District Parent Coordinating Council, pointed out that Keresztes was the district’s liaison to the group, “so he has a willingness to work with parents.”
“He’s not doing exactly what parents are asking,” Radford said. “But he’s collaborating with us in a meaningful way.”
Some parents who attended Tuesday evening’s meeting viewed the moves and the community meetings as good signs.
“Instead of fighting with us, he’s sitting down with us. He’s talking to us. He’s factoring in what we’re talking about into the conversation,” Radford said.
The feedback from Tuesday’s meeting as well as another one that will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday at West Hertel Academy will be integrated into the final document, which will be submitted to the state by July 30.