Buffalo Public Schools is restarting some of the panoply of after-school programs starting April 4, programs that have been stalled all year by the district and nationwide issues getting enough school bus drivers.
After-school programs have provided students with a range of offerings, especially extra help in a community filled with families struggling to get by in one of the poorest cities in the country.
“Anything we can do to provide extra support to our students is important, that’s why we run after-school programs, that’s why we have summer programs, that’s why we step in during the school day “, said the director of studies. Anne Botticelli. “So every avenue we can take will be important.”
Last fall, then-Superintendent of Schools Kriner Cash told an angry school board that programs couldn’t start because of bus problems. Some high school programs exist, but they use Metro Bus.
Now, 17 schools in the 21st Century Grant Program will be open to children who can walk or take a ride.
Botticelli said schools know how each student is doing in math and literature.
“We actually have tests that we administer to students during the regular school day,” she said. “So we have their results and we would know how to target the needs of the students.”
Every day students will arrive home with a message in their backpack about the plans. Botticelli said messages will be in the appropriate languages for each student, although all instructions will be in English.
She said each after-school program teacher will have testing information for each student, to individualize learning.
“It will be similar to what we traditionally do,” Botticelli said. “They would have access to student data. They would have access to our resources. They would group students appropriately so they could support them.
When Acting Superintendent Tonja Williams announced the plans to council last Wednesday, council member Sharon Belton Cottman protested that it was unfair because it was only a few.
Botticelli said the bus situation means it’s the best the school system can do, with summer school another way to help children recover from the COVID years.