What's Next for Buffalo Public Schools

September 5, 2013 Updated Sep 5, 2013 at 1:51 PM EDT

By Rachel Elzufon

September 5, 2013 Updated Sep 5, 2013 at 1:51 PM EDT

Buffalo, NY (WKBW) - School started Thursday morning for students in Buffalo, following a tense summer between the school district and the Board of Education.

Just days before the start of school, State Education Commissioner John King rejected the state's transfer plan.

The school district has come under criticism for only being able to transfer only a few hundred of the more than two-thousand students that want to switch from failing schools to schools in good standing.

However, Superintendent Dr. Pamela Brown says she is working on a plan that would transfer students in the next few years, improve education district wide and push more schools to be in good standing.

"We want to be able to accommodate the requests of parents while making sure we are providing more schools in good standing," Brown explains.

A large part of Brown's focus is to increase the graduation rate. Brown's goal is to bring it from 56-percent is 2013, up to 80-percent in 2018.

In order to accomplish this, Brown plans on increasing attendance from elementary through high school, working on credit accrual programs and enhancing math and english curriculums.

This year, the school district is introducing the STAR Academy, geared for high schoolers who have fallen behind or even dropped out. The program pushes technology and higher education.

The district wants to promote college to its youngest high schoolers. Over the summer, a new program began for incoming freshmen to teach study skills, time management and take students on college tours.

"The more that we give children exposure to those kinds of activities, the more they will stay focused," Brown says.

Brown says she wants students to be well-rounded. This year, there is a new policy in the district, making it easier for students to be admitted into the Career and Technical Program.