Buffalo & Niagara Falls school districts prepared for summer school

“We’re ready and we're prepared"
Posted at 4:27 PM, Jun 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-22 17:13:11-04

Summer school slots are filling up fast as many students faced an unprecedented school year during the pandemic.

Two city school districts say they are getting ready for students who need to improve their academics.

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Buffalo Public School students.

“We’re ready and we're prepared. We're in the continuous process of signing kids up,” remarked Mark Laurrie, superintendent, Niagara Falls City School District.

Laurrie tells me his district will be kicking off a summer school program on July 11th.

Falls high school students will do summer school mostly online but will have office hours to meet with teachers, while elementary students will be in air-conditioned buildings in the district.

Mark Laurrie, superintendent, Niagara Falls City School District.

“We are doing a kindergarten through 5th-grade summer school in two of our air-conditioned elementary schools. We are doing a 6th, 7th, and 8th-grade summer program at our high school because of its air conditioning and we're doing a bit of a hybrid high school summer school grades 9 through 12,” Laurrie described. “The elementary division, I think we are pretty well set. Prep school we are right on the line, right on the edge. We still have room, but if we got a huge influx in the next two weeks. We would be tight."

“Are you expecting more students to need help this year because of what they went through from COVID?” Buckley asked.

“Well, I think you are going to continue to see big numbers for the next couple of years. So we had a big number last year. We have a big number this year, especially in our elementary division. It’s down a little bit in our prep school, which is a good thing. Our high school is about the same,” replied Laurrie.

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Niagara Falls City School District.

The Buffalo Public School District says it too is in good shape as it prepares for summer school.

“We’re in a pretty good place with our summer program we have nine elementary hubs in the district. We have middle school hubs and most of our high schools are offering programming at their own sites,” explained Anne Botticelli, chief academic officer, Buffalo Public School District. Botticelli. “We do our best to support the kids. We want to meet everyone's needs.”

The city schools' summer school for pre-k-through 8th begins July 11 and high school starts July 12th.

Anne Botticelli, chief academic officer, Buffalo Public School District.

“We’re going to try to keep them engaged over the summer, so they start off the school year on the right foot,” responded Botticelli.

Botticelli says about 2,500 city school students are registered for pre-k-through 6th grade, but they won't know the numbers for high school students until June 28th when registration closes.

“Our curriculum's pretty much in place. Supplies have been delivered and are being sent to schools. We have PD (professional development) scheduled for our teachers. Bus riding is taking place at the elementary and the NFTA is working to get our kids passes for the upper grades,” noted Botticelli.

But I asked Botticelli why the district still has a number of summer school jobs posted on its website. She says they keep the postings up all summer for “contingency purposes” in case they need to hire someone.

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Inside a Buffalo school classroom.

“We’re largely staffed. We are still continuing to on-board teachers. There will also be needs for substitutes and things like that over the course of the summer,” Botticelli described.

And there is more summer school help from Say Yes Buffalo.

City-wide summer camps are set at 27-sites. 1,400 children in pre-k-through 6th grade are already registered with only 100 openings left.

Say Yes Director of Extended Learning, Dan Cross-Viola.

Say Yes Director of Extended Learning, Dan Cross-Viola says these camps are a mix of academics and enrichment for city students.

“A focus on of reading and math skills using evidence-based curriculum as well as different enrichment activities like social-emotional learning, physical activity, field trips — all kinds of cultural activities those kinds of things as well,” explained Cross-Viola.

Registration for Say Yes summer camps closes on June 30th.