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North Park Community School heads into second year

"It's really building a family and education is on the forefront"
Posted at 6:00 AM, Sep 06, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-06 15:00:26-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — It's hard to miss North Park Community School at the corner of Parkside and Tacoma in North Buffalo. The school sits in the middle of a neighborhood.

"This is our second year in existence," NPCS Principal Carla Graves said. Her daughter, Giana, will be starting kindergarten at the school this year. "You shouldn't run a school unless you would send your own child there and I do that and I believe in all of the staff here and what we're doing," she continued.

Graves also lives right across the street from the school she works at and her daughter attends. Something that's not out of the ordinary for NPCS parents.

"I walked in three minutes," Lindsay Jordan said. Her daughter, Nora, will be entering first grade this year. Likewise, Brandon Woods' daughter, Jordan, will begin pre-K at NPCS. He said, "I can walk here in about 10 minutes."

On the first day of the second year at NPCS--about 140 students--pre-K through first--will walk through the doors. Out of those 140 students, 80% live within a mile-and-a-half.

"You think about it, it's 80% of your student population is below 1.5 miles and then the other 20% is city wide and that was done on purpose," Buffalo Public Schools Associate Superintendent, Anibol Soler, said. He continued, "There's some great diversity within this North Buffalo region, but we wanted to make sure that if a kid lives on the East Side of Buffalo that they had access to this school."

The idea behind PS 50 is to bring the nearby community together through students, parents, teachers and even surrounding businesses.

"I know that this is a hidden gem, kind of a diamond in the rough of BPS and again helping change in the narrative around community schools and what they're truly bringing and offering," Soler said.

Woods added, "This offers a lot of opportunities outside of just what the school offers."

The school offers both before and after school programs and Saturday academies centered around things like S.T.E.M., wellness and the arts. Students also head out on field trips once a month and organizations like Girl Scouts are also available on site.

Outside of the school day, community events like the North Buffalo Farmer's Market and BPO performances are held on the school's lawn.

"You have warmth, you have commitment, you have enthusiasm," Jordan said. Every year NPCS will grow until it reached 8th grade. The campus is growing too. A new addition is expected to be finished by fall 2021.

"It's really building a family and education is on the forefront of all of our minds," Graves said.