"It's critical the plans translate into real, substantive change in the schools, whatever [turnaround] model is chosen," said Commissioner John B. King, Jr in the first round of proposals submitted for the PLA schools in Buffalo.
Yet King has not sent the "disinquished educator" he announced back in August to the Buffalo Schools to help "reconceptualize" the EPO models that didn't pass State Ed folks review last rounds.
Meanwhile, the advisory panel the School Board appointed in June selected five of the eight educational partnership organizations (EPO) that submitted proposals to turn around seven of the persistently lowest achieving schools in the district.
What do three of the five have in common? How about location, they're all from Buffalo---Buffalo State College Research Foundation, First Hand Learning and Canisius College. In fact these last two listed addresses located on Main Street not far from each other. One other group is from New York called Research to Practice who had submitted a turnaround plans the State Ed folks in Albany previously had rejected. The only real outside group to submit an EPO was John Hopkins University from Baltimore Maryland.
Why were the five selected might have more to do with the advisory panel that six months ago had an interesting motley crew that included union heads, Hispanic religious leader, a former Buffalo School Board president and local literacy advocate, higher education leader, the Oishei Foundation, and a retired school administrator.
Back in June this advisory panel included Phil Rumore, Crystal Barton, Casimiro Rodriguez, Helene Kramer, Canisius College's dean of education, Blythe Merrill and Lloyd Hargrave. The School Board had appointed this advisory panel back in June.
Schools have until December 5th to submit revised plans to the district. And Mary Ruth Kapsiak, Board Rep from Central District and chair of the Academic Achievement Committee announced the selection of the five EPO's at last night's board meeting. She reported the oral interviews would be held on Monday December 5, described as the first phase of the process before the School Board votes on what finalist to send to Albany by the end of 2011.And Buffalo now has an Office of School Innovation and Turnaround that listed the five EPO proposals for the public to review.
Out of the five proposals selected by the advisory panel three were for Lafayette High School such as First Hand Learning. Sam Alessi involved in the project was a former assistant superintendent in the Buffalo Schools.The State had rejected their earlier plan remnants of it resubmitted in this latest round.
Research to Practice and Johns Hopkins University also submitted EPO plans for Lafayette.
And Research to Practice submitted EPO plans for #33 as well as First Hand Learning. Canisius submitted EPO plans for School #95 along with the Research to Practice group. And John Hopkins submitted plans for East High while Research to Practice had plans for the Buffalo Elementary School of Technology (BEST) PS #6. Research to Practice submitted a proposal to manage four schools the highest number from any of the EPO's. Futures School 37 and 59 had no viable options but the turnaround model to be implemented requires the involuntary transfer of teachers in these two schools. A Board member asked about the possibility of reviewing the EPO the advisory panel didn't choose, but discouraged after told the group had looked at the proposal very seriously.
Research to Practice, a Long Island group that includes an assortment of high-profile names in education, including Manny Rivera, former Rochester superintendent; Rudy Crew, former Miami-Dade County superintendent; and McGraw-Hill Education, according to Buffalo News Education Zone Blog.