Saturday, October 20, 2012
School board member McCarthy supports moving da Vinci expanding opportunities for more families at high performing schools
the school board finance and operations committee meeting Wednesday supported that Leonardo da Vinci High School move to a newly renovated old Grover Cleveland High School building on the West side. Back on April 2011, the Buffalo Board of Education approved a resolution not to renew the leases of Early Middle College High School and Leonardo da Vinci High School. Instead supported the district end its expensive lease at D'Youville College renovate Grover move the students. And CFO of the district Barbara Smith at the committee meeting added, that the state already said they're not going to give us aid on that lease $857K (at da Vinci). Something has to be reduced to pay for it." So, Boorady, a community superintendent offered they are resubmitting to State Ed for lease aid because da Vinci is located on a college campus. Doesn't the State Ed folks already know it? It's exciting for the Buffalo Board of Education to expand the student enrollment at da Vinci in one of the few college preparatory high schools with the largest population of black and Puerto Rican students in the district. Yet, school officials advocated International Prep and Early Middle College High School instead be housed at Grover both former College Board schools no longer funded by this entity. And the questionable academic performance of these latter two schools some say why continue to invest in them? The community superintendent overseeing I-Prep reported at the Buffalo Board of Education Committee meeting Wednesday, Oct. 17 the school has, 515 students, 29 percent graduation rate for Class of 2010, 50 percent for Class of 2011, 30 percent for '12, while Early Middle College had 297 students with a 54 percent grad rate for class of 2010, 65 percent for Class of 2011, 64 percent for '12. Besides, Early Middle College once it moves from its downtown location away from Erie Community College, what happens to its mission of providing a unique 5 year high school program where students obtain both a high school diploma from Buffalo Public Schools and a college degree from ECC and its relationship to ECC ? So why keep a model that lacks a mission with a graduation rate of hovering between 54 and 64%, though better than the district average of 50%? And, International Prep with an enrollment of academically talented international students will add more diversity at a newly expanded Leonardo da Vinci High School at the old Grover building where they had been originally housed. Yet board member Sharon Belton Cottman, West Ferry Rep. supports da Vinci remain at D'Youville College with more space. Also, Middle College and International prep students who meet the criterion for admissions at Da Vinci in an expanded and larger high school building at Grover provides these students mostly black, Latinos and International an opportunity to access a college preparatory curriculum similar to City Honors. Buffalo News Blogger Mary Pasciak reported how "McCarthy argued passionately for the district to stick to the plan to move da Vinci to Grover and expand it to begin in fifth grade, rather than ninth grade. Da Vinci is one of the most highly regarded high schools in the district. Belton-Cottman said da Vinci should remain on the college campus and push to get more space there." There are different opinions from board members about what to do even after they had approved a resolution not to renew the leases of Early Middle College and Leonardo da Vinci. Yet moving da Vinci to a newly renovated Grover Cleveland High School with a model reconfigured for grades 7th through 12th is another viable option cost effective and the building has a capacity to house 900 students. And board member McCarthy views it as an opportunity to offer parents more choices to access high performing schools in the district as well as to provide the students in a newly reconfigured Leonardo da Vinci an opportunity to create another City Honors High School. But whatever is decided it must be quickly, the engineers advised for construction.