BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Buffalo Public Schools went back into session Thursday morning with a new superintendent,Dr. Kriner Cash, at the helm. Dr. Cash kicked off the new school year by beginning tours of the school buildings he’s now in charge of leading.
“It’s a good start to the school year,” Cash said after touring Burgard High School, his first stop of the day.
Cash was joined on this tour by school board members, school leaders, and Buffalo’s mayor, all of whom were very positive about the future with the new superintendent in charge.
“The city is very engaged with the school district and we’re going to continue to be engaged, and if we all work together, we will see tremendous success on the part of our young people,” Mayor Byron Brown said after the tour.
For his part, Cash walked away from the tour with a generally positive impression. “The school looks good. The school is in great physical condition,” pointed out Dr. Cash, who has said school buildings should be the best maintained buildings in a community. “I need to see more kids in the school in terms of attendance,” he added, though.
Cash said he would be checking back at the school next week to ensure attendance has improved, and he called on the entire community to help the students succeed. “Support these young people, support all the initiatives that we’ll be doing as a school board, and make sure the children are in school,” he said. “If they’re not in school, they can’t learn what we’re teaching them in school.”
Burgard is one of 25 struggling schools in the district that have been placed in receivership, giving the superintendent the final say on many of the decisions for its turnaround.
Cash has already gotten to work making changes, including adding teachers at the building to help reduce class sizes. And, more changes are in the works, raising hopes for big gains in student achievement and results.
“I know that we can move our students in a positive direction and we can all work as a team to change the climate and the culture of the building,” said Burgard’s principal, Charlene Watson.
“We’re looking forward to moving the district forward in a very big way this year. We have one year to turn this building around and we are not playing, we are going to get it done,” agreed Buffalo School Board member Sharon Belton-Cottman.
Dr. Cash said visits like the one he made to Burgard on the first day of school help show the students that they have the support they need to succeed and graduate.
He visited two other schools Thursday morning, and plans to visit more every Tuesday and Thursday until he has seen every school in the district.