Local school rankings by Buffalo Business First

The journal Buffalo Business First has posted its yearly school rankings for WNY schools, according to academic performance, for Elementary, Middle, and High Schools.

It has ranked all 262 Elementary Schools, public, private and charter. (A Buffalo school makes the top 10, can you guess which one?)

Elementary Schools Ranked

Methodology: Here’s what BBF says about their methods. (truncated). Full article here.

“All of Business First’s rankings are based on the latest four years of test results and graduation rates available from the New York State Education Department.

This year’s rankings have been generated from data for the period of 2011 through 2014.

The formulas detailed on this page make use of these statistics to calculate an annual score (on a 100-point scale) for each district or school. Annual scores for the past four years are then averaged according to a 4-3-2-1 ratio, with the most recent year being given the greatest weight.”

ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS

(From BBF article). Business First rates all Western New York public and private elementary schools that participate in the statewide testing program for third and/or fourth graders, as well as all Rochester Area public elementary schools that take part in the same program.

Fifty percent of each school’s annual score is determined by its students’ scores on the statewide English tests for third, fourth and fifth graders.

The other 50 percent is based on the statewide math tests for third, fourth and fifth graders.

That means a total of 12 statistical indicators are analyzed to determine each elementary school’s annual score — two results per test, six tests per year. That equals 48 indicators over a four-year period.

If a school did not offer a specific statewide test (such as an elementary school that does not extend to fifth grade), or if fewer than five students took a given test, that exam was excluded from Business First’s calculations for that school. No penalty was assessed.

Three types of elementary schools have not been rated:

• Schools that have been open for less than two years, or that have not generated at least two years of test data.

• Elementary schools that don’t extend to third grade.

• Private schools that don’t participate in the statewide testing program.

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Posts on Middle and Highs to follow. I’m not actually sure why we need a ranking of Elementary Schools, but hey, there’s data, and we love rankings. One thing it obviously shows is that the Buffalo public schools are, with a few exceptions, at the bottom of the entire region, and yes, you can move to Amherst, Williamsville, or Clarence and get a high-performing public ES.

 

Elmwood Education group

I just noticed on Facebook that there is a group of “parents of young children” promoting the “other” Elmwood public schools in an effort to organize parents and presumably attract parents to those schools. This is, of course, a fantastic idea. If parents can organize, you don’t have to hope for an lottery charter spot or an elusive gifted/64 spot. You do not have to pay for private school. You can simply enroll your child in the proximity school. (Not that it’s ever simple, but we can hope.).  I haven’t yet talked to anyone involved, but they have a website and seem to be running a table at the EV Farmer’s market.  They seem to be promoting 45 over the other proximity schools, which would be 30 (Frank Sedita) or 19 (Native American), after a meeting to decide which school to organize around. Here is their site:

http://elmwoodeducation.com/

“Our goal is that, within 2 years, there will be less confusion when Elmwood Village families ask ‘Where do I send my child for public elementary school?’ Instead, there will be a clear answer as to what local public school meets the needs of Elmwood Village families. These needs are defined as a nearby location, a community atmosphere, a high level of education, a strong family investment, and a promising future.”

School Zone blog procures BPS criteria schools admission details

Thanks to the Buffalo News team, the School Zone reporters have finally gotten some information from the District on how applications and admissions to the city’s criteria schools work. As I note on our “Applying to Schools Primer” page, actual information on how students are selected does not exist on the BPS website, at least not in any useful detail. (Which leaves applicants subject to endless rounds of speculation and neighborly rumor as to how it _ostensibly_ works.). Let’s hope Central Registration continues to work on spreading this information to all citizens and making the website user friendly. Then perhaps they can move on to improving customer service…

Here’s the link to the School Zone post:

http://schoolzone.buffalonews.com/2015/05/30/what-it-takes-to-gain-admission-to-buffalos-top-public-schools/

and their uploaded PDF:

http://bnwordpress.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/34/2015/05/BPS-admissions-criteria-05-28-15.pdf

Orfield Report published, meeting today

Gary Orfield of the Civil Rights Project will present his findings to the Buffalo School Board at 5:30 today. The meeting is located at McKinley High School (PS 305) on Elmwood. Board of Ed meeting agenda can be viewed here.

Orfield was hired by the Board of Ed to address a civil rights complaint filed by parents about the city’s criteria schools. Complaints were filed with the US Education Dept’s Office of Civil Rights. You can read the report here, and Sandra Tan of the Buffalo News has summarized his findings here. The Board of Ed cannot reject all of his recommendations, according to their agreement with the Office of Civil Rights. They have until August to inform the Office what they will accept or reject from the recommendations.

The basic finding on criteria schools:

“There was very unequal access to these schools,” said Orfield, adding that a civil rights complaint that precipitated his report “was correct.”

Expanding access to criteria schools, and expanding the criteria schools themselves, as he recommends, could help families seeking better public schools for Buffalo kids, though some parents have expressed concern that this alone will not de-segregate city school populations.

Welcome to Schoolhouse Buffalo

Welcome to our blog about the Buffalo Schools. This site is built by parents with children in city schools, and is built for parents looking at the city schools who want to stay in the city schools. We like Buffalo, and we hope to provide a place for parents to talk about their schools. We want to help parents who are new to the schools, or new to the city, inform themselves. This is a blog about public education, and how parents approach it here. Charter schools and private schools will also be part of the conversation.

There will soon be a survey that parents can fill out to provide feedback about their school or child’s school experience. In time, we hope this will form the bulk of the site’s content. We want to know how you feel about your school. There will also be a place to read about basic process of applying to school. There will be resources and links to educate yourself, as a parent, about public education today. And perhaps we will try to cover some of the local educational news from an independent or parent perspective.

It should be said that this aims to be an optimistic place to discuss Buffalo Schools. We like our schools and we want to support them. We want to include as many citizens as we can in the discussion.