The Education Fund for Greater Buffalo has awarded its first grants, totaling $155,862. The funds are expected to help several public schools in the city and to enhance literacy and preparedness for the work force.
Another grant, in an amount yet to be set, will bring the total of the pilot awards to nearly $200,000, said Cara Stillman, the Education Fund's executive director.
"We're serving schools of greatest need," Ms. Stillman said. "We're trying to be results-oriented as much as possible. Everybody had to have results planned and a way for measuring them."
The Education Fund was formed a year ago as a private, non-profit organization that brings private-sector dollars into the public schools. The group hopes to award grants annually, Ms. Stillman said.
"We are elated at having been awarded the grants," Buffalo School Superintendent James Harris said Monday. "We are sure that the students in the Buffalo public schools where the grants have been awarded will benefit from the extra resources."
The grants include:
$49,500 to School 82 Early Childhood Center at 230 Easton Ave., for a program to improve reading among special-education students from prekindergarten through second grade. Teachers will work with parents to show them ways to work reading improvement into daily life. Principal Kathleen Franklin credited her staff with designing the proposal and aggressively pursuing the grant.
"My hardest job was supporting what they were doing," she said.
$20,000 to the Just Buffalo Literary Center to help children with emotional and behavioral difficulties at the WNY Day Treatment School 273 on Kensington Avenue master the Regents English Language Arts test. A writer-in-residence will work with youngsters to improve writing, speaking and listening skills.
$20,000 to the Brain Compatible Research Network, based at Buffalo State College and headed by Hank Dowski, an emeritus associate professor of education, and his wife, Lee Dowski, an adjunct professor at Buffalo State and a remedial specialist in West Seneca public schools. The effort uses techniques derived from recent research in brain development to help special-education students learn to read. The network has programs in School 78 Early Childhood Center at 345 Olympic Ave. and School 54 Early Childhood Center at 2358 Main St., as well as in School 82. College students do the training.
$10,000 to Daemen College to improve the literacy of special-education students at Windermere Boulevard Elementary School in Amherst, with a replication of the program for Buffalo schools to be designed by the end of the school year.
A grant in an amount to be determined to West Seneca West High School to expand a computer portfolio program for students to show to prospective employers. The pilot program eventually will be replicated in schools in Buffalo and other parts of Erie County.
$34,144 to the West Hertel Parent Association to expand a career-mentoring program from West Hertel Academy to Lincoln Academy, Broadway Village Elementary School and Grover Cleveland High School, with the help of Mayor Masiello's Community Schools Office.
$22,218 to Hopevale Union Free School in the Town of Hamburg, which works with students remanded by the state or county juvenile courts and serves many Buffalo students. The grant will provide individual tutoring sessions evenings and Saturdays.