Contact: Lawrence Scott
BUFFALO, NY April 30, 2014 - The newly formed Buffalo Parent-Teacher Organization announced Wednesday the launch of a $500,000 multi-media campaign - "Buffalo Schools: Believe!" - highlighting the strengths of the city's public schools and dedicated to advancing collaboration among parents, educators and the community.
The campaign's centerpiece is a new website - www.buffaloschoolsbelieve.org - designed to encourage parents, teachers and students to share news and achievements of their schools. The site will bring together in one place information and news highlighting the city's students, educators and schools; news about the BPTO; and links to the Say Yes Buffalo campaign that provides enrichment and the potential of free college tuition to Buffalo students.
"The BPTO recognizes the many challenges that confront our schools and is committed to addressing them. At the same time, we want to get the word out that good things are happening," BPTO co-chair Lawrence Scott, a district parent, said during a news conference at Buffalo's School 45. "We firmly believe that when parents, educators and the community come together, our students benefit."
Coinciding with the rollout of the website, which will be maintained by the BPTO, is a multimedia communications campaign that includes print, billboard and web spots highlighting the strengths of Buffalo's schools, including:
- College enrollment among graduating seniors has increased by 9 percentage points.
- The district's plans to invest $4 million in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education.
- Buffalo is home to three high schools considered by U.S. News & World Report as among the best in the nation.
- The potential of free college tuition through the district's relationship with Say Yes Buffalo.
Another highlight of the campaign is a radio spot featuring Buffalo students who speak about how careers in fields such as science and engineering are attainable with an education obtained in the city's public schools.
The BPTO embodies a spirit of cooperation and dedication that aims to energize Buffalo's schools. Through the website and media campaign, "Buffalo Schools: Believe!" will showcase the often untold story of the strengths and progress of the city's students and teachers.
"We all recognize that there are wonderful things happening in our schools every day, and that our students, teachers, parents, administrators, school staff and community members are making them happen," said BPTO co-chair Kristen Mendoza. "In spite of the many obstacles facing our district and so many of our schools, we rise above them. Our accomplishments need to be told."
The BPTO secured a grant for the communications campaign from the National Education Association, with assistance from New York State United Teachers and the Buffalo Teachers Federation.
"While the BPTO does not look past the problems in our district, a continued focus on the negative is not constructive," said BPTO co-chair Marsha Phillips. "There is a lot of good taking place in our schools every day, and by sharing those stories and lifting up our students and teachers, a more positive environment is created in which our children are not only encouraged, but inspired, to learn. Parents, teachers and community members must work together to continually improve our schools, and this principle is one to which the BPTO is committed."
"The concern we all share for our schools is matched only by the hope we have for our children and their futures," said BPTO co-chair Roberta Cates. "This coalition of parents, educators and concerned citizens brought together by the BPTO is committed to tackling the challenges that confront our district while working to improve our schools and, as a result, the lives of Buffalo's students."
Buffalo Schools Superintendent Dr. Pamela Brown said, "I welcome the Buffalo Parent -Teacher Organization, and I thank the group for its willingness to promote the progress being made by the district. We are grateful to all parents for entrusting us with their children, and it is gratifying to know that the Buffalo Public Schools are their first choice for their children's academic development. Within our motto: 'Putting children and families first to ensure academic achievement for all,' our goal is to provide a world-class education for each and every child, and we are happy to have the Buffalo PTO as partners in that pursuit. I believe that this relationship will help to ensure every child's success."
"While the challenges facing Buffalo's schools are many, the city's dedicated and professional teachers are committed to ensuring all students have the opportunity to succeed," said NYSUT President Karen E. Magee. "The accomplishments of Buffalo's students and teachers are inspiring and deserve to be told. NYSUT is proud of their continued achievements, and we are also proud to support the BPTO in its very important work."
"I am excited about the opportunity to share some of the positive activities that are taking place in the Buffalo Public Schools with our community," said Buffalo's Board of Education President Barbara A. Nevergold. "Each and every day our students are having amazing educational experiences that contribute to their achievements and accomplishments. This is a great time to celebrate these successes and to build on them."
"Every day hundreds of students, teachers and parents are doing amazing things in our schools," said Buffalo Teachers Federation President Phil Rumore. "We are here today, committed to shining a bright light on all those fantastic students, teachers and parents to give them the credit they deserve and to provide a positive climate and an 'I can do that attitude' that will bring us all together with a shared positive vision for the future of our students."
"I would like to applaud the Buffalo PTO for the awesome work it is doing highlighting the positive things that all of our children are engaged in throughout the Buffalo School District," said Jo Ann Sweat, president of the Buffalo Educational Support Team. "Congratulations to all of the stakeholders who are proving that no matter your title, we are all caring parents that want a quality education for our children and that we must be involved in order to obtain it.
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