Buffalo Commons



Distinguishing the Social Sector: A Buffalo-Niagara Labor Market Study

Sam Magavern, Kristin (Szczepaniec) Ksiazek, Russell Weaver — Sep 19, 2019

The study focuses on the two largest parts of Buffalo-Niagara’s social sector: nonprofit and government employers. 

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Are We Still Going Through the Empty Ritual of Participation? Inner-City Residents’ and Other Grassroots Stakeholders’ Perceptions of Public Input and Neighborhood Revitalization

Li Yin, Camden Miller, Pascal Buggs, Henry Louis Taylor, Jr., Robert Silverman — Jul 19, 2019

This article revisits Arnstein’s “ladder of citizen participation” focusing on inner-city residents’ perceptions of public input in neighborhood revitalization projects. It draws from data collected in Buffalo, New York for a larger project that aimed to address negative externalities caused by neighborhood change. Data were collected using focus groups in neighborhoods in the early stages of revitalization. Nine focus groups took place across three neighborhoods …

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Perceptions of Residential Displacement and Grassroots Resistance to Anchor Driven Encroachment in Buffalo, NY

Li Yin, Camden Miller, Pascal Buggs, Henry Louis Taylor, Jr., Robert Silverman — Jul 19, 2019

This article examines perceptions of institutional encroachment and community responses to it in Buffalo, NY. Specifically, we focus on residents’ perceived effects of anchor institution (e.g. hospital and university) expansion on core city neighbourhoods. Through this analysis we offer insights into the processes driving neighbourhood displacement in the contemporary period. Data were collected through a series of focus groups with residents and other stakeholders in working class, …

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Improving Teen Engagement in Buffalo and Erie County

Emily Bramhall, Hannah Sosenko, Sara Jablonski — Nov 13, 2018

This policy brief defines levels of youth engagement, considers why teens do not always participate in programs, highlights various teen-centered programs in Erie County, and shares details about programs that practice innovative teen engagement. It was created by Hannah Sosenko and Emily Bramhall, Cornell University High Road Fellows, and Sara Jablonski, Urban 4- H Educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Erie County.

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Just Transitions in School Food

Jessica Gilbert, Alexandra Schindel, Sarah A. Robert — Oct 18, 2018

This article examines the public school food system in Buffalo, New York, for a just transition (Movement Generation, n. d.). School food programs built on just transition characteristics democratize engagement, decentralize decisionmaking, diversify the economy, decrease consumption, and redistribute resources and power.

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Venue Directory

Partnership for the Public Good — Jul 11, 2018

Community groups often need accessible, affordable spaces for events and meetings. This directory provides a list of event and meeting spaces sorted by size. Entries list the contact information and street address for each venue, as well as details on cost, catering, capacity, and parking.

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Gown Towns: A Case Study of Say Yes to Education

Richard Reeves, Katherine Guyot, Edward Rodrigue — Jul 10, 2018

Postsecondary education is the entry ticket to the middle class. But for low-income Americans, college success is rare (Chapter 1). This report consists primarily of a case study of Say Yes to Education, based on interviews, site visits, focus groups, surveys, and empirical analysis (our methods are described in Chapter 2).

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Looking Toward the Future: A Review for Liftoff--Western New York Early Childhood Funders for Change

Public Sector Consultants — Jul 2, 2018

In 2017, Liftoff--Western New York Early Childhood Funders for Change--wanted to better understand how the region serves its youngest residents, how other communities structure systems to improve life and learning for young children and their families, and how stakeholders across the system could come together to affect change. Together with partners across Western Yew York (including Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Genesee, Erie, Niagara, Orleans, and Wyoming Counties), Liftoff engaged …

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Good Food Buffalo Policy Brief

Jessica Gilbert — Jun 26, 2018

This policy brief provides a snapshot of the current status of school food at Buffalo Public Schools and several ongoing school food improvement initiatives.

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Public Education in Buffalo and the Region

Partnership for the Public Good — May 24, 2018

Public education in Buffalo and the surrounding region is a complicated story. 

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Good Food Purchasing for the Buffalo Public Schools

Jessica Gilbert — Apr 24, 2018

This policy report was drafted by Jessica Gilbert, research associate at PPG and PhD Candidate in the University at Buffalo’s Department of Geography.It provides an initial overview of the current status of school food at Buffalo Public Schools and many of the ongoing school food improvement initiatives. Framed within the Good Food Purchasing Program’s core values (local economies, nutrition, labor, environmental sustainability, and animal welfare), this report documents the …

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Performance-Based Assessment for ELLs

Bridget Murphy — Nov 29, 2017

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A Profile of Third-Grade Reading Proficiency in Erie County

United Way of Buffalo and Erie County — Nov 27, 2017

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Higher Education’s Anchor Mission Measuring Place-Based Engagement

Democracy Collaborative, Emily Sladek — Nov 22, 2017

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The Unlikely History of Tolstoy College

Jennifer Wilson — Nov 22, 2017

"Tolstoy College was an anarchist educational community active at the University at Buffalo between 1969 and 1985. The school was part of a larger project by president Martin Meyerson to transform University at Buffalo into a “Berkeley of the East,” with hopes of aligning the university with increasing student activism across the country. By the mid-1970s, Tolstoy College’s anarchist teachings were viewed as a threat to the university administration. In a 1976 letter to the …

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What If...Pathways to Progress Vol. 2: Women and Girls in WNY

WNY Women's Foundation — Nov 22, 2017

The original 2010 Pathways to Progress Report provided a foundation for moving forward, the start of an ongoing region-wide dialogue on supporting women and girls and a call to action to us all. Pathways to Progress Vol. 2 expands this dialogue with updated data that explores the barriers and opportunities that WNY women face throughout their lifespans. 

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Better Choices for Buffalo's Students: Expanding & Reforming the Criteria Schools System

Jongyeon Ee, Erica Frankenberg, Genevieve Siegel-Hawley, Natasha Amlani, Jennifer Ayscue, Gary Orfield, Brian Woodward — May 1, 2015

Today, the Buffalo Public Schools, which were national leaders in combining school choice and academic excellence in the l980s, retain only limited and very stratified public school choice. In the l980s, a very high level of diversity and academic excellence was achieved in the city. In the early l990s, the state department of education and national experts recognized the district’s high performance.  The report concludes that the city’s choice system has declined. After the …

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Getting There: Improving Attendance in the Buffalo Public Schools

Rachel Stern — Apr 14, 2015

High rates of absenteeism in the Buffalo Public Schools (“BPS”) are strongly linked to low academic performance and graduation rates.  Several difficult issues contribute to the low attendance in Buffalo, including poverty, segregation, mental and physical health challenges, access to transportation, and problems with school climate and student engagement.  Many effective programs to improve attendance are already in place, but more work needs to be done.  Recent data …

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Initiatives for a Stronger Community

Mark Poloncarz — Mar 31, 2015

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Coordinated School Health in the Buffalo Public Schools: Statement of Need and Recommendations

Sam Magavern, Jessica Bauer-Walker, Renee Cadzow — Feb 27, 2015

This policy brief on coordinate school health for the Buffalo Public Schools was prepared by Renee Cadzow, PhD, D’Youville College, Department of Health Services Administration and Co-Director of the Center for Research of Physical Activity , Sport and Health (CRPASH); Jessica Bauer-Walker, Executive Director, Community Health Worker Network of Buffalo; and Sam Magavern, Co-Director, Partnership for the Public Good. (February 2015) Acknowledgements: Liese Ness, Community Coalition …

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Public Education in Buffalo and the Region

Marc Masson — Sep 1, 2014

The biggest problem facing Buffalo’s public schools is the fact that many students live in poverty, while at the same time being segregated from students from wealthier communities who tend to enjoy better educational opportunities and rates of academic success.  Buffalo shares many of the problems of large cities in the United States, largely caused by high concentrations of poverty in urban areas.  In 2009, about 59% of students served by urban school districts located in the …

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Community through the eyes of children: blending child-centered research and qualitative geovisulization

Jin-Kyu Jung — Jul 26, 2014

Community is an ambiguous concept, and the meanings of community as a subject of study have received a great deal of attention across various disciplines. This paper discusses how children’s diverse meanings of community shape and are shaped by the social, cultural, and physical environments of their everyday lives. To explore these meanings I combine principles of child-centered research and qualitative geovisualization into a research methodology. I demonstrate that …

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On the Edge: The Impact of Changing Demographics on an Inner-Ring Suburban School District

Corrie Stone-Johnson — Mar 28, 2014

On the Edge: The Impact of Changing Demographics on an Inner-Ring Suburban School District PowerPoint presentation.

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On the Edge: The Impact of Changing Demographics on an Inner-Ring Suburban School District

Corrie Stone-Johnson — Mar 1, 2014

Interview with Corrie Stone-Johnson from the Department of Educational Leadership & Policy.

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Preparing Teachers for Poverty's Challenges

John Siskar — Dec 31, 2013

Preparing Teachers for Poverty's Challenges PowerPoint presentation.

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Buffalo School Board Governance

William Miller — Dec 9, 2013

The Board of Education of the Buffalo City School District consists of nine members elected annually by the voters of the school district.  Six members represent sub-districts within the city in three-year terms. Three members serve in an “at-large” capacity for five-year terms.  A School board member must be a citizen of the United States, qualified to vote, able to read and write, eighteen (18) years of age or older, a qualified voter of the District, and the only member …

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English Language Learners and Standardized Tests

Adam Faeth — Dec 9, 2013

A surge in limited English proficiency (LEP) enrollment became a nationwide phenomenon between 1995 and 2005, as virtually all regions of the country experienced a rapid growth in immigrant population.  In Buffalo, the increase in ELL students stemmed largely from the active resettlement of refugees from around the world in Buffalo.  In 2004-2005, Buffalo had 2,539 LEP students who collectively spoke 46 different languages.  In 2009-2010, that enrollment number shot up to 3,481 …

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Erie County as a Metro-Wide School District

Gabriella Agostinelli — Dec 9, 2013

Studies show that the quality of a child’s education is largely dependent on her family’s wealth, race, and residence.  When a child living in deep poverty is educated in a poor school district, she has little exposure to the opportunities and experiences enjoyed by children in wealthier districts.  Metro-wide school districts attempt to equalize educational opportunities for all students, raise regional academic achievement levels, and generate better relations across …

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Should Buffalo Move Back to Neighborhood Public Schools?

Nicholas Fischer — Dec 9, 2013

It is a school where the majority of its students come from the neighborhood surrounding it.  Aside from private or magnet schools, students must attend the school assigned to their neighborhood.  This is no longer the model in Buffalo or in many cities.  For the past forty years schools have bussed students across the district.  Today there is a debate as to whether Buffalo Public Schools should return to the neighborhood school model.

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Teacher Residency Requirements in Buffalo: Reconciling Community Benefits with Marketplace Realities

Lee Bender — Dec 9, 2013

In 2011 Buffalo Public Schools repealed a requirement that its teachers live in the district — a “residency rule”.  Because the city’s urban population accounts for only one quarter of the metro population, this rule severely restricted the teacher applicant pools.  However, the residency requirement had some benefits to the community — such as providing neighborhood role models and making teachers more aware of the students’ life situations and …

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The Downside of Standardized Testing

Nicole Intschert — Dec 9, 2013

Children in the United States are tested “to an extent that is unprecedented in our history and unparalleled anywhere else in the world.” The federal No Child Left behind Act has triggered a standardized testing “explosion,” the repercussions of which have been felt throughout the nation.  Standardized tests are those where “all students answer the same questions under similar conditions and their responses are scored in the same way, and may include …

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Title I Funds in Buffalo Public Schools: Educating Children in Poverty

Amanda Dermady — Dec 9, 2013

Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act provides federal financial assistance to public and private schools with high percentages of children from low-income families with the aim of helping children meet state academic standards.  The Act was originally enacted in April 1965 as part of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s “War on Poverty” and is currently authorized under President George W. Bush’s No Child Left behind Act.  Title I funds are allocated …

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Poverty Matters: The Correlation of Poverty to Test Outcomes in Buffalo, Amherst, and Cheektowaga Schools

Jacob Barnes — Dec 1, 2013

Correlation of Poverty to Test Outcomes in Buffalo, Amherst and Cheektowaga Schools data sets.

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Buffalo City School District McKinney-Vento Program

John Crabbe — Mar 1, 2013

Shows details related to the McKinney-Vento Program.

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Impact of Poverty

Assunta Ventresca — Mar 1, 2013

Developmental-Begins before birth: quality of mother nutrition and prenatal care; Parent-child interactions; less access to learning-oriented toys; less access to developmentally appropriate activities.  Asthma- Environmental; Access to preventive health care.  Obesity- Lack of opportunities for physical activity; Lack of access to nutritionally dense foods.

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Making Waves or Treading Water? An Analysis of Charter Schools in New York State

Robert Silverman — Jul 26, 2012

Description: This article compares charter schools and other public schools in New York State. This article compares charter schools and other public schools in New York State. School Report Card (SRC) data measuring student, teacher, and school characteristics from the state’s 16 urban school districts with charter schools were examined. Descriptive and multivariate analysis was used. The findings suggest that there are more similarities in student outcomes between charter schools and …

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Concentrated Poverty and Public Education

Gretchen Sullivan Apr 17, 2012

The biggest problem facing Buffalo’s public schools is the fact that most of the students live in poverty and segregation.  Western New York school districts, including Buffalo, are similar to public school districts around the nation, in that they work quite well when their students are affluent or middle income.  When their students are living in concentrated poverty, however, there are innumerable barriers to academic success.  Nationally, the close correlation between …

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Education Data for Buffalo

Jonathan Baird Aug 18, 2011

Fact Sheet Outlining Education Data for Buffalo.  Includes: Educational attainment of those over 25, four year graduation rate, and percent's of adults with Bachelor's degrees.

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Geovisualizing Childrens transport exclusion: Childrens Afterschool Activity Opportunities in the Buffalo Metropolitan Area

Jin-Kyu Jung — Jul 26, 2011

This research investigates current and potentially desired opportunities available for children’s afterschool activities in the U.S. Buffalo metropolitan area. By analyzing and geographically visualizing travel paths, excluded children’s activity space, and existing activity opportunities in the 3D view using GIS, the study looks at how children’s activity opportunities are limited by any socio-spatial factors such as racial distribution,median income, current …

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Buffalo Public Schools Reconstruction

Louise Calixte — Dec 8, 2010

The Buffalo Public Schools Reconstruction is an ambitious 10-year reconstruction and renovation program.  The project is designed to provide state-of- the-art learning environments, upgrade the public school infrastructure, and strengthen surrounding residential and commercial neighborhoods.

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Education Levels and Low-Wage Work

Dannine Consoli — Apr 26, 2010

Is education the key to getting low-wage workers out of poverty and into higher paying, middle class jobs? In the United States, roughly one in three jobs pays a low wage.  The Center for Economic and Policy Research defines “low wage” as less than 66 percent of the median wage for male workers (the median weekly pay rate for men in the fourth quarter of 2009 was $825).  Employees with higher levels of education do have a significantly lower probability of working a …

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TANF and Higher Education

Leah Hardy — Apr 26, 2010

Welfare reforms in 1996 created the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Block Grant program (TANF).  Under the assumption that a job will provide recipients with a path to self-sufficiency, this program focuses primarily on putting them to work.  Unfortunately, this work-first focus has not resulted in a path out of poverty for the majority of recipients.  New York State must reform its TANF program to provide relevant education and training for its recipients, equipping them …

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An Educational Gift: Teacher Aides in New York State

Alexa Rissoff — Apr 20, 2010

Teacher Aides, also referred to as teacher assistants, instructional aides, paraprofessionals or paraeducators, generally provide non-instructional and clerical support for classroom teachers.  While this fact sheet focuses on teacher aides, it is important to briefly note the major differences between teacher aides and teaching assistants in New York.

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School Bus Monitors in Western New York

Brian Hartmann — Apr 19, 2010

The New York State Department of Education defines a “bus monitor” (also commonly referred to as a “bus aide”) as any person employed for the purpose of assisting children to safely embark and disembark from a school bus which is owned, leased or contracted for by a public school district or board of cooperative educational services, and for the purpose of assisting the school bus driver with maintaining proper student behavior on such school bus.

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The “Community as Classroom Initiative:” The Case of Futures Academy in Buffalo, New York

Linda McGlynn, Henry Louis Taylor, Jr. — Jul 26, 2009

Project Name: Futures Academy Community & Creative Placemaking Initiative This paper examines the efforts of the UB Center for Urban Studies to build a university assisted community school centered neighborhood development initiative in the Fruit Belt, a distresses community in Buffalo, New York. The goal is to turn Futures Academy (School 37), a traditional Pre- K through 8th grade public school into a university-assisted community school that drives the neighborhood regeneration process …

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The Connection: Schooling, Youth Development, and Community Building– The Futures Academy Case

Linda McGlynn, Henry Louis Taylor, Jr. — Jul 26, 2009

Using, as an example, a case study of Futures Academy, a K-8th grade public school in the Fruit Belt, an inner city neighborhood in Buffalo, New York, this essay will demonstrate that universities can play a leading role in remediating the problems of public schooling, youth development and inner city distress. Through the development of authentic, democratically-based partnerships among universities, schools, and communities, young people in distressed neighborhoods can become successful …

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The Futures Academy Community Garden Project

Center for Urban Studies, UB — Jul 26, 2009

Project Name: Futures Academy Community & Creative Placemaking Initiative This report proposes the creation of the Futures Academy Community Garden in a series of vacant, city-owned parcels across from Buffalo Public School 37.

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Public School Discipline: Alternatives to Suspension

Marnie Smith — Apr 29, 2009

Most public school districts rely heavily on suspensions for student discipline.  Section 2801 of the Education Law requires that school districts create a code of conduct, and one of the most common punishments for a violation of the code is out of school suspension.

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The Difference a University Makes: An Updated Impact Analysis of the University at Buffalo

Kathryn Foster — Jan 6, 2009

The following presents findings of an economic impact assessment of the University at Buffalo conducted by the UB Regional Institute at the request of the UB Office of External Affairs.  This analysis updates and expands upon a 2007 economic impact study of the university (see The Difference a University Makes: An Impact Analysis of the University at Buffalo, August 2007, available at http://www.buffalo.edu/community/pdfs/UB_Impact_Analysis.pdf.)  The assessment captures the economic …

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Early Childhood Education in Buffalo, New York

Caitlin Connelly — Nov 10, 2008

The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) defines early childhood education as the learning experience of a child from birth to age eight.  It is generally agreed that the human brain undergoes great growth and change in the years before age five.  High-quality early childhood education will include development of a child’s cognition, language, motor, adaptive, social, and emotional skills.

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Buffalo Child Care Means Business: Full Study Report

Lou Jean Fleron, Lauren Breen, Regina Grogan, Danielle Dimitrov — Jan 1, 2006

Buffalo Child Care Means Business presents the economic and business case for making Buffalo's children the focus of economic development.  The 2006 survey of 117 businesses located in downtown Buffalo, New York, documents the business sector's present and projected reliance upon high quality child care services as a necessary component to optimum workplace recruitment, productivity and stability.  This promising study highlights research specific to the Buffalo region measuring the …

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Futures Academy: The Case for Maintaining its Magnet / Residence School Status

Center for Urban Studies, UB, Richard Milgrom — Jul 26, 2002

The report makes the case for maintaining Buffalo Public School 37, Futures Academy, as a Magnet/Residence School. The retention of the school’s current status is one of the keys to successfully rebuilding the Fruit Belt/Medical Campus neighborhood. A strong pre-K through Eighth Grade elementary magnet/residential school is central to attracting new residents to the community.

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