Apr 2023 – C/W CSTAC Community School Spotlight:

Buffalo’s Community Schools:
Empowering Neighborhoods Through Saturday Academies 


Beginning in the 2016-2017 school year, under the leadership of Dr. David Mauricio, Buffalo launched their first 13 Community Schools. Today, with Dr. Alyssa Monfuletho at the helm, this number has grown to 24 Community Schools.

Saturday Academy:

One of the most noteworthy aspects of Buffalo’s Community Schools model is the “Saturday Academy.” Each Community School hosts 8 Saturday Academies a year (as well as 4 evening events). Academies are an “open house” of sorts, where the schools become bustling hubs of activities for the neighborhoods. Entirely free, Academies provide all attendees breakfast and lunch. The Community Schools teams within each building, consisting of building leads and CBO partners, work together to program these events. They bring engaging, educational, and needed resources to the community’s families.

Just a few examples of the programming and resources at recent Academies include engineering with WNY Stem, bike safety and repair with GOBike, healthy cooking classes with F Bites, and free haircuts from local barber Justin Becton. 

During the 23-24 SY to date, there have been over 13,370 attendees at the Saturday Academy programming and over 7,100 attendees at evening events.


Academy Highlights:

On March 4th, BPS #50 North Park Community School showed what it means to take Buffalo Schools to the next level.

In collaboration with BestSelf Behavioral Health and Say Yes Buffalo, North Park hosted their Saturday Academy at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Martin House. This is the first time a Saturday Academy has been hosted off-school grounds, making the partnership a special source of pride. Community School Navigator Megan Lewis cultivated a relationship with The Martin House when looking for ways to incorporate her student’s Architecture Club into the Academy. From there, the idea grew into a “Full Steam Ahead” theme with vendors from around the city, such as Explore & More Children’s Museum and the Buffalo Museum of Science.

Families and community members in attendance were able to tour the Martin House for free during the Academy!

With over 300 attendees at the first off-site Academy, Buffalo Schools are already looking at new collaborations to leverage the momentum and excitement.

On the Horizon:

During the 23-24 SY, the BPS Community Schools Initiative is taking a giant leap forward, with new partnerships and collaborations introduced into every Buffalo Public School in the District. These connections will provide access to resources and dynamic programming to accommodate all adaptations of the Community School strategy.

Do you have a community school story that you would like featured in our e-newsletter?

Email Tara Edmunds at cstac@binghamton.edu.