A new charter school has opened its doors in an East Side neighborhood of Buffalo. The Charter School of Inquiry on Edison is located in the former Community Charter School building, that closed last year. WBFO's Focus on Education Reporter Eileen Buckley says the school will emphasize critical thinking, problem solving and engaging students.
As the ribbon was cut on this newly renovated building with a promise to make sure students who attend don't fail.
"And I will not allow any child not too succeed," said Dr. Bridgette Griffin, Head of School for CSI.
Griffin, a former Rochester education said she will take full responsibility for student performance.
"We're going to make sure they are ready for those state tests. We're going to make sure they grow. We're going to sure when they leave us, they are higher then when they came to us and they will continue to grow," said Griffin.
The school will house 150-students in Kindergarten, first and second grades. Griffin said the teachers hired for CSI have a "passion" for children.
"This is really a momentous day for us," said Helene Kramer, Chair of the Board of Trustees.
African American history and culture will be taught in the school's curriculum. Kramer remarked the school will honor African American culture during the school year, not only in February during Black History Month.
"We largely have an African American population of children. We decided we would infuse African American history and culture throughout all of the curriculum," said Kramer. "We're not doing this just in February."
The school will include African American history in music, art, social students and English. "And that's not to say we won't respect the cultures of every child," noted Kramer.
Parent Maureen Cline of north Buffalo said she's sending her son because she wants a school that delivers more of a challenge then the city's public schools.
"Its really important that I have communications with his teachers,. It's really important to me, so I'm sure open communication is going to be key to help him do better," said Cline.
State Assembly woman Crystal People Stokes said parents need more choices and pledged full support.
"I'm the partner at School 31. I'm the partner at Bennett High School and I'm the partner of the Charter School of Inquiry," said People Stokes.
But Buffalo School Board Member Carl Paladino criticized the lawmakers remarks.
"You know -- she talks out of both sides of her face," stated Paladino. "On the one hand she wants to appear here and act as though she has been a great supporter of charter schools. On the other hand she has done nothing in Albany to support charter schools. We need longer contracts then the simple five years."
Paladino was praised for helping the new school. He was instrumental in assisting the school's founders to finance the building. Paladino has supported other several charter schools.
"I helped negotiate the deal for them and there's no grand profits for me. I'm at risk," said Paladino.
School Board Member Larry Quinn also appeared at the opening praising the work of charter schools.
"Everybody is looking for a magic bullet, but it really is about building a team leadership at a school, building a teaching staff that is dedicated to the same purpose, and up until now, we've had union contracts that don't allow us to do this basic, fundamental stuff," said Quinn. "The charter movements are our option, I hope it would be our option for all our schools."