Two private neighboring schools in Amherst have announced an historic new partnership. WBFO's Senior Reporter Eileen Buckley says Daemen College and The Park School of Buffalo signed a memo of understanding and will now collaborate to develop programs in academics, athletics and community outreach programs.
Both institutions feel the collaboration is a win-win for students.
“I’m very eager to see where this partnership is going to take our two schools,” stated Chris Lauricella, Head of The Park School.
Park is known for its progressive learning in Pre-K through 12.
“And bring a century’s worth of experience regarding the most effective way to teach children and adolescents and a real eagerness to share this knowledge. As for Park, we’re excited to now have access to an incredibly innovated and entrepreneurial higher education partner,” said Lauricella.
The institutions are in the process of finalizing an athletics field that would be operated by both schools.
“For Park, for our soccer players, we’re going to wind up having one of the best soccer fields in Western New York, so that’s really exciting. The value added to is they are bringing their players over, bringing their coaches over and working with our soccer players who are as young as three or four years old, so you can imagine how exciting that is to have college level, Division II soccer players coming over and working with middle school, high school and lower school students,” Lauricella explained.
Daemen is already helping with improvements to the Park soccer field that Park could not afford.
Plans are underway to create a partnership on several academic programs including natural sciences. Daemen President Gary Olson said he expects student teachers from Daemen, at some point, to work with Park students.
“This may be a good place for student teachers from Daemen to go over and practice their arts over at Park School. So, there are a number of possibilities that we are working on right now,” Olson said.
As some smaller, private college struggle, Olson said it is important to build collaborations. This new relationship could generate future students for Daemen.
"Park is a very high quality school and their students get to choose wherever they want to go, but many do stay in the area and it would be a logical place for them to go to college at Daemen,” Olson said.
“Daemen has some amazing programs. One of the things I’m most excited about is their new veterinarian program and I know, for a fact, we have a bunch of students who want to be veterinarians. They’ve generously offered to have our students join the veterinarian club here,” Lauricella noted.