Niagara Gazette

Local News

September 26, 2013

State of the district|Bianco says Niagara Falls School District is "good and improving"

Niagara Gazette — According to the district's superintendent, the state of the Niagara Falls City School District is "good and improving."

Cynthia Bianco took a portion of her superintendent's report during Thursday's school board meeting to deliver her annual address, highlighting some of the accomplishments her staff has accomplished since last September and point out some areas needing improvement going forward.

Much of both categories focused on preparation of teachers and implementation of necessary instruction methods under the common core learning standards. On the positive side, Bianco said the district formed 70 work groups over the course of the summer to help 214 staff members better prepare for the rigorous demands of the state's new education method.

But work is still needed, she added, to get student achievement in line with where the district would like to see its results fall, a number Niagara Falls failed to achieve in the first common core round of state examinations, of which results were released earlier this year.

"Our challenges include the fact that our movement to the common core is not yet fully implemented," she said. "We are continually feeling the impact of a low economic climate both locally and throughout the state and nation, along with shrinking resources. Changes in the global landscape requires a shift in focus from preparation for graduation to preparation for success beyond (high school) and expectations are not always high for every student."

Graduation is another area she focused her address, though she wasn't critical of the districts recent figures showing 79 percent of students receive their high school diploma. Instead, she compared the number to the state average of 74 percent.

But despite her point, she continued on, exploring a notion that, to the public and to her administration, "good isn't good enough."

She said education has become one of the most important things in the country as more and more futures for students are depending on a successful school experience. Preparing students for success is both more difficult and more important than ever, she said.

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