Buffalo's new STEM high school program will enroll 40 students this fall; future sites considered

2016-07-19 15:07:56

Buffalo Business First | Industry News | Education

Author: Dan Miner

Date: July 18, 2016


About 40 incoming freshman in the Buffalo City School District have signed up for a new high-school program that will aim to prepare them for a career in a STEM field.

The district expects to accommodate 20 more students into the program during the initial months of the 2016-17 school year.

The Research Laboratory of Life Sciences and Bioinformatics High School represents a new era in the district, where Superintendent Kriner Cash has slowly been implementing his multi-faceted “New Education Bargain.”

It will not be a criterion school where students have to test in, such as City Honors, but will be a high-rigor program for students seeking a small school setting. Both the University at Buffalo and Empire Genomics are initial partners.

And this year is just the beginning. The program will initially be hosted at an empty wing in the Math, Science and Technology Preparatory School building on Delavan Avenue, but the eventual goal is a facility to host about 240 students somewhere on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.

David Mauricio, Buffalo City School District chief of strategic alignment and engagement, said the district will soon be reaching out to an array of leaders in the health sciences and biomedical communities to seek partnerships going forward.

The district has hired an initial set of teachers from other city schools, after vetting candidates for their interest in collaborative planning with colleagues and in running after-school and summer programs.

The school will also have a much more immersive orientation program, represented by a two-week summer program that seeks to prepare students for the upcoming experience. The new school, which technically is still a part of MST, is supported by a three-year, $1.25 million federal grant.

Mauricio said the resulting program will be a unique opportunity for a specific kind of student.

“I think it’s going to be a phenomenal opportunity for our kids,” he said. “The students are going to be in high-rigor programs, in entry-level and advanced science courses. They’re going to be prepared for going to college and studying in a STEM field. They’ll have access to college professors, life sciences companies and a variety of other resources in the community.”