The SUNY Buffalo State Center for Excellence in Urban and Rural Education (CEURE) was created by an act of the New York State Legislature in 2000 to proactively meet the needs of urban and rural schools and their pupils. Since CEURE's inception, the center has supported more than 45 initiatives, and partnered with over 200 public, private and charter schools. Over 100 faculty members have been involved in CEURE projects. The center has secured federal and private grants totaling over $13 million. In the process, CEURE and partner schools have improved Math and ELA scores, been able to recruit stronger teacher candidates, improved the training that teachers in schools receive, and created partnerships with a variety of public and private organizations, including the Buffalo Public Schools, the Wendt Foundation, the Healthy Living Fund, General Motors, M & T Bank, and Americorps.
Dr. Diane Truscott, the founding director, worked with the center's three original faculty associates - Drs. Elfreda Blue, Pixita del Prado Hill, and John Siskar - to create a plan for the center that was approved by Buffalo State President Muriel Howard. The plan was supported by a three-year, one million dollar start-up grant from the John R. Oishei Foundation in addition to the funding the state legislature provided for the center. Under Dr. Truscott's leadership, CEURE grew into more than 30 initiatives, partnering with over 100 public, private, and charter schools within the first five years. By 2004, more than 50 faculty members contributed their time and energy to the center's programs. Since 2004, CEURE has been led by Drs. Warren Gleckel, Kathy Wood, John Siskar, currently Dr. Jean Strait, and more than 50 faculty members. They have contributed their time and energy to the center's programs. Many faculty have served as faculty associates. The associates have been the driving force in determining CEURE's direction, overseeing initiatives, and leading task forces. A salient feature of the center has been its commitment to partnerships.
During its 16 years of existence, CEURE has consistently demonstrated ways to improve schools, support students socially and academically, and develop a core of teachers who are interested in and qualified to teach in some of the most challenging urban and rural settings.The following is a sampling of the good work CEURE has been able to accomplish over the years.
Future teachers better prepared and more inclined to work in high needs settings
Tutoring programs have shown increased learning. Community School #53, a Buffalo Public School that had been identified as a school in need of improvement, participated in activities including using robots to meet the New York State Mathematics Standards. As a result of the Saturday morning math tutoring, six teachers voluntarily signed on for extensive math training during the summer in order to refine their own skills, allowing sustainability of the best practices modeled during the testing programs. The school's test scores have moved above the state requirements, including the math exams, and the school was removed from the school in need of improvement list. The school was one of three across the state to be featured in a PBS television special on high-need schools that are making a difference.
On average, 7,000 public school students, 805 teacher candidates, 115 school teachers, 84 college faculty, and 50 administrators have participated in our programs each year since 2002.
CEURE has provided academic help for children and teachers in 12 school-based programs focusing on learning intervention. These programs involved over 350 college students (who often worked as teaching tutors or mentors), 27 college faculty, (who provided program design, training, supervision, a nd professional development for teachers), and impacted approximately 1,500 children. Specific results include:
92% of the high-risk seniors who were tutored in our Math A Program at Lafayette High School passed in January 2005. All of these students had failed the exam at least twice prior. Our tutoring program at Herman Badillo Bilingual Academy #76 helped all eighth grade girls pass their final exams in English and Math and move on to high school.
At Enterprise Charter School, we helped the children in the fourth grade show a 150% improvement on both the English Language Arts and Mathematics state test results.
Over 90% of the teacher candidates who participated in our Summer in the City program now consider urban teaching as a viable career, and 85% reported their opinions about urban schools were more positive. It is notable that only 12% of the students in this program graduated from an urban high school. Ninety-three percent of the professional teachers who were part of the Lackawanna Youth Town program reported that CEURE tutors had a positive impact on the students' school achievement and general academic skills. Over 87% of the 310 middle school students in our school recruitment projects indicated that the experience helped them seriously think about attending college, and think more positively about their own education. Four hundred summer literacy kits for children and their parents were developed and distributed in six high need schools to work on academics over the summer.
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