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  • Writer's pictureScott for Buffalo Schools

Summer School Visit to Hillery Park Elementary #27

July 19, 2023

On Tuesday, July 18, 2023, I began visiting BPS Summer School Programs with a visit to Hillery Park Elementary #27 located in the Park District. Prinicipal Vincent Vanderlip, who grew up in close proximity of Hillery Elementary, gave me a great tour of the school and classrooms serving pre-k to 6th. The tour began with entering through our new stationary weapons detection system, which are now installed in our elementary schools.

I had the opportunity to observe many students engaged and hard at work, as well as enjoying some free time on the playground. Mr. Vanderlip shared that approximately 250 students are attending the summer program at Hillery Park and that attendance has been positive. During the school year, there approximately 650 students enrolled in this pre-k to 8 school. Next year, Hillary Park will be home to one of our new Say Yes Little Scholars, Pre-k-3 classrooms.

This summer, BPS is providing Orton-Gillingham to first grade students. Orton-Gillingham is an evidence-based literacy program, which BPS is significantly investing in to improve student literacy. I had the opportunity to observe a reading specialist provide instruction on letter sounds. The reading specialist mentioned how supportive she is of the program and its effectiveness with young students. In fact, all of these students in this Orton-Gillingham session, seemed most engaged and excited about this lesson and learning experience.

The BPS Native American Resource Program (NARP) is spending a week at each summer school building and was assigned to Hillery this week. As a result, I had to the opportunity to observe Sage Golisano, Resource Cultural Specialist-Seneca, provide instruction to first grade students on Native American culture.

Ironically, a beautiful park that the students often use sits behind the school. It is called Butler Park and its adjacent street names are that of Native American Tribes as seen below:

Hillery Park is another hidden gem in Buffalo Public Schools and I was thrilled to experience firsthand the instruction and opportunities that are being provided to some of our pre-k to 6 students. I was in awe of this building and surrounding space outside.

Additional images from the visit:

Larry Scott

Vice President of Student Achievement

Buffalo Board of Education

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