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Buffalo State Receives New York State Grant to Expand Education Pipeline Programs

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A new state grant will allow Buffalo State College to expand two successful educator pipeline programs designed to foster greater racial and ethnic diversity among Pre-K–12 teachers, especially in the city of Buffalo and its first-ring suburbs.

The My Brother’s Keeper Teacher Opportunity Corps II grant will give the School of Education more than $193,000 annually to continue and expand its Urban Teacher Academy and Buffalo Urban Teacher Pipeline Residency Program. The grant was awarded in early September, with support from Buffalo State College distinguished alumna Crystal Peoples-Stokes, ’74, ’02, New York State Assembly majority leader, and runs through 2026.

“Diversity enhances any professional environment. I applaud Buffalo State College for their presence and leadership in our community.”

- Crystal Peoples-Stokes, ’74, ’02, New York State Assembly Majority Leader

“We’re thrilled to receive this grant,” said Wendy Paterson, dean of the School of Education. “It builds on what we have already established, and makes it possible for us to continue programs that have seen great success. The objective of the pipeline programs is to diversify our teacher workforce, and we have two plans in place to do just that.”

The Buffalo Urban Teacher Pipeline Residency Program was launched in 2019, supported by legislative funds secured by Peoples-Stokes. The program provides support for teacher aides and assistants working in the Buffalo Public Schools (BPS) to complete their undergraduate or graduate degrees and pursue their teaching certification.

“Diversity enhances any professional environment,” said Peoples-Stokes. “This funding from New York State will help Buffalo State College expand its efforts to help students from different racial and ethnic backgrounds obtain a quality education while diversifying the teacher workforce in WNY. I applaud Buffalo State College for their presence and leadership in our community.”

“This will only help our efforts to ensure that the next generation of teachers is as diverse as our students.”

- Wendy Paterson, Ph.D., Dean, School of Education

The other pipeline program, the Urban Teacher Academy, was initiated in 2017 in connection with the BPS Career and Technical Education Department. This program provides entering high school students with a choice of career trajectories. Students who consider teaching as a career are placed at a participating high school in Buffalo and pursue a curriculum that helps prepare them for the rewards and challenges of teaching. In their senior year, successful candidates in the UTA have the opportunity to take college-level courses and work toward being accepted at Buffalo State in education majors.

While McKinley High School was the initial site for the UTA program, the new grant will expand the program to the International Preparatory School and Lafayette International High School, Paterson said. The first group of students to participate in the program started at Buffalo State in the fall 2021 semester. Kathy Wood, associate dean of the School of Education, will continue to oversee the programs.

“The idea is that you can recruit students, but you also have to retain them,” Paterson said. “The TOC grant will give us opportunities to enhance the support that we have for the pipeline up from high school and potentially establish new cohorts for the new teacher aides and assistants. Otherwise, we would not have been able to mount a second cohort.”

Paterson praised the work of Kelly Marczynski, director and senior research scientist with the Center for Health and Social Research, and her staff for their work in preparing the grant.

“They did a fabulous job,” she said.

The TOC grant is important because it will allow Buffalo State to reach even more potential teachers, Paterson said.

“It’s a great thing for us, and will only help our efforts to ensure that the next generation of teachers is as diverse as our students,” she said.


Photo by Bruce Fox, campus photographer.