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Martin Luther King Jr. “Leaders Are Readers” Program

School Award for Literacy

To Be Presented to

Buffalo Public School - Bilingual Center School 33

Tuesday, February 13, 2018 @ 9:30 a.m.

To promote literacy for New York children, Project Flight founded; in partnership with the Governor’s Office, the Office of Children and Family Services, the Office of MWBE and Community Relations of the New York State Office of General Services; the Martin Luther King, Jr. Literacy Initiative entitled “Leaders Are Readers” program in Buffalo in 2004.  Since its inception, the Initiative has grown to include New York City and Buffalo.  This is the 14th year Project Flight and partner, the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library, will celebrate the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. New York State Literacy Initiative.

This year, Project Flight is providing 2,615 books and learning materials to Buffalo Public School - Bilingual Center School 33 during a ceremony on Tuesday, February 13.  Along with the promise to promote literacy in every aspect of its students’ lives, the winning school must provide a specific program that promotes Dr. King’s vision of equality and justice through literacy, as well as develop a relationship between the school and its local library.

For more than 20 years Project Flight, a not-for-profit organization, has worked to promote literacy throughout the Western New York area and the world through school and family literacy initiatives.  Project Flight’s mission is to ensure every child has a book and can read at grade level, for children to live in a literate environment whether at home or at school and for literacy to be an entree out of poverty.  To date, more than 143,000 books, worth over $1 million have been donated to thirty schools. 

The Library, a trusted community institution, has been providing services, programs, expertise, technology and book collections for over 180 years.  The Library welcomes millions of visitors each year.  It is a vibrant public square that encourages lifelong learning beyond its four walls. 

"There is no doubt education uplifts the power to fulfill dreams.  We believe the legacy of literacy is democracy and freedom," said Project Flight Co-Director, Dr. Betty Cappella.

"Our vision at Project Flight is to make sure all children will increase their aptitude in literacy to gain a wealth of knowledge, which will spread throughout their lives and their families," added Project Flight Co-Director, Dr. Geraldine Bard.

"Children should be given the opportunities and encouragement to read.  Having access to books can open a child's imagination, expand a child's creativity and promote exploration of interests.  Books support the notion that learning can be fun.  The more you learn, the more you grow.  The more you grow the more you know.  The prospects are endless,” said Mary Jean Jakubowski, Director, Buffalo & Erie County Public Library.

This year the selection committee was made up of the Chair, Mary Jean Jakubowski, Director of the Buffalo and Erie County Library System, and co-directors of Project Flight, Dr. Geraldine Bard and Dr. Betty Cappella.

The 2018 Selected Recipient:

Winner: Buffalo Public School - Bilingual Center School 33: 

The Bilingual Center School 33 serves nearly 600 children in Pre-K through 8th grade with nearly half recognized as “English language learners.”  The school focuses on a child/community-centered approach, dual language program and inquiry/project based learning initiatives where students will achieve academic excellence, cultural competence, college and career readiness, social/emotional balance and enduring understanding. 

The Buffalo Public Schools motto; Putting children and families first to ensure high academic achievement for all, demonstrates their and Dr. King’s belief that children – all children - have the right and ability to learn and achieve.  The Bilingual Center 33 encourages parents/guardians to be actively involved in their child’s learning with results leading to higher levels of academic achievement and social responsibilities for their child.  The materials from Project Flight will assist students in following the vision of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by achieving the school’s educational programming goals.  Miguel Medina is the Principal and Robert Roberts is the Assistant Principal.