Assemblymember Wallace Secures State Funding for Cheektowaga-Sloan School District

Today, Assemblymember Monica P. Wallace (D-Lancaster) announced that she has secured $110,000 in state funding for the Cheektowaga-Sloan School District. The funding is being used by the district to implement restorative justice practices and to expand the district’s use of the Lucy Calkins Program. Building upon the Lucy Calkins Program’s success in the district, this funding will help expand reading and writing programs in all K-5 classrooms, and implement the program’s phonics curriculum in K-2 classrooms. In 2018, Wallace secured $75,000 for the district to pilot the writing program.

“Investing in early childhood reading and writing development sets students on a path of continued growth throughout their lives,” said Assemblymember Wallace. “I’m thrilled to once again work with Superintendent Andrea Galenski to further enrich the day-to-day lives of students in the Cheektowaga-Sloan School District. Embracing comprehensive and tested reading and writing workshops will continue to enhance the learning experience of Cheektowaga-Sloan students while giving educators additional tools to help their students succeed.”

The district is now in its third year utilizing the reading program, which provides teachers with books, resources, and classroom furniture which have increased student achievement. Additionally, as a result of funding Wallace secured in 2018, the district now enters its second year of implementing the Lucy Calkins Writing Program. The implementation of the writing program began last year with the training of one teacher, is expanding this year with the training of 11 additional teachers, and will train about 10 additional teachers next year. In addition to the reading and writing programs, the district is implementing a K-2 Lucy Calkins Phonics Units of Study program this year to further build upon childhood literacy skills.

“I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to Assemblymember Monica Wallace for her continued strong advocacy and for being a strong voice for the Cheektowaga-Sloan School District,” said Superintendent Andrea Galenski. “We have been able to make significant progress in reading as a result of the additional funding that we received last year. In learning that we are receiving an additional $110,000 for this school year, we are able to partner with the Erie County Justice Coalition to bring restorative practices to all of our schools and to continue the fine work that we have begun with reading and now writing. I am extremely grateful and honored to work with such a supportive, vocal and powerful woman like Monica Wallace who continues to fight for education and equity for all students.”

As a result of this additional funding, Cheektowaga-Sloan is collaborating with Dina Thompson, board president of the Erie County Restorative Justice Coalition, to train school faculty members on restorative justice practices. The training recognizes an increased need to focus on all students' social and emotional well-being. This year, the district will focus on restorative circles and building positive and trusting relationships between students and their peers and between students and teachers. In the first month of the school year, Superintendent Galenski noted that the district is already experiencing a marked improvement and is thrilled about the progress that is being made.

“Restorative justice practices help foster better trust and communication in school buildings, which makes for a better learning environment for students and improved educational outcomes. I commend Cheektowaga-Sloan for taking on this important program, and I’m thrilled to have played a role in bringing it to implementation,” said Wallace.

The funding announced today is in addition to more than $15.4 million in state aid for Cheektowaga-Sloan that Wallace successfully fought for in the state’s 2019-2020 budget.