September 19, 2012
The Buffalo Public Schools received good news last year: its four-year graduation rate rose by seven percent. Still, nearly half the district's high school students fail to earn a diploma. The struggling urban school system continues to look for dramatic fixes. This year they're starting in Kindergarten.
The sight and sound of a crying child is common in kindergarten, says Nadia Nashir, principal of School 45. In many cases, this is enough for parents to keep their kids out of school, among a litany of other reasons they cite.
...Students notice lilypad decals lining the hallways. Eventually, they encounter someone dressed in giant fuzzy frog costume jumping, pumping fists and giving thumbs up gestures.
This is Ready Freddy
...Already, the green mascot has made a connection with students at School 45, says Nashir.
“They gave him a high five, like he was a good friend of theirs: ‘Oh, Ready Freddy give me a hug.’ It was a different kind of environment,” says Nashir. “Last school year I remember my kindergarten teacher having to put a bookshelf near her door because students were running out.”
Read more at Innovationtrail.org