• Superintendent Mark Laurrie 

    Mark Laurrie

    From Niagara Falls City School District Superintendent Mark Laurrie


    In my first article of 2023, I will update you on two Niagara Falls City School District (NFCSD) programs that are expanding and producing excellent academic outcomes for our students. The two programs I will address are the New York State Seal of Civic Readiness and dual high school/college enrollment. 


    New York State Seal of Civic Readiness

    Niagara Falls High School (NFHS) is pleased to offer the New York State Seal of Civic Readiness (NYSSCR) program. NYSSCR formally recognizes high school graduates who have attained a high level of proficiency in their social studies coursework and have demonstrated civic engagement through special projects. Examples of civic projects include: participating in unified sports, coaching, volunteering, and dance instruction. 


    Upon completion of the program, students who receive the NYSSCR distinction can: 

    • Connect with real-world experiences that will promote active civic participation in communities  
    • Make informed decisions about world issues 
    • Believe in the power of their voices and actions 
    • Develop knowledge, skills, and mindsets to be productive civic participants 
    • Engage responsibly in our culturally diverse democracy
    • Enhance scholarship opportunities, college applications, and resumes  


    Graduates who complete the program receive a special Seal of Civic Readiness distinction on their high school transcripts and diplomas. 


    In the 2021 – 2022 school year, 103 students earned the NYSSCR. The District has more than 200 students pursuing it in 2023. Only seniors can earn the NYSSCR; however, this year, prep school students are engaged in a social studies project that will earn them one point toward the civic participation side of the Seal of Civic Readiness.  


    Dual Enrollment/College Credit Courses

    The NFCSD offers 20 dual enrollments (taking college credit courses and earning high school credit) with Niagara University. More than 300 students will earn college credits this year through the Niagara University Senior Term Enrichment Program (NUSTEP). Participants in NUSTEP receive a reduced rate in the cost per credit hour. Participants who receive at least a B- (80) in their NUSTEP courses, and enroll at Niagara University the fall semester after their senior year of high school, are eligible to receive a $3,000 scholarship per year.


    NUSTEP courses include: 

    • Hospitality
    • Business (economics & business law)
    • Natural Sciences (biology, chemistry, earth science, forensics)
    • Social Sciences (psychology, sociology)
    • Government
    • Mathematics
    • Communications


    Niagara County Community College (NCCC) offers a dual enrollment program with 23 courses. This year, more than 300 students are earning college credits in the following areas:

    • P-Tech Pathways (advanced algebra, advanced computer-aided design, computer-aided design, draft, and lab)
    • Law enforcement (junior law enforcement academy)
    • STEM fields
    • Art Pathways
    • Education/Teacher/Social Worker Pathways 
    • E-sports  
    • Hospitality, sport, and tourism pathways 
    • Criminal justice


    The District’s dual enrollment programs have added two new higher education partnerships this school year. We are collaborating with Daemen University, where over 150 students are earning college credits in sociology, cartooning, and animation. At Bryant & Stratton, 60 students are earning college credits in an introduction to psychology class. 


    Looking toward the future, the NFCSD is collaborating with Buffalo State College and the State University of New York at Buffalo for the 2023-2024 school year to add more teacher preparation courses and to offer college credit for our African American Studies course. 


    I will keep you updated on the successes of these programs. Also, in my upcoming articles, I will review more of the District’s excellent initiatives as we continue to produce young people ready for success once their public education is completed.