A New Chapter for Commons: Our First Home

We are thrilled to announce Buffalo Common’s new home: 833 Michigan Ave! The location is the physical embodiment of our mission:

  • Offer a world-class education

  • Build a diverse school community

  • Offer an innovative real-world curriculum by incorporating partnerships with our immediate community

Located at the intersection of some of Buffalo’s most vibrant neighborhoods, Commons proudly joins the area’s rich history, ready to contribute to the work ahead and build a future full of opportunity.

View from our new kindergarten classroom.

A Truly American Neighborhood

Commons will launch from the edge of the Fruit Belt - one of Buffalo’s oldest and most storied neighborhoods. The history of the Fruit Belt encompasses so much of the American story and is worth recounting, briefly, here.

Following generations of stewardship by the Six Nations peoples, the area was settled in the early 1800s by immigrants from southern Germany fleeing religious persecution. The Fruit Belt takes its name from the many orchards these residents planted in the area. The boundaries of the orchards became the basis for the present streets, whose names remind us of this early history. This portion of the story feels familiar from the schoolbooks of yore. It expresses much of what is exceptional about the American experiment - the heroic resistance and pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness.

Like neighborhoods in cities across the country, the demographics of the Fruit Belt have changed over time. An essential, though often untold, part of the Fruit Belt’s story is the departure of the White community beginning in the 1950s, which was encouraged by federally subsidized building of suburbs. Concurrently, “urban renewal” efforts led to the demolition of nearby Black neighborhoods and unfair housing practices that pushed Black residents out of nearby areas. Consequently, the Fruit Belt became home to many displaced Black families, again becoming a resilient center for culture and community just as it had been 150 years previous.

The Fruit Belt has continued to evolve over the last 70 years, and there have been numerous tests of the community’s fortitude. Yet there is a common thread to the story of the Fruit Belt: no matter what their demographic, Buffalonians are a strong and enduring people. That is something we all have in common.

A Future Full of Opportunity

More recently, the Fruit Belt’s story includes reinvesting resources into the area in a revitalized downtown and medical campus adjacent to the historic neighborhood. These new developments have not been without their pain points, but we believe there are limitless possibilities for writing a new chapter of the story in this neighborhood. Commons is a fresh new option for families looking for something different, something better. We are an intentionally diverse school community committed to providing a learning environment where every student feels a sense of belonging, has access to a world-class academic program, and develops a guiding sense of purpose.

Centrally located, Commons is easily accessible to many vibrant communities of Buffalo. Just a stone’s throw away from Allentown, Elmwood Village, Masten Park, and Willert Park, we have a unique opportunity to bring students and families together across lines of difference.

The facility itself provides a spectacular launch pad for the Commons program. A few highlights include:

  • Classrooms newly remodeled in 2016

  • A full-size gymnasium where students can exercise and play each day

  • A fully operational cafeteria to provide fresh, locally-sourced meals

  • Outside spaces for outdoor recess and learning

  • Proximity to incredible partnerships (more on that in an upcoming post ;-)

Take a Tour

We’ll be moving in the next few weeks and opening our doors for tours and open houses starting in early 2022. Please shoot us an email to arrange a time to come by and see the space and spend some time with our leadership team!


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