The Frederick Law Olmsted School began as a neighborhood school with a gifted and talented magnet component. The school had its beginning in the fall of 1979 when a pilot program for gifted and talented students was initiated at School 56 located on West Delavan Avenue. The success of this pilot program led to its expansion as a citywide magnet and to the addition of School 64 as part of the Olmsted program. Throughout the years, as the popularity of this program increased, an additional site was added at the former Holy Angels School on West Avenue. When the lease at Holy Angels expired, the program was moved to School 67 on Abbott Road. The school operated in this configuration for almost a decade when because of the opening of the Discovery School program at School 67 Olmsted consolidated into two sites – School 56 and School 64. In September 2005 a Dual Language Immersion Program was instituted at the school. Beginning in Pre-Kindergarten this program, with an enrollment of both English and Spanish speaking students, has as its goal the development of students who are fluent in both English and Spanish.
The formation of a high school to continue the Olmsted program had been a dream of parents since the inception of the school. Working together administrators, teachers and parents developed the plan for a high school and petitioned the superintendent and the school board to grant this extension of the Olmsted program. This recommendation was well received and the former Kensington High School was selected as the site for the new high school. In September 2007, the 5-8 school program housed at School 56 moved into the former Kensington high school building. September 2008 saw Olmsted’s first freshmen class. The school program continues to grow and now has grades 5-12. With the addition of the high school, Olmsted 64 remained a neighborhood school with a gifted component. However, the 5-12 program was no longer attached to any neighborhood and became a citywide school focusing on gifted education.
Prior to September 2011, Olmsted had one principal. With the expansion to grade 12 the administrative duties were divided. Mrs. Nora Trincanati became the principal of Olmsted 64 (PK-4) and Dr. Michael Gruber remained as the principal of Olmsted 156 (5-12).
As Olmsted moves on, it is part of the Buffalo school district’s Joint Reconstruction Program. Olmsted at Kensington (as the upper building is called) underwent a 22 million dollar top-to-bottom renovation. Beginning in the fall of 2011 Olmsted 64 will undergo a similar renovation, with a significant addition to the existing school. By June 2013 the entire Olmsted program will be in two state of the art facilities giving Buffalo its only PK-12 gifted program.