RIT, Uncommon Schools Team Up to Form a Charter High School

Sep 11, 2013

Student classroom at True North Rochester Preparatory Charter School on Brooks Avenue
Credit WXXI News

The Rochester Institute of Technology and Uncommon Schools are joining forces to create a new charter high school in Rochester.

The plan is open the first Rochester Prep high school next fall with a 60-student 9th grade class. Officials say by 2018 they hope to have 500 students enrolled.  Students currently attending Rochester Prep middle schools will automatically transfer to the high school to continue their education - much like neighborhood high schools.

RIT president Bill Destler says more universities and colleges need to be involved in students' education, from K-12, to help them prepare for college. 

"Our goal in this program is a bit unusual," says Destler.  "It's not just to encourage more students to pursue college and graduate from high school. Our ultimate goal is to graduate these kids from 4-year colleges. We are very ambitious. We want to see these kids get a graduate bachelor’s degree. Only when that happens will we be satisfied with the outcome."

Destler says the new charter high school will expose students to STEM program and careers through lectures and summer programs on RIT's campus.

The new school is made possible by a generous donation from former chairman and CEO of Baush and Lomb, Ronald Zarrella.

A location for the Rochester Prep high school has yet to be determined. Officials say the site selection process is underway.

Uncommon Schools is a non-profit organization that starts and manages urban charter public schools with an aim to close the achievement gap and prepare low income students to graduate from college.