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Leaders of the opt-out movement say they're still not pleased with New York state's Common Core-based tests and the pressures they place on students and teachers.

Last year, there were about 250,000 students across the state who opted out of the exams. As officials prepare to administer the English language arts exams this week, some are expecting similar refusal numbers this year. 

A Rochester teen is the winner of this year's Princeton Prize in Race Relations. 

18 year old Shalinda Bollar was honored this week at the  award ceremony at Allendale Columbia School.

Bollar was recognized for work she has done both with the city school district and at the Teen Empowerment Center where she is a youth organizer.

Bollar, a student at Early College International High School, has worked on the effort to revamp the Code of Conduct in the city school district, so that suspensions are used only as a measure of last resort.

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The  New York State Legislature has re-elected two members of the Board of Regents including Vice Chancellor, and Rochester attorney, T. Andrew Brown, as well as Regent Nan Eileen Mead.

Brown was first elected to the board in 2012. He was named Vice Chancellor after Betty Rosa replaced Chancellor Merryl Tisch who did not seek re-election.

The board also welcomed a new member, Susan Mittler, who led the Ithaca teachers union for a number of years. She replaces James Tallon, a Binghamton-based  Regent. Mittler is now a visiting lecturer at Cornell University.

The Monroe County Federation of Teachers  is calling on New York State to take further action to change the way standardized tests are handled for students in grades 3 through 8.

The federation represents 20 teacher unions and says that  teacher leaders met with state education commissioner MaryEllen Elia last December about their concerns.

"Cold Can't Stop" these children from attending class

Mar 17, 2017
Alex Crichton

School officials say an initiative within the Rochester City School District's "Every Minute Matters" initiative is working.

The "Cold Can't Stop Us" campaign aims to get more students to attend classes, particularly though the cold weather months of February through April.

The mid-point results of the campaign are a success, according to Deputy Superintendent for teaching and learning for the district, Kendra March.

freeimages.com/Sachie Yamazaki

Numerous studies have shown that starting the day with breakfast has a positive influence for students.

The federal government funds a program that allows income-eligible students to eat that first meal of the day at school, but less than one third of those who qualify for the program in New York State take advantage of it.

(AP & WXXI News)  New York state's high school graduation rate continued its slow upward climb in 2016, when 79.4 percent of students earned a diploma after four years. 

The graduation rate released Friday by the state Department of Education is 1.3 percent higher than the 78.1 percent for the class of 2015. State officials say black and Hispanic students and students in the bigger cities were among those making gains. 

Is it time to move back school start times? Science and research makes a pretty good argument that the answer is yes; kids have a harder time focusing in the early hours, and need more sleep. The problem is that districts are under a lot of pressure to provide a wide range of after-school programs, and starting later could complicate that. But several local districts are taking a hard look at later start times.

We discuss what's ideal, and how to achieve it. Our guests:         

  • Dr. Heidi Connolly, assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Golisano Children’s Hospital
  • Dr. Kevin McGowan, superintendent of the Brighton Central School District
  • Miranda Cologgi, parent
  • Erin Schneider, assistant principal at Hilton High School, and parent

ROC the Future is rolling out a new mobile app designed to help parents foster everyday learning opportunities for youth up to age 5.

It's called ReadyRosie, which is another tool in the parent's toolbox to take an active role in their child's development, according to Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren.

"The mobile and online application uses a series of well thought out videos to give parents of children ages 0 to 5, ideas on how to embrace early learning, using everyday scenarios," she said.

Making the case for after-school programs

Jan 30, 2017
Alex Crichton

City and community leaders joined out-of-state experts at the Greater Rochester Afterschool Leadership Summit, held Monday at the Memorial Art Gallery.

Speakers at the event highlighted the value of after-school programs, and shared ways to fund them.

Out of school time, or after-school and summer programs, have been proven to work, according to Jennifer Brown Lerner, Deputy Director of the American Youth Policy Forum based in Washington, D.C.

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