The Rochester City School District is conducting a week long leadership summit consisting of national speakers, educational seminars and personal introspection.           

The five-day summit will focus on following the District’s priority areas: educational equity, relational capacity, innovation, accountability and coherence.

What is the future of Catholic education? We’ve seen some schools shift and close, but the evolution of Catholic education shows some resilience. Nazareth Elementary, for example, is moving to the old Sacred Heart School. Interestingly, 70 percent of the students at Nazareth are not Catholic.

Our guests discuss modern challenges and how they’re adapting. In studio:

  • Sr. Margaret Mancuso, principal of Nazareth Elementary
  • Deborah Hanmer, parent of two children in Catholic elementary school
  • Mary Martell, principal of Holy Cross School

Only five school districts in New York State do not have full day kindergarten. Pittsford remains one of those districts, despite the efforts of teachers and administrators to convince voters. Brighton recently moved to adopt full day kindergarten.

Our guests discuss their views and educating young children:

  • Mike Pero, superintendent of the Pittsford Central School District
  • Kevin McGowan, superintendent of the Brighton Central School District

Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse is making waves with his new book, offering advice on how to raise children to become responsible adults. One of his ideas is to have kids travel more often, and not necessarily for fun. Sasse says kids need to experience diversity in the world in order to understand that there are other cultures and circumstances.

We discuss this with our guests, including Paul Burgett, who travels twice annually, often for a month at a time to immerse in a new place. In studio:

  • Paul Burgett, vice president and senior advisor to the president at the University of Rochester
  • Jane Gatewood, vice provost for global engagement at the University of Rochester

Caitlin Whyte / WXXI News

While most high schoolers were working part time jobs or soaking up the sun, some kids in the Rochester City School District were learning more about STEM careers.    

Graduating and incoming seniors had the opportunity to take a new class called City Living this summer.

Smiley Samuel joined the class voluntarily, already interested in becoming a mechanical enginer and working with cars after graduation. They said they learned about the history of Rochester through the course, about the bridges, how the downtown library was built and how the city got its nickname.


New York State is planning to expand opportunities for college courses in some state prisons. Governor Andrew Cuomo and Manhattan D-A Cyrus Vance say $7.3 million will provide college-level education and training for  more than 2,500 prisoners across the state.

The money comes from large bank settlements secured by the Manhattan District Attorney’s office. 

Among the programs in this region will be classes at the Albion Correctional facility, provided by Medaille College and Five Points Correctional Facility, with services provided by Cornell University.

A local organization is helping parents get involved in their communities in various ways. It's called the Parent Leadership Training Institute. Trainees have already tackled a number of local subjects, including opening a spray park in the 19th Ward, and working to smooth the process of Urban-Suburban students joining a local district.

We learn what else the organization has planned and how it is growing. In studio:

  • Carolyn Lee-Davis, advisor for the Greater Rochester Parent Leadership Training Institute
  • Rosalind Walker, institute alum and mother who lives in Rochester
  • Luva Alvarez, coordinator for the Greater Rochester Parent Leadership Training Institute

An international exchange program with big goals is being held in Rochester for the first time. Rochester Global Connections is partnering with Allendale Columbia School to host the Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program. It's a cultural immersion experience for high school students from different parts of Iraq, who who learn about leadership development, peace building, and human rights alongside local students.

We talk to the students about what they've learned, and how they hope to build bridges among their communities when they return to Iraq. Our guests:

  • Cecelia Hencke, executive director of Rochester Global Connections
  • Emily Atieh, global engagement scholar at Allendale Columbia School
  • Murtatha "Seyyid" Almehanni, IYLEP participant 
  • Fatimah Saleem, IYLEP participant

Caitlin Whyte / WXXI News

One recreation center in Rochester went on a field trip to better connect kids to the food they eat.

On a warm summer day, a group of kids from the Humboldt Recreation Center in Rochester hopped on a bus and drove 20 minutes out to the town of Rush, to spend the day learning about farm life and the hard work and processes that go into food production.

Something that co-owner of Stonecrop Farm, where the trip took place, Gregory Hartt believes should happen more.

Here’s a stat that may surprise you. Only 12 percent of youth in Greater Rochester and the Finger Lakes are getting daily physical activity. This means the majority of area youth are not getting 60 minutes a day of active time. That’s one of the stats released in a recent report by the Aspen Institute. The findings are being used by the Rochester Area Community Foundation and the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation to improve access to sports, among other things, for area kids. Why this matters to all area residents and what’s being done to address gaps that exist with youth sports and recreational activities on this edition of Need to Know.