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.

We continue our series of interviews with the candidates for Rochester City School Board. We discuss the candidates’ priorities, and we discuss hot issues in the election. In studio:

Six candidates are vying for three seats on the Rochester City School Board, and they all say it’s time for change. We sit down with the candidates in groups of three to learn why they are running, to hear their platforms, and to explore their ideas for improving struggling schools and increasing the ranks of teachers of color in the district. It’s your chance to meet the candidates and ask your questions. In studio:

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.

School leaders argue that New York State has shortchanged them. Last week, we heard from suburban districts. Now, we hear from students and parents in the Rochester City School District, who argue that students there are more acutely impacted.

So what are they asking for? And what do they hope to accomplish with this weekend's People's March for Education Justice? Our guests:

  • Je'Carl Hill, RCSD graduate and youth organizer at Teen Empowerment
  • Juan Callado, high school student at Monroe BOCES, and member of Metro Justice and Special Parents Special Kids
  • Pia Moller, parent of a student at School 53, and member of Metro Justice
  • Eamonn Scanlon, lead education organizer for Metro Justice and the Alliance for Quality Education in Rochester

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Four Rochester schools, which have been struggling academically, have learned they will not be forced to deal with increased supervision by the state.

New York State Education Commissioner Mary Ellen Elia has announced that nine out of 10 persistently struggling schools in the state made demonstrable improvement during the 2015-16 school year.

That includes four  schools in Rochester, the East Lower School and East Upper High School, James Monroe High School and School 9, the Dr. Martin Luther King School.


It’s been one year since The University of Rochester took on the role as the Educational Partnership Organization for East High School.

Superintendent of the Lower and Upper schools Shaun Nelms said that year one has been about identifying the root issues they plan to address with this partnership. The list ranged from low attendance rates and curriculum changes, to behavioral problems, and student teacher relations.

The statistic Nelms was most proud of was increased retention rates from grade 9 to grade 10.

East High School | University of Rochester

You could call it the most watched school in Rochester. East High School is kicking off year two in its collaboration with the University of Rochester. On this edition of Need to Know we learn what’s in store for this new school year as this innovative intervention continues to unfold.

Also on the show, photonics is now in Rochester and eventually the jobs promised will be here too. We’ll tell you how local schools are preparing their students to cash in on the booming industry.

And in the midst of continued turmoil and unrest in South Sudan, hope springs forth. How the Rochester-South Sudan partnership is bringing new opportunities to the youth of Mayan-Abun.

Four RCSD Schools to Receive Additional Grant Funding

Sep 12, 2016
Alex Crichton

The State Department of Education announced it has awarded four Rochester City Schools an additional $500,000 in grant funding this year, a total of around $2.5 million each for these Priority Schools, or those among the state's lowest performing schools.

The schools can use the funding to make federally or state-designed changes intended to improve student outcomes.

This round of School Improvement Grants, or SIG 7 funding, was essential for city school No. 19 to enter into an Educational Partnership Organization, or EPO, with SUNY Geneseo.

Former Rochester Schools Superintendent Bolgen Vargas is a finalist for a superintendent post in New Hampshire, for the Manchester Schools.

According to the  New Hampshire Union Leader, Vargas is one of two finalists to fill the post. The other finalist is Vincent Cotter, a former school superintendent in Pennsylvania.