WXXI AM News

Rochester City School District

The Rochester School Board recently passed a nearly $900 million budget. District spending has a few critics among Rochester’s mayoral candidates who are calling for more accountability and transparency. One person who has spent much time dissecting what’s working and what’s not in city schools is Board President Van White. He joins this edition of Need to Know to talk mayor-school district partnership, the current state of the city school system and more.

Candidates in the race for Rochester mayor are painting a picture of what city schools might look like under their administration. Now that we’ve heard some of their plans, we hear from the School Board President. On this edition of Need to Know, Van White weighs in on their proposals, the Superintendent and his vision for what’s next in city schools.

Also on the show, our relatively warm forecast this week doesn’t change the fact that Lake Ontario remains at record high levels. Great Lakes reporter/producer Veronica Volk shares the stories of those impacted, mounting fears and next steps.

And we’ll meet a Rochester high school student utilizing her own life experiences for the sake of racial tolerance and understanding. She’s the latest to join WXXI’s “Top of the Class” series on Need to Know.

Betsy DeVos has been confirmed as the new Secretary of Education. What does that mean for our public schools?

We reached out to many local school leaders to join the discussion; most declined. Our panel discusses the issues they see as most in play during the Trump administration. Note: there are school-choice advocates who are not in positions of public school leadership, and we'll be inviting them to join us in the coming days, too. In studio:

  • Steve Uebbing, professor of educational leadership, and director of the Center for Urban Education Success at the Warner School of Education at the University of Rochester
  • Adam Urbanski, president of the Rochester Teachers Association
  • Trina Newton, superintendent of the Geneva Central School District
  • Van White, president of the Rochester City School Board

This coming Friday is Black Lives Matter Day in the Rochester City School District. RCSD says the mission is to create "a day of education, dialogue and action that will actively engage a significant number of educational communities throughout Monroe County in activities that support understanding the affirmation of black lives."

The Rochester Board of Education and the RTA supports this programming, but participation by individual teachers is optional. We discuss it with our panel:

  • LoWan Brown, assistant principal at Joseph C. Wilson Foundation Academy and co-organizer of the event
  • Chris Widmaier, science teacher at World of Inquiry School No. 58 and co-organizer of the event
  • Mahreen Mustafa-George, parent and co-organizer of the event
  • Atim Okung, student activist and co-organizer of the event

www.ureasthigh.org

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.

The Rochester City School District says it has completed its testing for lead in water in all school buildings and district facilities. Officials say results show that about 19 percent of drinking water fixtures showed lead levels above an EPA threshold for schools and child care centers.

In early August, initial tests had showed 11 percent of water fixtures in 22 schools had been above the EPA threshold.

The district says that over the summer, it replaced all fixtures that had lead levels above the safety guideline.

SASHA-ANN SIMONS/ WXXI NEWS

On her third day as superintendent of the Rochester City School District, Barbara Deane-Williams shared how she would first help the struggling district. Reorganizing some roles at central office, she said, would allow teachers to better focus on their students.

On Wednesday morning, Deane-Williams visited the summer bridge programs offered to incoming ninth-graders at Edison Career and Technology High School. She sat down with administrators and met with students in English, math and computer classes. 

Caitlin Whyte / WXXI News

Former Greece Central School District Superintendent Barbara Deane-Williams was appointed as the new Rochester City School District Superintendent Monday afternoon.

Williams said it was an unanticipated choice, when she received a call about the position in late June. She had committed to another year working as Deputy Superintendent with Boston Public Schools, but the opportunity to come back and work with Rochester was one she could not pass up.

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