Schools and School News

    2017

      Five local High Schools in region tops in NY State

      4/27/17
      Victoria Friele, Democrat and Chronicle staff writer reports that "Five Rochester-area high schools are among the top high schools in New York and the top 500 schools in the country, according to the U.S. News and World Report’s annual report. Leading the pack are Pittsford Mendon and Pittsford Sutherland high schools, which were ranked 14th and 22nd in New York (and 86th and 165th nationally), respectively, according to the annual report."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      RCSD looks to decrease classifications

      4/18/17
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle staff writer reports that "The Rochester City School District is aiming to reduce its special education classification rate, saying many of those students could receive intervention services in a less onerous way. One in five Rochester children is classified as special education, a rate that stands out in Monroe County but not among similar districts statewide. Buffalo and New York City have higher classification rates, and Syracuse is equal to Rochester at 20 percent."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Nazareth Elementary to move making way for new charter school

      4/14/17
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle staff writer reports that "After 101 years at its Lake Avenue campus, Nazareth Elementary School will relocate in the fall to new space at the former Sacred Heart Cathedral School on Flower City Park, with a new charter school taking its place."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Pittsford planning all day Kindergarten

      4/4/17
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle staff writer reports that "This past Wednesday, as on most days, the 5-year-olds at Jefferson Road Elementary School in Pittsford accomplished about as much as they possibly could in half a school day. They read aloud, and rehearsed poems and songs for an upcoming recital. They went to see a play about respect and teamwork. They took turns with a stuffed owl named Baby Echo, mounted on the end of a stick, pointing as they spelled out three-letter words."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Fairport CSD's budget would cut 38 positions

      4/12/17
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle staff writer reports that "Beset by falling enrollment and reserve funds, the Fairport Central School District is proposing a 2017-18 budget that would cut 38 full-time positions, including 26 teachers. The $127 million budget will go to voters May 16. It includes a 3 percent tax levy increase and adds more than $1.3 million for special education, mental health initiatives and other intervention services. At the same time, it cuts 18 secondary teachers, eight elementary teachers, four paraprofessionals, an assistant principal, three clerks and a technology worker. Those reductions will save the district more than $1 million in salary and benefits. With fewer students and fewer teachers, class sizes would increase incrementally under the current plan. There would be one extra student per classroom in K-2, and as many as four additional students per classroom at the high school. The district stressed that its projected class sizes would still remain within its own guidelines and past practice. Some of the 38 cuts could be achieved through attrition, but not all. They represent 3.3 percent of the district’s total workforce of 1,161 people."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      State audit knocks RCSD methods

      4/11/17
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle staff writer reports that "The Rochester City School District’s procedures for disbursing its budget of almost a billion dollars is a shambles, the New York state Comptroller’s office said in an audit released Monday, with a lack of proper controls along with widespread skirting of the rules that do exist. The audit found no evidence of intentional fraud, but plenty of opportunity for it. There were problems with nearly every employee payroll and credit card purchase reviewed, as well as hundreds of thousands of dollars of big-ticket purchases and contracts that hadn’t been properly bid."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Two Greece CSD girls arrested in fight on school bus

      4/8/17
      Democrat and Chronicle staff report that " Two teenage girls were arrested and charged Friday after an argument on their Greece school bus apparently escalated to spitting and a dousing with pepper spray, according to police. Officers responded to a 911 call placed around 11:30 a.m. that reported an altercation between two girls on Ridgewood Road. The girls had been arguing on their school bus when one allegedly spit on the other as she was exiting the bus, and the other allegedly retaliated with pepper spray, according to a news release issued by Greece police. The girls, age 16 and 18, were arrested and charged with harassment in the second degree, a violation. The girl who allegedly used the pepper spray was charged with unlawful possession of a noxious substance, a misdemeanor. Police did not release their names. Both girls were issued tickets to appear in Greece Town Court, and then sent home with their parents."dd>

      Father cries foul after RCSD School's opt-outs disappear

      4/4/17
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle staff writer reports that "In 2016, 155 students at Rochester’s Wilson Foundation Academy refused to take the state English exam. Last week, the opt-out ranks were down to one single student, and that girl’s father is accusing the school of using coercion to make it happen. Raif Zenelovic’s daughter, a fifthgrader, was the only student out of more than 300 students in grades 3-8 at Wilson Foundation who didn’t take the state English test."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      RCSD considered adopting troubled Charter School

      3/26/17
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle staff writer reports that "Rochester School Board President Van White often talks about how the district needs to make a splash to win more city students away from charter schools. A concept he discussed with Dennis Francione last year certainly would have qualified. Before the New York state Board of Regents voted earlier this month to close Rochester Career Mentoring Charter School, White and Francione, the school’s founder and CEO, had discussed trying to fold the school into the district intact."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Could NY have prevented troubles at charter school?

      3/26/17
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle staff writer reports that "The original promise of charter schools was to breed innovation in education, allowing schools to try new ideas without the weight of a traditional school district administration. Some have succeeded wildly. A number of schools in Rochester and around the country have greatly exceeded the academic standards of their host districts through creative staffing, curriculum and community outreach."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Charter School students left adift by schools closing

      3/26/17
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle staff writer reports that "The very name of the school — Rochester Career Mentoring Charter School — was the first selling point for Neysha Rodriguez. She was coming from middle school in the city school district and wanted a high school program that would propel her toward a good-paying job. After hearing a sales pitch from school founder Dennis Francione at a recruitment event, she thought she’d found it. “Everybody was like: ‘This is the best school! We get laptops, it’s a small setting,’” she said. “He made it all rose petals.”"
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Sheila Webster, Principal World of Inquiry named top NY State K-12 Building Principal

      3/25/17
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle staff writer reports that "Sheela Webster, the principal of World of Inquiry School 58 in Rochester, was named the top K-12 building principal of 2017 by the State Administrators Association of New York State. Webster began her long education career in the Rochester City School District as a teacher at School 9. She has been principal at World of Inquiry, one of the district's most successful schools, since 2010."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      RCSD, Schools get state grants

      3/25/17
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle staff writer reports that "The Rochester City School District and Eugenio Maria de Hostos Charter School shared more than $2 million in state grant funding to turn schools into community centers with an array of after-school activities. The district got $1.2 million to make Martin Luther King Jr. School 9 and Abraham Lincoln School 22, both in northeast Rochester, into community schools. Eugenio Maria de Hostos, a charter school with campuses on Joseph Avenue and Zimbrich Street, got $900,000 for after-school programming. The grants were part of $78 million distributed statewide to create what the New York State Education Department called “21st century community learning centers.” “In many of our communities, schools must be more than just a place for learning. They must serve as community centers that provide families and students with much-needed resources and services they wouldn’t otherwise be able to access,” Board of Regents Chancellor Betty A. Rosa said in a statement. “The grant money will allow more of our schools, with the help of partner organizations, to establish and grow enrichment activities and services for under-served children.”"
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Fewer than a third of qualifying NY children partake in free or lower-cost morning meal at school

      3/24/17
      Joseph Spector, Lindsey Riback, and Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle staff writers report that "Even as an increasing number of children in Monroe County and New York state qualify for free or reduced-price meals at school, thousands of them are not actually receiving and eating their breakfast, according to a new analysis. The report from Hunger Solutions New York, released earlier this month, showed that fewer than a third of New York children who are eligible for free or reduced-priced breakfast actually participated in the program. That rate is 42nd among the 50 states in providing students with free or reduced-price breakfast; the national average for participation is 56 percent. Sixty-three percent of students in New York were eligible for free or reduced- price breakfast last school year, but just 30 percent of them participated, meaning more than 1.1 million children may have gone hungry some mornings."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Webster CSD Teacher arrest: What to tell children

      3/24/17
      Victoria Freile, Democrat and Chronicle staff writers report that " Many parents want to know how to talk to their children about the arrest of an elementary teacher. Terrance P. Hoctor, a fourth-grade teacher at State Road Elementary School in Webster, is accused of recording two female students with a mobile phone as the girls changed their clothing in a school bathroom on March 3. He was charged Wednesday with two counts of unlawful surveillance, a felony, and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child, a misdemeanor."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Webster Teacher arrested for taking photos of girls in bathroom

      3/23/17
      Victoria Friele and Sarah Taddeo, Democrat and Chronicle staff writers report that "A Webster teacher accused of filming two students as they changed clothing in a school bathroom was arrested Wednesday by Webster police. Terrance P. Hoctor, a fourth-grade teacher at State Road Elementary, was charged Wednesday with two counts of unlawful surveillance, a felony, and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child, a misdemeanor, according to Webster Police Chief Joseph Rieger. Hoctor, 44, of Webster, is accused of taking photos of two female students with a mobile phone as the girls changed their clothing in a school bathroom, Rieger said. Hoctor has been a teacher with Webster Central School District since September 2006."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Brighton HS principal Hall named best in NY

      3/23/17
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle staff writer reports that "Brighton High School’s Tom Hall has been named the top high school principal in New York by the School Administrators Association of New York State, the school announced this week. Hall has been principal at Brighton High School since 2012, but began his career there as a biology teacher in 1996. He is also former principal at French Road Elementary School."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      RCSD budget plan adds heavily to staffing

      3/22/17
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle staff writer reports that "The Rochester City School District intends to add scores of reading and special education teachers and social workers in 2017-18 but has not yet determined quite how to pay for them all, according to a budget proposal unveiled Tuesday. The $791 million budget proposal, up 9 percent from 2016-17, fleshes out Superintendent Barbara Deane-Williams’ repeated pledge to create equity in funding for students across the district, making sure each building has enough reading teachers and other specialists to comply fully with state and federal regulations. It adds 144 teacher positions, including 22 administrators being reassigned to (lower-paying) teaching positions, increasing the total district workforce to 6,177 people for 27,011 students. Enrollment is actually up by 27 students from 2016-17, the first time since 2007- 08 the district did not lose students from one year to the next. "
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      NY State adds New Regents

      3/22/17
      Jon Campbell, Gannet staff writer reports that "The former head of the Ithaca teachers union was appointed Tuesday to the state’s education policy board, while a Rochester lawyer was reappointed to a new fiveyear term. Susan Mittler, who led the Ithaca Teachers Association from 1994 to 2012, was elected Tuesday to the state Board of Regents by Democrats in the state Legislature, who provided her with ample votes without Republican support. Democratic lawmakers also approved T. Andrew Brown, a Rochesterbased lawyer, and Manhattan’s Nan Eileen Mead for new terms. “(Mittler) knows well that if we want the best for our children, we have to recruit, train and then continue supporting excellent teachers who know their field and care deeply about children,” said Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton, an Ithaca Democrat who nominated Mittler for the post. "
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Rochester Career Mentoring Charter School ordered by NY State to close

      3/14/17
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle staff writer reports that "The New York State Board of Regents Monday voted unanimously to close Rochester Career Mentoring Charter School at the end of this school year, determining it had failed to provide a decent education to its 240 high school students. It is the first Rochester-area charter school to be closed since 2005, when two for-profit schools were denied renewal."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Brockport High School interns paired with businesses

      3/9/17
      The Democrat and Chronicle reports that " A window in Brockport has created quite a buzz in Brockport this winter. “I can’t tell you how many people have come in off the street to tell me ‘I love your window’ or ‘Your window looks great,’ ” said Tamara Barrus, owner of BeBe Mills, a fashion boutique on Main Street. Barrus is pleased to say she can’t take credit for it: the creative and eye-catching couture designs are the works of interns Jayce Durrant and Rowan Hamner."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Webster Police investigate allegation against Webster CSD staff person

      3/8/17
      Sarah Taddeo and Victoria Friele, Democrat and Chronicle staff writers report that "The Webster Police Department is investigating an allegation against a Webster Central School District employee. The allegations against the employee have not been released. Police have been working closely with district officials, according to a joint statement released by Webster Police Chief Joseph Rieger and Superintendent of Schools Carmen Gumina."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      RCSD Communication Director is leaving to go to URMC

      3/8/17
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle staff writer reports that "Rochester City School District Communications Director Chip Partner is leaving the district this month to lead the public relations department at the University of Rochester Medical Center, he said Tuesday."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Rochester River School and Rochester Stem Academy Charter School proposals advance

      3/7/17
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle staff writer reports that "Two charter schools looking to open in 2018, including the Rochester River Charter School, have passed an initial hurdle in the application process. Both the River School, which would have an environmentally conscious curriculum, and Rochester STEAM Academy Charter School, a technology- based program, had their letters of intent accepted by the State University of New York Charter Schools Institute, which can authorize new schools. The K-6 River School would be based on a similar model from New York City, with students’ work centered around and applied to the Genesee River. That would include lessons in science but also history, technology, math and the arts. It would also offer “humane education,” which means, among other things, that all the food there would be vegan."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Fewer in state pass alternate HS test

      3/3/17
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle staff writer reports that "The number of New Yorkers taking and passing a high school equivalency test dropped by nearly half from 2010 to 2015, coinciding with a major change in the test, according to a study released Thursday. In 2010, about 47,000 people took a high school equivalency test in New York and about 28,000 of them passed it. Five years later, only about 25,000 people took the test, and about 13,000 passed it. The statistics in Monroe County were similar; 443 people got an equivalency credential in 2015 compared with 967 in 2010."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Pittsford, 14 others to seek cap override

      3/3/17
      Joseph Spector, Democrat and Chronicle staff writer reports that ""Fewer and fewer school districts each year seek to override the property-tax cap, and this year appears to be no different. Just 15 districts indicated preliminarily they will ask voters May 16 to override the cap — which requires the approval of 60 percent of voters. So just 2 percent of the 648 school districts that reported their fiscal plans to the state Comptroller’s Office this week said they may seek an override — the fewest since the cap was installed in 2011, records show. Pittsford was the only Monroe County district listed as pursuing an override. “The tax cap is very respected. There’s pressure on the communities to stay within that,” said Deborah Cunningham, director of education and research at the state Association of School Business Officials.
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      RCSD Serving Caribbean fare with life skills

      2/28/17
      Tracy Schuhmacher, Democrat and Chronicle staff writer reports that "Claueshell Davidson’s mouth dropped when she first walked into the drab, dirty space that had been used for storage in the Village Gate Square. The East High School student, now a senior, couldn’t envision “how in the world” it would become a restaurant that she would help create and run."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      RCSD getting $300,000 for outreach to youth

      2/20/17
      The Democrat and Chronicle reports that "School districts in Albany and Rochester are getting financial help to reach young people who are neither working nor in school. The state Education Department last week announced a total of $300,000 in state and federal grants to implement the Connecting Youth in Transition Program in the two upstate New York cities. The program targets young people between the ages of 14 and 24 who have dropped out or could drop out of school, are unemployed, involved in the juvenile justice system, homeless, in foster care or from low-income families. The school districts will hire transition coordinators to help them improve their situations. The $300,000 in grants includes $150,000 for each community over two years."

      NY State Education leaders seek new aid formula

      2/15/17
      Joseph Spector, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "The head of the state Education Department urged the state Legislature on Tuesday to revamp the state’s antiquated school-aid formula and boost the money that goes to the nearly 700 districts in New York. MaryEllen Elia, the education commissioner, said New York should invest $2.1 billion into schools for the upcoming fiscal year, more than double the aid proposed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo last month."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Monroe Schools need bus drivers

      2/13/17
      Meaghan McDermott, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "On a typical day at the East Irondequoit Central School District transportation garage, it’s all hands on deck. Facing down a shortage of bus drivers means everyone, from the transportation director on down to the mechanics and administrative staff, could be called on to take a wheel, hit the road and head out to pick up and drop off students."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      RCSD graduation rate up slightly

      2/11/17
      Jon Cambell and Meaghan McDermott, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writers reports that "Although there was slight improvement last year in the Rochester City School District’s graduation rate, the district still lags far behind the state average. Overall, according to data released Friday by the state Education Department, New York’s high school graduation rate continued its slight upward trend last June, marking the fourth consecutive year it has inched up."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      NY Schools getting a fiscal boost

      2/6/17
      Joseph Spector, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "School districts’ pension costs will drop 16 percent next year, the state Teachers’ Retirement System said. The $110 billion pension fund, one of the largest in the nation, said last week that the districts’ payments into the fund will drop for the third straight year after soaring following the 2009 recession."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Gananda School bus flips over - 9 injured

      2/3/17
      Will Cleveland, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "A collision involving a school bus closed Route 31F, from Frey Road to West Walworth Road in Macedon, Wayne County, Thursday. According to Macedon Police Chief John Colella, police were called to the scene at 3:34 p.m. for the report of a two-vehicle collision. The crash caused the Gananda school bus to turn on its side. Seven students sustained minor injuries, and two students were transported to Strong Memorial Hospital, including one with a minor leg injury, Gananda schools Superintendent Shawn VanScoy said. Colella said the driver of the other vehicle had “significant injuries” and was transported to Strong. The bus driver, who was tangled up in a seat belt, had minor injuries and was also taken to Strong for observation."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Wilson Students inner-city art gets a boost with grant

      1/31/17
      Robin Flanigan, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "The more barren and lifeless the subject, the more attractive it is to Joseph C. Wilson Foundation Academy eighth-grader Alihana Hardy, a student in the Flower City Arts Center’s Studio 678Urban Youth Photography Project. “I like dying grass and torn-down buildings, and I know that sounds weird,” says the 13-year-old. “But photography can give things different words, you just have to give it time. Art can take something ugly and make it beautiful. You have to look deeper than the surface.”"
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      RCSD panel looks at school choice

      1/28/17
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "After many months of study, a Rochester school board committee has released recommendations that would change the way children are assigned to elementary schools; putting more of an emphasis on neighborhood schools and potentially saving on transportation costs."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Fiscal stress for fewer NY State Schools

      1/26/17
      Jon Campbell, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "The number of school districts facing fiscal stress dropped to its lowest level last year since the state Comptroller’s Office began tracking it four years ago, according to a report released Wednesday. A total of 59 school districts across the state — or 9 percent — faced some level of budgetary stress during the 2015-16 school year, with just two districts showing “significant” stress, the report from Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli showed."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      The early bird rules on school start times

      1/25/17
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "As far as adoloscents’ evening activities go, Linden Burack’s were fairly tame. The 12-year-old plays chess competitively, and he used to go once a week to the Rochester Chess Center to play mini-tournaments with adult competitors. When the games went long, he’d be home about 9 p.m., which doesn’t seem like it would be a problem. But when Linden started at School of the Arts this fall, he got a rude awakening regarding his awakening."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Auditor says Rochester Career Mentoring Charter School lacks bid process

      1/25/17
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Rochester Career Mentoring Charter School has no written procurement process and has not sought bids for a number of services since it opened in 2011, according to an audit from state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli. State audits often nitpick municipalities’ bookkeeping processes — failure to get a second signature on a check, or to make deposits on time. The RCMCS audit is unusual in its scope and simplicity."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Giving the gift of sight at East High School

      1/23/17
      David Andreatta, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "If the mark of a great teacher is helping students see their world more clearly, one of the best in the business may be at East High School in Rochester. His name is Logan Newman and he’s outfitted roughly 1,200 Rochester City School District students with eyeglasses for free through the vision care program he launched in 2010. From a laboratory classroom at East, students barely old enough to drive are practicing opticians churning out eyewear for their peers on a daily basis under Newman’s tutelage."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Ex Holley Teacher had child porn

      1/22/17
      Will Cleveland, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "A former Holley High School English teacher admitted this week in U.S. District Court to possessing child pornography. Steven Choi, 41, of Irondequoit pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography. The charge carries a maximum of 10 years in federal prison. According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Melissa Marangola, the FBI Child Exploitation Task Force identified Choi accessing child pornography online. Examination of Choi’s computer recovered sexually explicit photographs of prepubescent girls."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Schools, cities get more wiggle room under tax cap

      1/19/17
      Joseph Spector, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Schools and the state’s largest cities will have some more flexibility when they go to voters in May for budget approval. The property-tax cap limit will be 1.26 percent for the fiscal year that starts July 1, significantly higher than it is in the current year, Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said Wednesday. The new cap figure impacts nearly 700 school districts in New York and 10 cities, including the “Big Four” cities of Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and Yonkers — which also have a July 1 start date."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      RCSD suspensions dip 38%

      1/19/17
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Student suspensions in the Rochester City School District were down 38 percent in the first three months of the school year, continuing a promising trend as the district commits more attention to the problem of heavy-handed student discipline. There were 1,905 suspensions issued from September to November 2016, compared with 3,073 in 2015 and 4,313 in 2013."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      NY school aid could increase by $1B

      1/18/17
      Joseph Spector, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Gov. Andrew Cuomo is proposing an increase of $1 billion in aid to the state’s nearly 700 school districts. The aid increase, about a 4 percent hike, would bring the state’s support for its school to nearly $26 billion, the most per capita of any state in the nation. Cuomo outlined his spending priorities Tuesday to state lawmakers in private briefings at the executive mansion near the state Capitol. The proposed school spending by the Democratic governor is about half of what was sought by the state Board of Regents, which oversees education policy in New York."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Man gets probation in autistic teen case

      1/18/17
      David Andreatta, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "The Pittsford man convicted of harassing an autistic teenage cross-country runner in Cobb’s Hill Park in October was sentenced in Rochester City Court on Tuesday to three years of probation and 80 hours of community service. Martin MacDonald, 57, had pleaded guilty to a charge of second-degree harassment, which is a violation, and a charge of endangering the welfare of a child, which is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail. His sentence was in line with what the prosecution had requested and included an order barring him from contacting the teenager, Chase Coleman, or his family for five years. MacDonald’s attorney, Gary Gianforti, asked that only community service be imposed."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      West Irondequoit School District has lead problem

      1/18/17
      Todd Clausen, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "West Irondequoit schools have found elevated levels of lead — sometimes at levels greater than five times federal recommendations — in the water at some of its schools. Of the 622 samples collected at 13 buildings, 87 outlets were identified has having more than 15 parts per billion lead, the safety threshold established by the federal Environmental Protection Agency."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Renaissance Academy Charter School for the Arts in Greece's leader under fire

      1/18/17
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "The founding leader of Renaissance Academy Charter School for the Arts in Greece is under fire from some parents over what they see as a pattern of turnover among employees of color. Donna Marie Cozine co-founded the school in 2014; it now serves about 340 children in grades K-4."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      RCSD Students feel disconnected

      1/14/17
      Erica Bryant, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Last time I checked, 287 Rochester City School District employees were making more than $100,000 a year. Despite this investment, 93 percent of kids in the district failed last year’s reading and math tests. After becoming superintendent, Barbara Deane-Williams asked many of these wellpaid educators to join teams to make plans to remedy this travesty. On Thursday they shared their work, including recommendations like this: “Articulate a Theory of Action and establish cross-functional ‘Network Teams’ providing direct support to schools through articulated systems and processes to strengthen teaching in our classrooms by July 31, 2017.”"
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Spencerport Superintendent to retire

      1/13/17
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Spencerport Central School District Superintendent Mike Crumb will retire from his position at the end of the school year, he announced Tuesday."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      No bold ideas from RCSD superintendent

      1/13/17
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Over the last 10 years of the generations- long effort to improve student achievement in the Rochester City School District, there has been remarkably little disagreement regarding actual classroom priorities."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Penfield considers expansion project

      1/11/17
      Sarah Taddeo, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "The Penfield Central School District is looking at expanding classrooms to accommodate a larger student base, as well as replacing aging grounds facilities. The district released tentative descriptions of a transportation facility to replace one built in 1961, a new buildings and grounds building and classroom-addition projects at three elementary schools. While the numbers aren’t finalized, the full capital improvement project would cost between $30 and $40 million, with an estimated 70 percent being covered by state aid, said district Director of Communications Nancy Bradstreet in an email. This is the largest capital project in recent years, she added. The last one closest to this size was a $73 million capital project, which included the construction of a sports stadium, that was voted through in 2006 after being rejected by residents the previous year."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Private Foundations grow as School Budgets tighten

      1/8/17
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Nearly everything in Jamie Melos’ special education classroom at Merton Williams Middle School can be traced back to the Hilton Central School District’s annual budget: smart boards from the technology fund; furniture from general operating expenses; salary and benefits for Melos and her colleagues. Then there’s Stewie. Some school districts might have $130 budgeted specifically for a Russian tortoise, or $15 for nesting material made of coconut fiber, but Hilton isn’t one of them. Instead, Melos applied last year for a small grant from the Hilton Education Foundation, established in 2006 to fund student scholarships and teachers’ pet projects. In this case, that meant an actual pet."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Trump's plans for Rochester schools vague

      1/7/17
      Erica Bryant, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "At the Rochester school board’s January organizational meeting, we heard the usual inspirational quotes from Helen Keller and Maya Angelou. President Van White rolled out a new “3 Cs,” slogan that encouraged district employees to be Courageous! Collaborative! And Creative! And then board Vice President Cynthia Elliott got real. “We don’t know what this year is going to bring,” she said, referencing the upcoming inauguration of Donald Trump. “We don’t have a clue.” As new Superintendent Barbara Deane-Williams prepares to roll out plans for improving New York’s worst performing district, President- elect Trump has promised to help students escape it altogether."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      RCSD Pre-K growth: Is there space?

      1/5/17
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "A decade into its monumental school modernization program, the Rochester City School District is concerned it lacks the building space for some of its key academic programs. More than $1 billion has already been spent or committed for renovations at schools across the city. Those plans have been buffeted on all sides by political pressure, cost overruns and shifting academic priorities."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      New State laws take effect 1/1/17

      1/1/17
      Joseph Spector, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "One law requires the state Board of Regents, which oversees education policy, to give further notice of its meetings — at least seven days beforehand. State agencies will also be required to post any proposed or revised regulations on their websites; no posting for changes are currently required"
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

    2016

      Early success for Urban Suburban Program in Spencerport

      12/30/16
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "It’s been a year and a half since 12year-old Jayden Conti began attending Spencerport schools through the Urban-Suburban program, yet he was still easy to identify among his classmates during a science lab before Christmas break. After all, he was wearing a glittery silver Santa Claus hat. It kind of stuck out. Holiday headgear aside, Jayden and his 14-year-old sister, Mackenzie, fit in perfectly with their Spencerport classmates. In fact, they’re not even Urban-Suburban students; their mother bought a house in Spencerport after seeing how well Jayden’s first year went."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Center for Dispute Settlement has new director

      12/25/16
      Todd Clausen, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "The first dispute mediation center in the state has a new boss. The Center for Dispute Settlement in Rochester announced Thursday that Frank Liberti will take over as president and chief executive officer on Jan. 1, replacing outgoing Sherry Walker-Cowart. Walker-Cowart departure was announced last month. A Rochester native, Liberti joined the agency as a board member in 2002 and would later be hired as the center's director of police community relations programs. 'It was important to the board that our next CEO bring a deep passion for the work of the agency and its mission and we feel strongly that Frank is the right fit,' David Tang, chairman of the center's Board of Directors, said in a statement. 'He has an impressive track record serving in strategic positions in both the private and public sector.'"
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      School abusers still find jobs

      12/23/16
      USA Today reports that "A series of high-profile abuse cases and news media investigations in the 1990s and 2000s put a spotlight on lax regulations by government officials at every level and led to reforms in a few states. Congress passed a law in December 2015 requiring states to ban school districts from secretly passing problem teachers to other jurisdictions. But none of those reforms closed the gaping holes plaguing the nation’s teacher screening system. A yearlong USA TODAY Network investigation has found that education officials put children in harm’s way by covering up evidence of abuse, keeping allegations secret and making it easy for abusive teachers to find jobs elsewhere."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      NY State deal eases teacher's 'gag order' on math and ELA tests

      12/21/16
      Jon Campbell, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "New York teachers will be able to discuss specific questions and answers on the state’s math and English exams after the information is released to the public, according to a legal settlement approved Tuesday. U.S. Magistrate Judge Christian Hummel approved the deal Tuesday between the New York State United Teachers union and the state Education Department."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      NY State to allow Schools to give NY States all electronically starting this year

      12/18/16
      Jon Campbell, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Schools across New York will be able to ditch pencil-and-paper tests this coming spring, if they so choose. The state Education Department is giving elementary and intermediate schools the option to administer the state’s mandated English and math exams on computers this academic year, allowing them to drop traditional paper-based tests."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      RCSD will hire 10 teachers with $1.3 Million grant

      12/15/16
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "The Rochester City School District will hire 10 teachers to coordinate its push for restorative justice in schools, thanks to $1.3 million in state grant funding announced earlier this week. The money is associated with the My Brother’s Keeper program, an initiative founded by President Barack Obama that means to decrease inequity and help young men of color. The New York State Education Department awarded $7 million in grant funding, $2.6 million of which went to New York City. Of the remaining $4.4 million, Rochester got by far the largest share. The main effect will be hiring 10 teachers to serve as full-time “restorative practice coordinators” at individual school buildings."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Charter School Administrator sued for harrassment

      12/7/16
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "The founder of Rochester Career Mentoring Charter School faces a lawsuit from a former administrator who alleges he made lewd comments about her, then forced her out after she complained to the board of trustees."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      RCSD fires worker after racist post

      11/29/16
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "A contract paraprofessional working at the Children’s School of Rochester (School 15) in the Rochester City School District was fired Monday morning after making a racist Facebook post, according to Principal Jay Piper. The woman, Cassandra Sutton, was working as a substitute prekindergarten paraprofessional. Screenshots of her Facebook account show a recent posting in which she brags of “catching” a black person in the middle of a crime, using the N-word and other obscenities. The woman began working at School 15 this fall and was employed through TES Staffing, Piper said. She worked as a substitute last year at Lincoln Park School 44."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      United Way Report Just Hanging on

      11/27/16
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "125,000 number of households in Monroe County struggling to meet basic needs $6,000 amount median household incomes in Monroe County are below average Mary Jo Newtown with her granddaughter A’Niya Holmes, 2, left, and grandson Deveon Timmons, 7, right, in their Rochester apartment. She is among the 63 percent of Americans who don’t have enough saved to cover a $500 financial setback."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      RCSD selects parent ombudsman

      11/22/16
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "The Rochester City School District has hired veteran educator and attorney Yolanda Asamoah-Wade as its chief ombudsman and compliance officer, an effort to ensure that the city’s most vulnerable students are not left behind. Asamoah-Wade’s primary responsibility will be communicating with the families of students with disabilities and those who do not speak English. More generally, she will help address student and parent concerns relating to the new Code of Conduct; which de-emphasizes suspensions in favor of restorative practices."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      PUC Charter School eyes campus expansion

      11/20/16
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "When PUC Achieve Charter School opened in 2014, its location in a worndown former church off Hudson Avenue was no selling point. Three years later, the school and its backers are looking to make it into the cornerstone of an educational dynasty. The school, imported from California by the charter school support organization E3 Rochester, has already begun working on an ambitious expansion it believes would contribute toward a revitalization of Hudson Avenue, and of public education in the city."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Schools cultivating resilience

      11/19/16
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "In suburban schools across Monroe County, veteran educators increasingly are sounding the same refrain: It didn’t used to be this way. h Children, they say, weren’t coming to school with such overpowering anxiety about their math test, their Instagram account or their after-school activities. They weren’t as likely to be hungry or homeless or struggling with addiction in their families. They weren’t traumatized — not like this. h “Kids coming to us today look a little different from five or 10 years ago,” said Deborah Miles, Fairport’s director of student services. h As a result, schools are beginning to look a little different, too."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      RCSD School 1 to close

      11/18/16
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "After months of debate, proposals and counter-proposals regarding the future of the School 1 building, the Rochester school board settled the question definitively Thursday without even taking a vote. Martin B. Anderson School 1 will be closed after this school year. The students in its specialized autism program will be transferred to Children’s School of Rochester (School 15), which is currently in swing space on Upper Falls Boulevard."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      RCSD School 1 building plans change

      11/5/16
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "For most of 2016, the Rochester City School District has been grappling with its plans for the soon-to-be-renovated School 1 building at Cobb’s Hill Park. School 1 wants to stay there, but the district already said Children’s School of Rochester (School 15) would be moving in instead."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Rush-Henrietta may join Urban Suburban Program

      10/26/16
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Rush-Henrietta may soon become the newest school district in the Urban- Suburban program after hearing mostly positive feedback from residents at a public hearing Tuesday night. There are 767 city students in suburban schools this year through the program. It has grown greatly since 2014, when Spencerport, Hilton, East Irondequoit and East Rochester joined the original seven participants in the program’s 50th anniversary year. Kendall also joined, but had to pull out this year because the transportation proved too difficult; Webster joined in 2015-16. At that time, Rush-Henrietta said it was not considering joining Urban- Suburban because it already has a very diverse population, with 34 percent non-white students."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Edison Tech student sees brighter future

      10/18/16
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Kianna Scott, 17, is going to graduate next spring from Edison Tech High School. That seems clear now, but just a few months ago, her outlook wasn’t so bright. It’s not that she suffered any terrible trauma — no one died, and she wasn’t homeless. She was just a teenager doing stupid things. It started in her junior year of high school, when her group of friends blended with another group of friends who, she said, didn’t have their heads in the right place. They became her friends, too. Before long, her head wasn’t in the right place either."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Firms working on RCSD projects fined $825 Thousand

      10/14/16
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Five contractors that worked on Rochester’s massive school renovation project have agreed to pay $825,000 in fines as punishment for allegedly skirting rules regarding the use of minorityand women-owned businesses, New York state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced Thursday night. The firms reported they had subcontracted with minority- and womenowned businesses (M/WBEs) for a portion of their materials or labor, as required by law. In fact, according to a whistleblower and Schneiderman, they actually got the materials and labor from non-eligible firms, then in some cases gave the M/WBEs a kickback in exchange for falsified documentation."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Wayne Central may close 1 or 2 schools

      10/13/16
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Faced with declining enrollment and mounting budget woes, the Wayne Central School District in Wayne and Monroe counties will likely close one or two of its primary schools as part of a larger building realignment. There are currently three schools serving grades K-5: in the northern part of the district, Ontario Primary is K-2 and Ontario Elementary is 3-5. In the southern part of the district (Walworth), Freewill Elementary is K-5. There is then a 6-8 middle school and 9- 12 high school. A study commissioned by the district earlier this year lays out the case that the current arrangement is unsustainable. Districtwide enrollment in 2014-15 was 2,289, down 16 percent from 2,731 a decade earlier. Class sizes in all five district buildings are well below the district’s stated benchmarks. In fourth grade, for instance, the district requires there be no more than 25 students in a class, but the three fourth-grade classes at Freewill have only 15 students each, according to the study. The 82-page study proposes five alternate approaches, all involving closing at least one building. The most aggressive plan would close both Ontario Elementary and Freewill, consolidating students into the remaining three buildings."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Using girls hockey to change Kearney

      10/13/16
      Kevin Oklobzija, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "At first glance, the new Selects Academy girls hockey team at Bishop Kearney High School is just one of the many youth programs that call the ice rinks of Rochester home. There are 19 players on the roster and the school buys ice time at Bill Gray’s Regional Iceplex for a schedule of practices and games that runs right into March. This is hardly your typical USA Hockey- sanctioned program, however. And it’s far different than any other sports team from a Section V high school. Kearney has entered the boardingschool business, and in christening the girls hockey program, school officials believe they have accomplished three objectives."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      RCSD paraprofessional and coach charged in sexual assault of student

      10/12/16
      Jon Hand, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "A paraprofessional at Edison Career and Technology High School has been charged with sexual abuse and endangering the welfare of a child involving an incident with an East High School student in 2015. Mariano Velazquez, 51, of Rochester, was a paraprofessional and athletic coach at East at the time of the alleged incident, according to a release from police. A letter from Edison to families of the school said Velazquez was suspended when the allegations first surfaced in early 2015, but “the allegations could not be proved and he was allowed to return to work.” In the past two weeks, new information was brought to police which led to Velazquez’ arrest and days later he was placed on leave and “will not be allowed to have contact with students in any District school until this legal matter is resolved,” the letter reads."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Victor and Webster projects seek approval

      10/10/16
      Meaghan McDermott, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Webster’s playgrounds are getting tired and some of Victor’s classrooms are bursting at the seams. Add in aging boilers and rooftops, cracking concrete and abused asphalt and you have two local school districts that will be asking voters in coming weeks to approve millions of dollars in spending on capital projects."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Pittsford - Video taken of attack on School bus

      10/7/16
      Jon Hand, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "A Pittsford bus monitor said she was punched in the face in an unprovoked attack by a 15-year-old student Tuesday afternoon. Shannon Casey said she was traveling with the girl and about five others on a bus from the girl’s school in the Pittsford Central School District to the girl’s home in Greece. The girl was late in getting on the bus at the school, Casey said, and she, the bus driver and the other passengers had to wait about 10 minutes for the girl to get on the bus."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Three RCSD schools spared futher sanctions

      10/6/16
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Three struggling Rochester schools got good news Wednesday when the state education department announced they would not be forced to submit to an independent receiver. East High School, Monroe High School and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. School 9, on North Clinton Avenue, have all been tagged as “persistently struggling” and are currently in local receivership. That means Rochester City School District Superintendent Barbara Deane-Williams (or, in the case of East, the University of Rochester) has increased autonomy to make changes there with the goal of improving student performance. Before the school year began, the district set out performance targets for the schools. If they failed to meet them, the state would have imposed an outside receiver to take control of the school and, presumably, make more drastic changes."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      NY eases school's concerns over abuse probes

      10/4/16
      Jon Campbell, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "A federal court decision led some New York schools to block child-abuse investigators from interviewing students at school without their parents’ consent, according to the state Office of Children and Family Services. The state agency is hoping newly clarified rules — first adopted in June and revised last month — have eased the fears of school officials across the state, some of whom raised concern that they might be held liable if a wrongly accused parent sues. The rules were spurred in part by an August 2015 decision in Orange County federal court, where U.S. District Judge Sidney Stein found county investigators violated a 5-year-old girl’s constitutional protection against unreasonable seizure when they interviewed her at school about a flimsy sexual abuse allegation against her parents. Following the decision, the fear of a similar lawsuit led some schools to block or restrict access to Child Protective Services investigators, according to the agency and the state Education Department."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Suicide victim’s parents sue ER school district

      9/27/16
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "More than a year after 12-year-old Kennis Cady died by suicide, her parents are suing the East Rochester school district over its alleged failure to intervene in problems she was having with classmates. Dan and Michaela Cady publicly shared the story of their daughter’s death last year, urging other families — and the school district — to be vigilant of problems with bullying and mental illness. Then and now, they expressed frustration that the district hadn’t investigated allegations of bullying closely enough, and hadn’t done enough to prevent similar problems going forward. In a lawsuit filed earlier this month in state Supreme Court, the Cadys allege the district did not respond when their daughter was “repeatedly bullied, abused, harassed and tormented by several students ... (which) contributed to and caused her depressed mental state and resulting death.”"
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Vargas gets NH School chief job

      9/25/16
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Nine months after stepping down as superintendent in the Rochester City School District, Bolgen Vargas has a new job. Vargas accepted the post of superintendent in Manchester, New Hampshire, after the school board voted 14-1 to offer him the position, the Manchester Union-Leader reported Saturday afternoon. According to the paper, the vote came after a public question-and-answer session that began at 8 a.m. and lasted more than two hours. Vargas’ appointment was expected after Manchester’s other top finalists withdrew their names from consideration. Connie Van Houten cast the dissenting vote, which she said was a statement about the process that left only one candidate."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Hope Hall looks to share its success

      9/19/16
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Hope Hall, a private school for students with learning disabilities, has fewer than 200 students in grades 3 to 12, making it one of the smallest schools in the Rochester area Since it opened in 1994, though, it has enjoyed a greatly outsized reputation in the community. It boasts class sizes of 12 and 15 and an annual graduation rate near 100 percent. Sister Diana Dolce, founder and principal, has often been asked the obvious question: Could the same thing work elsewhere? Now, with $2 million in grant funding and a contract with the Rochester City School District, she aims to answer the challenge in the affirmative."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Rochester Internatial School honored for work with refugees

      9/18/16
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "The Rochester International Academy, a city school that mostly serves refugees, was one of eight schools in the country to be named a Gold School of Opportunity, intended to honor programs that help close the opportunity gap in education The school, founded in 2011 and located at the Jefferson campus near Edgerton Park, is usually the first educational stop for children who have just arrived in the United States from Asia or Africa and speak little or no English. It now has about 400 students in grades 412, including some from the suburbs. The awards are from the National Education Policy Center in Colorado. One of the project co-founders is Carol Burris, a former New York State Principal of the Year and a vocal critic of the education reform movement."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      School violence in NY likely to change

      9/15/16
      Joseph Spector, Democrat and Chronicle, Albany staff writer reports that "Schools in New York will have a more streamlined system to report violence amid longstanding criticism that the current process is flawed. The state Education Department this week said it has recommended an overhaul to the Violent and Disruptive Incident Reporting system, which was put in place in 2001 to better monitor violence in New York schools. The changes come a year after a state audit ripped the current system, saying violence was under-reported in some districts."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      RCSD Director of Special Education to now lead state program

      9/14/16
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Rochester City School District special education director Chris Suriano has been named the head of special education for the entire state, following a vote from the state Board of Regents. Suriano’s previous job was also with the New York State Education Department as the western regional coordinator for special education quality assurance; one of his major responsibilities was supervising RCSD’s strategy for students with disabilities. Former Superintendent Bolgen Vargas recruited him to the district in 2013. Even more than other students, children with disabilities have long struggled to obtain a decent education in Rochester. Suriano began a systemic overhaul, focusing on expanding the continuum of services children can receive and improving the delivery of the services that already exist. He also increased access to career and technical training."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Four City Schools net $10 million in grants

      9/13/16
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Four Rochester City School District schools received a combined $10 million in a round of state funding announced Monday morning, including a grant for Charles T. Lunsford School 19 allowing it to implement its planned partnership with the State University of New York College at Geneseo. The district applied on behalf of 12 of its schools for the seventh round of state School Improvement Grants (SIG-7), eligible to low-performing schools across the state. The four Rochester recipients were among 18 awarded outside of New York City and 39 overall, totaling $95 million. Each of the four grants is about $2.5 million over five years and is tied to a distinct plan for school improvement:"
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Monroe High Work allowed to go forward

      9/8/16
      Steve Orr, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Modernization work at Rochester’s Monroe High School may go forward for now without a hotly contested labor agreement, state Supreme Court Justice John Ark ruled Wednesday. Ark ruled that Monroe work can proceed in the interest of the students. However, Ark directed the appointed board that oversees Rochester’s $1.3 billion schools modernization program to reconvene and vote again on whether to keep or ditch the labor agreement — and this time they have to explain their decision."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Which schools are changing this year?

      9/7/16
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "The Urban-Suburban program is losing its newest and most distant district this year, as the Kendall Central School District is dropping out due to transportation problems. It is 28 miles from Kendall Junior/Senior High School to the nearest point in the Rochester City School District. Two city students made that trip last year, spending nearly an hour on the bus each way, Kendall Superintendent Julie Christensen said. The students rode on the same bus as Urban-Suburban students going to Brockport, Hilton or Spencerport, other suburban districts in northwestern Monroe County, according to Christensen. The city school district is only required, however, to take students up to 15 miles outside its borders."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Urban Suburban Program brings Suburban kids to RCSD Schools

      9/6/16
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "When Adrian Smothers moved last year from Rochester’s South Wedge neighborhood to Irondequoit, one of her main motivations was getting a good education for her soon-to-be school-age son Kingston. Now 4 years old, Kingston begins prekindergarten this week — in a city school. He is one of five West Irondequoit 4-year-olds who will be attending class this year at Rochester’s School 50, right across the town border. It is the first time in a generation that general education suburban students have enrolled in city schools."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      East Irondequoit School sued due to Driver abuse of student

      8/30/16
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "The East Irondequoit Central School District faces a lawsuit from the family of a girl with disabilities who, according to her lawyer, was sexually abused by a school bus driver in 2014. The lawsuit, filed Aug. 25, names as defendants the district, its school board, several top admin-istrators and Renaldo Vega, the bus driver who was arrested in 2014 on charges of forcible touching and endangering the welfare of a child. Vega was fired upon his arrest in December 2014. The lawsuit, however, alleges the district should have prevented the alleged sexual contact in the first place — especially since Vega had been arrested the previous year on similar charges."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Suit stalls bid process for Monroe HS fixes

      8/25/16
      Steve Orr, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "A day after a lawsuit was filed challenging an action of the board that oversees Rochester’s $1.3 billion schools modernization program, the suit’s impact on the program’s timeline is already being felt. It appears the appointed board apparently won’t be allowed to open the contractors’ bids on a $26 million project to finish an overhaul of aging Monroe High School. Those bids are due Tuesday. But state Supreme Court Justice John Ark, to whom the case was assigned, signed an order late Tuesday afternoon that prohibits the board from “proceeding with any aspect of the Rochester School Modernization Program, including bidding” unless they reverse their decision. The order didn’t come to light until Wednesday afternoon."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      RCSD School labor accord pushed

      8/24/16
      Steve Orr, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "The Rochester building-trades union council and an allied nonprofit group filed a legal action Tuesday seeking reinstatement of a labor agreement for Rochester’s $1.3 billion school modernization program. The appointed board that oversees the modernization program abruptly canceled the project labor agreement by a 4-3 vote at an Aug. 4 meeting. Board members allied with Mayor Lovely Warren voted for the cancellation. The agreement, which was in place for the first phase of the modernization program, required contractors to use union labor, laid out wage and other rules and embraced goals for hiring disadvantaged employees and minority and women-owned firms. The agreement required trade unions to allow non-union contractors to hire their apprentices, and officials have credited the PLA with helping contractors meet or exceed minority and women employment goals in Phase I"
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Leaders question $1.3B school upgrade deal

      8/23/16
      Steve Orr, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that " There were more questions than answers at a public meeting Monday about the unexpected cancellation of a key labor agreement that was part of Rochester’s $1.3 billion schools modernization program. In fact, there were no answers at all to the most important questions — why was the deal canceled, and what happens now? “I would like to know what the plan is,” City Council member Elaine Spaull said. The gathering in City Council chambers, attended by about 50 people, was to discuss the demise of the modernization program’s project labor agreement, which required contractors to use union labor, laid out wage and other rules, and embraced goals for hiring disadvantaged employees and minority and women-owned firms. Such agreements are common for publicly- funded construction projects in Rochester. The appointed board that oversees the mammoth schools upgrade voted 4-3 on Aug. 4 to do away with the program."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      NY State audits Pittsford Central School District and Renaissance Academy Charter School

      8/18/16
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "The Pittsford Central School District and Renaissance Academy Charter School for the Arts both faced mild criticism from New York Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s office in audits released this week. The Pittsford audit found deficiencies in how the district safeguards private data on its computers. No breaches were discovered, but the auditors recommended the district adopt a more rigorous set of IT procedures, including better defining the storage of personal information. Separately, the auditors found the district did not always deposit cash from extracurricular activities within a few days of receiving it, and did not always have proper receipts for cash. In its response, the district parried several of the specific accusations but included a “high-level corrective action plan” meant to resolve any problems."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      RCSD Superintendent hints at overhaul

      8/11/16
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "New Rochester City School District Superintendent Barbara Deane-Williams referred Wednesday to plans for a significant restructuring of top-level administrators, with the goal of becoming more responsive to the specific needs of individual schools. She spoke about the changes in her first public remarks since assuming the job, and just her third day in the office. She was visiting Edison Tech High School as part of her “listening tour.”"
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Former Mayor Richards out as RCSD School Modernization chief

      8/11/16
      Meaghan McDermott, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "There’s been a shake-up of leadership in the volunteer board overseeing the largest public works project in Rochester history. During an organizational meeting on Tuesday, former Mayor Thomas Richards was defeated in his bid to remain chairman of the Rochester Joint Schools Construction Board, which supervises the ongoing $1.3 billion effort to rebuild and modernize the city’s schools. Richards had chaired the board since March 2014. He was appointed to the board earlier that year by thenschools Superintendent Bolgen Vargas after he lost his re-election bid to current Mayor Lovely Warren."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Feds suit in Gates Chili Service Dog case may proceed

      8/10/16
      Meaghan McDermott, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "A federal judge has cleared the way for a U.S. Department of Justice lawsuit to proceed against the Gates Chili Central School District over a special-needs child’s service dog. In a ruling handed down July 28, U.S. District Judge Charles J. Siragusa denied the school district’s motion for summary judgment in the case, which concerns whether 9-year-old Devyn Pereira may bring her service dog to school without being accompanied by a dog handler provided at her family’s expense. For more than three years, Pereira’s mother, Heather Pereira, has been battling the school district over the dog. Devyn has Angelman syndrome — which manifests as severe autism and epilepsy — and relies on the dog to help her walk and sit still and to detect her life-threatening seizures. In September, Devyn will be in a fourthgrade program for medically fragile children at Neil Armstrong Elementary School."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      RCSD Board says no to labor accord

      8/5/16
      David Riley, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "A board overseeing a massive $1.3 billion program to modernize Rochester’s schools rejected an agreement Thursday to work with local construction unions on the second phase of the project. The 4-3 decision split the board and was a major departure from the first phase of the project, which included what is known as a project labor agreement. That deal spelled out requirements for union hiring, set goals for putting minority workers and firms to work, and established wages and other rules for the construction project. After Thursday’s vote, board members disagreed on whether the decision to reject a similar labor agreement for Phase 2 will affect project costs or cause unnecessary delays."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      RCSD Suspension data show mixed results

      8/2/16
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Eighteen months ago, when the Rochester City School District released data showing sky-high student suspension rates, then-Superintendent Bolgen Vargas publicly promised the problem would get his administration’s full attention. There have been significant changes since then: A new code of conduct was passed; the district contracted for comprehensive anti-racism training; and the last two years’ budgets have included additional money for social-emotional supports."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      NY State Test results released

      7/30/16
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "The New York State Education Department released test results for students in grades 3-8, showing some apparent statewide improvements on the English language arts exam. Across the state, 38 percent of students were judged proficient in English, up from 31 percent in 2015. For math, it was 39 percent proficient this year, up from 38 percent last year. While the state released the 2016 results alongside the 2015 results, though, Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia repeatedly cautioned against comparing them year-to-year because of some significant differences. This year’s tests were shorter, for instance, students were allowed more time to take them, and the questions underwent a more rigorous review process."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.
      Click this link to see District results.

      City Pre-K parents satisfied, survey says

      7/22/16
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Ninety-eight percent of parents with children in prekindergarten in the Rochester City School District were satisfied with the program in 2015-16, according to a recent survey. The finding echoes earlier feedback for prekindergarten in Rochester and highlights a major strength in the city’s push for better and more comprehensive early education. Recent efforts have focused on expanding early education to reach more children, to begin at age 3 rather than 4 and to stretch into the summer, not just the traditional school year. Those gaps can undo some of the developmental and academic progress young children make from September to June."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      SUNY Geneseo agrees to partner with city School 19

      7/22/16
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "The State University College at Geneseo has signed an agreement to work with Rochester’s Dr. Charles T. Lunford School 19 in a partnership similar to the one between the University of Rochester and East High School, pending New York state Education Department grant funding. The agreement is spelled out in a letter accompanying the School Improvement Grant (SIG) application the Rochester City School District submitted for School 19. If the grant is awarded next month, the partnership could begin midway through the school year. “We believe the partnership with SUNY Geneseo has the potential to jump-start your school’s progress and dramatically increase the level of support your children receive,” Board of Education President Van White and Interim Superintendent Linda Cimusz wrote in a letter to parents Thursday."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      RCSD needs good relationship with NY State

      7/21/16
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Barbara Deane-Williams said Monday she plans to spend her first 100 days as Rochester City School District superintendent speaking with students, families, staff and other community members to better understand the district’s strengths and challenges. Her ability to work with the state education department and Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia, however, may prove to be equally determinative of her ultimate success in Rochester. A superintendent in a large urban district has a significantly different dynamic with Albany than one in a rural or suburban district, where Deane-Williams has spent most of her career. Since Rochester and the rest of the Big Five districts don’t raise revenue through property taxes, a much greater portion of their budget depends on the state Legislature’s allotment. Furthermore, high-poverty districts have many more students who have faced significant trauma, don’t speak English well or have disabilities. Test scores inevitably suffer, putting those districts in the cross-hairs of various state and federal interventions."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      RIT adds connection with MCC to help RCSD students

      7/20/16
      James Goodman, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Alejandro Baquero didn’t get accepted earlier this year when he applied to the Rochester Institute of Technology, but the college’s response paved a pathway for admission. RIT officials were impressed with Baquero — saying that his application “shows potential for success” — so they offered him a spot in a new program with Monroe Community College that is designed to strengthen his credentials. Baquero, 18, who graduated from Wilson Magnet High School in June, will attend MCC for a year, and if he maintains a 2.5 grade point average, he then will be eligible to transfer to RIT."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      RCSD names Deane-Williams as new Superintendent

      7/19/16
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "The Rochester City school board unanimously appointed former Greece superintendent Barbara Deane-Williams as the next superintendent of schools on Monday, making her the first permanent female leader in the district’s history. Deane-Williams, 59, retired in Greece in May 2015, then quickly signed on as senior deputy superintendent for operations in Boston Public Schools. Before that, she spent several decades as a counselor and administrator in a number of local suburban school districts. She was first approached about the Rochester job about three weeks ago, she said — after the board’s negotiations with Ithaca Superintendent Luvelle Brown fell through."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Improvements seen at East High

      7/16/16
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "After East High School Superintendent Shaun Nelms finished his last monthly report to the Rochester school board for the 2015-16 school year, board President Van White answered with a sentiment shared by many. “If this doesn’t work, we’re in trouble.” It has been two years since the University of Rochester said it would partner with the Rochester City School District to turn around East, which had been marked for immediate action by the New York state Education Department."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Brighton, East Rochester districts cited in audits by comptroller’s office

      7/12/16
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "In the most recent in a series of audits of local school districts, the New York State Comptroller’s Office cited the East Rochester Union Free School District for inaccurate budgeting and the Brighton Central School District for poor oversight around separation payments. The East Rochester audit mirrors recent state criticism of Rush-Henrietta and Churchville- Chili: namely, that the district overestimated expenses, then made unbudgeted transfers to restricted fund accounts, effectively circumventing the state limit on unused fund balance."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Cuomo signs bill to fund upgrades to city schools

      7/1/16
      Steve Orr, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill late Tuesday allowing the next phase of Rochester’s $1.3 billion school modernization program to go forward as planned. Cuomo’s signature ends several weeks of uncertainty surrounding the bill, which frees up state funds to cover costs for Phase II of the construction program."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Genesee Community Charter School gets $500K grant to work with RCSD School 8

      7/1/16
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that " Genesee Community Charter School has received a three-year, $500,000 grant to share the fruit of its experience with hands-on expeditionary learning with the Rochester City School District’s Roberto Clemente School 8. The grant was one of eight announced by the New York State Education Department on Wednesday, and the only one outside New York City. It would mark a significant collaboration between a charter and traditional public school; the two camps in Rochester have viewed each other largely with distrust over the last decade."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      RCSD struggles with Special Education

      6/19/16
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "If you’re looking for Kenneth Davis Jr. at School 50, you might start by checking the hallways. The 11-year-old has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, high anxiety and a speech impediment that sometimes makes him the target of bullying, said his mother, Cynthia Brooks. He, his mother and his sister are homeless, staying with a relative until they can find a place of their own. That’s not all there is to him. He’s a talented artist and tinkerer, and he concentrates better in class if he can run around for half an hour in the morning. Still: Kenneth doesn’t like being crowded together with people. He doesn’t like feeling he’s not in control, and he doesn’t like being bored. Those are issues that a behavioral assessment might have helped mitigate, but he never had one. So he leaves class and walks — or runs — the halls."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      RCSD falls short in serving Latinos

      6/19/16
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "In the spring of 2015, the nonprofit law firm Empire Justice Center began discussions with the Rochester City School District over systemic problems in special education, particularly in relation to students whose families do not speak English. At the same time, the Democrat and Chronicle published an extensive investigation into the same topic, documenting widespread complaints about the provision of services, student discipline and communication with Spanish-speaking families. More than a year later, the district has made only partial progress in improving the education those Latino children receive."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      RCSD leaders hope to change course on Special Education

      6/19/16
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "When asked in May about a list of problems in special education compiled by the Empire Justice Center, Rochester City School District special- education chief Chris Suriano said: “Some of these items do reflect possible systemic issues, but some are very much driven by student-specific cases that Empire Justice might be working on.” Compare that to the response from the district when the forerunner to EJC, the Greater Upstate Law Project, raised similar concerns about special education in 1981. “It’s very, very possible that these types of things are happening ... but overall, I believe we are in compliance,” thenschool board president Josephine Genovese said. Genovese was wrong; the district was far from compliant. A lawsuit on behalf of the district’s children with disabilities led to court supervision from 1983 to 2002. The question now is how much the district has progressed in 35 years, and whether the two parties will reprise their roles in court. EJC represents more than 100 families a year on special-education problems in Rochester."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Crickets and consequences at Eastridge High

      6/19/16
      David Andreatta, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that " There’s a lot of chirping in Irondequoit about a senior prank that saw hundreds of crickets unleashed in bathrooms at Eastridge High School. But this column isn’t about crickets. It’s about consequences. Here’s how the two are related: A couple of weeks ago, three quarters of the senior class at Eastridge by some estimates ditched school for Senior Skip Day, that time-honored rite of passage symbolizing rebellion against authority. The next day, the principal, Timothy Heaphy, summoned roughly 250 seniors into the auditorium to lay down the law. He warned them against any more hijinks for the remainder of the school year, particularly a senior prank. Another stunt and there would be consequences, he told them. The culprits would be suspended and prohibited from “Project Graduation,” in which students spend the last Friday of classes overnight at the school, an exercise that sounds like hell to anyone over 19 but is a real treat for adolescents."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      U Prep building career center

      6/18/16
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "University Prep Charter School for Young Men will open a dedicated space for career and technical education this fall, it announced Friday. The school’s Career and Technical Center will sit on an adjacent parcel to its Lake Avenue campus. Construction is underway now and the facility should be ready for the new school year. The school will offer two-year programs in machining, skilled trades, information technology, culinary and health care. “We are thrilled about the expansion,” School President Joe Munno said in a statement. “The experience provided by the U Prep Career and Technical Center will provide a win-win situation for U Prep students, business partners and the community.” U Prep is a 7-12 allmale secondary school. Its graduation rate in 2015, its first year with a senior class, was 92 percent."

      RCSD Schools updgrade aid bill passes

      6/17/16
      Steve Orr, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "After a delay forced by a stubborn Assemblyman David Gantt, the state Assembly approved a bill Thursday considered crucial to Rochester’s schools modernization program. The delay has already forced postponement of some work in the next phase of the modernization program, and could cause larger problems if the measure is not signed into law relatively soon by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. As of Monday, the Cuomo administration had not yet indicated that the governor would sign the bill. The bill was approved on the legislative session’s final day. Two years ago, another Rochester school modernization bill went down to the wire until it was approved on the 2014 session’s final day."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Bovard leaving RCSD

      6/16/16
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Rochester City School District Deputy Superintendent for Administration Adele Bovard is leaving the district this summer for a job on Long Island, the district announced Tuesday. Bovard was superintendent of the Webster Central School District before coming to the city in 2014. Her new job is deputy superintendent in the Syosset Central School District, one of the wealthiest districts in the state. In a statement to staff Tuesday, Interim Superintendent Linda Cimusz wrote: “While I have only worked with Adele a short time, I have the greatest respect for her exceptional talents, honed during more than 25 years of experience as a classroom teacher and school- and districtlevel administrator.” Her departure comes the week the school board is expected to announce its new superintendent, ensuring that person the ability to select his or her own top deputies upon arrival. Bovard will face a distinctly different set of challenges in Syosset, where just 3 percent of students qualify for free or reduced-price lunch and 98 percent graduate in four years."

      Buffalo High Schools targetig industries

      6/12/16
      Carolyn Thompson, Associated Press, staff writer reports that "Students entering Buffalo’s redesigned South Park High School this fall may not have to look far for a job upon graduation — 1 mile to be precise, at a massive solar panel factory being built up the road. The school is among five struggling high schools the district is redesigning with emerging local industries in mind. Along with regular classes, each will offer specialty programming around in-demand skills such as solar panel manufacturing, life sciences, homeland security and gaming. The idea addresses both the district’s challenge to motivate students to show up and graduate, as well as employers’ concerns about a “skills gap” that threatens to leave them short-handed. It also follows a broader educational trend toward “career pathways” as alternatives to a fouryear college degree."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Schools scramble as sub pool shrinks

      6/12/16
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Substitute teaching has never been a glamorous job. The pay is low and per diem, with no benefits. A 5 a.m. phone call often dictates where, or if, one will show up to work. And students have been known to make the classroom conditions interesting. Just because a job is not glamorous, though, doesn’t mean it is not important. A worsening shortage of substitute teachers over the past several years has given districts across Monroe County and New York a keener appreciation for reliable replacements."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Magnet Schools supported

      6/10/16
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "A number of suburban and city education leaders Thursday expressed their support for Great Schools For All, a local movement toward integrated, crossdistrict schools of choice that has been gaining momentum the last few months. The volunteer organization is trying to establish one or more “Breakthrough Schools” that would have unique specialties and welcome students from the city of Rochester as well as its suburbs. There would be a cap on the number of poor students in any one school to ensure socioeconomic diversity. Research shows that a high concentration of poor students in a school leads almost inevitably toward worse outcomes for all students. Alternately, all students do better in a socioeconomically balanced setting. Since Monroe County is one of the most racially segregated places in the country, there are relatively few well integrated schools now."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Vargas still on RCSD payroll

      6/9/16
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "When embattled Rochester City School District Superintendent Bolgen Vargas officially resigned Dec. 31, he still had six months on his four-year contract. The school board could have negotiated a buyout for that remaining time; it also could have kept him in place as a lame duck before choosing a permanent replacement to begin this summer. Instead, Vargas and School Board President Van White announced that Vargas would stay on as an informal adviser while continuing to receive benefits and collect $97,500 in salary. The plan was for him to serve as a consultant for interim Superintendent Dan Lowengard."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Girl feels Mercy offers brighter future

      6/4/16
      Robin Flanigan, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Jalisa Egues wasn’t used to getting Bs, but after transferring from the Rochester City School District to Our Lady of Mercy School for Young Women in Brighton, she was having a hard time keeping up with her homework. There was just so much of it — every day. “It wasn’t like a little jump,” the 13-year-old says of the transition. “It was like a five-step jump… little by little, I started hanging on. Now, it’s still hard, but I know I can do it so I keep trying. If I don’t understand something, I keep asking questions.” Jalisa is one of two seventh- graders who attends Our Lady of Mercy because of a program at Cameron Community Ministries, an urban outreach community center in the Lyell-Otis neighborhood. The girls will speak on Monday at the Cameron’s 2016 Christopher T. Allen Memorial Golf Tournament, at Penfield Country Club. With 98 percent of the children Cameron serves living in poverty and considered at risk, the nonprofit organization created The R& R Group — respect and responsibility — to teach life skills to girls in grades four through six. Proceeds from the tournament help to support Cameron’s youth programs like R& R, which carries the motto “Be strong, be confident, be fearless, and stick to your goals.”"
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Greece Performing Arts Center to reopen

      6/3/16
      Meaghan McDermott, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "After more than nine months of renovations, the Greece Central School District’s problemplagued performing arts center at Athena High School officially reopened Thursday. And the theater is being rededicated with a new name: Greece Central Performing Arts Center. Built as part of a $119.5 million capital project in the early 2000s, the performing arts center was troubled from the start. It had obstructed views and numerous seats in the 1,600-seat auditorium had been installed so close together it was impossible to sit in them. Those issues and others later discovered throughout the entire project sparked a litany of lawsuits, and the fixes done over the past year were completed using funds from a $5.2 million settlement agreement reached in September of 2013 with architectural firm and construction managers Tetra Tech Architects and Engineers."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      RCSD Big Project, Big Money, Big Problems

      5/29/16
      Meaghan McDermott and Steve Orr, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writers reports that "Cost overruns and shifting priorities plagued Phase I of work to modernize city schools — and Phase II is off to shaky start. Like an extended episode of House of Cards, Rochester’s $1.3 billion program to modernize city schools is laden with political machinations and conspiracy theories. • Who knew? • The program, which got underway in 2006, is meant to bring the city’s aging school buildings into the 21st century in three phases of construction over 15 years. It is the most costly public works project in local history. • The first phase of work, in which $325 million has been spent, is ending now. • The second phase, which will see $435 million more in work, may start soon. • A six-month investigation by the Democrat and Chronicle has found that good work was done in Phase I but it was also beset by cost overruns, truncated projects and mid-stream reallocations of tens of millions of dollars. • Critics complain that poor planning led to money being wasted. *As Phase II was ramping up, politicians got more involved, and today, the future of Phase II is in limbo. As Frank Underwood would say, “Nobody’s a Boy Scout. Not even Boy Scouts.”"
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story - RCSD Big Project, Big Money, Big Problems.
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story - RCSD Modernization plagued by overruns, shifting priorites.
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story - Politics, personalities delay Phase II of school modernization.
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story - School shuffle frustrates RCSD students, parents.
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story - Which City Schools are next to be renovated.

      Kenny selected as principal of Penfield's Cobbles Elementary School

      5/26/16
      Meaghan McDermott, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Stephen J. Kenny has been named as the new principal of Cobbles Elementary School in the Penfield Central School District. According to a district press release, Kenny previously worked as an assistant principal in the Pittsford and Gates Chili central school districts and also taught at Gates Chili, Canandaigua City and in the Dexter, Massachusetts, schools."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Brighton racist graffiti called hate crime

      5/25/16
      Will Cleveland, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Police are conducting a criminal investigation at Brighton High School after the statement, “the n----- should die,” was found etched onto the stairway leading into the school’s front entrance Tuesday morning. Brighton schools Superintendent Kevin C. McGowan said the graffiti was discovered by a student at 9:52 a.m. Brighton Police Chief Mark Henderson said the act of vandalism and criminal mischief is being investigated as a hate crime. After photographing the racially charged graffiti, Brighton school staff removed it and notified police. “At no time did we or the Brighton Police Department feel that a student or students as a group were unsafe or in danger,” McGowan said."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Testing opt out rate down in RCSD

      5/19/16
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Fewer students in the Rochester City School District opted out of state math and English tests this spring, following a countywide trend of a slightly less vigorous protest than last year. Across the district, 15.7 percent of students in grades 3-8 did not sit for the math exams and 13.7 percent did not sit for the English exams. Those numbers last year were 18 and 16 percent, respectively."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      School budgets go to Voters

      5/16/16
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Monroe County residents will go to the polls Tuesday to vote on their school districts’ proposed budgets for the 201617 school year. There are also several additional spending propositions as well as contested school board races in 11 of the 18 local suburban districts: Churchville-Chili, East Irondequoit, East Rochester, Greece, Hilton, Rush-Henrietta, Spencerport, Victor, Webster, West Irondequoit and Wheatland-Chili. (The Rochester schools budget is funded through the city, so is not subject to a popular vote, like the other “Big Five” districts in New York.) Last year, by comparison, there were contested races in nine districts. Victor is the only district asking its residents to override the state property tax cap, meaning it will need 60 percent approval to pass. Each district has more budget details available on its website or at the district office."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Victor schools hope votes OK 4% tax levy hike

      5/16/16
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Squeezed by growing enrollment and a state funding formula that has not kept pace, the Victor Central School District is asking its residents to override the state property tax cap and approve a tax levy increase of 4 percent. The proposed $65.1 million budget would add eight teachers, a counselor, a nurse, two instructional coaches and a girls varsity golf coach. Those positions are necessary, according to the district, to keep pace with booming enrollment. The student body has grown by 14 percent in eight years, up 520 students to the current 4,347."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      NY Schools (including Gates Chili) get $45 million for technology

      5/13/16
      Nick Muscavage, Albany Bureau staff writer reports that "Fifty-two school districts across New York, including Gates-Chili in Monroe County, will be getting an update in technology thanks to a $45 million investment from the state, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said this week. The money comes from a $2 billion technology improvement bond for schools approved by voters in 2014. The money is aimed at equipping classrooms with technology and high-speed broadband, among other technological improvements.
      “As technology continues to shape the landscape of our economy, we must reimagine our classrooms into modern centers of learning so that our students are prepared for the jobs that meet the demands of tomorrow,” Cuomo said in a statement. Voters approved the Smart Schools Bond Act in 2014, and Cuomo established a commission to research and decide which schools would benefit the most. On Wednesday, the state panel approved the first round of funding.
      In Monroe County, Gates-Chili Central School District is receiving $2.98 million, all of it under the category of “classroom technology.”"

      Attendance gains taper off in RCSD

      5/11/16
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Two full years into the Rochester City School District’s assault on chronic absenteeism, the trend remains in the right direction but progress has slowed. Figures through mid-April show small reductions in the percentage of students who are chronically absent — that is, those who have missed at least 10 percent of the school year. The rate is down half a percentage point in grades K-12, from 33.4 percent at this time last year to 32.9 percent now. That modest improvement comes on the heels of a larger one last year, when the rate fell more than four percentage points. The gains there were concentrated in grades K-3, where the chronic absenteeism rate fell from 36.6 percent to 29.6."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Fairport schools release results of lead testing

      4/5/16
      Steve Orr, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "The Fairport school district announced Monday it had found elevated levels of lead in water samples collected from 52 drinking fountains and other sources in four schools and several other buildings. All the fixtures have been turned off as a precaution, the district said in a statement. Further testing will help determine long-term solutions. Results aren’t in yet from Fairport High School, Johanna Perrin, Dudley and Northside, the district said."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Spencerport finds lead in 8% of school samples

      4/26/16
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "All Rochester-area schools are commissioning tests for lead in their drinking water sources this spring. Spencerport is the most recent district to report its findings. Out of 448 samples taken in eight buildings, 36 of them (8 percent) showed elevated levels of lead."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Charlotte High School set to close in June

      4/23/16
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Charlotte High School, already slated to phase out by 2018, will instead be closed for good at the end of this school year if the Rochester school board approves a proposal from the district. In truth, the once-prominent school is barely even open now. There was a mass exodus after former Superintendent Bolgen Vargas announced the phase-out plan in November 2014; there are currently 87 students on the books at Charlotte, compared with 448 in 2014-15 and 1,183 in 1998-99."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      East Irondequoit has lead in water

      4/17/16
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that " East Irondequoit is the latest local school district to find higher-thanhealthy levels of lead in its water, it announced Friday. Of 800 samples collected at six buildings, 65, or 8 percent, had more than 15 parts per billion of lead, the safety threshold established by the federal Environmental Protection Agency. Twenty-five of them were at Eastridge High School, 13 were at Helendale Road, 12 were at Laurelton- Pardee, seven were at Ivan Green, six were at the middle school and two were at Durand-Eastman. Those fixtures have been shut off; the district now will work with the Monroe County Health Department to replace the fixtures and make sure the levels are back to safe standards. It will also continue testing its water for lead on a regular basis. Since unsafe amounts of lead were found in the water in Flint, Michigan, and then in Ithaca and several Southern Tier school districts, local districts have been scrambling to test their water and assuage residents’ fears. So far, Brighton, Penfield and Pittsford have announced results of their testing and taken corrective measures. It is likely that most districts will find at least some water sources with unsafe levels, since the water flows through pipes of varying ages. Experts on lead poisoning point out, however, that lead paint chips pose a greater threat to children’s safety than water in schools."

      Churchville-Chili overestimated expenses by $14.9 million and sidestepped State rules

      4/14/16
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "The Churchville-Chili Central School District overestimated its expenses by $6.3 million over three years then shifted the surplus into another account, possibly to avoid violating state accounting regulations, according to an audit by the state Comptroller’s office. In an unusually stern report, Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli criticized the district for failing to follow the recommendations of a 2009 audit that focused on the same problem. In particular, he wrote, the unbudgeted money transfers “diminish the transparency of district finances to the taxpayers.”"
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Pittsford Schools find lead in some water samples

      4/5/16
      Steve Orr, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Lead was found in water samples gathered in six of the nine schools in the Pittsford Central School District, officials said Monday. District officials said the drinking fountains and faucets where water tested positive for lead have all been disconnected, with many of them replaced and scheduled for retesting. Pittsford joins Brighton and Penfield as suburban Monroe County school districts where lead has been detected in drinking water. Many districts, both locally and elsewhere, have begun sampling their water in the wake of the ongoing crisis with lead-contaminated water in the Michigan city of Flint."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Lack of space moves Charter schools to Greece

      3/28/16
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "As charter schools in Rochester enroll ever more students, a lack of suitable facilities in the city is increasingly leading them to Greece — and has Mayor Lovely Warren reconsidering a tax policy partly responsible for sending them outside city limits. About 4,600 Rochester students are in charter programs this school year, up sevenfold over 10 years. An increasing number of suburban students are now in charter schools as well. Not only are there more charter operators, but those that have been approved over the last several years are still adding grades each year. For instance, PUC Achieve Charter School opened in 2014 with only fifth-graders, but will eventually serve grades 5-8. There is little reason to believe the growth will slow in the near future."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Charter schools suspend students with disabilities at higher rates

      3/25/16
      "Charter schools are suspending students with disabilities at higher rates than typically-developing children and in numbers that outpace traditional public schools, a first-of-its-kind report indicates. In an analysis of discipline records for nearly 5,000 charter schools, researchers identified deep disparities no matter which grades charters served even though fewer children with disabilities attend such schools, according to the report from the Center for Civil Rights Remedies at the Civil Rights Project at the University of California, Los Angeles."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.
      Click this link to read the report.

      RCSD Teacher Contract approved

      3/25/16
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "The Rochester School Board on Thursday approved a three-year contract with the Rochester Teachers Association, adding a clarification regarding a controversial point about student discipline. The contract, which was approved Wednesday by 98 percent of union members, calls for a 3.6 percent pay increase, a study of stand-alone middle schools and extra time for teachers to do joint planning. Negotiators on both sides said their work was amicable. There was some controversy, however, over a clause having to do with the consequences for students who hit teachers or do anything else that could be considered criminal."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Penfield samples show high lead levels

      3/25/16
      Sean Lahman, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Officials with the Penfield School District said they’ve found elevated lead levels in water samples taken from all six of their school buildings. In a letter sent to parents Thursday morning, Superintendent Thomas K. Putnam said test results showed lead levels above the EPA standard in 31 of 210 samples tested. According to the letter, high levels were found at the following locations: Cobbles Elementary – 9 devices, Scribner Elementary – 8 devices, Indian Landing Elementary – 5 devices, Harris Hill Elementary – 3 devices, Bay Trail Middle School – 2 devices, Penfield High School – 3 devices"
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Water tests miss problem pipes in schools

      3/20/16
      Andrew Casler, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Ithaca pediatrician Marguerite Uphoff remembers a time when leaded gasoline burned inside cars, lead-based paint covered bedroom walls, and school districts installed pipes with lead solder to deliver drinking water for children. “There’s no question that lead is a neurotoxin, and even at low blood-lead levels, it has the potential to affect development, behavior and learning ability,” she said. In 2016, car engines run on unleaded gas, and the lead-based paint can be detected easily and removed. Lead pipes and lead solder, however, are more expensive to replace and often harder to find. While some regulations exist to protect people from lead in drinking water, recent tests at local schools reveal a gap in the rules designed to protect children."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Schools rush to test for lead in tap water

      3/20/16
      Steve Orr, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Local school districts are rushing to test drinking fountains and faucets for the presence of lead, testament to a nationwide surge in concern about the toxic metal. On Wednesday, Penfield Central School District announced it had shut off shut off several drinking fountains in Cobbles Elementary School after detecting lead in levels above the federal action level. Penfield joined Brighton, which said last week it had detected excessive lead in fountains or taps in four of its buildings."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Fairport considering a later High School start time

      3/19/16
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "The Fairport Central School District is weighing a later start to the day for its high school students, persuaded by strong evidence about teenagers’ need for more sleep. The school day now goes from 7:25 a.m. to 2:10 p.m. It is a fairly standard secondary school schedule, but experts in sleep patterns and child development say it doesn’t afford students enough rest. “Chronic sleep loss in children and adolescents is one of the most common — and easily fixable — public health issues in theU.S.today,”theAmerican Academy of Pediatrics wrote in a policy statement in 2014. Lack of sleep not only makes it harder for students to learn in the morning, but also contributes to problems with mental health, socialemotional capacity and obesity, according to the research. But while districts express appreciation for the point, a host of logistical challenges stand in the way of change. Chief among them are busing and after-school activity schedules, particularly sports. Later start and end times would also make it more difficult for students who work or have other afternoon commitments. Any change will affect parents who need to drop their children off at day care in the morning on the way to work."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      RCSD teachers get contract

      3/18/16
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "A negotiated proposal for a new three-year Rochester Teachers Association contract includes a 3.6 percent annual raise, as well as potentially controversial language regarding student discipline and a hint toward yet another reshuffling of grade levels among buildings in the Rochester City School District. The pay increase, retroactive to this entire school year, is based on a formula and was not in question. The more important elements of the proposal address teachers’ responsibilities regarding the district’s ongoing efforts to improve school climate and discipline. There is widespread agreement the district should rely less on suspensions in handling student misbehavior, but teachers have expressed concern they’ll be left without any way to remove unruly students from the classroom so they can teach everyone else."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Penfield Cobbles Elementary has lead in its drinking water

      3/17/16
      Steve Orr, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Penfield, one of many Rochester-area school districts rushing to test their drinking water for lead, said Wednesday it had detected the harmful metal in the water in one of its schools. The district said it had shut off several drinking fountains in Cobbles Elementary School after detecting lead in levels above the federal action level of 15 parts per billion. The highest reading found was 36 parts per billion, the district said in a statement released Wednesday morning. “While we have no indication that what we are experiencing is cause for concern, we wanted you to be aware of this issue and the steps we are taking to address the situation immediately,” the district informed parents in an email. “The New York State Department of Health and the Monroe County Department of Public Health do not think that school drinking water is a significant source of lead.”Cobbles, located on Gebhardt Road near the town’s Four Corners, is the first of Penfield’s schools for which results were available, the district said. Results of sampling in other Penfield schools should be available within a week. The district said it was consulting with health officials on a long-term strategy to deal with the issue. The lead detected at Cobbles, like the lead found last week in water at four Brighton Central School District buildings, leaches out of lead pipes or the lead solder on the joints of pipes that carry water into and around the schools. Local drinking water, drawn primarily from Lake Ontario and Hemlock and Canadice lakes south of Rochester, does not contain appreciable amounts of lead."

      More local School Districts to test water for lead

      3/15/16
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "A slew of Monroe County suburban school districts, including Greece, have announced they will test water in their schools for lead, joining a statewide rush of schools seeking to assuage the worries of parents and staff. Churchville-Chili, Greece, Penfield, Spencerport and West Irondequoit all plan to conduct testing. Pittsford announced it would last week; other districts are still debating the question. The Brockport Central School District said it already does testing through the village of Brockport. The discovery of scandalous amounts of lead in the water in Flint, Michigan, has triggered scrutiny across the country of drinking-water sources, particularly in public places. The Brighton Central School District revealed last week that dozens of taps in schools had too much lead in their water, including some that persisted after the pipes were flushed. Also last week, U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, DN. Y., called for $100 million of federal grant funding for schools that wish to conduct testing. Lead in water does not pose the same risk as lead in paint, but older buildings with worn pipes are susceptible to leaching."

      Few changes in RCSD budget

      3/15/16
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Interim Rochester Superintendent Linda Cimusz Monday presented a $870 million budget proposal devoid of significant changes from last year, saying the district should continue to follow its current strategy for incremental progress. Without a permanent superintendent in place or a final funding sum from the state, the district chose to budget conservatively. Cimusz’ plan largely follows the preliminary picture that former superintendent Bolgen Vargas presented in November. The proposal includes a $24 million gap; the hope is that additional state funding will cover most of it."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      RCSD elementary schools to integrate ARTS in the classroom

      3/15/16
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "There are few topics further removed from the experience of contemporary elementary school students in Rochester than the working habits of Colonial-era apothecaries. But, as Sadie Rolle-Knox noted: “It’s easier to remember stuff when it has a beat.” Thus the genesis of likely the first — and last — hip-hop track about apothecaries."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Brighton faces $1.8 million budget gap

      3/12/16
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "The Brighton Central School District is warning parents about deep staff and program cuts next year if the state does not address an apparent inequity in its education funding formula. Those parents plan to rally at 10 a.m. Saturday at Brighton Town Hall at a budget hearing held by Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Morelle, DIrondequoit. The district faces a $1.8 million budget gap and would need to raise taxes nearly 5 percent to fill it. That would be complicated by the state property tax cap, which this year essentially mandates a flat budget unless 60 percent of voters approve an override. In a presentation to the school board, the district listed an array of cuts it would need to make to fill the gap through reduced spending: fewer modified sports and extracurriculars, less non-mandated academic support and professional development for teachers, fewer electives and foreign language offerings."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Brighton schools find lead in some tap water

      3/12/16
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "The Brighton Central School District found elevated levels of lead in some water sources in its schools, it announced Friday. The district tested 238 sources and found 62 that had elevated lead levels. It then flushed the lines — lead tends to build up more quickly in fixtures that are used infrequently — and got acceptable readings at all but eight taps. Those remaining taps have been disconnected, according to a release from the district. Of the original 62 taps with high readings, 21 were at the administrative building, 14 were at Brighton High School, 14 were at the Brookside building, nine were at Council Rock Primary School, nine were at French Road Elementary School and two were at Twelve Corners Middle School."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      RCSD and Administrative Union reach deal

      3/11/16
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "The Rochester City School District and its administrators union have agreed on a four-year contract that provides a 3 percent annual raise to members while sharply curbing the amount of vacation time they can cash out. The new contract comes 18 months after the last one technically expired. Union members — all the district’s principals, assistant principals and supervisors, including some central office staff — had continued working under the old terms. The 3 percent annual pay increase is retroactive to January 2015, meaning union members only get half the benefit in the 2014-15 school year. The contract runs through June 30, 2018."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Charter school relocating

      3/10/16
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Young Women’s College Prep, Rochester’s only all-female public school, is relocating to Greece in the fall, it announced Tuesday, joining a flurry of charter school movement announced in the last few weeks. The school, now enrolling grades 7-10, is currently at 311 Flower City Park in a building owned by Sacred Heart Cathedral. Its new location is 133 Hoover Drive in Greece, the site of Discovery Charter School. Before that, the Hoover Drive building housed the Greece Central School District’s Odyssey Academy. “We have worked tirelessly for the past four years to find an affordable facility that provides the best possible physical and programmatic environment for our students,” Duffy Palmer, chairman of YWCP’s board of trustees, said in a statement. “We are very excited about our new location and look forward to our first day of classes in our new school in August.”"
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Charter school in Rochester breaks ground on addition

      3/8/16
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "PUC Achieve Charter School, one of the newest charter schools in Rochester, will break ground Tuesday on a $5.1 million, 30,000-square-foot addition to its current campus off Hudson Avenue. The new space will include music and art classrooms and a two-story gymnasium. With the expansion, the school will have space for seventh- and eighth-graders, whom it will begin welcoming the next two years, as well as additional parking and outdoor play areas. PUC Achieve, which is part of a network based in California, first opened in 2014. It now serves fifthand sixth-grade students. In a press release accompanying the building announcement, the school also said it plans to grow to cover grades K-12. The current building is the former St. Bridget’s Church at Hudson Avenue and Mark Street. It is owned by E3 Rochester, a charter school recruitment and advocacy organization that helped bring PUC to Rochester."

      Warren proposes selling 2 schools

      3/7/16
      David Riley, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Mayor Lovely Warren has proposed selling two former public city schools to charter school operators for a combined $3 million. If City Council agrees, the former School 22 on Zimbrich Street off Joseph Avenue would be sold to Eugenio Maria de Hostos Charter School. The discontinued School 36 at Carter and St. Jacob streets would go to Uncommon Schools. Both buildings are in northeast Rochester and would be sold for $1.5 million each. The Rochester School District discontinued use of both schools last year and the city took control of the buildings, according to Warren's legislation. In a related measure, Warren also has proposed a new exemption to a requirement that tax-exempt purchasers of city-owned properties waive their tax-exempt status for five years and pay property taxes."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      SUV and Lyons School bus collision sends 5 to hospital

      3/5/16
      Will Cleveland, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "An SUV and school bus collided in Wayne County late Thursday morning, sending five people to the hospital. According to the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office, an SUV driven by Amanda Cervantes, 30, of Williamson was leaving the Arcadia Shopping Center, 6750 Route 31, at 11:50 a.m., and “failed to yield the right of way to a Lyons Central bus that was eastbound on Route 31.” The bus hit Cervantes’ SUV on the driver’s side. The five occupants in the SUV, including two small children, were taken to Strong Memorial Hospital. One of the adults was transported by Mercy Flight Central to Strong. The others were taken by ambulance. According to deputies, the three adults have serious injuries. The children suffered minor injuries. Two of the adults had to be extricated from the vehicle by firefighters. The driver of the bus and the three children on board were uninjured. The investigation is ongoing, but charges against Cervantes are pending."

      Penfield Parents learn about suicide

      3/4/16
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "About 150 parents and staff members in the Penfield Central School District met Thursday night for a frank discussion about a topic that seldom receives such a public hearing: children dying by suicide. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide among children is not on the rise. The prevalence of social media, however, means young people and their families are more likely to learn about the tragedies that do occur. Superintendent Thomas Putnam began the evening by acknowledging: “It’s not a question of whether it’s going to happen in your district, it’s when it’s going to happen. It’s a fact of life.” It – suicide – has happened recently in Penfield, as it has in other districts. Sarah Clark, the Western New York Director of American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, gave a presentation Thursday describing warning signs and preventative measures."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      East takes to the Ice

      3/3/16
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "New varieties of gym classes are among the different paths the school is taking under the University of Rochester’s guidance. To hear East High School gym teacher Mike Militello describe it one day last week, ice skating is as easy as walking — maybe easier. ? Shoulders forward. Feet shoulder width apart. Then: push and glide, push and glide. ? Around the bean-shaped ice rink at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park in downtown Rochester, however, evidence was building to the contrary. From every direction came yelps, thuds and groans. ? There were zero lutzes or axels. Salchows were out of the question. ? “Yeah, I fell the first time,” ninth-grader Yiomara Figueroa said. “It hurt.”"
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Pittsford Opts out of Free Lunch

      2/28/16
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Since 2012, school districts across the country have been under pressure from the federal government to cut back on calories, increase whole-grain offerings and phase out soft drinks. As with many federal regulations, however, the new nutritional guidelines for school lunches are just one-half of the arrangement. In return for meeting the nutritional standards, districts get a sum of money from the state and federal governments for each meal served. In 201516, that sum ranges from 35 cents for a paid meal to $3.21 for a free meal, served to a student whose family does not meet a certain income threshold. The regulations, then, aren’t absolute law; they’re just a condition for a district to receive the government funding."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      What's in a School lunch and Who's Eating it

      2/28/16
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "No one could say the Greece Athena High School cafeteria was lacking creative and healthy options this day. Yet a quick survey of the cafeteria showed more brown bags than meal trays. h “I’ve got to be honest, I just find it very gross,” 12th-grader Jake McDermott said of the school offerings. “It’s just mass-produced frozen stuff.” h Some of his classmates listed a few entrées they do like: for instance, the turkey paninis and the buffalo chicken pizza. But most said they either brought food from home or skipped lunch altogether. Tyler Graves stood up for the cafeteria food, but even his review wouldn’t play well on Yelp. “At the end of the day, it’s cheap food and it serves its purpose,” he said. “It’s not terrible.”"
      See LUNCH, Page 16A Percentage free and reduced-price among all lunches in Monroe County suburban districts. By the numbers 1.2M the drop in lunches served (16%) in Monroe County’s suburban school districts from 2010-11 to 2014-15 46.4% of school lunches that were free or reduced-price in 2014-15, up from 37.7 in 2011-12 $2.59 average lunch cost in 2015-16, up 38 cents from 2010-11.
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Twenty RCSD Schools sink in ratings

      2/27/16
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Twenty Rochester schools were downgraded by the New York state Education Department in its most recent release of school and district ratings, a sign that the City School District’s reform plans have not yet paid dividends in state test results. The state places schools and districts in four main categories: reward (the best), good standing, focus and priority (the worst). The grades are given out on the basis of students’ performances on state tests as well as graduation rates. In 2015-16, the district had 14 priority schools, 26 focus schools and nine in good standing. With the new release, there are now 28 priority schools, 13 focus schools and 10 in good standing."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Charter School backers seek funds

      2/24/16
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Students, parents and teachers from 10 of Rochester’s charter schools Tuesday called on Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state Legislature to increase funding for charter schools in this year’s budget. Charter schools are privately run and publicly funded, but they do not have access to all the same funding streams as traditional public schools. Most significantly, those outside New York City get no money to buy, lease or renovate buildings. The Northeast Charter Schools Network, which organized the rally, estimated charter schools in Rochester get 68 cents for every dollar that goes to traditional public schools. “Thousands of charter kids around the state and right here in Rochester deserve facilities support and equitable funding,” NECSN Advocacy Manager Duncan Kirkwood said in a statement. “These are our children, and their education is worth just as much as every other child’s.”"
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      RCSD Superintendent search firm chosen

      2/23/16
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "The Rochester school board has settled on a search firm to help find the next superintendent and hopes to have that person in place by the fall, School Board President Van White said Monday. From eight applicants, the school board chose a proposal from the Western New York Educational Service Council, a firm associated with the University of Buffalo’s graduate school of education. It has conducted hundreds of searches in districts across the state, including in Buffalo, New York City, Fairport and Penfield. The cost to the district will be about $19,000, White said, which is less than the district paid for its last search, which yielded Bolgen Vargas."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      School without Walls teens maps their futures

      2/16/16
      Thomas Cuyler, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Thomas Cuyler walks along the streets of the Beechwood neighborhood, where he lives, and sees the same houses and storefronts and people and cars as everyone else. He knows, though, that what meets the eye is only a partial picture. There’s data behind it all. And just as Cuyler can use sensory information to decide where to walk, he knows how to assemble that immense amount of underlying data to help make important decisions for the neighborhood or the city."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      What do teachers earn in NY

      2/14/16
      Joseph Spector, Democrat and Chronicle, Albany Bureau Chief reports that "."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Gates Chili Schools reshuffle to meet student's needs

      2/9/16
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "In her 38 years teaching in what is now the Gates Chili Central School District, Florence Brasser was witness to countless changes in education, including leaving her post in a one-room schoolhouse in the 1920s for the modern facility that now bears her name. That school, Florence Brasser Elementary School, lately has been evolving in a way to make its namesake proud. It has reinvented itself three times in the last six years, responding to pressures of declining enrollment, changing neighborhood patterns and a short surge in the number of students speaking languages other than English. Many local districts have seen increases in students needing English as a Second or Other Language (ESOL) help, and enrollment has been falling in most suburban districts for years. But the particular combination of the two in Gates Chili has forced the district to think creatively of how best to meet all its students’ needs."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      NY explores more alternative schools

      2/4/16
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "It only took about an hour for teacher Mariana Barry and her School Without Walls students to break just about every taboo in education. The students ate snacks, wore hats and got up and walked around when they needed to. Barry, meanwhile, divided her attention between them and the pot of coffee she was brewing. She only spoke when a student called on her — by her first name. They weren’t working on math or English, but rather planning an Amazing Race- style competition in the school. They had learned from experience that some ground rules were needed for the extreme eating portion of the contest. “If anyone throws up, you have to keep it a secret,” Barry warned. “I don’t want to get in trouble.”"
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Charter Schools get wide support

      2/1/16
      Joseph Spector, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "A wide majority of Monroe County residents believe the quality of local schools is a significant problem — and the same proportion believe charter schools are an important part of the solution. According to the latest Unite Rochester poll, 71 percent of county residents would like to see charter schools expand to serve more children. That is about the same as the percentage of people who agree that the quality of local education is a somewhat or very significant problem. The level of charter school support was essentially the same across demographic, economic and geographic boundaries; the young, the poor and racial minorities showed the greatest enthusiasm, nearing 75 percent."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Three area schools show 'fiscal stress'

      1/29/16
      Joseph Spector, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Three Rochester-area schools were noted for having fiscal strain, a report Thursday said. Overall, 82 school districts were designated as fiscally stressed under Comptroller Thomas Di-Napoli’s “Fiscal Stress Monitoring System.” In the region, Holley in Orleans County scored the highest for fiscal stress with a score of 48.3 percent. No Monroe County schools were listed in the report for financial troubles. Two other area schools — Alexander in Genesee County and Wayne Central in Wayne County — were deemed to be “susceptible to fiscal stress.”"
      " target="_blank">Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Ex-Hilton teacher sentenced on sex enticement charge

      1/29/16
      Will Cleveland, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "A former Hilton Middle School teacher was sentenced in federal court in Rochester on Thursday after he admitted to online enticement of a minor. Charles Kane, of Spencerport, who pleaded guilty to attempted online enticement of a minor in late October, will spend 10 years in prison followed by 20 years of supervised release after being sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Elizabeth A. Wolford. According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig R. Gestring, Kane was arrested on April 2, 2015, as he tried to meet with a person he thought to be a 14-year-old girl. Kane posted a Craigslist ad in October 2014 that stated, “daddy/ daughter. Love younger women.” An undercover federal law enforcement officer, posed as the father of a young girl, chatted with Kane online for the next few months. During the exchanges, Kane talked about traveling to meet the agent and engaging in sexual activity with the 10-year-old daughter."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      RCSD asks NY for funding for more busing

      1/28/16
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Interim Rochester City School District Superintendent Linda Cimusz Tuesday asked lawmakers in Albany to provide transportation funding that would let students catch a bus to a school near their house, a change widely seen as a prerequisite for a true neighborhood schools model. Currently, the state reimburses districts for 90 percent of elementary students’ transportation costs, but only if they travel more than 1.5 miles to school. To avoid being stuck with the entire bill, the City School District for the most part does not provide buses for students whose journeys are any shorter."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      For profit charter school proposed

      1/27/16
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "A for-profit charter school operator with an ignominious history in Rochester is seeking to open a school thanks to a loophole in the state law banning new for-profit charter schools. Maple Street Charter School submitted a letter of intent to the SUNY Charter Schools Institute in December. It listed as its operator National Heritage Academies (NHA), the for-profit company that ran Rochester Leadership Academy Charter School from 2000 until 2005, when it was closed by the state for poor performance. On its website, Maple Street says it hopes to open as an elementary school in 2017 and “will be founded on academic excellence, character development, student responsibility, and parental partnership."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Real estate key element in charter school finances

      1/24/16
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Discovery Charter School and the Norman Howard School, a private school for students with disabilities, are both financed primarily through pass-through state and school district funding, receiving a fixed sum for each student. In turn, those schools and others like them have broad leeway in how to spend that money. One of the largest expenditures is real estate, and auditors across New York and the country have uncovered practices ranging from less-than-transparent to fraudulent in how charter school property is leased or purchased. In 2012, for example, the state comptroller found a Brooklyn charter school had paid $800,000 above market value per year to a related-party landlord. Discovery is in the former Greece Odyssey Academy building at 133 Hoover Drive. In 2013, the Greece Central School District sold the building for $2.5 million to 133 Hoover Dr. Limited Liability Company, a holding company affiliated with the Education Success Network, an umbrella organization for Discovery and other affiliates."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Charter Schools tend to farm out a number of administrative tasks

      1/24/16
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Since charter schools are smaller than a traditional school district and sometimes lack some central office capabilities, they often contract with larger organizations that handle administration, purchasing and other tasks. Rochester Prep and PUC Achieve charter schools in Rochester are among many that follow this model. The contracts can be lucrative, in some cases consuming the vast majority of a school’s budget and thereby obscuring the spending from public view. In 2014-15, Discovery Charter School in Greece paid $118,000 to its affiliate, the Education Success Network, for human resources and technology management as well as the subcontracted services of EnCompass: Resources for Learning, a tutoring company. The school said the $118,000 contract represents more than $400,000 worth of services — $368,000 in academic support and $82,000 for administrative, but did not provide a further breakdown of what was provided."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Public funding little oversight

      1/24/16
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "On paper, 133 Hoover Drive in Greece seems like a bustling marketplace. A charter elementary school leases space from its landlord, a holding company, and, in turn, sub-leases to a tutoring company. It contracts with an outside group for its administrative services. A charitable foundation with real estate interests of its own infuses cash, doling out benevolences from more than $8 million in assets. In reality, the money isn’t changing hands as much as changing pockets. All those entities and others are part of the Education Success Network (ESN), controlled by a group of local education reform advocates with influential business and political connections. Its affiliates have taken in millions of taxpayer dollars with little oversight. There is no evidence of money being diverted for any individual’s private gain. ESN’s inherently tangled interests, however, are an example of the concerns many educators have with the charter school model, in which private entities are entrusted with taxpayer money to do the public work of teaching children — work that, in Discovery’s case, has led to little demonstrable improvement by student."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      RCSD Superintendent steps down as leader

      1/16/16
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Daniel Lowengard is stepping down as interim superintendent of the Rochester City School District to recuperate from a stroke he had last week, the district announced announced Friday, a blow to a system in search of stability after the departure of Bolgen Vargas. Linda Cimusz, whom Lowengard hired as chief of staff in one of his few official acts, will replace him as the district’s interim leader and its third leader in as many weeks. Lowengard, a former superintendent in Syracuse and Utica, began work Monday, Jan. 4, outlining a vigorous agenda ahead of the district’s budget season, pledging to improve teacher collaboration and calling for a more joyful experience in the classroom."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      City invests in Early Education

      1/13/16
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "When you’re young enough never to have lived through a Summer Olympics or a presidential election, there’s a lot to learn. In the 3-year-old prekindergarten at Audubon School 33 on Webster Avenue — one of six schools in the city that began accepting 3-year-olds this month — that meant, among other things, opening the plastic wrapper containing a spork and napkin at breakfast time. “Pinch with one hand, pull with the other,” teacher Rebecca Cincebox crooned. Some of the children got it right away; others whacked their packets on the table until the contents came loose; others by passed the whole operation and sucked their yogurt through a straw."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      RCSD hires new Adminstrators

      1/12/16
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Interim Rochester School District Superintendent Daniel Lowengard will be out of work this week as he recuperates after collapsing Thursday evening at a Rochester Teachers Association event. Neither Lowengard nor the district has said exactly what happened, but he was still at Strong Memorial Hospital Monday morning, listed in satisfactory condition."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      RCSD June graduation rate up slightly

      1/12/16
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "The Rochester School District’s June graduation rate rose slightly to 45.5 percent in 2015, according to new data from the New York state Education Department. The rate was 43.4 percent in June 2014 and 43 percent in June 2013. Even with the gain, Rochester’s rate remains significantly lower than those in Buffalo, Syracuse, New York City or Yonkers. The August rate, which includes students who finish their coursework during summer school, remained flat at 51 percent."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      New principals for Edison and East

      1/9/16
      Will Cleveland, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Two high schools in the Rochester School District will have new principals starting on Monday. Walter Larkin Jr. will become the principal at the Edison Career and Technology High School. He replaces Brad Zillox, who is pursuing other career opportunities, according to a letter from Daniel Lowengard, interim superintendent for the RCSD. And at East High School, already the place for a big transition, longtime principal Anibal Soler, who led the upper school (grades 10-12) at East as it transitioned into a new school under the oversight of the University of Rochester, is out effective immediately. Soler, who was principal at East since 2009, will be replaced by Marlene Blocker, who was leading the lower school (grades 6-9) at East. Blocker has worked in the district since 1988 and was the founding principal of the Rochester Early College International High School on Genesee Street. Larkin Jr. is an Edison graduate. He has worked as a school administrator for the past 12 years, including the last three as executive director at the LyncX Academy in the district."

      Progress reported on City Reading Initiative

      1/8/16
      David Riley, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Mayor Lovely Warren’s office released a progress report Wednesday on a reading initiative that she made a priority during her first two years in office. The 3-to-3 Initiative is meant to help children from age 3 to third grade, when research shows it is critical for students to develop literacy skills. The program is based on recommendations from an Early Learning Council that Warren convened in 2014. That earlier report credited city prekindergarten programs, but pointed to other “serious gaps” in early literacy, including setbacks during summer breaks from school"
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Lowengard begins as the RCSD Interim Superintendent

      1/5/16
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Friday marked the beginning of a new tenure atop the Rochester School District. Former Syracuse Superintendent Daniel Lowengard steps in as the new interim superintendent, replacing Bolgen Vargas. Vargas is stepping down at the end of the year, six months before his contract is up, after four and a half years leading the district. He is widely credited with having put the district on a strong financial footing and refocusing on priorities, but ultimately could not manage to cooperate with the school board."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

    2015

      RCSD to accept suburban students

      12/22/15
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "For the first time in decades, students in suburban Monroe County school districts will have the option to attend some Rochester schools beginning in the fall. As part of a rewrite of the rules for the Urban-Suburban program, the Rochester School District is accepting applications for students to attend its elementary schools as well as four high schools: Wilson Magnet, Edison Tech, the PTECH program on the Edison campus and the Leadership Academy for Young Men on the Charlotte campus. Just as suburban districts decide their own criteria for which Rochester students to admit through Urban-Suburban, the city school district will decide which suburban applicants to accept. Officials have promised not to displace any Rochester children, which is why the over-subscribed School of the Arts was not included as an option."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      RCSD School Board approves RTS Busing contract

      12/19/15
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "The Rochester school board voted early Friday morning to approve a $45.4 million contract with Rochester-Genesee Regional Transportation Authority to bus high school students for the next four school years. The approved contract settles a debate over secondary school transportation that has grown heated at times over the last year. RGRTA and the city of Rochester have complained about students fighting at the downtown Transit Center; in response, most student routes have been realigned so they do not transfer downtown."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Vargas departs the RCSD

      12/18/15
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "In his last Rochester school board meeting as superintendent, Bolgen Vargas Thursday reported that the district faces a $36.9 million budget gap for 2016-17 and suggested the board find the money to open a “school of last resort” for students with serious social and emotional needs. That gap is smaller than it has been in years past but still represents a significant challenge in a budget expected to top $820 million. In addition, Vargas recommended an extra $5 million in spending to hire more students for summer jobs and direct more resources to Wilson Magnet High School, Edison Tech and Leadership Academy for Young Men."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Three city school leaders to depart with chief change

      12/15/15
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Three of Rochester School District Superintendent Bolgen Vargas’ top deputies will leave the district with him at the end of the month, the district announced Monday. The three are Chief Financial Officer Bill Ansbrow, Chief of Staff Patty Malgieri, and General Counsel Ed Lopez. In a letter to central office staff, Vargas said the departures would provide flexibility to incoming interim superintendent Daniel Lowengard."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Greece music teacher makes music fun

      12/14/15
      Dan Gross, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that " As parents support kids at home for upcoming holiday shows across the area, music instructors are hard at work, rehearsing students in concert bands, orchestras, jazz ensembles and choirs. Meet instructor Robert Bickford of Greece’s Buckman Heights Elementary School, which is preparing for its winter performance. Last summer, the school’s fifth-grade jazz ensemble became the youngest group ever to play at the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Fest. Members performed music from memory in a variety of tunes and styles, while taking on both prepared and improvised solos. And standing before them was a young man, who from a distance looks like he couldn’t be older than 20-something. He was calm and focused. “Mr. Bickford is an amazing band teacher,” said Natalie Bentley, 11, now in sixth grade at Greece Olympia. “He knows how to make learning fun, and he was my inspiration to learn how to play the drums. He helped me to build my confidence. Jazz fest was awesome to be the youngest performers to perform in a festival with professional jazz bands.”"
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      RCSD and RTS reach a tentative 4 year $45.4 million deal

      12/12/15
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "The Rochester School District has reached a tentative agreement with the Rochester-Genesee Regional Transportation Authority to bus its high school students for the next four years, but still needs to convince the school board there is no better deal to be had. The four-year agreement would begin in September 2016 and last through June 2020 for a total cost of $45.4 million. It would provide direct routes to school for most students, meaning few transfers at the downtown Transit Center. In the first year, it would represent a savings of $1.2 million compared to the widely-panned agreement currently in place. That was negotiated in haste this summer after RGRTA first said it would stop transporting city students all together, then relented"
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Rush-Henrietta coach/science teacher arrested

      12/7/15
      Meaghan McDermott, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "A teacher and swim coach from the Rush-Henrietta Central School District has been arrested on unspecified charges related to an investigation into the use of a small room adjacent to a changing room used by female students, the district announced on Sunday. According to the district, a staff member at Rush-Henrietta Senior High School recently reported concerns about the room to school and district officials, sparking an internal investigation. On Dec. 4, the district notified the Monroe County Sheriff's Office."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Pittsford mulls full day Kindergarten

      12/5/15
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "The Pittsford Central School District, one of the last districts in New York to hold only half-day kindergarten, is considering expansion to a full day beginning in 2017. It is holding a community forum at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 9, at Sutherland High School to discuss the results of a study it conducted on the question. Fewer than 30 districts in the state lack full-day kindergarten, and four of them are in Monroe County: Brighton, Pittsford, Rush-Henrietta and West Irondequoit. Those other three districts have all recently either committed to a change or opened it up for community discussion. Pittsford was the final hold-out.."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Spencerport High School student dies in ATV accident

      11/29/15
      Will Cleveland, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Ben Daley is the Spencerport High School student who died in an ATV accident on Friday in north-central Pennsylvania. The 15-year-old was killed after losing control in Cameron County on Friday morning. According to Pennsylvania State Police, Daley was traveling north along Hawk Road in Lumber Township at 9:45 a.m when he lost control and was thrown from the ATV into a wooded area. He sustained numerous injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene by Cameron County Coroner Ted Walters. Daley’s death is being felt deeply in the Spencerport community"
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Budgeting mishaps costly to Vertus Charter school

      11/27/15
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "One of Rochester’s newest charter schools stands to lose nearly $200,000 in disputes over its per-pupil funding and its lease agreement, a pair of financial mishaps that threaten to punch a hole in its already tight budget. Vertus Charter School opened in September 2014 as an all-boys high school. Part of its appeal to parents is that school is in session nearly yearround, 24 days above the state minimum. For its first year, it expected state reimbursement based on a Septemberto- August financial year, going through the summer of 2015. An accountant for the Rochester School District, though, pointed out the state only allows the district to pass through funds based on the more typical July-to-June calendar year."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      East Irondequoit, Churchville-Chili, and Hilton have project votes

      11/26/15
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "The Churchville-Chili, East Irondequoit and Hilton school districts will soon ask voters for approval to begin capital projects. All three of the projects will be paid for with money that's already been set aside, meaning no tax increases are involved."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Webster CSD to participate in Urban Suburban Program

      11/25/15
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "The Webster Central School District will begin accepting Rochester students in the 2016-17 school year after its board voted unanimously to join the Urban- Suburban Program. It will be the 13th district to participate in the program, which allows poor city students — traditionally, though no longer exclusively, minorities — to attend school in the suburbs free of charge. Webster will take in up to 30 students in grades 2-4 next fall, Superintendent Carmen Gumina said. That will mean about four or five new students per building. “This program allows students the chance to experience an educational journey that is so different from the one their brothers and sisters have experienced,” Gumina said at the Nov. 19 meeting before the board’s vote. “Not only do the participants benefit, but certainly the host community and schools do even more so from all the diversity the program brings.” The district’s current student body is 87 percent white, according to state data."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      State Audit faults Penfield for padding reserve funds

      11/24/15
      Meaghan McDermott, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "For the past four years, the Penfield Central School District padded its reserve funds with money that could have been used instead to lower taxes, an audit from the state Comptroller’s Office determined. The audit, conducted by staff from state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s office, was released last week. It covered a period between July 2011 and May 2015. “The district is not using its resources in a way that is most beneficial to taxpayers and is raising more taxes than needed to fund operations,” auditors said. However, in a response letter, Penfield Superintendent Thomas Putnam and Board of Education President John Piper disputed some of the report’s conclusions, noting that the district’s conservative approach to budgeting means ensuring it will be able to withstand financial pressures while continuing to offer an excellent educational program."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Webster PE Teacher develops device for children with special needs to participate more fully in PE

      11/22/15
      Kristopher Brooks reports that " Joe Kabes tinkered alone in his garage, measuring, bending and adjusting. He worked alone, sometimes late into the night while his son slept, hoping to solve a growing problem at his school. Kabes, who teaches physical education at Schlegel Road Elementary School in Webster, has seen the school’s disabled student population climb these past six years. On the gym floor, Kabes has watched as these new students struggle to join their peers at playtime. And so, Kabes toiled in his garage, surrounded by materials he bought at Home Depot, building a device that would help students. Two months later, he had something. The Overcomer is basically a frame that connects to a child’s wheelchair, braces, walker or gait trainer. The frame has seven different attachments designed for bowling, soccer, or other gym-time activities."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Two Greece CSD school buses collide

      11/21/15a
      Will Cleveland, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Two Greece Central School District buses were involved in a crash on Latta Road on Friday afternoon. According to Greece Police Deputy Chief Jason Helfer, one bus collided with the rear end of the other bus at 2:51 p.m. as both were headed eastbound, just west of Dewey Avenue. The driver of the bus that struck the other one was distracted after checking on an unruly passenger in his mirror. The bus monitor was addressing the student."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Common Core tests giving students anxiety

      11/21/15
      Joseph Spector, Gannet Albany, staff writer reports that "State tests are the ones that are stressing kids out, school psychologists in New York said. About three-quarters of school psychologists from among the state’s nearly 700 school districts said state tests are causing greater anxiety than local assessments, a survey released Friday by the state School Boards Association and the state Association of School Psychologists found. The anxiety hasn’t, for the most part, led to physical ailments, the school psychologists said, but the new Common Core testing has translated into students feeling more stressed."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Exploration Elementary Charter School of Science and Technology to open in Rochester

      11/19/15
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that " The New York State Board of Regents Tuesday gave final approval for Exploration Elementary Charter School of Science and Technology to open in Rochester in 2016, making it the first new charter to open in two years. The school will begin with kindergarten and first grade and eventually expand to K-5, according to its letter of intent. Teachers will emphasize scientific inquiry in class and students will get a large dose of instruction on technology, engineering and computers, among other things. The school’s founders promise to exceed the proportions of students with disabilities, English language learners and poor students in the Rochester School District. The school will likely be sited in the former U Prep building at 180 Raines Park in the Maplewood neighborhood."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Couple pleads guilty to child pornography involving Gates Chili student

      11/19/15
      Will Cleveland, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "A Monroe County couple pleaded guilty to production of child pornography in U.S. District Court. Sharon Sexton, 45, of Gates, and Alfred Dasilva, 46, of Greece, admitted to producing child pornography in front of Chief U.S. District Court Justice Frank P. Geraci. The charge carries a minimum mandatory sentence of 15 years in prison, a maximum of 30 years, and a $250,000 fine or both. Sexton is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 18. Dasilva will be sentenced on Jan. 7. Both remain in custody pending sentencing. The investigation began when a school resource officer, employed by Gates police, in the Gates Chili Central School District was told by a school official that Sexton was taking nude photographs of a female student. According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig R. Gestring, Sexton sent the photos to her boyfriend, Dasilva. Sexton told authorities that Dasilva asked her to send him the photos and that he used them to 'fantasize.' Sexton admitted to taking the photos and sending them to Dasilva."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      East Irondequoit’s Superintencent named top Superintendent in State

      11/19/15
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "East Irondequoit Central School District Superintendent Susan Allen Wednesday was named the top superintendent in the state by the New York Council of School Superintendents (NYCOSS). Allen has been superintendent in East Irondequoit since 2005. Among her top initiatives have been getting International Baccalaureate authorization of most of the district’s schools; partnering with Monroe Community College to let students take dual-credit courses; and providing tablet computers to all students."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      RCSD union and District clash on school violence

      11/19/15
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Rochester teachers will protest problems with school safety and special education at Thursday’s school board meeting, the product of both difficult conditions in schools and a worsening relationship between the Rochester Teachers Union and district administration. Though teachers will address the school board, RTA President Adam Urbanski made clear the real target is outgoing Superintendent Bolgen Vargas, whom he accused of slackening his efforts in advance of his Dec. 31 departure. “It is very frustrating the superintendent who is here … is not doing very much to address the situation, and the (interim) superintendent who will be here in January isn’t here yet,” Urbanski said. “I’m quite frankly both surprised and disappointed that (Vargas) has slowed down his work — I assume because he won’t be here in a month and a half.”"
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      NY State Regents want spending boost

      11/17/15
      Jon Campbell, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "New York’s education policymakers want the state to put another $2.4 billion toward schools next year as districts face “many financial challenges,” including increases in health-care costs and the minimum wage. The state Board of Regents on Monday discussed the big boost in aid, which would push the amount the state spends on education past $26 billion for the fiscal year beginning April 1. A Regents committee introduced the framework proposal at its Monday meeting, with the full board to authorize a more specific plan in December. The Regents’ plan would be a 10 percent hike over the current year and comes as school districts sound the alarm over the state’s property-tax cap, which may prevent them from raising local taxes next year to fund their budgets. But it would need approval from Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state lawmakers, who have to fit the spending into a roughly $142 billion state budget for the fiscal year that starts April 1. “Unless additional state aid is provided, because of increases in fixed costs such as contractual obligations and legacy costs, school districts, particularly high needs districts, may struggle to maintain a full range of quality educational services for their students,” according to a memo from state Deputy Education Commission Elizabeth Berlin. “To address this concern and avoid program cuts, we recommend that the state provide the full amount of projected cost increases."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      East High Shows early returns

      11/17/15
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "The question from a student was too direct for East High School Superintendent Shaun Nelms to dodge. And anyway, the whole sitting-in-a-circleand- talking thing was partly his responsibility in the first place. “Why are you so cheap?” 10th-grader Felipe Burgos asked. “And don't just say, ‘I'm cheap.’ ” It has been a hot topic all year in Nelms’ Family Group, the small circles of students and adults that meet daily to talk about nearly anything. For Burgos, it came to a head when Nelms admitted to buying Dum Dums — the bargain-basement suckers, a fixture of candy dishes at bank teller windows and grandparents’ living rooms — to fill out the trick-or-treat basket at his house on Halloween"
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Greece CSD sees significant rise in free lunch rate

      11/10/15
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "The percentage of children in the Greece Central School District who qualify for free or reduced lunch has spiked over the last year, a combination of a persistently negative trend and increased outreach by the district to sign children up for benefits. Greece, the county’s largest suburb, has seen steadily rising poverty over the last decade, as have many local towns. From 2005 to 2014, the percentage of students qualifying for free or reduced price lunch rose from 26 percent to 43 percent. Data collected by the district in October, however, shows a much more precipitous increase, from 43 to 54 percent. Part of that is a continuation of the previous trend, but it also reflects the district’s increased success in getting eligible children signed up. District spokeswoman Laurel Heiden listed a number of factors. For instance, all students now use a rechargeable card to pay for meals, removing the stigma for free and reduced price-paying students when everyone else is paying cash. The district has also used automated phone calls to remind families to re-enlist. The income guidelines for free and reduced lunch are based on percentages of the federal poverty line, which is currently $24,250 for a family of four. A child in a family of four would get free lunch if her family income is at less than 130 percent of that number, or $31,525. For reducedprice lunch, the threshold is 185 percent of the poverty line, or $44,863. "
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Brighton studying full-day Kindergarten

      11/6/15
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "The Brighton Central School District is gathering financial details about a switch to full-day kindergarten in advance of a possible public referendum to be held in the spring. Such a transition would involve renovating the former Brookside School building at 220 Idlewood Road, which now hosts the town recreation department. A consultant study and a district committee both came to the conclusion that locating it there would be a better investment and academically appropriate than the other option, expanding Council Rock Primary School to hold it. Planning and construction could take several years, meaning 4year-olds would probably not actually begin their longer days until 2019, according to Superintendent Kevin McGowan."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Gates Chili lockdown sparked by suspended student

      11/5/15
      Will Cleveland, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "A suspended Gates Chili High School student is accused of breaking into the school armed with a knife that caused a lock down Wednesday morning. Jonathan P. Jordain, 17, allegedly tried to gain entrance to the high school after he was told he could not enter. Jordain, who was charged with one felony, second-degree burglary, and three misdemeanors, third-degree criminal mischief, fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon, attempted thirddegree assault, was taken into custody at 10:44 a.m Wednesday, according to the Gates Police Lt. John Ballard. He has yet to be arraigned. He told police that he was under the influence of cocaine when he tried to gain entry to the school. Jordain then smashed out a glass door with a table and entered the foyer of the school. When he was confronted by school security guards, he sprayed them in the face with a fire extinguisher. According to Gates police, Jordain was armed with a large folding knife."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Le Roy School District transgender policy upsets outside group

      11/3/15
      Carolyn Thompson, Associated Press, staff writer reports that "A Christian advocacy group has asked a western New York school district to stop letting a transgender student use the boys’ locker rooms and restrooms, saying it violates other students’ privacy. In a letter to Le Roy High School Principal Timothy McArdle, the Alliance Defending Freedom said the district’s transgender policy also threatens student safety, parental authority, religious freedom and the learning environment. “This practice has made multiple male students very uncomfortable and has caused them to modify their daily activities to try to avoid sharing private facilities with a classmate who is a biological female,” according to the letter, which legal counsel Matt Sharp said was prompted by a parent’s concern."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      School District fear effects of $15 wage

      11/3/15
      Joseph Spector, Gannett, staff writer reports that "A $15-an-hour minimum wage in New York would wreak havoc on school districts’ finances, the state Association of School Business Officials warned. Gov. Andrew Cuomo is pledging to increase the minimum wage by 2021 to $15 per hour across New York, and he will seek legislative approval to do so next year. While much of the debate over the higher minimum wage has centered on the private sector, the school group said the $15 wage would hit school budgets that are already facing limited revenue and constraints from a property-tax cap."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Racial slurs alleged against RCSD soccer players

      11/3/15
      Sean Lehman, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "The celebration of a Section V boys soccer championship on Saturday was marred by racial slurs yelled at members of the World of Inquiry soccer team, according to the school’s assistant principal. In a post to her Facebook page on Saturday, Kimberly Garlock wrote that she was disheartened and angered by the actions of a handful of adults, who she identified as fans from Red Creek high school. The team from World of Inquiry, also known as Rochester School 58, defeated Red Creek 3-1 to claim its second straight sectional title. “Sadly, many adults chose to yell out racial slurs as we exited the stands following the award ceremony,” Garlock wrote. “These hateful slurs continued as our team headed to the bus.”"
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Vargas leaves mark as RCSD School chief

      11/1/15
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Outgoing Rochester School District Superintendent Bolgen Vargas likely will be remembered for his expansion of city children’s learning opportunities and the conflict with the elected school board that led to his resignation this week. His tenure officially ends Dec. 31, when he will be replaced on an interim basis by former Syracuse City School District Superintendent Daniel Lowengard. Vargas, however, garnered praise — and criticism — on many points. In particular, he was criticized for his unwillingness to confront New York’s top education officials over matters of standards, curriculum and testing, though his position to do so was weakened by the state’s financial levers."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      William Cala would consider RCSD job

      10/31/15
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "William Cala, the former Fairport Central School District superintendent who once served as the interim leader in Rochester, said Friday he would consider returning to the city on a permanent basis, if asked. The city school district is about to embark on a search for a replacement for Bolgen Vargas, who will step down in December. Former Syracuse Superintendent Daniel Lowengard will then serve on an interim basis, but he has said he does not want to stay long."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Erica Bryant column on "Small victories in RCSD"

      10/31/15
      Erica Bryant, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "When Bolgen Vargas took control of the Rochester School District, it was buying health insurance for hundreds of ineligible people, including dozens who were dead. It is no longer doing that. You have to celebrate small victories at 131 W. Broad St. No one expects urban superintendents to preside over districts in which most of the children learn to read and graduate. Daniel Lowengard, who will begin as interim superintendent in January, said as much at a news conference Tuesday at which Vargas announced he would resign at the end of the year. “If you look across this nation, at all the urban districts, they are not successful,” said Lowengard, a former superintendent of Syracuse schools. Superintendents can simply hope to banish a little insanity. To wrest a few wasted dollars from a monstrous bureaucracy. To provide a few more resources to children who deserve an education."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Lima Elementary students go outside for learning

      10/30/15
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "The kindergartners at Lima Elementary School didn’t need to hear that instruction twice. They hopped down the tree stump trail leading to their outdoor classroom, squishing in the mud with rubber boots and waving magnifying glasses at anything standing still. Some bounded up a short dirt hill and took in the view. A half dozen jockeyed for position on a tree snag where its bulbous base jutted out. Five-year-old Luke Boldt led an expedition into a six-inch trickle of water."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      NY Students see math, reading scores fall

      10/29/15
      Carolyn Thompson, Associated Press, staff writer reports that "New York schoolchildren earned mostly average scores on the test known as the Nation’s Report Card in a year of lackluster results overall. Fourth- and eighthgrade math and reading scores declined slightly across the board in New York since the test was last given two years ago, according to 2015 results released Wednesday. It was, for the most part, the same story at the national level, with math scores down for both grades and reading scores flat for fourth graders and lower for eighth graders. The test, officially known as the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) exam, is given every two years at select schools in each state to measure student performance around the nation. Federal and state education officials urged people not to panic about the scores as students face more challenging material."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      RCSD Partners vow to continue support after Vargas announces resignation

      10/29/15
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "The Rochester School District in the past several years has increased its collaboration with a variety of outside organizations and other branches of local government. The day after Rochester schools Superintendent Bolgen Vargas announced his impending resignation, leaders of those groups pledged that momentum would not be lost. Since Vargas took the reins four years ago, he has repeatedly called on partner organizations to lend support to key initiatives, particularly early literacy and attendance."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Meningococcal vaccine required for those entering grades 7, 12

      10/29/15
      Jon Campbell, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Add meningitis to the list of vaccines required to attend school in New York. ? Starting next school year, students entering seventh grade will be required to receive a meningococcal vaccine, which protects against certain diseases including a form of meningitis. Before 12th grade, students will have to receive a booster shot. ? The new requirement was among 40 bills signed into law late Monday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and was approved despite a lobbying effort by vaccine skeptic Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Cuomo’s former brother-in-law."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      ExHilton teacher pleads to enticing minor on Craigslist

      10/28/15
      Will Cleveland, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "A former Hilton Middle School teacher pleaded guilty in Rochester to attempted online enticement of a minor in federal court on Tuesday, according to a statement from the Office of the United States Attorney. Charles Kane, 46, of Spencerport, admitted that he tried to meet a person he thought was a 14year-old girl after placing an advertisement of Craigslist in October 2014. In the ad, Kane said, “daddy/ daughter. Love younger women.”The charge carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison. He is scheduled to be sentenced in front of Judge Elizabeth Wolford at 2 p.m. on Jan. 26. A federal law enforcement officer, working undercover, posed as the father of a young daughter and talked with Kane online for several months. Kane allegedly discussed traveling to meet the undercover agent and engage in sexual activity with his daughter."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      ExSyracuse Superintendent to be RCSD Interimn Superintendent

      10/28/15
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "The next leader of the Rochester School District has four decades of experience in urban education in New York, including stints as superintendent in Syracuse and Utica. Dan Lowengard began as a teacher in Syracuse in 1972 and worked his way up to the top job, staying there more than five years before retiring in 2011. He was announced Tuesday as the interim superintendent in Rochester beginning Jan. 1, when Bolgen Vargas’ resignation takes effect. “I’m old, so I’m not doing this a long time,” the 65-year-old said. “But I do have passion, and I believe we can do better.” His salary was not finalized Tuesday but will be no less than a pro-rated amount of $175,000 a year, plus a housing allowance, school board President Van White said. Lowengard will not receive health benefits."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      RCSD Superintendent Vargas to resign in December

      10/28/15
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Rochester Superintendent Bolgen Vargas will resign from his post at the end of December, six months before his contract ends, he announced Tuesday. Vargas, 53, will stay on through June as an adviser to former Syracuse Superintendent Dan Lowengard, who will serve as interim superintendent while the school board searches for a permanent replacement. He will continue to receive health benefits and his $195,000 annual salary. Lowengard will receive a pro-rated salary of at least $175,000, the pay Vargas first received as an interim superintendent, as well as a housing stipend, said school board President Van White."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Regents chief to exit amid policy turmoil

      10/27/15
      Jon Campbell and Nick Muscavage, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "The head of New York’s education board will step down at the end of her term next year, a sign of the volatile times for education policy in the state and an indication of changes on the influential board. Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch announced Monday she won’t seek another term next March after seven years as chancellor and 20 years as a member of the board. A former teacher, Tisch, 60, has led the board through the state’s still-ongoing transition to the Common Core, the more-stringent education standards being implemented in more than 40 states. The state’s rocky implementation led to unrest among parents and teachers, with Tisch becoming one of the faces of the push for higher standards and a frequent target of criticism."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      RCSD School 17, off Jay Street is a beacon in the JOSANA neighborhood

      10/22/15
      Jason Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "At most schools in Rochester, the traditional academic day is already a thing of the past. Some students are at school eight hours a day or longer, eating three meals and getting extra tutoring and recreation. Some get free health care and school supplies, or access to mentors and top-notch arts education. School 17, off Jay Street in the JOSANA neighborhood, already has most of those things in place. Sheleyana Tores, 10, of Rochester practices her step-dance moves in the gymnasium at School 17 on Orchard Street. Now, the district, the city of Rochester and several other local partners plan to push the envelope even further. They plan to make School 17 the city’s first Beacon School — the next generation of community school, where different services are not only in the same building but actively coordinated for students, their families and the rest of the community."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      NY High School graduation rates rise

      10/20/15
      Brian Tumulty, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "The statewide graduation rate at New York high schools increased 1 percentage point to 77.8 percent in the 2013-14 school year, according to preliminary data released Monday by the National Center for Education Statistics. New York was among 36 states that saw a yearover- year increase in graduation rates. States with the biggest gains were Alabama, Delaware, Illinois, Oregon and West Virginia, the Education Department reported. Delaware’s graduation rate jumped 6.6 percentage points to 87 percent and Alabama’s rose 6.3 percentage points to 86.3 percent. Graduation rates dropped in only six states — Alaska, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota and Ohio — along with the District of Columbia. The District of Columbia ranked last with a 61.4 percent rate while Iowa led the nation with 90.5 percent of students finishing secondary school."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      East Rochester 12 year old commits suicide after bullying

      10/18/15
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Three months after 12-year-old Kennis Cady died by suicide, her parents have more questions than ever could be answered.­Why did she do it? Was she bullied, for what, and when? What did the adults at East Rochester Junior/Senior High School do to help and what will they do now for other students, her three brothers among them?­At the bottom of everything, though, perhaps the key to it all: What is kazumi? Or, why did she feel so all alone?­ Kennis was a quirky girl and proud of it. Somewhere along the way — her parents do not know how — she developed a passion for Japanese culture.­When she got to choose the restaurant, it was sushi. When she had free time to read, it was likely manga, the Japanese comics. And when she made her own drawings, as she often did for hours at a time, giggling and chattering to herself in her room, she would create Japanese- style characters who sometimes spoke with her or for her."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      RCSD Pre-Kindergarten enrollment up and College and Career Readiness down

      10/17/15
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "In one part of the room was a tabletop sandbox with toys. A few feet away, a fish tank filled with suds. Behind it, 4year-olds mixing yellow and blue to paint green directly on the table. It didn’t take a degree in early childhood development to predict there would be some cleaning up to do. But Cheryl Cady, the pre-kindergarten teacher directing the mayhem at School 34 on Lexington Avenue, seemed unperturbed as she rolled up her paint-stained sweater sleeves. “They’re just getting a ton of academics and socialization,” she said. “You see tremendous growth from the beginning to the end of the year.” More and more children in Rochester are getting that opportunity. Enrollment in pre-kindergarten in Rochester has risen from 75 percent of 4-year-olds in 2011-12 to 95 percent in 2013-14, the result of a timely state grant, concerted efforts by the district and support from a number of other community organizations. That means an additional 350 students getting a head start on school."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      East Rochester residents concerns about Villa of Hope Group Home

      10/16/15
      Sarah Taddeo, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "A group of about100 residents gathered at a neighborhood meeting Thursday in East Rochester to learn more about a potential group home for youth opening in a village neighborhood. Villa of Hope youth and family services offers varied levels of programs for youth who have been through the foster care system and who have experienced trauma, such as domestic violence or neglect. The nonprofit has a purchase offer in for a former convent on West Filbert Street to house eight male and female children ages 16 to 21 as part of a group home, which will operate as a home for the individuals with a curfew, 24-hour staffing and extra resources, such as social workers and counselors. Some East Rochester residents voiced concerns about the location of the home, which is situated near an elementary school, and the stability of the home’s residents. “Nobody comes into this work wanting to go through traumatic experiences,” said Christina Gullo, Villa of Hope’s president and CEO. “But the great news is that at Villa of Hope, we’re really able to work with them and they’re able to become these wonderful young adults who have completely transformed their lives.” The Villa operates group homes in Spencerport, Greece and Williamson, Wayne County, all of which have small numbers of residents."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Hilton mours loss of sixth-grader

      10/13/15
      Bennett Loudon, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "The Hilton Central School District is mourning the loss of one of its students after a sixth-grader at Northwood Elementary School died over the weekend. Specifics about the Saturday death of Andrew Rohloff are unclear but the family and school district released statements by email: Andrew’s cousin, Anthony J. Loria, released a statement on behalf of Andrew’s parents, Kris and Greg, and brother, Nic: “We’d like to thank everyone for the outpouring of kind words about Andrew and the support from the Hilton sports community. At this time, we’d appreciate privacy as we continue to mourn.” Calling hours are set for 3 to 7 p.m. Wednesday at Bartolomeo & Perotto Funeral Home, 1411 Vintage Lane. The following statement was sent by the school district: “The Hilton Central School District is mourning the loss of Andrew Rohloff, a sixth-grader who attended Northwood Elementary School. The District’s Crisis Team has been activated and will provide support to students, families and staff when school reopens on Tuesday to deal with this tragic event.."

      RCSD proposes free Citywide Wi-Fi

      10/1/15
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "The Rochester School District wants to ensure its students have Internet access at home, and the rest of the city’s residents may be beneficiaries. The district has hired a consulting firm to study the possibility of creating a free city-wide wireless network. It would build on existing resources, including libraries, schools and other public buildings, then look to fill in gaps. There are still plenty of details to hash out, including how much usage to allow for free and how to differentiate between students doing homework and everyone else. “We’re not going to be able to fund streaming movies,” Ann Marie Lehner, the district’s top information technology officer, said. “We’re expecting there will be several tiers and there might be a cost as you go up.” The primary funding will come from the state Smart Schools Bond Act, which provides money for certain technology spending in schools. The district will receive $47 million through that program and will set a small portion aside. ."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Federal Government sues Gates Chili over service dog

      9/30/15
      Brian Sharp, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "The Department of Justice sued the Gates Chili Central School District on Tuesday for refusing to allow a child to bring her service dog to school unless accompanied by a handler, paid for by her family. Federal officials previously determined that the district’s actions were illegal, a position similarly taken by the state Department of Education. This three-year-long dispute involves the family of Devyn Pereira, and dates to when the child began kindergarten at Terry Taylor Elementary School in the Spencerport Central School District. Devyn has always attended school in Monroe 2-Orleans Board of Cooperative Education classrooms funded by the Gates Chili school district, but the classrooms have not always been in Gates Chili school buildings. She currently attends third grade at Neil Armstrong Elementary School on Lyell Road in a special class for medically fragile children. In a statement, U.S. Attorney William Hochul said the Gates Chili district had ignored repeated requests to allow the student’s 1:1 aide or other staff to assist with the dog."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.
      Click this link to read the pdf of the Federal filling.

      SOTA Teacher charged with sex crime

      9/25/15
      Victoria Freile, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "A Rochester man who is a substitute teacher at a city high school has been accused of having sexual contact with a 15-year-old girl. Rochester police on Tuesday charged Michael C. Schimek, 28, of Rowley Street with thirddegree rape and third-degree criminal sex act, both felonies, Rochester Police Investigator Jackie Shuman said Thursday. He is accused of having intercourse and oral sex with a 15-year-old at his residence on multiple occasions over the last few months, Shuman said. When arrested, Schimek was a substitute teacher at Edison Career and Technology High School, 655 Colifax St., in the City School District. According to police, Schimek met the teen through his previous post in the district, as the assistant track coach at the School of the Arts, 45 Prince St. In a letter sent to the parents of SOTA students, district officials said upon learning of the police investigation, they “immediately took steps to make sure that he would not be allowed to teach or have contact with students in any city school.” Schimek has worked as a substitute teacher at the district since 2012. He was serving as a substitute teacher and assistant football coach at Edison Tech, according to the letter, penned by SOTA Principal Brenda Pacheco and Amy Schiavi, the district’s Chief of Secondary Schools.."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Hope Hall helps kids who learn differently

      9/24/15
      Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "A few weeks ago, I saw a Facebook photo on a friend’s page that caught my eye. It was of a young man in a school uniform and he was placing a piece of paper in a freshly dug hole. The caption read: “The I Can’t Ceremony is a Hope Hall tradition that sends a strong message to our students that they can achieve anything that they put their minds to. On the first day of every school year, students ‘bury’ their fears by writing them on a piece of paper and we plant it in our courtyard.” What an amazing concept and perfect way to begin the school year, I thought. Then, I wondered where this school was located. Is it in Europe? California? Nope. Hope Hall, founded in 1994, is an educational gem and it is located right in our own backyard in Gates. This extraordinary private school is reserved for children who learn best in unique, multi-sensory ways. “It is not for the intellectually impaired or those with behavioral problems,” said Sister Diana Dolce, founder, executive director and principal of Hope Hall. “It is very often not even for those qualified as learning-disabled."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      State Audit faults Fairport Schools

      9/23/15
      Sarah Taddeo, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "A state audit released this week contended that five school districts, including the Fairport Central School District, showed a lack of oversight of computer grading systems and allowed student grade changes without proper documentation. Fairport schools use an electronic grade book system where teachers input student grades, and district staff can monitor student performance, generate student report cards and maintain students’ transcripts. The State Comptroller’s Office audit found that while the district generally used “lock-out” dates — deadlines when final grades are to be locked into the system — to restrict grade modifications during the audit period of July 2013 to mid-March 2015, staff modified some grades after lock-out dates without backing documentation. About 2 percent of over 90,000 grade changes made by teachers during the audit period were made after lockout deadlines without proper approvals, according to the report. Grade changes made by non-teachers after marking periods had closed were made without proper documentation, such as a “Grade Correction Form” given to the registrar, 70 percent of the time, the report stated."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Edison Tech gets reinvented

      9/22/15
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Dan Collins has taught machining at Edison Tech in Rochester for 15 years. Before that, his father taught it for 30 years. Before that, his grandfather taught it for another 30 years. That’s 75 years. By now, he has some idea of what makes a good career and technical high school. Until recently, he wasn’t seeing it on Colfax Street. “From about 2001 to 2010, this place just went down the toilet,” he said. “We didn’t have the right kids here, and the kids we did have weren’t in the right career paths. ... Then, because of that, a lot of long-forged connections with our (business) partners withered away.” In December 2013, a team of experts made the same points and then some in a bruising 41-page report on the state of affairs of career and technical education at the west side campus and in the district overall. At that point, it housed two separate high schools, causing confusion in the community. Students there weren’t necessarily interested in a career and technical education, and even if they were, they didn’t necessarily get one. Program lacked New York state approval, depriving students of a meaningful credential at the end of their studies. The principals had good intentions but little experience. Teachers lacked appropriate professional development time and had what the observers "
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Rochester to get $12 million for more pre-K programs

      9/20/15
      The Democrat and Chronicle reports that "The state of New York is dividing $30 million among 34 high-need school districts around the state for prekindergarten programs. Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the funding award on Friday. The money will support the expansion of prekindergarten programs for 3and 4-year-olds. Districts receiving the money are scattered throughout the state, with the largest grants going to Rochester, which will receive nearly $12 million, and Syracuse, which will receive more than $3 million. Nearly 3,300 students across the state will be covered by the funding. Districts had to apply for the money, which was awarded based on a variety of factors including districts with the greatest need. Cuomo says early education can make a significant impact on a child’s later success and that the investment will pay off in the years to come."

      Hillside schools expane support program to Gates-Chili

      9/18/15
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "A comprehensive support program for high school students at risk of dropping out is expanding to the Gates Chili Central School District, a sure indicator of the growing impact of poverty in the suburbs. The program, Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection, identifies students struggling in school, most of whom are poor, and surrounds them with support, including a personal advocate at their school, tutoring, job and college preparation skills and mentoring. Many students are then hooked up with jobs at Wegmans, the University of Rochester or other program partners. The program serves about 2,000 Rochester students and also operates in Buffalo, Syracuse and Prince George’s County, Maryland. Since its founding in 1987, though, poverty has transcended municipal lines and emerged as a significant problem for many suburban school districts, Gates Chili chief among them. Forty-two percent of children in Gates Chili qualified for free or reduced lunch in 2013-14 — nowhere near the Rochester School District’s 85 percent rate, but more than double its 2003-04 rate of 19 percent. In the suburbs, only East Rochester (47 percent) and East Irondequoit (52 percent) have greater proportions of poor children. Hillside has been at Greece Arcadia High School for three years, serving about 30 students, but Gates Chili will be the first suburban district to participate as a whole. There will be 30 spots "
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      NY spent $21 thousand per pupil in 2013-14

      9/15/15
      Jon Campbell, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Total education spending in New York topped $60 billion during the 2013-14 school year, averaging out to $21,812 for each of the state’s nearly 3 million students, according to a report released Monday. ? The analysis from the New York State Association of School Business Officials showed the state’s 679 local school districts took on the brunt of the cost, spending about $32.7 billion, which comes out to $11,888 per pupil or 54.5 percent of the total. The vast majority of the local share — about 90 percent — is covered by property taxpayers, according to the report. ? The state’s share was about 41.4 percent — $24.9 billion total or $9,026 per pupil — while the federal government accounted for the rest. ? Overall, spending during the 2013-14 year was up about 3 percent from the previous year’s total of $58 billion. And while the state’s share has increased each year since 2010-11, it still lags behind what it was prior to the most recent economic recession, leaving local districts to pick up the difference, the report found."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Uneven attendance on East High's first day

      9/10/15
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "First, the good news: 91 percent of sixth- through eighth-graders at the new East High School were in their seats when classes began Tuesday. In sixth grade alone, it was 94 percent. The bad news: just 62 percent of ninth-graders attended, a mark that’s below even the district-wide rate for ninth-graders on the first day of school and that illustrates the challenge the University of Rochester is facing at the school. As in the rest of the Rochester School District, a distinction prevails at East between high school students who are on track to graduate and those with much ground to make up. For ninthgraders repeating the grade, attendance at East was 43 percent on Tuesday. For those taking it for the first time, it was 84 percent."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      East High begins new phase under UR leadership

      9/9/15
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "From May 6, 2014, when the University of Rochester announced it would consider a partnership with East High School, until this summer, when students and staff went through intensive training and orientation, the question lingered: Would this really be any different?­ Those students have now taken their seats for their first-period classes on the first day of school, so the question can be answered in part. For one morning, at least, yes. It was different.­ “I mean, it’s (still) East,” 10th-grader Tyrique Hasan said. “But we never had this before.”­ Nearly all the school’s teachers, staff and administrators lined the entrance to the school Tuesday, the first day of school, to cheer the students on as they got off the bus."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      1 in 4 RCSD student miss 1st day of School

      9/5/15
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "About one in four Rochester students missed the first day of school Wednesday, a discouraging sign given the district’s intensive efforts to boost attendance. The K-12 rate was 76.6 percent Wednesday and 78.8 percent Thursday. By comparison, the first-day attendance rate in September 2014 was 83.6 percent. The rates from kindergarten to fourth grade were all between 80 and 82 percent. Ninth and 10th grades were about 72 percent."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      RCSD School Discipline ideas released

      9/4/15
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "The Task Force on School Climate, tasked with reforming discipline practices in the Rochester School District, released six initial recommendations Thursday that it hopes can be implemented this year. The six are:
      ­ Ongoing professional development on recognizing and fighting racism, conducted by local experts, as well as renewed focus on “culturally informed curriculum and instruction.”
      ­ A college-style “Office of Student Life” at each high school that would help develop youth leaders, among other things.
      ­ Restorative practices to be introduced at all schools in place of reliance on suspensions. Teachers to be trained in de-escalating conflicts. No suspensions for dress code violations or students using cell phones.
      ­ Better communication with students before and after suspensions.
      - Streamline the Office of Parent Engagement, Parent University and other parent-oriented programs into one more user-friendly office.
      ­ Create a “Help Zone” with a trained staff person in each primary school where students can go, at their initiative or a teacher’s, to avoid an escalating problem."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Brighton buses hit first-day problems

      9/3/15
      Sarah Taddeo, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "The first day of school in Brighton saw an unusual amount of hiccups and snarled traffic Tuesday as the district started new bus routes during road construction. Some Brighton families waited between 20 and 45 minutes for buses to pick up children in the morning or drop them back at homes or bus stops in the afternoon. The bus dropping off Barbara Johnson’s 7-yearold daughter Dagny from French Road Elementary was 45 minutes late to the neighborhood after school, and then drove right by the neighborhood’s new bus stop by accident. “I expected it to be late, but not that late,” said Johnson, who lives on Bonnie Brae Avenue, about two miles from French Road Elementary. She called the district’s transportation office about the bus stop mix-up, and Dagny made it home safely, she said. Wednesday's morning bus was 15 minutes late. The district runs a tiered bus system, meaning buses go from one school to the next, which called for changed bus routes after all four Brighton schools added an extra 30 minutes to their instruction schedules this year, said Brighton Superintendent Kevin McGowan in an email."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Schools start vary by District

      9/2/15
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Whether your children are returning to school this week or whiling away several more days of summer depends on where you live and how your local school district decided to handle a quirky calendar year. Traditionally, school opens the Wednesday after Labor Day. This year, however, Labor Day doesn’t fall until Sept. 7, the latest possible date for the first Monday in September. As a result, districts must decide whether to postpone school until Sept. 8 (or later) or start it earlier then take an immediate break. In most cases, Monroe County school districts and the Diocese of Rochester try to hew to the master schedule that’s set, with their participation, by BOCES, since many students also attend programs there. BOCES this year begins class Wednesday, Sept. 2, then takes a 4day weekend Friday and Monday before reconvening Tuesday, Sept. 8, the day "
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Pittsford Board of Education recently appointed Michael Falzoi as assistant principal at Calkins Road Middle School

      8/29/15
      The Democrat and Chronicle reports that "The Pittsford Board of Education recently appointed Michael Falzoi as assistant principal at Calkins Road Middle School. Falzoi had been the high school principal for the Dansville Central School District since 2008, and held assistant principal and social studies positions in the past. The board also appointed Maria Hill as the Committee on Special Education coordinator. Hill worked for 12 years as a special education teacher and most recently served as CSE chairperson for Buffalo Public Schools’ City Honors School. Falzoi and Hill will assume their new positions Monday.

      Fate of Boys Academy at School 9 undecided

      8/28/15
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "The Rochester school board met late into Thursday night on the question of the Boys Academy at School 9 and whether some of its students should move to the Charlotte High School campus, but its input may be rendered moot Friday. The board had a lengthy closed-door discussion on whether to direct Bolgen Vargas, the city’s superintendent of schools, to keep the academy at School 9 on North Clinton Avenue until he gets approval from the state education department to do otherwise. The meeting lasted past press time, but Vargas said a meeting with the state on that very topic is scheduled for Friday. If the state agrees with his proposal to move the academy, he can go forward with it against parents’ wishes due to the receivership powers he recently received at School 9 and 13 other schools. The Boys Academy program was begun several years ago by School 9 Assistant Principal Burnice Green as a way to focus on boys who were struggling academically or emotionally. Its students wear shirts and ties to school and try to foster in one another a sense of responsibility and discipline. Its popularity led to a grow-out to the seventhand eighth grades, even though the rest of the school is only K-6. The students and their parents extoll its effectiveness in changing their outlook on school and life. “Mr. Green is a savior to these boys,” said Iliana Justiano, whose son Juan attends the academy. Vargas, however, points to a lack of academic progress, particularly on state tests. He announced in June the Boys Academy’s seventh- and eighth-graders would move to Leadership Academy for Young Men, a secondary school on the Charlotte campus. He billed it as a way to create continuity for the allboys model and give them access to a wider array of academic and extracurricular opportunities."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      RCSD Superintendent: RCSD graduations rate edges up

      8/26/15
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "The projected Rochester 2014-15 June graduation rate is up slightly to 45.5 percent, Superintendent Bolgen Vargas said Tuesday in his State of our Schools speech at Edison Tech. That is up from 43 percent last year. The August rate, which takes summer school into account, was 51 percent last year and is also expected to rise modestly. The official numbers have yet to be released by the state. Vargas said the incremental growth is a natural result of policies the district has put in place over the last several years, including more time in the classroom, better financial accounting and allocation and a greater concentration on reading by third grade. “We are starting to see results,” he said. “But let’s not confuse starting something with finishing something. ... We cannot resolve the issue of poverty in this city unless we resolve the educational issues our community faces.”"
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Churchville-Chili to fill Board Spot

      8/22/15
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "The Churchville-Chili Central School District is looking to fill a vacancy on its school board after one of its members, Sherry Johnson, resigned to become the executive director of the Monroe County School Boards Association. The vacancy is for a one-year term, until the spring of 2016. Candidates must be at least 18 years old, literate, registered to vote and a resident of the district for at least one year. People interested in serving should email a letter of interest to School Board President Kathleen Dillon (kdillon@ cccsd.org) or drop one off at the district office, 139 Fairbanks Road. Prospective candidates will be interviewed by the school board, and one will be chosen by the Oct. 13 school board meeting if all goes well. More information is available at the district website, cccsd.org/boecandidate."

      Principal changes in RCSD Schools

      8/19/15
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Sandy Jordan, the former president of the Rochester School District’s Association of Administrators and Supervisors of Rochester, has been named the new principal at Rochester Early College International High School on Genesee Street. She replaces Marlene Blocker, that school’s founding principal, who will lead the younger grades at the revamped East High School. Early College is a little- known but fairly successful city high school where all students take courses at Monroe Community College, often graduating with many college credits in addition to their high school diploma. Students there also can study Chinese. “I couldn’t be happier,” Jordan said. “It’s a smaller, family feeling, and it’s non-traditional in that these kids excel in areas beyond just high school.” Before her one-year term as ASAR president, Jordan was the founding principal at All City High. Charlotte High School also will have a new leader. Its old principal, Michael Allen, has been reassigned to School 19, where he will be an assistant principal working with the middle-school students. Christopher Smith, a former East assistant principal, is expected to be named as the new Charlotte principal. Rhonda Morien, the former principal at Francis Parker School 23 in the Park Avenue neighborhood, will take over Mary McLeod Bethune School 45. She will be replaced by John Gonzalez, who was director of expanded learning for the district"
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      NY releases 2015 State Test Scores

      8/13/15
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "The New York state Education Department downplayed the effect of the opt-out movement on Wednesday when it released the results of the statewide English and math tests given to students in grades 3-8 in the spring. About one in five of the 1.1 million eligible students across the state refused to take the tests. Those students were more likely to be white and affluent and had done relatively poorly on the tests in 2014. Statewide numbers remained mostly steady, with about a third of New York students judged proficient in math and ELA. Proficiency rates were up in every district in Monroe County except Rochester, which is down slightly to about 5 percent in both math and ELA."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.
      Click this link to see the District results.
      Click this link to see Charter School results.

      RCSD Special Education Summer School Enrollment Soars

      8/7/15
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Hundreds of Rochester students with disabilities who spent previous summers at home are now attending summer school, the result of a focused effort by the Rochester School District to make its programs more accommodating to them. In 2013, about 1,700 students with disabilities attended summer school in the city. This year, the number is around 2,500. Most of the increase comes in students for whom summer school is not mandated but still crucial. Some of them were at School 3 in the Corn Hill neighborhood last week learning about the water cycle and honing their long division. Special education teacher Mary Ellen Mulhern helped second-graders with addition and subtraction on number lines. In previous years, she would pull the students with disabilities out of the classroom for extra help; now she team-teaches a mixed class of 21 students with another teacher."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Students at Vertus Charter Schoool make affordable prosthetic hands

      8/3/15
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Lashawn Cason, 16, has his first part-time job this summer: 20 hours a week, $8.75 an hour. But don’t look for him at the drive-thru window. He and 11 classmates at Vertus Charter School are making prosthetic hands on a 3-D printer and using a computer modeling program to design and print accessories. Cason is working on a cup-holder to supplement the hand’s grip. “It’s complicated,” he said. “But I can do it.” The six-week program, funded through the city of Rochester’s Summer of Opportunity, is a partnership with Rochester Institute of Technology and the e-NABLE Project, which harnesses volunteers and 3-D printing technology to make affordable prosthetic hands.A traditional prosthesis costs thousands of dollars. The ones made through e-NABLE, founded in 2013 at RIT, cost about $20 in materials and are provided free of charge. The organization distributes them around the world to children in need."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Renovations begin at Greece Schools

      7/28/15
      Alisha Foster, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Many students in the Greece Central School District can expect to see changes when they head back in the fall. This summer, Olympia High School, Odyssey Academy and Athena High School are all undergoing major renovations. Olympia and Athena will see the most changes. According to the summer 2015 construction schedule, the main entrance canopy and front sidewalks at Olympia will be replaced, and new vinyl floor tile will be installed in 13 rooms. The track will be resurfaced; dugouts will be constructed for the varsity softball field. In addition, said district architect Louis Bianchi, new doors with hardware that meets American Disabilities Association codes and increases safety in the event of an emergency will be installed. “The new hardware (will) allow the teachers to lock down the doors from inside the classroom ... whereas, with current hardware, they had to go into the corridor to key-lock the doors,” Bianchi said. Greece Athena High School also will receive this new hardware along with new softball dugouts, office carpeting, girls’ and boys’ locker rooms, a gymnasium floor — and a new roof over the original building, penthouse, pool, third-floor cafeteria and gymnasiums."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Bishop Kearney names new president

      7/28/15
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Steve Salluzzo, the former director of auxiliary services at St. John Fisher College, will be the next president of Bishop Kearney High School, the school announced Tuesday. Salluzzo was responsible for events and conferences at St. John Fisher, including Bills training camp, and is also an adjunct professor there. He does not have experience in secondary education but said he expects to find similarities with his work at the college. “It’s a different, younger population but the core is all the same,” he said. “You’re still trying to educate and develop the individual in the classroom and through volunteerism.”"
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      RCSD selling two school buildings

      7/27/15
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "The good news for local charter school operators, who struggle to find suitable facilities: the city of Rochester is selling two recently closed elementary school buildings in the northeast quadrant. The bad news: the request for proposals includes a preference for a taxable development, which makes reuse by a charter school less likely. The buildings are School 22, on Zimbrich Street off Joseph Avenue, and School 36, near Carter Street and Clifford Avenue. Both served Rochester School District students until June when they were vacated as part of the district’s wider capital works plan. Schools that fall out of use automatically revert from the district to the city. A request for proposals from potential buyers is out now, with an asking price of $1.5 million for each building. The School "
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      RCSD seeking success through sports

      7/25/15
      Brian Sharp and James Johnson, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Walking between the lines of young football players, coach Jason Muhammad shouted commands mixed with encouragement, at times carrying on a one-sided conversation, punctuated by clapping. ? “Got a little crowd out here. All right, all right. Sunshine!” he observed as long shadows from his players doing warm-ups stretched across the East High field. “Line ’em up! Do what we do.” The Democrat and Chronicle, UR Medicine Sports Medicine and the Rochester School District are partnering on a free sports combine to evaluate student-athletes in city schools for injury risks and help them improve performance. The free combine is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 8 at East High School."
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      Ex-Greece cheer coach pleads guilty to rape

      7/24/15
      Sean Lahman, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Former Greece Olympia High School cheerleading coach Christina Jewell-Belluccio pleaded guilty Thursday to thirddegree rape as a result of her sexual encounters with a 16-year-old male student who attended the school. The incidents occurred at her house and another location in June 2014. Under the plea agreement, Jewell-Belluccio will serve eight work Sundays with the Monroe County Jail and will be on probation for a term of 10 years. She will also be required to register as a sex offender and an order of protection was issued prohibiting her from having contact with her victim for eight years. According to testimony in court, she met the victim while she was working in the school’s attendance office. She resigned from her position with the Greece Central School District — both as cheer coach and teacher’s aide — after she was criminally charged in May 2015. Her attorney, Stephen Sercu, said that Jewell-Belluccio had “led a remarkable life except for that short period of time last June.” Secru noted that she’d been honored by her peers, being named Class A Coach of the Year during the 2014 Winter Section V Cheerleading Sectionals."
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      RCSD plans new code of conduct

      7/24/15
      Justin Murphy and Erica Byrant, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "A draft code of conduct for Rochester students released Thursday aims to reduce dramatically the reliance on suspensions in the district and enumerates for the first time a students’ bill of rights. Among the 16 items listed in that bill of rights: an impartial grievance process; freedom from unreasonable search of property; and the ability to express oneself verbally and “to dress in such a way as to express one’s identity and personality.” The rewrite is being done by a task force on school climate, convened by the district and the Rochester Area Community Foundation. It is an acknowledgment that administrators in the city have resorted too quickly to suspending students for sometimes petty misbehavior. The first draft of the section relating to students was released Thursday. There will be five weeks of eliciting public input before it is finalized."
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      School districts given guidance for transgender students

      7/21/15
      Carolyn Thompson, Associated Press, staff writer reports that "Teachers of transgender students should follow the students’ lead when deciding which names or pronouns to use and schools should avoid practices rooted in stereotypes, like having color-coded graduation gowns for girls and boys, according to state-issued guidance for accommodating transgender students in New York schools. The 12-page document released Monday draws from real-life situations, addressing issues like students’ use of restrooms and changing spaces and which pronouns to use. It’s meant to help districts create a safe and inclusive environment and comply with laws covering bullying, harassment, discrimination and student privacy, according to the state Education Department. “This new document gives administrators practical guidance to ensure their schools are places where transgender and gender nonconforming students can focus on academics, friendships and their interests instead of worrying about how they will be treated by school staff and their peers,” said Merryl Tisch, chancellor of the policymaking Board of Regents."
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      14 more RCSD Schools deemed struggling

      7/17/15
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "A long-awaited list of schools deemed to be struggling includes 14 in the Rochester School District, granting Superintendent Bolgen Vargas expanded powers in attempting to turn around student achievement there. The four persistently struggling schools are East, Charlotte and Monroe high schools and School 9. Another 10 were designated as struggling. The assignments were based on how well the schools have performed relative to state accountability standards over the last several years. A new plan with the University of Rochester is already in place at East High School, and Charlotte High School is scheduled to be closed. At Monroe and School 9, though, Vargas will assume the power to change the length of the school day or year and to allocate funds and staffing, among other things. Most of those duties normally belong to the school board."
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      Summer learning program grows: Successful K-8 initiative expands to serve younger children

      7/16/15
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "A successful K-8 summer learning program in Rochester has expanded this year to serve younger students, a move that aligns with community leaders’ stated goal of reducing poverty by starting early. Eight local schools and universities belong to the Greater Rochester Summer Learning Association and collectively provide free educational summer programs for about 700 Rochester students. They call their programs SummerLEAP. Research bears the program out: Students gain in math and reading skills over the summer, rather than declining, and those who attend for at least three years have a 90 percent on-time high school graduation rate."
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      Mary-Ellen Elia is the new NY State Commissioner on Education

      7/12/15
      Jon Campbell, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "For the New York state Education Department, the past week marked a period of transition. The most obvious change came at the top, with new Commissioner Mary-Ellen Elia taking the reins Monday and top deputy Ken Wagner selected Wednesday to become Rhode Island’s education commissioner. When it comes to testing, even more change: Questar Assessment Inc. learned Thursday that it won a fiveyear, $44 million contract to craft New York’s grade 3-8 tests, which will ultimately put an end to the state’s arrangement with Pearson, a Londonbased company that had drawn ire from parents and schools. With the state’s education system at the center of an often-contentious debate among educators, parents and politicians in recent years, Elia takes over at a critical time. How she and other state education officials handle the period of transition will be closely watched and scrutinized, particularly by parents who helped lead a growing effort to boycott standardized exams over the past two years. Elia, the former head of the Hillsborough County school system in Tampa, Florida, chose to emphasize her New York roots in her first week in office, making a stop at the Sweet Home school district in Amherst, Erie County, where she started her career in the 1970s."
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      Plan for Afro-centric boys Charter School

      7/8/15
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "A longtime counselor in the Rochester School District hopes to start an all-boys charter high school with an Afro-centric curriculum. The school would be called JABEA Boys Academy Charter School. The word means “gift” in Duala, a language spoken in Cameroon, where prospective school founder Jane EwaneSobe was born. She was a teacher in Cameroon for six years, then came to the United States in 1981 and has been a school counselor in Rochester since 1991, most recently at East High School. In Cameroon, she said, classes often had 45 or 50 students for one teacher, but were seldom unruly. “I had no fights because the children knew what was expected of them,” she said. “I know that when you care about children and have high expectations, they do well.”"
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      Cobbelstone School Closes

      6/30/15
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Cobblestone School inRochester’sNeighborhood of the Arts has closed its doors for good after a last-ditch fundraising effort fell short. The school, founded in 1983, was the only nonreligious private school in the city. It had 37 students in prekindergarten through sixth grade in 2014-15, down from about 160 a decade ago. Declining enrollment led to mounting financial pressure. In May, the school started an online fundraiser for $150,000, but it only reached about $58,000 in donations. Tuition to the school was on a sliding scale up to $12,000. The official decision to close was made June 18, according to Bridget McLaughlin, a teacher at the school for 17 years.."
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      School for the Deaf's graduation

      6/29/15
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "The Rochester School for the Deaf is a very small institution. That comes with benefits and drawbacks. There are sometimes fewer than five students in a classroom, allowing for an intimacy unrivaled at larger schools. But such low numbers can also be a cause for concern. This year, for only the second time in its 139-year history, the school on St. Paul Street has no official graduating class. The oddity reflects a national decline in the number of students classified as hearing-impaired and the resulting struggle for schools for the deaf to maintain their enrollment."
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      Young Women's College Prep Charter School chooses Principal

      6/25/15
      Former Greece administrator Toyia Wilson will be the new principal at Young Women’s College Prep Charter School, the school announced Wednesday. Wilson, who has also been an administrator at John Marshall High School and Northwest College Prep High School in the city school district, will begin July 20. She replaces Jennifer Gkourlias, the school’s founder and first principal, who left in September for a job in the City School District. Wilson has degrees from St. John Fisher College and the College at Brockport. “She immediately impressed the search committee with her passion for preparing every student for a four-year college degree and for believing that all students can achieve success,” Board of Trustees Chairman Duffy Palmer said in a statement. The school opened in 2012 and is expanding to include grades 7-12. It is the only all-female public school in Monroe County.

      High School in Pittsford vandalized

      6/18/15
      Tina Macintyree-Yee, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "After vandals struck Pittsford Mendon High School twice over the weekend, an email sent home to parents offered instructions on how to use their child’s cellphone to check if they were near the school during the incidents. In an email to parents at Pittsford Sutherland High School, principal Brian P. Weller said the vandalism occurred before school Friday and again around 12:30 to 1:30 a.m. Monday. The email indicated that some Sutherland students had taken part in the vandalism. A similar email was sent to parents of Pittsford Mendon High School students by that principal, said Pittsford Central School District spokeswoman Nancy Wayman."
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      Police called to calm fights at East High School

      6/12/15
      Meaghan McDermott, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "In the aftermath of an apparent fight at East High School on Thursday that led to an overwhelming police response, lockdown and at least one person taken away in an ambulance, a clear theme emerged from frustrated parents converging on the school to pick up their children: inadequate communication. “Parents wouldn’t have known about this if a kid hadn’t posted it on Facebook,” said Daniel Sneddon, waiting outside the school for the lockdown to lift so he could pick up his grandson. “I think that’s poor communication with parents. All the parents should be notified.” Students said the incident sparked during a fire drill around noon when a few girls began fighting and chaos ensued. “We came out and maybe two minutes later, there was a fight and the police came and started spraying-pepper and this girl started hitting a teacher because she was holding her back,” said Jos Camacho Jr., a tenthgrader. “There were maybe three fights at a time. It was crazy.” He said the school should have more security, especially during the last few days of school. And, he said, the district should remove students who make trouble."
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      Monroe County East Side Schools rank high

      6/10/15
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "The annual ranking of upstate New York schools by Buffalo Business First is being rolled out this month, and its findings in the Rochester area are little changed from previous years. For the sixth year in a row, Pittsford was judged the best district in the eight-county area centered around Monroe County, based on its state test scores and graduation rate from 2011 through 2014. The Rochester School District is only three miles away but is separated by 66 spots in the rankings, rating dead last again. Seven of the top 10 districts are on the east side of Monroe County. Pittsford is followed in order by Honeoye Falls-Lima, Penfield, Brighton, Fairport, Victor, West Irondequoit, Webster, Geneseo and Avon. The 10 top individual elementary schools are all in Penfield, Pittsford and West Irondequoit, in the estimation of the researchers, with Cobbles in Penfield topping the list. Pittsford Sutherland "
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      RCSD cost per pupil among highest in the Country

      6/4/15
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "The Rochester School District spends more money per pupil than nearly any other large school district in the country, according to newly released U.S. census data. The district spent $20,333 on each of its 30,145 students in 2013, according to the data. Among the 217 districts in the country with more than 30,000 students, only Newark, New Jersey, and Boston spent more on average. That’s about the same amount as New York City and significantly higher than Buffalo, which spent $18,773 per student, the fifth-highest rate in the country."
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      RCSD names new Principal for Edison Tech High School

      6/3/15
      The Democrat and Chronicle reports that "Former Wheatland-Chili and Webster schools administrator Bradley Zilliox has been named the principal at Edison Tech High School in Rochester, the district announced Tuesday. Zilliox was most recently a principal in Wheatland-Chili. His teaching background in career and technical education should serve him well at Edison, which the district is revamping starting in the fall. He was a finalist for the superintendent’s position in the Potsdam Central School District in Jefferson County but withdrew his application."

      RCSD attendance drive results in some success

      6/2/15
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "The smell of fresh buttered popcorn is wafting down the hall at the Early Childhood School of Rochester — but you’d better be in class if you want a taste. Principal Roshon Bradley has made popcorn, pizza and ice cream parties the prizes for the classes with the best weekly attendance. Taking a tactic from the hot pretzel store at the mall, he serves it in a conspicuous place, where a stray whiff might make other students hungry and motivated. “When the kids smell the popcorn and they’re not part of the winning class, they’re like, ‘Oh, man, we gotta get to class,’ ” he said. Play time on a bounce house and giveaway bicycles work on the same principle."
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      NY's Average School Salary is $59,451

      5/31/15
      Joseph Spector and Sean Lahman, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writers report that "Salaries for teachers and administrators increased 7.2 percent over the past four years as school districts across New York state have sought to trim costs amid declining enrollment and growing costs.­ The average salary for teachers and administrators hit $59,451 in New York last year, up from $55,480 in 2011, a review of state records showed.­School officials said the increase is on par with the rate of inflation — at less than 2 percent a year. And the data don’t reflect other concessions by educators, such as higher health-insurance premiums and less generous pension benefits.­“Competitive salaries are at the heart of what makes a strong educational system,” said Carl Korn, a spokesman for the New York State United Teachers union. “They are what help to attract and retain the best teachers for New York students.'"
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      Canandaigua City School District put in lock down

      5/29/15
      Tina MacIntyre-Yee, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "The Canandaigua City School District was in a lockout for a portion of Friday morning due to a “serious threat” by one high school student to harm another. The lockout, during which doors were staffed with personnel watching who entered, started at 9 a.m., Andrew Thomas, community relations coordinator for the school district, said. Canandaigua City Police picked up the student suspected of making the threat in the community and alerted the school district, he said. The lockout was canceled at 10:25 a.m."
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      Ex Hilton Teacher indicted on sex charge

      5/29/15
      Sarah Taddeo, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "A federal grand jury indicted a former Hilton middle school teacher accused of trying to entice a minor into engaging in sex earlier this year, U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul announced Wednesday. Charles Kane, 46, of Spencerport, was indicted and charged with attempted online enticement of a minor. Kane allegedly posted a Craigslist ad saying “daddy/daughter. Love younger women” in October 2014. An undercover law enforcement officer began corresponding with Kane online as a 14year-old girl, authorities allege. Kane engaged in sexual explicit conversations with the fictitious girl for several months, sending photos and asking her to meet him, according to the complaint. Kane was arrested at a Webster movie theater in April after setting up a meeting with the girl, and he was in possession of condoms and lubricant, prosecutors allege. He has been held in federal prison since his arrest."
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      Hilton CSD Superintendent to retire

      5/28/15
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Hilton Central School District Superintendent David Dimbleby will retire at the end of 2015 after 10 years on the job and 30 years working in the district. He started as a middle school special-education teacher and rose to become a building principal, then superintendent in 2005. During his tenure, the district expanded the reach of its International Baccalaureate program and, earlier this year, adopted the Urban-Suburban program."
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      Kathleen Graupman named new Greece CSD Superintendent

      5/27/15
      James Johnson, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Kathleen Graupman, a familiar face in the Greece Central School District, was approved Tuesday as the system’s new superintendent of schools. Greece school board president Sean McCabe announced the hiring of Graupman, who officially moves into her new role July 1. Graupman replaces Barbara Deane-Williams, who announced her retirement earlier this month after four years as the school district’s superintendent, and 37 overall in education."
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      Stepping Stones Learning Center Expands

      5/26/15
      Sarah Taddeo, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "A former Chase-Pitkin Home and Garden Center is now full of imaginative classrooms, laughing children and new approaches to therapy at the Stepping Stones Learning Center, which just celebrated 20 years of inclusive learning for children across three local counties. A playground replaced the lumberyard and playhouse- inspired classrooms replaced store shelves in the redeveloped space in Irondequoit, which was finished last year, said Don Sinton, the center’s coordinator for public relations and development. The center, which is now a nonprofit organization, started as one classroom in a former Catholic school with nine children of varying developmental levels and ages. It was based on founder and CEO Mariellen Cupini’s dream of an “inclusive” learning environment, where typical and developmentally disabled children could learn together, Sinton said. “Regardless of need, kids can learn and grow together, and from each other,” he said, adding that the center pushes to innovate new programs to meet unaddressed needs. “If a child or family needs it, and it doesn’t exist, then we’ll invent it,” he said. The learning center is chartered through the state education department, meaning it is a certified preschool. It is licensed to service children in six counties, but primarily students from Monroe, Ontario and Wayne counties attend programs. Its $4.2 million building project in Chase-Pitkin allowed for expansion and unique learning spaces — the last major construction project will use an additional $400,000 to finish the playground, Sinton said."
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      Genesee Community Charter School Charter is renewed

      5/21/15
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Genesee Community Charter School had its state charter renewed for five more years this week, ending uncertainty over whether the school’s distinctive demographics would pass state muster. Twenty-five percent of the school’s 216 students are economically disadvantaged, compared to 90 percent in the Rochester School District. Ten percent have disabilities, compared to 18 percent in the district. State law requires charter schools to have comparable ratios of poverty and students with disabilities as the districts from which they draw their students. Critics charge Genesee Community Charter School, which is located on the Rochester Museum and Science Center campus, with avoiding a proportionate share of poor students."
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      Monroe County voters OK District Budgets

      5/20/15
      Meaghan McDermott, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "School budgets in Monroe County easily passed on Tuesday, as did an array of propositions to spend money on new school buses and on capital improvements. But voters in West Irondequoit unseated two long-time incumbents, while incumbents retained their seats in other contested races. Notable approved spending includes $12.4 million in capital improvements in Spencerport schools, $12.5 million for capital improvements in Rush-Henrietta schools and $29.2 million for a capital project in Fairport schools."
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      Cobblestone School needs $150,000 to stay open

      5/19/15
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "As it turns out, a honeybee can teach you plenty. That’s the recent experience of students at Cobblestone School in Rochester’s Neighborhood of the Arts, a little-known but much-loved Rochester private school that needs an immediate infusion of cash to stay open. The kids studied the bees’ anatomy and how they fit into their environment. They drew pictures, came up with a song and dance, created their own beehive and planted wildflowers to help keep the little buzzers fat and happy."
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      Area School spending up amid fewer students

      5/18/15
      Meaghan McDermott, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "At the same time enrollment in Monroe County’s suburban schools has fallen by 5 percent, overall school spending has increased here by nearly 10 percent. For the 2011-12 school year, voters here approved more than $1.4 billion in public school spending, while on Tuesday, they will weigh in on requests to OK more than $1.5 billion in spending, $860 million of which will come directly from local property taxes. Education leaders say they strive to keep costs under control, but that a continuing burden of state mandates including Common Core implementation, new teacher evaluation procedures and skyrocketing pension contributions leave districts little leeway when it comes to slashing spending — even in light of falling enrollment."
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      School District budget votes on Tuesday

      5/17/15
      Jim Mandelaro and Sarah Taddeo, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writers report that "Local school budget and Board of Education elections are Tuesday across the area."
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      Shake up at RCSD Adminstrator's Uniun

      5/16/15
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "The Rochester School District’s Association of Supervisors and Administrators of Rochester (ASAR) has new leadership following a vote of its members. The new president is Tim Cliby, the executive director of the district’s instructional technology department. His top deputy will be Monroe High School principal Vicki Ramos. They replace Sandy Jordan and First Vice President Rebecca Boyle. Jordan stepped in for former president Deb Ryder after Ryder retired, and was running for a new two-year term of her own. Jordan said Friday she didn’t have a good idea of why the union members voted for Cliby instead of her. Cliby and Ramos could not be immediately reached for comment. In the last year, ASAR’s relationship with the district has gone from chilly to frigid. Its members voted no confidence in Superintendent Bolgen Vargas in January 2014."
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      Charter Schools want NY to change funding

      5/15/15
      Carolyn Thompson, Associated Press, staff writer reports that "Lawyers for New York state asked a judge Thursday to throw out a lawsuit claiming its education-funding formula shortchanges charter schools. The suit, brought by five Buffalo and Rochester families and the Northeast Charter Schools Network, calls the funding system unconstitutional because it allots less per-pupil aid for charter school students than those in traditional public schools and does not include funding for charter school buildings."
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      RCSD and RTS reach deal on student busing for the summer

      5/15/15
      David Riley, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "This is how a controversy over student busing in the city ends: Not with a bang, but a low-key joint news conference. Officials with Regional Transit Service and the Rochester School District announced a deal Thursday for the public bus system to transport older city students to summer school in July and August. An agreement appears likely for the fall, too, though details have yet to be worked out. Under the arrangement, more than 90 percent of summer school students will bypass the Downtown Transit Center on express buses, RTS CEO Bill Carpenter said."
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      Eastridge honored for paying student's way

      5/12/15
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Malcolm Knight-Tyler has a challenging schedule for his senior year at Eastridge High School: International Baccalaureate courses in English and Spanish and dual-credit Monroe Community College economics, among others. Keeping up with that work is enough of a worry for him and his classmates, so the East Irondequoit Central School District has removed a second worry: paying for it. Eastridge High School last week received a “School of Opportunity” designation from the National Education Policy Center. It was one of 17 schools in Colorado and New York to get the honor, which is intended to highlight schools that are succeeding in ways that cannot be measured by test ."
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      Neglected and Rejected: Latino Special Education students in the RCSD

      5/10/15
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Latino students with disabilities face systemic mistreatment in the Rochester School District, a Democrat and Chronicle investigation has found. Interviews with a dozen families and extensive documentation show that they are suspended more often than other students, often as punishment for misbehavior associated with their disabilities."
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      RCSD approves $802 Million budget

      5/8/15
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "The Rochester Board of Education on Thursday approved a $802 million budget for 2015-16 that funds a new era at East High School and changes the way many students with disabilities are educated. The vote was 5-2. Mary Adams and Willa Powell were opposed. This year’s budget season lacked the drama of past years. There was a net loss of 138 positions, but that will be covered mostly by retirements and existing vacancies. School psychologists and teachers who work with adult students and those outside traditional schools had protested changes to their programs but were satisfied after discussions with Superintendent Bolgen Vargas. The superintendent extolled the additions in the budget: 46 more reading teachers, eight more music teachers, three more schools with expanded learning time and new investments at East, Edison Tech and Wilson Magnet high schools."
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      Kendall CSD joins Urban-Suburban program

      5/7/15
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "The Kendall Central School District in Orleans County has joined the Urban- Suburban program, becoming its farthestflung participating district and one of the smallest. The school board’s unanimous vote came in April, a month after Spencerport, East Irondequoit, East Rochester and Hilton joined the seven districts that already participate. Superintendent Julie Christensen said the district sees it as a way to combat declining enrollment. Kendall had 737 students in 2013-14, down from 812 in 2009-10, according to state data."
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      Partnerships to Uplift Charter Schools fired over questionable bidding

      5/6/15
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Atop executive at a national charter school organization with a Rochester location has been fired over improper bidding involving a company she coowns. PUC (Partnerships to Uplift Communities) Schools has 15 schools in California. This year, it opened PUC Achieve Charter School on Mark Street in Rochester, starting with fifth-graders. It will eventually expand to grades 5-8. According to the Los Angeles Times, a recent investigation by the California Department of Education showed that the school network contracted with a food vendor co-owned by Jacqueline Duvivier Castillo, PUC’s director of business and development, even though the company did not meet some requirements to gain the contract and even though it was not the highest bidder."
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      School bus company eliminating 142 jobs impacts RCSD students

      5/5/15
      Todd Clausen, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "An Illinois-based transportation service is shuttering its Rochester location and will lay off more than 140 employees. Durham School Services will close its Newbury Street site this summer, according to a filing with the state Department of Labor. The move will eliminate 142 jobs, many being part-time drivers and bus monitors, said Molly Hart, a spokesperson with the company."
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      Greece CSD Superintendent to retire

      5/4/15
      Leo Roth, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Barbara Deane-Williams, superintendent of the Greece Central School District, is retiring. Dean-Williams, 58, sent a letter to her staff on Friday, saying she submitted her letter of retirement to the town’s Board of Education, effective July 1. She was hired by the district in May 2011. “I am so very grateful for the opportunity to have served as your Superintendent over the past four years and want to express my heartfelt thanks to each of you for your support,” Deane-Williams wrote."
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      Erica Bryant - No School should be an island of poverty

      5/2/15
      Erica Bryant, Democrat and Chronicle, columnist reports that "Imagine a public school where the children of doctors attend class with the children of fast food clerks. Imagine a school that draws students from Fairport and Greece, from Park Avenue and Hudson. Imagine a school where the test score gap between rich and poor is a crevice rather than a chasm. There are schools like this all over the country. There’s no reason that we can’t have some in Rochester. For the past couple of months, I have spent Monday evenings in the basement of Third Presbyterian Church with a group of people who want to make it happen."
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      Teacher hirings at East High raise concerns

      5/1/15
      Bennett Loudon, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "The University of Rochester team taking over at East High School has made offers to 176 applicants for teaching positions as of Tuesday, including 83 current teachers at the troubled campus. Steve Uebbing, the Warner School of Education professor who will serve as East’s superintendent, said 63 positions were offered to teachers from other Rochester city schools. Another 30 offers were made to applicants from applicants outside the district, including candidates from other states, he said. He said 20 more teaching positions remain unfilled. Non-instructional staff also remains to be hired, but Uebbing did not have an estimate of how many of those jobs there are. After years of poor performance, state Education Department officials demanded that the City School District devises a plan for improvement that led to the partnership with the Warner School."
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      Gates Chili challenges service dog ruling

      4/30/15
      David Andreatta, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "The Gates Chili Central School District has asked the Department of Justice to clarify and possibly revoke a ruling that found the district in violation of federal law for refusing to allow an 8-yearold girl to bring her service dog to school on her own. The ruling was issued two weeks ago in response to a nearly two-year investigation of a dispute between the district and the family of Devyn Pereira, a second-grader at Neil Armstrong Elementary School in Gates with Angelman Syndrome, which manifests itself in severe autism and epilepsy. A prepared statement released Wednesday by the district read that the ruling was “at odds with the language and application of the existing officially published Americans with Disabilities Act service dog rules.”"
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      RCSD busing plan faulted

      4/30/15
      David Riley, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "The Rochester School District and public bus system appeared to be at an impasse Wednesday over the future of transportation for students. The Rochester-Genesee Regional Transportation Authority announced on Tuesday that it would stop providing transportation for city high schools, starting in June. But the district said it has too little time to hire a private bus company for next school year, and that it would buy passes for students to ride regular public buses to school this summer and in the fall. Paradoxically, that could mean more students on Regional Transit Service buses and transferring at the Downtown Transit Center."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      RTS to end RCSD Student Busing

      4/29/15
      David Riley, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Operators of Rochester’s public bus system said Tuesday that they plan to stop transporting nearly 9,000 city students to and from school, starting in June. But it may not be that simple. The district said the transit agency’s decision comes too late to hire a private company with enough staff and equipment to bus city students for summer school or next fall. The district plans instead to buy daily bus passes so students can continue to ride Regional Transit Service buses next school year. Rochester-Genesee Regional Transportation Authority CEO Bill Carpenter announced the decision Tuesday, soon after briefing his board on the matter. The authority’s contract to bus high school students expires in June, and the transit agency will end its relationship with the city schools then, Carpenter said at an afternoon news conference."
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      Gates Chili Student gets probation for punching coach

      4/24/15
      Mary Chao, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "A student at Gates Chili High School was sentenced to three years probation for assaulting the varsity team’s head coach last year. Davarcea J. Fort was facing a second-degree assault charge, a felony, for punching the coach inside the football locker room at Gates Chili High School last October. Authorities said Fort entered the locker room with three other male high school students and the four got into a verbal confrontation with some members of the football team."
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      Spencerport to add a School Day due to State Test Opt Out

      4/21/15
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Students in grades 3-8 in Spencerport thought they were getting off scotfree when their parents opted them out of three days of state testing. Instead, it’s out of the frying pan, into the fire. After 50 percent of its students refused the English tests last week, the district realized it wouldn’t need to dedicate as much time to test-grading as originally planned. That means a scheduled day off for K-8 students on Monday will now be a regular school day."
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      Rochester Leadership Academy for Young Men participate in ROTC program

      4/20/15
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "In the bowels of Charlotte High School, around the corner from the boiler room and directly beneath the swimming pool, shots ring out. It is hot, humid and noisy. Four young men are prone and propped up on their backpacks with Olympic-grade Daisy single-shot air rifles pointed down-range. Master Sgt. Shawn Legault paces behind them. The boys, students at Leadership Academy for Young Men, are part of one of the few marksmanship programs in a public high school, and certainly the only one in Monroe County.
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      Brighton adding 30 minutes to school day in 2015-16

      4/16/15
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Students in Brighton schools will spend an extra 30 minutes in school each day starting this fall, the district announced Wednesday. The extended day was part of a new contract with the Brighton Teachers Association signed last summer. The two sides have spent the last year working out the details of how the extra time will be spent. “Teachers’ contact time with children is the single biggest factor in their success,” Brighton Superintendent Kevin McGowan said. “We often feel that we’re rushed, and that there’s not enough time to accomwho plish what we want to accomplish.” The extra 30 minutes will be spent differently in each school based on plans drawn up by teams in each building. Each school developed a plan on the needs for each school, the plans will be refined prior to the start of school in September, said McGowan in a news release. These changes are considered a pilot for the 2015-16 school year, he said."
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      Family sues RCSD in bullying case

      4/14/15
      Bennett Loudon, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "A lawsuit has been filed against the Rochester City School District claiming school officials failed to protect a thirdgrader from bullying. The four-page filing names the pupil’s mother as the plaintiff, but the girl is only identified as D.C. The Democrat and Chronicle Media Group is not naming the mother because doing so would likely identify the child. District spokesman Chip Partner declined to comment because the district has not yet been served with the complaint, which was filed March 17 in state Supreme Court. According to the fourpage court filing, the mother told school officials that her daughter was being bullied at school and she was initially “assured that the situation would be taken care of.”
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      New Superintendent named for Rochester School for the Deaf

      4/14/15
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "
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      Bilingual classes gain support

      4/13/15
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that School 12's HOLA program is a Western NY model program. "Many Rochester schools have bilingual programs in which nonnative English speakers receive some instruction in their native language, but those classes are often viewed as a means of getting them toward English proficiency. The HOLA program is different. It’s a duallanguage program that gives neither language priority. Some of its 180 or so students are native speakers of Spanish, some of English. They’re taught in one language one day and the other the next, with the goal of developing competency in both by sixth grade. “It stresses that they become literate in both languages,” said Vicki Robertson, who has a fifth-grader in the program and an eighthgrader who graduated from it. “It really values Spanish for Spanish and English speakers. That’s something different in this country.” Its international appeal and success as an enrichment pathway is leading to calls for expansion in multiple directions. "
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      Erica Bryant - Bright colors on bright young men at Rochester Leadership Academy

      4/11/15
      Erica Bryant, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Earlier this year I visited the Leadership Academy for Young Men, the all-boys high school on Lake Avenue. I was gathering information on an educational matter, but I was also taking notes on the outfits. One young man wore a bright orange shirt and a royal blue paisley bow tie. “My son might look cute in that,” I thought. Another kid was looking sharp in a turquoise diamond print sweater and black bow tie. Another student wore yellow pants, a red plaid shirt and navy blazer. Hot pink and purple ties were everywhere."
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      Hilton Middle School Teacher seeks treatment and delay to court hearing

      4/11/15
      Gary Craig, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "A Hilton middle school teacher accused of enticing a minor to engage in sex hopes to go into in-patient treatment, according to statements in federal court Friday. Charles Kane was scheduled for a bail hearing Friday, but his attorney, Assistant Federal Public Defender Steven Slawinski, asked for a delay for possible treatment for Kane. Federal authorities allege that Kane, a Spencerport resident, set up a meeting with someone he believed to be a 14-yearold girl at a movie theater in Webster for sex. The girl, however, was an undercover law enforcement officer communicating with Kane, prosecutors say. Kane teaches at a Hilton middle school."
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      19th Ward wants to keep School 44 open

      4/10/15
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "The Rochester school board Thursday pressed for ways to maintain one neighborhood school in the 19th Ward while renovations at another are underway. The southwest neighborhood is the city’s most populous and one of its most civically engaged. It has Wilson Magnet High School; Wilson Foundation Academy, which is currently in the middle of a grow-out, with prekindergarten through third grade as well as seventh and eighth grades; and School 10, a citywide elementary school."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      East Rochester names new Superintendent

      4/9/15
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "The East Rochester Union Free School District has named Mark Linton its next superintendent. Linton, currently the principal at Geneseo Elementary School, will replace Dick Stutzman, who is currently serving as interim superintendent. Stutzman stepped in after former superintendent Ray Giamartino left to take a position in the Rochester School District in 2013. “The thoughtful and careful process of choosing our new superintendent ... has been a comprehensive and meaningful onefortheentirecommunity,” school board president Colette Morabito said in a statement. “We can all agree that the East Rochester school family rallied together to secure the best individual to lead us to continued success and distinction.”"
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      Rocky first year for the new GED and other equivalency tests

      4/5/15
      Carolyn Thompson, Associated Press, staff writer reports that "The number of people taking high school equivalency exams in the U.S. plummeted — and the percentage who passed fell, too — in the year after a revamped, Common Coreinspired GED was introduced along with two new competing tests. Test administrators say a rush by people to take the old exam in 2013 before the newer ones were rolled out resulted in fewer test-takers in 2014. And the harder questions on the new exams led to lower scores. The GED, or General Educational Development test, was overhauled last year to reflect some of the Common Core standards that have been adopted by most states and emphasize critical thinking. In 2014, two new high school equivalency exams that also incorporate some of those standards were introduced by other testing companies."
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      Greece Athena center to be fixed using settlement funds

      4/5/15
      Meaghan McDermott, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "The Athena Performing Arts Center at Greece Athena High School will likely be closed for the bulk of the upcoming school year so contractors can fix problems that have plagued the showpiece theater from the start. The biggest issues: obstructed views and numerous seats in the 1,600-seat auditorium that are installed too close together to allow anyone to sit in them. “It’s disappointing that we’re going to lose use of APAC for basically a year, but we’re hoping that once this is done and everything is up to snuff, that will be the facility it was supposed to be way back in 2001,” said Sean McCabe, president of the Greece Central School District board. Problems in the facility were just a handful of the troubles that stemmed from botched oversight of a $119.5 million capital improvement project in the district from the early 2000s. Among the issues: the state Comptroller’s Office determined the district overspent by $2.5 million on the project, then hid the excesses from the public by shifting the expenses to the district’s general fund."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Hilton Middle School Teacher arrested for entacing a minor for a sexual act

      4/4/15
      Todd Clausen, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "A bail hearing for a middle school teacher accused of enticing a minor to engage in sexual activity was pushed back a week to give the defense more time to prepare. Charles Kane, 46, of Spencerport, was in U.S. District Court on Friday on charges that he set up a meeting at a Webster movie theater with a 14year-old girl, who was actually an undercover law enforcement officer, according to a complaint filed by the U.S. Attorney’s office. Kane is a teacher at a middle school in the Hilton school district."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Monroe School Districts get more NY State aid

      4/1/15
      Meaghan McDermott, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "As final wrangling continued Tuesday over the last details of the state budget, the state Education Department released school aid runs for 2015-16 . In total, Monroe County’s public schools are in line for $64 million more than the $861 million they will get this school year, excluding increased payments to reimburse districts for voterapproved construction projects. But still a sticking point for local education leaders are plans to require districts to negotiate new teacher evaluation systems as called for by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo. Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, D-Bronx, said Tuesday "
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      RCSD School Board trying to reform

      3/31/15
      David Riley, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Van White openly admits that the Rochester Board of Education hasn’t always done its job well. “I can’t fool anybody,” said White, the board’s president, in an interview Monday with the Democrat and Chronicle editorial board. “It would be ridiculous for me to say we’ve done a great job. The outcomes don’t suggest that.” But White said the school board admits its past mistakes and is now seeking greater accountability from district leaders. Board members now meet every Tuesday morning with school principals and ask for hard numbers to measure progress on student attendance, graduation rates and performance in English and math."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      E. Rochester and Hilton schools join Urban-Suburban program

      3/25/15
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "The East Rochester and Hilton school boards approved joining the Urban- Suburban program Tuesday night, capping perhaps the busiest fourmonth period in its 50-year history.From the mid-1960s until 2014, only one new school district joined the six early adopters. The past months, however, have seen four new districts, with East Rochester and Hilton joining East Irondequoit andSpencerport.Hilton expects to add between eight and 12 students a year in first and second grade. East Rochester would start with 15 next year and build up to about 50 in four years, according to its website. Votes in both districts were unanimous, as they were in East Irondequoitand Spencerport.Urban-Suburban advocates have taken the opportunity of the program’s 50th anniversary to promote its attributes to other districts. Besides increasing diversity in the suburbs and providing opportunities for deserving Rochester students, itlets suburban districts prop up sagging enrollment and keep up their full course offerings."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Greece voters OK school repairs but reject $8.5 Million sports stadium

      3/25/15
      Meghan McDermott, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Voters in the Greece Central School district on Tuesday approved $35 million in repairs and renovations to school buildings and a land purchase, but shot down a proposal to build a lighted stadium at the Arcadia campus on Island Cottage Road, according to preliminary vote results. Construction could begin in 2017 on the approved package of upgraded ventilation and exhaust systems; heating, cooling and pool system upgrades; flooring, window, lighting and roof replacement; masonry repairs and equipment replacement; telephone upgrades; and parking lot reconstruction. That proposition was approved by a vote of 3,249 to 2,241. Additionally, the district was given permission to spend $207,450 in coming months to buy four acres of land at 1862 Latta Road. That site, adjacent to the existing transportation facility, could potentially be used for a future project that would include a bus wash and storage facility. Voters approved the proposition by a vote of 3,165 to 2,210."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      RCSD budget plan eliminates 148 positions

      3/24/15
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Rochester School District Superintendent Bolgen Vargas proposes eliminating 148 positions, including nearly 80 teachers and about 50 central office positions, to fill a $40.5 million gap and add services and support for students. As in the past two years, Vargas added significant funding — $25.3 million this year — for his educational priorities while also covering a gap caused by rising salary and benefit costs and the continuing exodus of students to charter schools."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      More suburban students are attending Charter Schools

      3/22/15
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "When Sylvia Marshall moved to Rochester from Ontario, Wayne County, she was looking for an intimate school setting for her children and found one at Rochester Academy Charter School. She and her children liked it so much that when they later moved to Gates, they stayed there, joining a small but growing population of suburban students at Rochester charter schools. “My daughter didn’t want to leave,” Sylvia Marshall said. “She liked the small atmosphere and she’d made friends. … It’s all been positive for her and me.” Of the 4,000 or so students attending one of the 12 local charter schools, more than 95 percent live in Rochester. But about 150 live in towns throughout the county, giving suburban school districts a financial and logistical headache that threatens to worsen."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      East Rochester CSD names 3 finalists for Superintendent

      3/20/15
      The Democrat and Chronicle reports that "The East Rochester school district has narrowed its field down to three candidates in the search for a new superintendent."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Urban-Suburban program may admit whites

      3/20/15
      Justin Smith, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Urban-Suburban leaders soon plan to change the program’s mission statement, likely allowing white students to participate and increasing opportunities for suburban-to-urban transfers. The as-yet-undefined proposal, discussed at a meeting of participating districts Wednesday, would mark the first major overhaul of the program in its 50-year history and comes at a time of high interest among the public and districts deciding whether to join."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      RCSD brownfield cleanup to begin

      3/19/15
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Cleanup crews will soon begin to treat and remove contaminated groundwater and soil beneath a school building on St. Paul Street in Rochester, the Department of Environmental Conservation announced Wednesday. The work is the longawaited final step to handle pollution caused by a former Bausch + Lomb factory. Rochester Prep High School is located in the leased building, 690 St. Paul St., and there are about 175 Rochester School District students there as well. Old underground storage tanks leaked trichloroethene, a degreaser, into the soil and groundwater. The 4.7-acre site was designated a brownfield in 2009 and a ventilation system is in place to keep noxious vapors out of the school building."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Fairport CSD names new Superintendent

      3/19/15
      Sarah Taddeo and Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writers report that "The Fairport Central School District has named Brett Provenzano as its new superintendent. Provenzano has served as the assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction in the district since July 2014. He was officially named at Tuesday’s Board of Education meeting and will start in his new position on July 1. He was chosen over one other finalist, Beth Mascitti-Miller, a former administrator in the Rochester School District who now leads Chicago Public Schools’ Office of Early Childhood Education. “Bringing the core beliefs of the Board of Education to the school community is both professionally and personally gratifying,” Provenzano said, adding that as the new superintendent, he will work with the entire district organization. “I’m looking forward to supporting them along the way,” he said. Provenzano began his career as a social studies teacher in the Newark school district and held various educational and administrative positions in the Pittsford, Webster and Fairport school districts."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Three Greece CSD students charged in bullying case

      3/18/15
      Leo Roth, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Three students were charged Tuesday in connection with two alleged incidents of bullying a special-needs classmate at Greece Athena High School. The victim was allegedly coerced into performing dehumanizing acts in a school lavatory on two separate occasions “days” apart, Greece Police Chief Patrick Phelan said Tuesday at a news conference at police headquarters. At least one of the incidents was posted to the social media site Snapchat. “We have more than one video in our possession. Same victim, same suspects,” Phelan said. Greece police are not identifying the juvenile offenders; Phelan said each is younger than 16."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      East Irondequoit School Board votes to join Urban Suburban Program

      3/18/15
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "The East Irondequoit school board voted Tuesday — a month later than it originally planned — to join the Urban-Suburban program, becoming the ninth participating school district. The vote was unanimous with no discussion. The district will recruit 36 students to be split between middle school and high school starting in the fall. It apparently will be the first Monroe County district to welcome high school upperclassmen from the city. Until now, only students entering grades 1-9 have been eligible to participate, but East Irondequoit officials said they have tentative permission to take in 11th- and 12th-graders. “We think this will have a benefit to the students who (come here) as well as the students we already have,” Superintendent Susan Allen said. East Irondequoit was one of four districts actively considering joining the 50-year-old voluntary integration program for the 2015-16 school year. The others — Spencerport, East Rochester and Hilton — all had several opportunities to share information with residents and solicit their opinions."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Siena Catholic Academy will offer its pupils laptops

      3/17/15
      The Democrat and Chronicle reports that "Siena Catholic Academy will offer its inaugural sixth-grade class free laptops, it said Monday. The diocesan middle school, which is expanding to sixth grade for the first time this fall, joins other private and parochial schools, including Allendale Columbia and Bishop Kearney, in offering free devices to its students. The students will use the Google Chromebooks throughout middle school, then own them outright after graduating from eighth grade. Several public schools let students use iPads or laptops, but do not give them away. Siena is hoping to attract about 50 sixthgraders for the fall, part of an increasingly competitive market for sixthgraders among Catholic schools in Rochester."

      East High Principal to stay and lead grades 10-12

      3/17/15
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Current East High School principal Anibal Soler Jr. will keep his position at the school under the University of Rochester, while veteran administrator Marlene Blocker will become principal for grades 6-9, the college announced Monday. For Soler, it completes a wild swing in job prospects over the last year. When the New York State Education Department announced in March 2014 that it was requiring drastic change at East, it was widely assumed that Soler, its principal since 2009, would be replaced. But the UR takeover team retained him in 2014-15 for the transition, then chose him to lead grades 10-12. “We are excited to build a team that will be responsive to the greater needs of the East community,” East’s deputy superintendent, Shaun Nelms, said in a statement. “Anibal and Marlene demonstrated throughout the interview process a commitment toward staff development, student achievement, family support and their own personal growth as leaders.”"
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      RCSD School Board rejects Superintendent's offer

      3/17/15
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Rochester School District Superintendent Bolgen Vargas offered last week to drop his lawsuit against the school board in exchange for a two-year contract extension but was rebuffed, according to three sources. The sources spoke on condition of anonymity. Neither Vargas’ lawyer, Steve Modica, nor school board president Van White would comment on the specifics of closed-door discussions regarding the dispute. Vargas’ current contract expires at the end of the 2015-16 school year and pays him $195,000 a year. An extension would have represented a vote of confidence by the school board in a highly uncertain situation and a concession by Vargas on a point of law and principle. The estrangement between the school board and Vargas surfaced March 3 when the board voted unanimously to abridge his hiring and firing powers, particularly relating to his 32-member nonunion executive team, the Superintendent’s Employment Group (SEG)."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      David Andreatta on the Gates Chili CSD Service Dog Case

      3/15/15
      David Andreatta, Democrat and Chronicle, columnist writes about the Gates Chili CSD Services dog case "There’s a troubling dispute simmering between a Chili girl and her school district over her dog. It’s been in the news before, but it’s worth revisiting because a strikingly similar quarrel just played out in a Florida courtroom, where the judge all but ordered the school board to heel. The players and issues at hand here are these: Devyn Pereira is an 8-year-old second-grader at Neil Armstrong Elementary School in Gates. She has severe epilepsy and autism and doesn’t speak. Her dog is Hannah, a white Bouvier that’s trained to help Devyn walk and sit still and detect when she’s going to have a seizure. The Gates Chili Central School District allows Hannah to accompany Devyn to school, but only on the condition that Hannah have a “handler.” Therein lies the rub, because the result is that Devyn’s mother, Heather Pereira, pays someone to “handle” Hannah during the school day — a requirement Pereira claims is a financial burden and unlawful under the Americans with Disabilities Act."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Misconduct including the abuse of a student with special needs at Greece Athena Alleged

      3/12/15
      Jon Hand, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Greece police on Wednesday confirmed they are investigating an allegation that three Greece Athena High School students recorded a special needs student doing dehumanizing acts in the high school and then posting them to a social media site. Few details were available as the investigation was just beginning and because all of the accused individuals are juveniles, said Greece Police Chief Patrick Phelan. When contacted Wednesday evening, Phelan acknowledged that an investigation was underway, and confirmed that the allegations involve three Athena students, all younger than 16, who were accused of prompting a special needs student to pull down his pants, grab his crotch and drink urine from a toilet. The students are accused of recording the activity and posting it on Snapchat, an application that sends text, photo and video messages to contacts that disappear after one to 10 seconds.."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Greece CSD pitches new stadium

      3/12/15
      Jim Mandelaro, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Greece is the ninth-largest school district in New York, and the town is splintered into four high schools: Arcadia, Athena, Odyssey and Olympia. Assistant Superintendent Romeo Colilli sees a new district athletic stadium on the Greece Arcadia campus as a way to bring the community together." Voting on this plan will be March 24th.
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Seven elected as NY State Regents

      3/11/15
      Jon Campbell, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "The state Legislature elected seven people Tuesday to the Board of Regents, the state’s education- policy panel that has faced scrutiny in recent years for the oft-criticized rollout of the Common Core standards. Lawmakers selected four new board members and three incumbents, opting to replace regents in western New York and the North Country who had been seeking another term."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the report.

      Aquinas opting out of Regents

      3/9/15
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Aquinas Institute is phasing out its use of state Regents exams, replacing them with a more rigorous set of tests it will develop on its own. Students entering as sixth-graders in the fall will be the first class not to take any Regents exams. Current students will still need to take the exams required for graduation."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the report.

      Greece CSD Coach and Senior Teacher Aide accused of raping Student

      3/5/15
      Tina MacIntyre-Yee, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "A woman accused of having sexual contact with a Greece Central School District student resigned from her job as a teacher’s aide at Greece Olympia High School. Christina M. Jewell-Bellucio, 32, of Greece was charged Tuesday with third-degree rape and third-degree criminal sex act, both felonies, she resigned from her job with the school district the same day, Greece Central School District Spokesperson, Laurel Heiden said in an email. Heiden said, “We were made aware of the alleged misconduct on Monday and began an internal investigation. We turned the investigation over to Greece Police the same day.” Jewell-Bellucio was hired as cheerleader coach August 2013, said Heiden and also became a teacher’s aide at Greece Olympia High School March 2014. She was then appointed a senior teacher’s aide, according to school documents. Olympia is a sixth- to twelfth-grade school. Jewell-Bellucio was named 2014 Class A Coach of the Year during the 2014 Winter Section V Cheerleading Sectionals."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the report.

      RCSD Superintendent to sue School Board over vote

      3/4/15
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Rochester School District Superintendent Bolgen Vargas will begin legal action against the school board Wednesday morning after it voted Tuesday night to strip him of some hiring and firing power. Vargas’ lawyer, Steve Modica, confirmed the plan Tuesday night after the vote. It marks a startling flare-up in relations between the superintendent and the board. At a special meeting Tuesday, the school board unanimously approved a resolution that could remove some of the employees from Vargas’ high-up non-union team, the Superintendent’s Employment Group (SEG). There are currently about 30 people in that group, including assistant superintendents, school chiefs and other top-level administrators."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the report.

      Canandaigua and Phelps-Clifton Spring reopen Family Support Center

      3/2/15
      Bennett Loudon, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "A counseling program for youths and their families that had been discontinued in 2009 because of a lack of funding has been restored at two Ontario County school districts. Family Support Centers have been reopened in the Canandaigua and Phelps-Clifton Springs Central School Districts."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the report.

      Spencerport joins Urban-Suburban Program

      2/25/15
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "About 18 Rochester first-, secondand sixth-graders will attend school in Spencerport in the fall after the school board voted Tuesday to adopt the Urban- Suburban program. The vote was unanimous. Many audience members greeted it with applause; others shouted warnings about this spring’s school board vote. The incoming Rochester students will make up about 1 percent of the 1,700 combined students at Bernabi and Canal View elementary schools and Cosgrove Middle School."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the report.

      A whole new World of Inquiry

      2/23/15
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Rochester’s World of Inquiry School, which emphasizes an education based on questioning, collaborating and doing, finally has a building to match its creed. Opportunities for cross-fertilization abound. A terraced cafe-style seating area can double as a stage; the halls were designed to accommodate tables for small groups; a second-story greenhouse is ready for students to think of ways to use it. Most important of all for the school’s first senior class, the renovated building is ready in time for them to return before graduation. Classes start there Monday morning."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the report.

      Five Districts agree to change enrollment polices that violated immigrant rights

      2/20/15
      Justin Murphy and Joseph Spector, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writers report that "Five Monroe County suburban school districts have agreed to new student enrollment policies after a state investigation concerning immigrants, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced Thursday. The five school districts — Gates Chili, Hilton, Penfield, Pittsford and Spencerport — all had questions on their enrollment forms asking about students’ citizenship or nationality. That infringes upon the right of all children to an education regardless of immigration status because the questions could “potentially chill or discourage undocumented students from registering or enrolling.”"
      Click this link to read the pdf of the report.

      Greater Works Charter School is reapplying for State Charter

      2/18/15
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "The former trustees of Greater Works Charter School are applying again to open a charter school in Rochester, this time under a different name and without their disgraced 22-year-old leader. Greater Works was approved by the state to open in 2015-16 before it was revealed that its lead applicant, 22-yearold Ted Morris Jr., had fabricated most of his academic and professional experience. Morris resigned, and the remaining trustees withdrew their application. The New York State Education Department, which failed to catch the lies in the first place, later instituted new safeguards to verify applicants’ credentials."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the report.

      RCSD plan to move to Consultant Teacher classrooms draws union ire

      2/17/15
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "An important change in the way thousands of Rochester students receive special- education services is taking shape as a battle during the district’s 2015-16 budget season. Superintendent Bolgen Vargas’ proposal would impact classrooms in nearly every school in Rochester. Instead of having many classes co-taught by a regular teacher and a special-education teacher to a mix of special and general education students, there would be “consultant teachers” who have no classroom of their own but instead are responsible for providing help to students with disabilities in their general education classes."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the report.

      Film shares history of Wilson Foundation Academy murals

      2/16/15
      Carolyn Thompson, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports on a film featuring two murals at Wilson Foundation. "Madison High was torn down in the 1980s but the murals were saved and moved to another school, the Wilson Foundation Academy, where both are now preserved behind glass."Also featured are two murals, each 22 feet high, painted over eight months in 1937 by artist Carl Peters inside a school in Rochester. Peters drew on the passing faces of students and teachers at the former Madison High School for Life of Action, a softly colored depiction of construction workers in the shadow of a skyscraper. The companion Life of Contemplation is meant to show the need to balance action with education and thoughtfulness."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the article.

      D&C article on Seclusion and Restraint in NY Schools

      2/15/15
      Meghan McDermott, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports on seclusion and restraints with children with disabilities. The article focuses on cases in Greece, and Webster.
      Click this link to read the pdf of the article.

      Student wants to choose RCSD over suburban School - but he can't

      2/14/15
      Erika Bryant, Democrat and Chronicle, columnist reports on a residence issue with a SOTA student whose family rented an appartment in Webster. Due to this, he can no longer attend SOTA.
      Click this link to read the pdf of the article.

      East High plan gets approval from NY State

      2/14/15
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "The Rochester School District this week got final state approval for the East High School-University of Rochester marriage and a $200,000 wedding gift to go along with it. The one-time shot of cash from the New York State Education Department came in the form of a school improvement funding award. UR will take over East starting this summer."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the report.

      School District iPads scrutinzed after chat room mishap

      2/12/15
      Bennett Loudon, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "After an incident that left administrators “horrified,” East Irondequoit Central School District officials are rethinking the way they manage Apple iPads given to their students. “It was an eye-opener for us. We’re definitely going to make some changes,” said Joseph Sutorius, the district’s director of technology services. A fifth-grade girl received an “inappropriate” message from a stranger while using a social networking app that she was allowed to download under district rules. The episode revealed shortcomings in the safeguards in place in East Irondequoit and possibly at numerous other schools that give students laptop computers and tablets, such as iPads."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the report.

      Rush Henrietta approves full day Kindergarten plans

      2/11/15
      The Democrat and Chronicle reports that "Rush-Henrietta school district voters on Tuesday approved plans to implement full-day kindergarten in the district and rearrange grade levels among its buildings. The two separate votes both passed by more than a 3-to-1 margin. The changes will take effect in the 2017-18 school year. Crane, Fyle, Leary and Winslow school buildings will be K-3, with all students, including kindergarteners, going to school for six hours. The Sherman and Vollmer buildings will be grades 4-6, Burger and Roth will be grades 7-9 and the high school will be grades 10-12. The project will cost $18.5 million and will be paid for with existing capital funds."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the report.

      East Irondequoit delays Urban-Suburban vote

      2/11/15
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "The East Irondequoit school board Tuesday tabled a vote on joining the Urban- Suburban program but protested the notion it has not been sufficiently transparent about the process. The idea was first discussed publicly at the board’s Jan. 26 meeting, three weeks after a district spokesman said the district was not considering joining. The district website has no information about the program and there were no public hearings. But school board president Kim Lasher noted the discussion and resolution were included in board agendas and minutes and said she takes offense at the suggestion the board’s process has been faulty."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the report.

      East Irondequoit former aide receives 3 years for raping special needs student

      2/4/15
      Tina MacIntyre-Yee, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "A former East Irondequoit teacher’s aide convicted of raping a student, was sentenced in Monroe County Court Thursday morning. Crying in court, Jennifer Kennard, 48, was sentenced to three years in state prison for six counts of second-degree rape, a felony, by Judge Vincent Dinolfo. Kennard was also sentenced to two years in prison on two counts of third-degree rape, a felony, and one year in Monroe County Jail for endangering the welfare of a child, a misdemeanor."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the report.

      RCSD Superintent asks NY State to weaken principal tenure

      2/4/15
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Rochester School District Superintendent Bolgen Vargas Tuesday asked the state Legislature for drastic changes to the way school administrators earn and keep tenure, sinking him even lower in the eyes of alreadyincensed city principals. He asked for a change to state law that would make administrators wait seven years, not three, to gain tenure. Tenure would then be up for review every three years, based on performance. And he asked for people in management positions in the district’s central office to be removed from union affiliation."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the report.

      Spencerport debate on urban-suburban program becomes unruly

      2/4/15
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "If the atmosphere at the second public hearing on Urban-Suburban was any indication, the school board’s upcoming decision will be deeply unpopular one way or the other. Over several hours of scheduled speakers and an open forum, a moderator repeatedly had to remind the audience — mostly those in opposition — not to yell from their seats. There were shouted interruptions, accusations and a suggestion: “Move to Rochester!” The opposition crystallized around the fact that the program, whose stated purpose is to reduce racial segregation, does not allow white city students."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the report.

      RCSD asks State for more funding

      2/3/15
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Rochester Superintendent Bolgen Vargas will be in Albany Tuesday with a pre-emptive request for more financial help from the state budget, including $10 million to cover the East High School partnership with the University of Rochester. In all, Vargas will ask the state Legislature for $36 million more than Rochester received last year, a highly optimistic request. Of that $36 million, $10.9 million is a 3 percent increase in basic state aid. The district hoped for 3 percent last year, too, and didn’t get it. Another $10.1 million would be for East High; $4.6 million would be for extended school days at four more schools; $2.4 million would be for a reading teacher in every school; and $8 million would be for a variety of other items, including increasing summer school participation."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the report.

      Hilton becomes first District in the State to offer IB in all grades

      2/2/15
      Justin Murphy, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "The Hilton Central School District recently received certification for its grade 5-10 International Baccalaureate program, making it the first district in New York to offer the rigorous curriculum from kindergarten to graduation."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the report.

      Rochester is #1 in child poverty, among similiarly sized cities, according to a new report from the Rochester Area Community Foundation

      1/30/15
      Click this link to read the pdf of the report.

      NY State Comptroller finds Millions of Preschool Special Educatoin Dollars are Misspent

      1/27/15
      Christina Samuels reported for Education Week reports that "Special education money intended for preschool students has been misspent on services that were never documented, including food, travel, flowers, even air conditioners installed in personal residences, according on an audit released Monday from New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli." This included "Auditors disallowed $2.4 million spent by a Buffalo school, which provides special education and other services to children and young adults from 3 to 21 years old. The school spent nearly $2 million on noncompetitive contracts with companies that had ties to members of the school's board, and more than $100,000 on food, flowers, personal expenses, and gifts for staff."
      Click this link to read the Education Week Story.
      Click this link to read the pdf of the D&C story.

      E. Rochster school board weighs Urban-Suburban School choice

      1/24/15
      Justin Murphy, staff writer for the Democrat and Chronicle reports that "The Webster school board will learn more about the Urban-Suburban program Thursday, while the East Rochester school board is already considering its potential benefit for that district."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the D&C story.

      Webster CSD chooses Carmen Gumina as new Superintendent

      1/16/15
      The Democrat and Chronicle reports that "The Webster CSD has choosen Carmen Gumina as its new Superintendent."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the D&C story.

      Monroe County Catholic High Schools expand

      1/14/15
      Justin Murphy, staff writer for the Democrat and Chronicle reports that "Catholic high schools in the Rochester area have all recently expanded to accept sixth-graders, a change that presents more options for families — and a possible headache for elementary schools in the Diocese of Rochester."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the D&C story.

      Rush Henrietta proposes reconfiguration

      1/13/15
      Justin Murphy, staff writer for the Democrat and Chronicle reports that "The Rush-Henrietta Central School District is asking residents to approve a school reshuffling that would eliminate its standalone Ninth Grade Academy and introduce full-day kindergarten. The proposal, which residents will vote on Feb. 10, is the culmination of a two-year study on classroom space constraints in the district."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the D&C story.

    2014

      RCSD will restore Edison Tech

      1/8/15
      Justin Murphy, staff writer for the Democrat and Chronicle reports that "The Rochester School District plans to reshuffle the Edison Tech campus starting in 2015-16, closing the two high schools there now and replacing them with several “career pathways” under the structure of one school"
      Click this link to read the pdf of the D&C story.

      RCSD 2015-16 School Selection Process begins

      12/27/14
      Bennett J. Loudon, staff writer for the Democrat and Chronicle reports that "The school selection process for the 2015-16 school year is now open in the City School District. Detailed information about school choice is available online at the district’s website. The deadline for secondary school choice is Jan. 31. For elementary school, the deadline is March 2. The school choice program is an effort to pair up students with schools that fit them best, said Chip Partner, district spokesman. “We offer a lot of different types of programs that meet students with different needs,” he said."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the D&C story.

      RCSD Student penalties vary widely

      12/25/14
      Justin Murphy, staff writer for the Democrat and Chronicle reports that "Suspension rates vary widely from school to school in Rochester, according to new data released by the district. East High School has issued more than 1,000 suspensions so far in the 2014-15 school year, a number that principal Anibal Soler Jr. said is in line with last year’s rate. East has 1,740 students on the books. Early College International High School, meanwhile, has fewer than five suspensions among its 336 students, and School Without Walls has zero among its 326."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the D&C story.

      School 45 Principal sits on Roof/h4>
      12/20/14
      Erica Bryan, writer for the Democrat and Chronicle reports that "The man pacing back and forth on the roof of School 45 wore jeans, a navy coat and a red fur hat decorated with lights. He waved at cars driving back and forth along Clifford Avenue and at people waiting for the bus. Those who didn’t recognize Jason Wertz as the principal might have thought the school was being visited by a cheerful low-budget Santa Claus. When you see a man leaping around on a roof in red and white at this time of year, that’s where your mind goes."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the D&C story.

      Brighton CSD hires communication director

      12/20/14
      The Democrat and Chronicle reports that "The Brighton Central School District appointed Dan Goldman as communications coordinator this week. Goldman will assume his position on Jan. 5. He has a background in written, visual and digital communications, Superintendent Kevin McGowan said in a statement."

      RCSD predicts $66 million dollar budget shortfall for 2014-15 school year

      12/19/14
      Justin Murphy, staff writer for the Democrat and Chronicle reports that "A loss in federal aid and an increased investment at East High School, combined with the Rochester School District’s structural financial problems, have created a projected $65.9 million budget shortfall in 2015-16, Superintendent Bolgen Vargas said Thursday in his first comments on next year’s spending plan." This includes a $7.5 million "alignment" savings in special education.
      Click this link to read the pdf of the D&C story.

      RCSD 2013 graduation rates up

      12/19/14
      Justin Murphy and Jon Cambell, staff writers for the Democrat and Chronicle report that "Just over half of the students who entered a Rochester high school in 2010 graduated by August 2014, a jump of 3 percentage points over last year."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the D&C story.

      NY State tightening up process for Charter School Applications

      12/19/14
      Justin Murphy, staff writer for the Democrat and Chronicle reports that "A month after a 22year-old managed to gain the right to open a charter school with a rsumfull of fraudulent credentials, the New York state Education Department has tightened its scrutiny over the process."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the D&C story.

      East Irondequoit Bus Driver Fired Accused of Inappropriate Physical Contact

      12/18/14
      Jim Mandelaro, staff writer for the Democrat and Chronicle reports that "An East Irondequoit bus driver has been fired after allegations that he inappropriately touched a high school student on his run. Renaldo Vega, 44, of Rochester was terminated by the East Irondequoit School District, according to a news release from the Irondequoit Police Department."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the D&C story.

      Nazareth, School 9 deepen ties

      12/17/14
      Justin Murphy and James Goodman, staff writer for the Democrat and Chronicle report that "Nazareth College has deepened its involvement with School 9 in Rochester by expanding existing programs, with a larger number of college students involved in more ways...Nazareth has taken over running of a school tutoring program, which is after school at School 9 and School 54, and in the morning at School 46. Previously, this initiative was known as the Mercier literacy program, founded by local businessman George Mercier."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the D&C story.

      NY State Education Commissioner stepping down

      12/11/14
      The Democrat and Chronicle reportS that "State Education Commissioner John King will step down as the state’s top-ranking education official for a job in President Obama’s administration".
      Click this link to read the pdf of the D&C story by Justin Murphy.

      Young people evolve on Race

      12/11/14
      Justin Murphy, staff writer for the Democrat and Chronicle reportS on young individuals views on race. The article focuses in part on Penfield High School and Greece Odyssey.
      Click this link to read the pdf of the D&C story by Justin Murphy.

      Spencerport School District debate on Urban Suburban School Program is Divisive

      12/10/14
      Click this link to read the pdf of the D&C story by Justin Murphy.

      Rochester Charter School Teachers paid less and less experienced

      12/7/14
      Justin Murphy, staff writer for the Democrat and Chronicle reportS that "About 51 percent of charter school teachers in Rochester had fewer than five years total teaching experience in 2013-14. In the City School District, about 19 percent of teachers have fewer than five years’ experience. In 2013-14, the average (mean) teacher at a Rochester-area charter school had 5.6 years of overall teaching experience,three years’ experience at her current school and a salary of $46,830. By comparison, the average Rochester School District teacher in 2014-15 has 12.5 years of overall teaching experience, five years’ experience at her current school and a salary of $56,126."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the D&C story by Justin Murphy.

      A primer on Rochester Charter Schools

      12/7/14
      Helene Biandudi Hoffer, reported for the WXXI reportS that the Spencerport School Board opted to postpone a vote on participating in the Urban Suburban School program until January 2015."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      Spencerport School District delays decision in Urban Suburban School District

      12/6/14
      Justin Murphy, staff writer for the Democrat and Chronicle reportS that "They’ve been a force in New York state education since 1998"
      Click this link to read the pdf of the D&C story by Justin Murphy.

      New principal at East Rochester Elementary School

      12/5/14
      The Democrat and Chronicle reportS that "Marisa Capuano Philp has been selected as the new East Rochester Elementary School principal. The East Rochester School District said Philp, who has been principal of Red Jacket Elementary School in the Manchester-Shortsville School District since July 2013, will start her new position on Jan. 5. A graduate of Penfield High School, Philp earned a bachelor’s degree in special and elementary education, with a concentration in math and computer science, from State University College at Geneseo in 1998. She then earned a master’s in curriculum and teaching: education of the gifted, with a concentration in reading assessment and intervention, from Columbia University’s Teachers College in 1999, and a master’s of education in administration, planning, and social policy from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education in 2004. Philp began her teaching career in 1998 at Columbia’s Hollingworth Preschool, and taught in several elementary positions in the Brighton and Webster school districts. Since then, she has served as an instructional specialist at St. Thomas Aquinas High School and Monroe #1 BOCES, and assistant principal at DeSales High School and Webster’s State Road Elementary School."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the D&C story by Justin Murphy.

      10 Greece Olympia students arrested after fight

      12/4/14
      Gary Craig, staff writer for the Democrat and Chronicle reportS that "The fight prompted the suspension of 12 high school students. Ten were criminally charged Thursday. The fight broke out around 2 p.m. Monday on Olympia Drive close to the school."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the D&C story by Justin Murphy.

      Turnout low for RCSD School forun on Charlottle High Schoool

      12/3/14
      Justin Murphy, staff writer for the Democrat and Chronicle reportS that "Part of the reason Charlotte High School’s graduation rate is so poor — 36 percent for school year 2012-13 — is that most students have to travel so far to get there, depressing attendance. Twenty percent of students were missing on any given day last year, the worst rate in the Rochester School District. Attendance was no better Tuesday night at a community forum to discuss Superintendent Bolgen Vargas’ suggestion to close the school in 2017. Fewer than 50 people came, the majority of them school staff, alumni or Charlotte neighborhood residents."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the D&C story by Justin Murphy.

      BOCES 2 seeks approval for $29 Million to upgrade Facilities

      12/3/14
      By Meaghan McDermott, STAFF WRITER from the Democrat and Chronicle
      "With buildings that haven’t seen significant renovation in more than four decades, Monroe 2-Orleans Board of Cooperative Educational Services is turning to voters for help. The shared educational services organization has proposed a $29.2 million capital project that residents living in its nine component districts will be asked to approve on Dec. 16."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the D&C story by Meaghan McDermott.

      Greater Works Charter School will not open in 2015

      12/2/14
      Greater Works Charter School will no longer open in Rochester in 2015, part of the continuing fallout over lies in the resume of its22-year-old founder.
      Click this link to read the pdf of the D&C story by Justin Murphy.

      22-year-old gets OK to open Charter School

      11/24/14
      A 22 year old School of the Arts Alumni has recieved approval from the NY State Board of Regents to open a charter high school in Rochester in 2015. The Charter School will be called the Greater Works Charter School, and it will be accepting around 100 9th graders in its first year, eventually expandingto about 400 students in grades 9 - 12.
      Click this link to read the pdf of the D&C story by Justin Murphy.

      Suspensions a Problem in RCSD

      11/18/14
      Metro Justice and the RCSD provide data on the number of suspensions in the RCSD. Some highlights of the report included:
        • Twenty percent of students aged 12-17 were suspended at least once.
        • Across all grade levels 12.8 percent of black students, 8.9 percent of Latinos, 6.5 percent of white students, and 2.1 percent of Asians were suspended.
        • 13.5 percent of students with disabilities were suspended, while 10.3 percent of students without disabilites were suspended.
      Click this link to read the pdf of the D&C story by Justin Murphy.

      D&C reports that "Graduating in NY may become easier"

      10/25/14
      The D&C reports that "The state Board of Regents plans to add flexibility to its high school graduation requirements, hoping to make it easier for students to focus on career training, “STEM,” the arts and other areas. Students would have the option of not taking one social studies Regents exam currently required for a Regents diploma. They could instead take a “comparatively rigorous” assessment in career/ technical education, STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), the humanities, foreign languages or the arts. The Regents, who met Monday morning in Albany, expressed strong support for the move and will likely adopt the change in January. The change would affect students who entered ninth grade in September 2011 and beyond. Right now, for students to earn a Regents diploma, they must pass one Regents exam in math, ELA and science, and two in social studies. Under the new approach, students who take an optional course of study would have to pass either the Regents exam in U.S. history and government or a Regents exam in global history and geography, but not both. Chancellor Merryl Tisch emphasized that the added flexibility should make it easier for high schools to offer career and technical education to students in urban and rural school districts. Tisch said urban districts are anxious to provide more career training."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the D&C story by Justin Murphy.

      D&C reports that "Special education mix-up costs RCSD millions"

      10/13/14
      The RCSD is undertaking important and vital changes in how it provide Special Education services. This is not cheap or painless as reported by the Democrat and Chronicle.
      Click this link to read the pdf of the D&C story by Justin Murphy.

      NY State asks NY Districts to reduce number of Exams

      8/25/14
      The D&C reports that "The New York state Education Department is urging districts to eliminate as much local testing as possible for the purposes of teacher evaluations, and is committing federal money to help make it happen. But some educators are opposing the increased reliance on state exams. The initiative by NYSED comes with $9.2 million in federal Race To The Top money, including $800,000 going to schools in the Rochester area. It comes in response to widespread protests about excessive testing in public schools, especially for the youngest children."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the D&C story by Justin Murphy.

      Renaissance Charter School to open in Greece in former Kirk Road Elementary School

      7/21/14
      The D&C reports that "The Greece Central School District is getting its first charter school that doesn’t prioritize enrollment on the basis of family income. On Aug. 25, the Ren­aissance Charter School of the Arts will open its doors in the former Kirk Road Elementary School building. For now, the school will offer classes in kindergarten through second grade, but the goal is to open up one new grade level each year until topping out at sixth grade.."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the D&C story by Joseph Spector and Sean Lahman.

      RCSD hires Keith Babuszczak as chief of school innovation for career pathways and integrated learning

      7/17/14
      The D&C reports that "The Rochester School District has hired a former New York State Education Department contractor to help revamp its career and technical education program, marking the third high-profile administrator to be hired in the city since school let out for the summer. Keith Babuszczak, a former consultant with the CTE Technical Assistance Center of New York, worked with BOCES in the Finger Lakes, Southern Tier and Hudson Valley and the Yonkers school district, helping schools improve their CTE programs. He previously served as assistant superintendent for CTE in Pittsfield, Mass., and worked for the Massachusetts Department of Education. His title in Rochester will be chief of school innovation for career pathways and integrated learning. He will earn $135,000 annually and will supervise Beverly Gushue, who remains in her current position as CTE director. Gushue will concentrate on the specifics of the district’s CTE offerings, while Babuszczak will work to integrate career and academic offerings, including for younger students.
      Click this link to read the pdf of the article.

      NY State approves East High Plan

      7/10/14
      The D&C reports that "The New York State Education Department on Wednesday formally approved the Rochester School District's partnership with the University of Rochester for East High School, according to the district. UR's Warner School of Education, in the person of professor and former Canandaigua superintendent Steve Uebbing, will serve as superintendent of the school, using district funds. The partnership begins immediately in the 2014-15 school year, but the university will spend the rest of 2014 developing a more in-depth plan for 2015-16.
      Click this link to read the D&C article.
      Click this link to read the pdf of the article.

      Exiting Webster Superintendent to join RCSD as Deputy Superintendent for Administration

      7/10/14
      The D&C reports that Webster "Superintendent Adele Bovard will step down and take a new job with the district in Rochester — a move that will bring a pay cut, but also a chance to help city students realize their potential, she said. Bovard, 56, will become Rochester's deputy superintendent for administration. The role pays $175,000 a year, said Chip Partner, a spokesman for the city schools. That's roughly 15 percent less than her salary in Webster, which was $207,300 for the 2013-14 school year.
      Click this link to read the D&C article.
      Click this link to read the pdf of the article.

      NY State Public School Teachers Pension's Grow

      7/9/14
      The D&C reports that "The number of teachers and school administrators in New York collecting pensions increased 9 percent between 2010 and 2013, and the average pension grew 6.5 percent over that period, records show. Teacher pension records had been sealed by the retirement system amid a court fight over whether the details on individual pensioners should be public...The largest pension went to James Feltman, who retired in 2010 as superintendent of the Commack school district in Suffolk County. He collected $325,854 from the pension fund in 2013. That’s just slightly more than Sheldon Larnilow from Half Hollow Hills on Long Island; he’s receiving an annual pension of $322,650 since his 2011 retirement...Among retirees in the city of Poughkeepsie schools, the average teacher pension was $45,185. It was about $43,000 in both Rochester and Buffalo city schools. The average pension was less in the Southern Tier: about $39,000 in the Binghamton and Elmira city schools.
      Click this link to read the pdf of the D&C story by Joseph Spector and Sean Lahman.
      Click this link to search the D&C database for teacher and administrator pensions

      West Irondequoit CSD finalizes 2014-14 Budget cuts

      7/9/14
      The D&C reports that "Field trips, modified sports and a variety of class offerings have all been canceled in West Irondequoit for the fall, the final reckoning of the district’s failure to pass its proposed 2014-15 budget."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the D&C story by Justin Murphy.

      Webster CSD Superintendent resigns

      7/9/14
      The Webster CSD reports that "The Webster Central School District Board of Education announced today that it has accepted Superintendent Adele Bovard’s resignation during its July 8 reorganization meeting. Bovard’s resignation is effective July 31, 2014. “The Webster Central School District Board of Education wishes Ms. Bovard the best in the future and we thank her for her efforts over the past several years,” said Mike Suffoletto, Webster Board of Education President. “We appreciate the many efforts to improve student achievement and continue the tradition of academic excellence at Webster Central School District.” Superintendent Bovard will serve as Deputy Superintendent for Administration at the Rochester City School District, effective August 1, 2014. The board will meet to appoint an acting superintendent while it plans for a process to identify and select a new leader to succeed Superintendent Bovard."

      Penfield CSD names acting Superintendent

      7/9/14
      The D&C reports that "The Penfield Board of Education has named an acting superintendent. Thomas Putnam will take over as acting superintendent of the Penfield Central School District, effective immediately, the board said in a written release on the district's website. Putnam replaces Stephen Grimm, who is leaving the district to serve as superintendent of the Clinton Central School District. "I'm looking forward to maintaining the level of excellence we enjoy in our district as well as helping our students and staff to continue to move forward," Putnam said. Putnam has served as principal of Penfield High School for the past four years. "We are very pleased that Dr. Putnam has agreed to serve as our acting superintendent," said board President Carole Nasra. "He is an outstanding administrator who is focused on student learning and building a positive culture within the district." Putnam previously served as an assistant principal at Penfield High School, as well as an assistant principal at Greece Olympia High School. The board, and Putnam, said they expect to name an acting principal for Penfield High School as soon as possible."

      University of Rochester and the RCSD submit final plan for East High Takeover

      7/1/14
      The University of Rochester and Rochester School District submitted their final proposal for governance of East High School Monday, just hours before the state deadline of July 1. The D&C reports that " According to the proposal, UR wants to split the students into three sub-schools: the Lower School, for grades 7-8 or possibly 6-8; a Freshman Academy; and the Upper House, for grades 10-12. At each level, students would be grouped into “student families” of 5-9, under the care of one dedicated adult staff member, administrator or volunteer. School days would be lengthened, there would be a full-time counselor and social worker for each grade level and professional development would be strengthened. UR hopes to have about 180 students at each grade level, with preference given to those living near the school. By comparison, according to the most recent state data, there were 267 seventh-graders, 461 ninth-graders and 253 12th-graders in 2011-12. All sides agreed Monday that the school will only succeed by building on its current strengths and recruiting help from the community. “Does anyone really thing East High School will change just because the UR is coming in?” Uebbing asked. “The change will come from the teachers, staff and kids who are already there ... and the community supporting them.""
      Click this link to read the pdf of the D&C story by Justin Murphy.

      University of Rochester plan to take over East High under review

      6/29/14
      The U of R's plan to be the Educational Partnership Organization for East High is due to the State by July 1st.
      Click this link to go the story.

      Erica Bryant: "Let school board president take pay cut"

      6/28/14
      Erica Byrant piece calling out the RCSD Board for their high pay and the lack of School District success.
      Click this link to read her piece in the D&C .
      " target="_blank">Click this link to read a pdf of the D&C article.

      RCSD 2009-2013 student cohort graduation rate remains lowest in NY State

      6/24/14
      Just 43 percent of Rochester students who entered 9th grade in 2009 graduated on time by June 2013.
      Click this link to read a pdf of the D&C article.

      NY State Assembly agrees to fund Phase II of RCSD Facilities Modernization Plan

      6/22/14
      WXXI Reports that "A few members of Rochester's Assembly delegation got into a heated debate last night over funding for the next phase of the Rochester Schools Modernization project. Democrat David Gantt and Republican Bill Nojay both questioned whether the $1.2 billion project was on time and on budget. Nojay said, "This has been a colossal waste of taxpayer dollars. I believe Mr. Gantt is correct in his assumption or his questions about the number of schools that have been finished. In fact, my understanding is that none of the work has been finished according to any viable schedule or quality of work for the children of Rochester, New York."
      Click this link to see and listen to the WXXI Story.

      RTA files grievance over RCSD testing

      6/11/14
      "[T]he RTA filed a class action grievance against the city school district last week, and in a phone interview yesterday, Urbanski was not so supportive of Vargas. The grievance concerns ELA and math tests that teachers have been administering this month, particularly in grades K to 2. Urbanski says the district has broken its agreement with the union regarding how the tests are administered. Urbanski, who has been an outspoken critic of what he calls the state’s testing mania, says the tests have to be given to students individually because they are performance-based assessments. 'This is a woeful waste of time,' says Urbanski. And classroom management has been made more difficult, he says. Teachers in the lower grades don't even have a proctor assisting them. Also, Urbanski says the tests were riddled with errors, and administering them has taken more time than teachers are paid to work.
      Click this link to read the City Newspaper Article.

      Four charter schools set to open in city

      1/13/14
      The D&C reports that "Two high schools, elementary and middle school are in the mix. There will be four new charter schools this fall in Rochester, including an arts-heavy elementary school, a middle school with small class sizes and a career­focused high school for boys.
      The elementary school, Renaissance Academy Charter School of the Arts, will aim for an “enlightened adolescence” with a focus on arts, literacy and “character education,” according to its website. It will begin with grades K-2 in August and eventually expand to K-6.
      PUC Achieve Charter School, the middle school, will follow the same model as several schools now open in California. “PUC” stands for “partnerships to uplift communities,” and the schools stress small class sizes, long school days and honors­level education for all students. It will enroll fifth-graders in August and will eventually be open to grades 5-8.
      The high school, Vertus Charter School, will run year-round, incorporating online lessons with “learning labs” and group work, according to its website. It is led by Perry White, founder of the high-performing Citizens Academy charter school in Cleveland, and Leigh McGuigan, a former lawyer and investment banker who has been involved with public and charter schools in Cleveland and New York City. It will enroll ninth graders only when it opens in September.
      Also opening in the fall is Rochester Preparatory Charter School, a high school that will collaborate with Rochester Institute of Technology and accept students graduating from Rochester Prep’s middle school classes."

      Gates Chili new Superintendent to begin in February

      1/13/14
      The D&C reports that "Kimberle Ward, superintendent of the Naples Central School District, has been selected to become the leader of the Gates Chili school system. Ward is expected to be formally appointed to the position by the Gates Chili Board of Education during its regular meeting" in December "She will begin her new role in early February, according to the district. 'The board is impressed with Kimberle's energy, passion and leadership skills,' said Lowell Benjamin, school board president. 'We are very much looking forward to her engagement with the Gates Chili community with a focus on student achievement and instructional excellence.' Ward has previously worked as a teacher in Brighton, Marcus Whitman, Newark and Wayland. She was a principal in the Union Springs Central School District and an assistant principal in the Corning-Painted Post Area School District. She joined Naples in 2009. 'I am excited to continue Gates Chili's tradition of inspiring students to engage in their learning the Spartan Way: Respect, Responsibility, Compassion and Hard Work,' Ward said in a written statement. 'The district motto of teaching and inspiring excellence for all learners will be my focus in all efforts for the community.'"

    2013

    2012

      A Fairport BOCES 20 year student drowns in Canal

      9/12/12
      In a very sad story, a Fairport BOCES Special Needs student drowned in the Canal while in School.
      Click this link to read a pdf of the story.
      1/12/14
      In a follow-up to this story the D&C reported on 1/11/14 that there had been an agreement reached in this case
      The D&C reports that "The family of a 20­year-old Kendall man with disabilities who drowned while under the care of a BOCES program has reached an “agreement” to avoid a lawsuit, according to a short state­ment from the family. Michael Vyrvoss apparently wandered away from Monroe 2-Orleans Board of Cooperative Educational Services’ Spencerport facility in September 2012 and drowned in the Erie Canal. The family had filed a notice of claim against the district, according to the statement, which provided no further details. BOCES had no comment, according to a spokesman."

      2011-12 School District Special Education Data

      11/4/12
      The New York State Education Department’s P-12: Office of Special Education has posted, effective June 1, 2012, each school district’s Special Education School District Data Profile for the 2010-11 school year as required by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. This report provides individual school district data relating to compliance and performance results for students with disabilities.
      Click this link to download a pdf of the Rochester City School District Data.

      D&C Database on NY State Schools

      10/12/12
      From the D&C 10/12/12.
      "The numbers are stark. Only 20 percent of kids in the Rochester School District read at a level appropriate for their age. But there’s a dramatic difference between how well the kids perform from one school to another.
      Last Sunday, our education reporter, Tiffany Lankes, told the story of two city schools a mile apart. At the first, 74 percent of students are proficient in math. At the other, the total is only 9 percent.
      That’s a huge contrast, but how is a parent supposed to know how well their child is being served by their school?
      The state’s Department of Education issues annual report cards for each school, but they’re not particularly easy to use. Data from each school are presented in a series of PDF files. It’s difficult to do year-to-year comparisons, and it takes some effort to see how different schools or school districts compare.
      That challenge prompted us to develop our own interactive tool for navigating the school data, available at RocDocs.com/schools. We gathered the data from the various state reports for all of the public schools in New York and put them in one place.
      You can use our tools to see test scores for each district or for individ­ual schools. This includes results of more than a dozen different Regents exams, and the yearly proficiency tests for math and English given to all students from third to eighth grade.
      We also have included information on topics such as college readiness, demographics and staffing. And with a click of a button, you can compare data from different districts, or even between different schools.
      Our reporters cover the public schools pretty extensively during the course of a year, and we publish dozens of separate school-related data sets — everything from graduation rates to teacher salaries. Moving forward, we’ll integrate these sorts of data sets into our Schools Database, providing a more robust source of information about the public education system than you can find anywhere else. It’s part of our renewed focus on providing databases that let readers explore topics on their own. At Roc-Docs.com, we’ll continue to offer deep collections of information on a variety of topics that affect people in our community."
      Click this link to read go to the Roc-Docs.com.

      BOCES overcharges School Districts in NY State Millions

      10/1/12
      A recent report by state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli found that BOCES districts routinely overbill local schools and regularly price those services higher than necessary. Daniel T. White, superintendent of Monroe 1 BOCES in Fairport said the overcharges generally fall within acceptable budgeting and accounting limits.
      Click this link to download a pdf of the D&C story.

      Ex-Hillside worker pleads not guilty to sexually assaulting two teens

      9/27/12
      What is going on at Hillside. The D&C reports today that "A former Hillside Children’s Center employee accused of sexually assaulting two teens pleaded not guilty Wednesday morning in Monroe County Court.
      Matthew D. King, 29, of Rochester is facing five counts of third-degree criminal sexual act, a felony, and four counts of endangering the welfare of a child, a misde­meanor.
      King is accused of having inappropriate sexual contact earlier this year with two teenage boys he met while working as a youth counselor at Hillside’s residential center on Monroe Avenue, said Assistant District Attorney Kyle Rossi. King also is accused of providing alcohol and cigarettes to teens he met while work­ing at the center.
      Some of the alleged incidents occurred at the center, Rossi said, while others occurred elsewhere in the Rochester region. All of the alleged acts stemmed from relationships that started at Hillside, Rossi said.
      King worked for Hillside for about 1½ years, end­ing July 27.
      King “has been a coach, counselor and teacher’s aide his whole adult life, so we’re concerned” that authorities may not be aware of all potential victims, Rossi said. Any potential victims are asked to contact State Police or the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.
      County Court Judge Frank Geraci Jr. issued orders of protection for the two teens Wednesday morning.
      King’s lawyer, Amanda Oren, said in court that King’s family posted $50,000 bail. King remained free on that bail and is scheduled to return to court for argument of motions on Nov. 7.

      New report shows the RCSD graduates the lowest rate of Black Males in the US

      9/22/12
      WXXI reports that "Michael Holzman is a senior research consultant for the Schott Foundation. He says one reason for the low graduation rate comes down to Black males being “locked out” in schools - meaning they're not given the same resources as their white counterparts. Holzman says in Rochester City Schools there's twice as many white male students in gifted and talented programs than Black and Latino male students."
      Click this link to read or listen to the WXXI story.

      Census shows that Poverty has risen in the City of Rochester

      9/22/12
      The D&C report that poverty has risen in the City of Rochester. The D&C report that "A majority of children in three upstate cities lived in poverty in 2011, with Rochester ranking seventh in the nation for its percentage of poor children, U.S. census data released Thursday showed. Rochester had 54 percent of its youth under age 18 living in poverty, putting it in a class with Flint, Mich.; Camden, N.J.; Reading, Pa; and Cleveland. Gary, Ind., led the nation in childhood poverty at 69 percent, the data showed.
      Click this link to read a pdf file of the D&C article.

      City Newspaper: Truancy in the RCSD

      9/21/12
      The RCSD has a new truancy policy that has drawn some criticism as the District is proposing as a last resort to involve Child Protective Services (CPS). While I worry about how the District will implement this policy, fundamentally kids need to be in Schools. We can't afford to have them not in Schools.
      Click this link to read the City Newspaper article by Tim Louis Macaluso.

      Hillside Staffer charged with sexual abuse at Hillside

      9/11/12
      A male Hillside Staff Member has been charged with having sex with a 15 year old Hillside student.
      Click this link to read a pdf of the story.

      Monroe County Schools need over 1 Billion for School Repairs

      9/9/12
      The D&C reports that area Schools need over 1 Billion dollars in repairs.
      Click this link to read a pdf of the story.

      RCSD offers International Baccalaureate(IB) program beginning in Kindergarten

      9/6/12
      "The prestigious International Baccalaureate program has a worldwide reputation for teaching students critical thinking skills and preparing them for college...classmates at the city’s Wilson Magnet Foundation Academy are getting a jump start, given that Wednesday was their first day of kindergarten. Wilson welcomed 70 students into the first kindergarten class that will have the opportunity to spend their entire school career in the IB program. The district has had an IB program at Wilson Commencement High School for years, but has recently looked to expand the model to include middle and elementary school students."
      Click this link to read a pdf of the D&C article by Tiffany Lankes.

      State Targets RCSD for Intervention

      9/1/12
      "The Rochester school district has been flagged as one of 70 "Focus School Districts" by the New York State Education Department. Twenty-two of Rochester's schools have been identified as "Focus Schools" by the SED, and 30 described as "Priority Schools."
      Click this link to read a pdf of the City Newspaper article by Tim Louis Macaluso.
      Click this link to read the information from the NY State Education Department.

      D&C reports that RCSD attendance rates are likely less than 50%

      8/28/12
      New Data from the District suggests what has long suspected that the District's ability to track day to day attendance has been wrong. The new information suggests that the RCSD may actually have less than 50% attendance on a daily basis. This new information is in response to new demands from NY State to report accurate attendance numbers on weekly basis. The good news is that this points to an obvious way to increase Student learning. Having the students attend class.
      Click this link to read a pdf of the D&C article by Tiffany Lankes.

      Monroe County District Changes for 2012-13 School Year

      8/26/12
      An Article from the D&C outlining changes in staff, schools, and programs for all Monroe County School Districts for the 2012-13 School Year.
      Click this link to read a pdf of the story.

      Two New Charter Schools Open in City

      8/20/12
      Rochester Career Mentoring Charter School opens with its first 9th grade class.
      Young Women's College Prep, Rochester's first public School exclusively for young women.
      Click this link to read a pdf of the story.

      Say Yes Foundation has programs in Syracuse and now in Buffalo

      8/19/12
      The Say Yes Foundation with provides educational aide to Schools and financial aid to students to attend college has already had a program in Syracuse. It is now beginning its work in Buffalo. Why not Rochester? According the D&C "Rochester was one of the metropolitan areas in the state invited to submit proposals that resulted in the selections of Syracuse and more recently Buffalo for Say Yes initiatives, but no proposals were submitted, said Gene Chasin, who is the chief operating officer for Say Yes national."
      Click this link to read a pdf of the story.
      For more information on the Say Yes Foundation click this link.

      Student numbers undergo decline: Gates Chili, Greece among hardest hit

      8/19/12
      The D&C report that the City as well as Rochester's suburbs have declinging enrollments. The article notes that "Gates Chili, for example, had a stu­dent enrollment topping 7,000 in the late 1970s but now has 4,547 students, according to data kept by the state Comptroller’s Office. In a narrower data set kept by the state Education Department, the Gates Chili district lost 255 students between 2009 and 2011, or 5.4 percent of its en­rollment. Other hard-hit districts were Fairport and East Irondequoit. Fair­port lost 337 students, or 4.9 percent of its enrollment, during the same period. East Irondequoit lost 147 students, or 4.4. percent. In Greece, enrollment fell about 3.8 percent, or 486 students, continuing a trend that began in the early 2000s. In­deed, enrollment in that district has fallen more than 12 percent since its peak of nearly 15,000 students in the 1990s."

      While many District's with decling enrollment have had to cut staff positions, the East Rochester School District has increased its staff positions. The article notes that "One district, East Rochester, is an example of the many variables that can affect enrollment. That district, the only one in the county to register positive growth, saw a minimal 1.8 percent enrollment increase — from 1,174 to 1,195 students, but increased staff by 9.8 percent — from 153 to 168. The growth in enrollment and staffing, Superintendent Ray Giamartino Jr. said in an email, was the result of a district initiative to bring students who were receiving special education services elsewhere back to the district. Staff grew at a higher rate than student enrollment because some special education students required more attention from staff members. However, Giamartino said the district was still able to save money by educating those students “in-house” rather than contracting with outside groups.".
      Click this link to read a pdf of the story.

      BOCES 1 Teacher Aide suspended for allegations of sex trafficking

      8/8/12
      The D&C reports that "BOCES 1 has suspended a teacher’s aide charged Monday with the alleged sex trafficking of a 15-year-old girl.
      Click this link to read a pdf of the story.

      Lawsuit alleges bullying at Fairport School

      8/8/12
      The D&C reporter, Meaghan M. McDermott, reports that "Parents of a Fairport Central School District student have filed a federal lawsuit against the district, alleging officials there didn’t take adequate steps to protect their child from bullies." The parents allege a pattern of bullying that began at Martha Brown Middle school and continued at Johanna Perrin, after the District and parents moved the child to avoid the bullying that had occurred at Martha Brown.
      Click this link to read a pdf of the story.

      Across the US suspensions are higher for Disabled Students

      8/8/12
      The NY Times reports that a new analysis of Department of Education data, shows that 13 percent of disabled students in kindergarten through 12th grade were suspended during the 2009-10 school year, compared with 7 percent of students without disabilities. Among black children with disabilities, which included those with learning difficulties, the rate was much higher: one out of every four was suspended at least once that school year.
      New York State was not included in this report "due to problems with thier data."
      Click this link to read the story.
      Click this link to download a pdf version of the report.
      Click this link to download a pdf file of the NY Times article.

      RCSD begins $325 million project to modernize Schools

      8/8/12
      The D&C reporter, Tiffany Lankes, reports that "Work on the first phase of the project is under way, with construction crews at Schools 17, 50 and 58 as well as the Charlotte and Franklin high school campuses. All of those projects, with the exception of School 58, will be finished in time for the start of the 2013-14 school year. School 58, the largest of the renovation projects in the plan, will take two years."
      Click this link to read a pdf of the D&C article by Tiffany Lankes.

      States Struggle to meet Special Education Goals

      8/7/12
      The nation is showing some signs of improvement in educating students with disabilities, though federal officials say nearly half of states continue to need help. For the 2010-2011 school year, 30 states met a series of goals for their special education programs, according to an analysis of new U.S. Department of Education ratings that was done by Education Week. That’s up from 28 the year prior.
      Click this link to read about the story.
      Click this link to see a map showing State rankings.
      Click this link to download a pdf file of the US Map with State Rankings.

      Cost of Preschool Special Education Services in NYC Sky Rocket

      6-10-12
      The Cost of Preschool Special Education Services are sky rocketing in NY City. Concerns are also noted about the quality of the services provided.
      Click this link to go to the NY Times article about the story.

      Which Western NY State Teachers make the most? Where does your District Stand?

      6/5/12
      Teachers in Livonia are generally paid the most in the Rochester region – that’s according to Business First which tanked the 67 districts in the eight-county Rochester area

      As reported by Channel 10 news - "According to Business First, "pay levels were analyzed at the fifth, 25th, 50th, 75th and 95th percentiles in each district, using official data from the New York State Education Department. Percentiles indicate the ranking of a given salary on a district's payroll. A salary at the 25th percentile, for example, is larger than 25 percent of all teachers' salaries within that district. Livonia's salaries are among the five highest in the Rochester Area at all five percentiles, including a region-topping $74,416 at the 75th percentile.""

      Complete list:
      1. Livonia (Livingston County)
      2. Pittsford (Monroe County)
      3. Gates Chili (Monroe County)
      4. Webster (Monroe County)
      5. Greece (Monroe County)
      6. Wheatland-Chili (Monroe County)
      7. Fairport (Monroe County)
      8. Brighton (Monroe County)
      9. Addison (Steuben County)
      10. South Seneca (Seneca County)
      11. Hammondsport (Steuben County)
      12. Penfield (Monroe County)
      13. Avoca (Steuben County)
      14. Canandaigua (Ontario County)
      15. West Irondequoit (Monroe County)
      16. Odessa-Montour (Schuyler County)
      17. Corning-Painted Post (Steuben County)
      18. Caledonia-Mumford (Livingston County)
      19. Hilton (Monroe County)
      20. Churchville-Chili (Monroe County)
      21. Seneca Falls (Seneca County)
      22. Canisteo-Greenwood (Steuben County)
      23. Victor (Ontario County)
      24. Naples (Ontario County)
      25. Rochester (Monroe County)
      26. Prattsburgh (Steuben County)
      27. Spencerport (Monroe County)
      28. Wayland-Cohocton (Steuben County)
      29. Jasper-Troupsburg (Steuben County)
      30. North Rose-Wolcott (Wayne County)
      31. Rush-Henrietta (Monroe County)
      32. Geneseo (Livingston County)
      33. Bloomfield (Ontario County)
      34. Watkins Glen (Schuyler County)
      35. Dalton-Nunda (Livingston County)
      36. Honeoye Falls-Lima (Monroe County)
      37. Manchester-Shortsville (Ontario County)
      38. Sodus (Wayne County)
      39. Bath (Steuben County)
      40. Clyde-Savannah (Wayne County)
      41. Marcus Whitman (Ontario County)
      42. Phelps-Clifton Springs (Ontario County)
      43. Brockport (Monroe County)
      44. Arkport (Steuben County)
      45. Waterloo (Seneca County)
      46. Red Creek (Wayne County)
      47. Wayne (Wayne County)
      48. East Irondequoit (Monroe County)
      49. Marion (Wayne County)
      50. Honeoye (Ontario County)
      51. Dansville (Livingston County)
      52. Romulus (Seneca County)
      53. Hornell (Steuben County)
      54. Campbell-Savona (Steuben County)
      55. East Rochester (Monroe County)
      56. Williamson (Wayne County)
      57. Newark (Wayne County)
      58. Avon (Livingston County)
      59. Geneva (Ontario County)
      60. Penn Yan (Yates County)
      61. Lyons (Wayne County)
      62. York (Livingston County)
      63. Palmyra-Macedon (Wayne County)
      64. Bradford (Steuben County)
      65. Gananda (Wayne County)
      66. Dundee (Yates County)
      67. Mount Morris (Livingston County)
      Click this link to see the Channel 10 news story.

      What are your District's Superintendent and other Top District Adminstrator's Salaries?

      6-1-12
      Chapter 474 of the Laws of 1996 and Education Law section 1608 required that the State Education Department prepare a statewide compilation of the salaries and other personnel costs of certain school administrators and make it available to all interested parties. Listed here are data, provided by school districts, of the salaries, employee benefits and other forms of remuneration for superintendents of schools (Type 1), deputy, assistant or associate superintendents (Type 2) and the salaries of any other certified school administrators or supervisors (Type 3) who are budgeted to be paid at or above a certain level ($123,000 for 2012-13). This listing refers to information budgeted in May 2012 and expected to be paid in 2012-13 and applies to a particular position in a school district, not necessarily a particular individual. In order to fully understand the meaning of the data, clarification from individual districts may be necessary.
      Click this link to go to the NY State Department webpage with the data
      Click this link to download a pdf file of the salary amounts for all of NY State
      Click this link to download an excell file of the salaries for all of NY State.

    2011

      2011-12 Data on School District's progress with students with IEPs

      New York State also provides additional information on individual school district's performance with children who receive special education services. This link provides a wealth of information on students with disabilities in individual school districts across a number of measures. Information is provided on the previous academic school year.

      Majority of Special Ed. Students in Texas Suspended, Expelled

      12/19/11
      On Special Education Blog , Education Week
      A new study by the Council of State Governments Justice Center took a close look at how often students in Texas are disciplined by in- and out-of-school suspension and expulsion. Among the findings: Students with disabilities are especially likely to be punished by one or more of these methods. The researchers looked at records for close to one million students and found that 75 percent of middle and high school students with disabilities in the nation's second-largest public school system were suspended, expelled, or both at least once. That compares to about 55 percent of students without a disability.
      Majority of Special Ed. Students in Texas Suspended

      Rural and urban students suffer under New York state aid losses

      12/19/11
      Disparities in School Districts across the NY State are growing due to the fact that State lawmakers can not help themselves in giving wealthier Districts more money.
      rural students suffer under new york state aid losses

      Schools from 12 Rochester NY area Districts cited as underperforming.

      11/15/11
      The Schools include the following:
        BROCKPORT CSD
        BROCKPORT HIGH SCHOOL Improvement (year 2) - Basic Secondary-Level English Language Arts
        FRED W HILL SCHOOL Improvement (year 1) -Basic - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts

        CHURCHVILLE-CHILI CSD
        CHURCHVILLE-CHILI MIDDLE SCHOOL 5-8 Improvement (year 1) - Basic - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts

        EAST IRONDEQUOIT CSD
        EAST IRONDEQUOIT MIDDLE SCHOOL Improvement (year 1) - Basic - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts
        LAURELTON-PARDEE INTERMEDIATE SC Improvement (year 1) - Basic - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts

        FAIRPORT CSD
        MARTHA BROWN MIDDLE SCHOOL Improvement (year 1) - Basic - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts

        GATES-CHILI CSD
        GATES-CHILI MIDDLE SCHOOL Improvement (year 1) - Basic - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts
        WALT DISNEY SCHOOL Improvement (year 1) - Basic - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts

        GREECE CSD
        APOLLO MIDDLE SCHOOL Restructuring (year 1) - Focused - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts
        ARCADIA MIDDLE SCHOOL Improvement (year 1) - Basic - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts
        ATHENA HIGH SCHOOL Improvement (year 1) - Basic - Secondary-Level English Language Arts
        OLYMPIA HIGH SCHOOL Improvement (year 1) - Basic - Secondary-Level English Language Arts

        HILTON CSD
        MERTON WILLIAMS MIDDLE SCHOOL Improvement (year 1) - Basic - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts
        VILLAGE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL Improvement (year 1) - Basic - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts

        ROCHESTER ACADEMY CHARTER SCHOOL
        ROCHESTER ACADEMY CHARTER SCHOOL Improvement (year 1) - Comprehensive - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts

        ROCHESTER CITY SD
        BIOSCIENCE & HEALTH CAR HS-FRANKLI Restructuring (year 2) - Comprehensive - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts and Secondary-Level English Language Arts
        CHARLOTTE HIGH SCHOOL Restructuring (advanced) - Comprehensive - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts
        DR FREDDIE THOMAS HIGH SCHOOL Improvement (year 2) - Comprehensive - Secondary-Level English Language Arts
        EAST HIGH SCHOOL Restructuring (advanced) - Comprehensive - Secondary-Level Mathematics
        GLOBAL MEDIA ARTS HIGH SCH-FRANKLI Restructuring (year 1) - Comprehensive - Secondary-Level English Language Arts
        INTERNATIONAL FINANCE & ECON DEV H Restructuring (year 1) - Comprehensive - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts and Secondary-Level English Language Arts
        JAMES MONROE HIGH SCHOOL Restructuring (advanced) - Comprehensive - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts
        JOHN MARSHALL HIGH SCHOOL Restructuring (advanced) - Comprehensive - Secondary-Level English Language Arts
        JOSEPH C WILSON FOUNDATION ACADE Improvement (year 2) - Comprehensive - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts
        JOSEPH C WILSON MAGNET HIGH SCH Restructuring (advanced) - Comprehensive - Secondary-Level English Language Arts
        NORTHEAST COLLEGE PREP HIGH SCHO Corrective Action (year 1) - Comprehensive - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts
        NORTHWEST COLLEGE PREP HIGH SCHO Improvement (year 2) - Comprehensive - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Artsand Elementary-Middle Level Mathematics
        SCHOOL 12-JAMES P B DUFFY Improvement (year 1) - Focused - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts
        SCHOOL 15-CHILDREN'S SCHOOL OF RO Improvement (year 1) - Comprehensive - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts
        SCHOOL 16-JOHN WALTON SPENCER Corrective Action (year 2) - Comprehensive - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts
        SCHOOL 17-ENRICO FERMI Corrective Action (year 1) - Comprehensive - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts
        SCHOOL 20-HENRY LOMB SCHOOL Improvement (year 1) - Comprehensive - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts
        SCHOOL 22-LINCOLN SCHOOL Improvement (year 1) - Comprehensive - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts and Elementary-Middle Level Mathematics
        SCHOOL 28-HENRY HUDSON Corrective Action (year 2) - Comprehensive - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts
        SCHOOL 29-ADLAI E STEVENSON Improvement (year 1) - Comprehensive - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts
        SCHOOL 30-GENERAL ELWELL S OTIS Improvement (year 1) - Comprehensive - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts
        SCHOOL 34-DR LOUIS A CERULLI Improvement (year 2) - Comprehensive - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts
        SCHOOL 36-HENRY W LONGFELLOW Improvement (year 1) - Comprehensive - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts
        SCHOOL 39-ANDREW J TOWNSON Improvement (year 1) - Comprehensive - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts
        SCHOOL 3-NATHANIEL ROCHESTER Improvement (year 1) - Comprehensive - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts and Elementary-Middle Level Mathematics
        SCHOOL 41-KODAK PARK Improvement (year 2) - Comprehensive - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts
        SCHOOL 42-ABELARD REYNOLDS Corrective Action (year 2) - Comprehensive - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts
        SCHOOL 44-LINCOLN PARK Improvement (year 2) - Comprehensive - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts
        SCHOOL 45-MARY MCLEOD BETHUNE Restructuring (advanced) - Comprehensive - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts
        SCHOOL 46-CHARLES CARROLL Improvement (year 1) - Focused - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts
        SCHOOL 50-HELEN BARRETT MONTGOM Improvement (year 2) - Focused - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts
        SCHOOL 5-JOHN WILLIAMS Corrective Action (year 1) - Comprehensive - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts
        SCHOOL 6-DAG HAMMARSKJOLD Improvement (year 1) - Comprehensive - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts
        SCHOOL 7-VIRGIL GRISSOM Improvement (year 1) - Focused - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts
        SCHOOL 8-ROBERTO CLEMENTE Improvement (year 2) - Comprehensive -Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts
        SCHOOL 9-DR MARTIN LUTHER KING JR Restructuring (advanced) - Comprehensive -Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts
        SCHOOL OF ENGNRG & MFG-EDISON Restructuring (year 1) - Comprehensive - Secondary-Level English Language Arts and Secondary-Level Mathematics
        SCHOOL WITHOUT WALLS Corrective Action (year 1) - Comprehensive - Secondary-Level English Language Arts
        SKILLED TRADES AT EDISON Corrective Action (year 2) - Comprehensive - Secondary-Level English Language Arts
        THOMAS JEFFERSON HIGH SCHOOL Restructuring (advanced) - Comprehensive - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts

        RUSH-HENRIETTA CSD
        CHARLES H ROTH MIDDLE SCHOOL Improvement (year 1) - Basic - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts

        SPENCERPORT CSD
        A M COSGROVE MIDDLE SCHOOL Improvement (year 1) - Basic - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts

        WEBSTER CSD
        KLEM ROAD NORTH ELEMENTARY SCHO Improvement (year 1) - Basic - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts
        SPRY MIDDLE SCHOOL Improvement (year 1) - Basic - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts

        WEST IRONDEQUOIT CSD
        DAKE JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL Improvement (year 1) - Basic - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts

        Ontario County Schools
        CANANDAIGUA CITY SD
        CANANDAIGUA MIDDLE SCHOOL Improvement (year 1) - Basic - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts

        GENEVA CITY SD
        GENEVA HIGH SCHOOL Restructuring (year 1) - Focused - Secondary-Level English Language Arts
        GENEVA MIDDLE SCHOOL Improvement (year 1) - Focused - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts
        NORTH STREET ELEMENTARY SCHOOL Improvement (year 1) - Focused - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts

        PHELPS-CLIFTON SPRINGS CSD
        MIDLAKES INTERMEDIATE SCHOOL Improvement (year 1) - Basic - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts
        MIDLAKES MIDDLE SCHOOL Improvement (year 1) - Basic - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts

        VICTOR CSD
        VICTOR INTERMEDIATE SCHOOL Improvement (year 1) - Basic - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts

        Click this link to read Cara Matthews and Meaghan McDermott's D&C article as a PDF file.

      US Teachers feel that Schools fail diverse learners.

      8/23/11
      A new survey shows that a majority of teachers feel that Schools do not adequately prepare diverse learners for success after High School. In the Study conducted by MetLife, Education Week reports that "Fully 91 percent of the public school teachers interviewed for this year’s annual MetLife Survey of the American Teacher said that strengthening programs and resources to help “diverse learners”—defined as students with low-income status, limited fluency in English, or learning disabilities—become college- and career-ready should be a priority in education.
      read the full article here

      Buffalo Superintendent resigns

      8/19/11
      Buffalos' embattled Superintendent resigns and Buffalo's School Board accepts resignation.
      read the full story here

      NY State again pares down Regents Exams

      5/17/11
      The NYS Board of Regents has again changed the schedule for NY State regents exams to save money. This makes it easier to graduate for some and harder for others.
      Click this link to read about the changes.

      NY State signs into regulations a new teacher evaluation system

      5/17/11
      The NYS Board of Regents adopted regulations that will implement a statewide teacher and principal performance evaluation system.
      Click this link to download and read the pdf file about the changes from the NY State Board of Regents.

      NY State Board of Regents elects John King Commissioner of Education

      5/17/11
      The New York State Board of Regents voted today to elect Dr. John B. King, Jr. as New York State Education Commissioner and President of the University of the State of New York. The Regents took this action at their May meeting held today in Albany.

      Dr. King currently serves as Senior Deputy Commissioner for P-12 Education at the New York State Education Department where, for the past two years, he has led the effort to implement the Regents reform agenda and coordinated New York's successful Race to the Top application. Prior to joining the State Education Department in 2009, John was a nationally recognized education leader who founded and led urban public schools that have won acclaim for their success in closing the achievement gap and preparing students to succeed in college.

      "For the past two years John King has been at the forefront driving the implementation of every aspect of New York's reform agenda across this state. In that role he has won deep respect from teachers, school leaders, superintendents and policy makers for his results-oriented leadership and a style that has consistently brought together diverse groups of stakeholders to achieve consensus around critical reforms for our public schools. John has dedicated his career to closing the achievement gap and raising the level of achievement for all. He has a deep, passionate, personal commitment to public education and will be an outstanding Commissioner for all New Yorkers," said Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch.

      "In selecting John King the Regents are sustaining the pace and focus of the reforms intended for all our schools," said Vice Chancellor Milton Cofield, co-chair of the Boards Search Committee. "John has demonstrated the remarkable energy and insight that the Board wants in place to implement the Regents reform agenda," added Regent Anthony Bottar, who co-chaired the Search Committee.

      "John was my partner in every reform we have pursued over the past two years from realigning proficiency standards on our 3rd-8th grade assessments, to advancing new models for teacher preparation, evaluation and development, to rethinking how we turn around failing schools. He coordinated our Race to the Top application and has worked closely with me in the effort to make New York's standards and assessments more rigorous and more aligned to college and career readiness. He will be an excellent Commissioner who will make a tremendous difference in the lives of New York's 3.1 million school children," said Commissioner David M. Steiner.

      "My life story is about the power of schools to shape lives, even against great odds. Through my experiences as a teacher, as a school leader, and as Senior Deputy Commissioner, working with superintendents, principals, and teachers across this state, I know that all of our schools can be places that ensure our children succeed," said King, the son of New York City public school educators and a product of New York City public schools.

      "There has never been a more exciting time to be in public education in New York. While I know the fiscal environment and the pace of change are challenging, over the past two years I have been struck by the commitment of school leaders from every part of this state to push forward and implement bold reforms that will mean better schools for all of our kids. As we move toward implementing the core of the Regents reform agenda, I am committed to ensuring that the State Education Department will work in close partnership with districts and individual schools to capitalize on that commitment and fully implement meaningful, lasting change," said King.

      King will succeed David M. Steiner, who announced in April plans to return to his former position as Dean of the Hunter College School of Education. King will be the 14th Education Commissioner to serve the State since the position was created in 1904. He will be the first African-American and first Puerto Rican Commissioner of Education in New York State. His salary as Commissioner of Education and President of the University of the State of New York will be $212,500. King requested that the salary for the position be reduced by 15%, from the current $250,000, in recognition of the challenging fiscal environment facing New York State and the State Education Department. He will assume his new post on June 15, 2011. Until that time, David Steiner will continue to serve as Commissioner.

      As Commissioner of Education, Dr. King will serve as chief executive officer of the State Education Department and as President of the University of the State of New York (USNY). USNY is comprised of more than 7,000 public and independent elementary and secondary schools; 270 public, independent and proprietary colleges and universities; 7,000 libraries; 900 museums; 25 public broadcasting facilities; 3,000 historical repositories; 436 proprietary schools; 48 professions encompassing more than 761,000 licensees plus 240,000 certified educators; and services for children and adults with disabilities.

      Prior to his appointment as Senior Deputy Commissioner, King served as a Managing Director with Uncommon Schools, a non-profit charter management organization that operates some of the highest performing urban public schools in New York and New Jersey. Prior to joining Uncommon Schools, King was a Co-Founder and Co-Director for Curriculum and Instruction of Roxbury Preparatory Charter School. Under his leadership, Roxbury Prep's students attained the highest state exam scores of any urban middle school in Massachusetts, closed the racial achievement gap, and outperformed students from not only the Boston district schools but also the city's affluent suburbs. Prior to founding Roxbury Prep, King taught high school history in San Juan, Puerto Rico and Boston, Massachusetts.

      >
      King earned a B.A. in Government from Harvard University, an M.A. in the Teaching of Social Studies from Teachers College, Columbia University, a J.D. from Yale Law School, and an Ed.D. in Educational Administrative Practice from Teachers College, Columbia University. In addition, King has served on the board of New Leaders for New Schools, is a 2008 Aspen Institute-New Schools Entrepreneurial Leaders for Public Education Fellow, and was recently appointed by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to serve on the U.S. Department of Education's Equity and Excellence Commission. King grew up in Brooklyn and currently lives in Slingerlands with his wife and two children.

      What does your superintendent make in Monroe County?

      5/15/11
      The Democrat and Chronicle reports on top adminsistrator pay in the Suburban Districts in Monroe Coounty.
      Click this link to read the pdf of the article.
      Click this link to go to the article online.

      Buffalo Parent Group calls for 1 day School Boycott

      5/6/11
      Buffalo Parents are upset about School Performance. They recently held a meeting with the Superintendent, School Board, Mayor's office, and repesentatives of the governor. The 400 parents present then voted to hold two actions to try to get change in the Buffalo City School District. The first is to have a School Boycott on a school half day on Monday, May 16th. The second is to have a day of 100% School attendance on June 1st.
      Click this link to read about the boycott.

      Greece appoints new Superintendent

      4/30/10
      The Democrat and Chronicle reports that the Greece CSD has named a new Superintendent after two national searches. The D&C reports that "Barbara Deane-Williams, currently head of the Lyndonville Central School District in Orleans County, will take over Greece schools on July 1."
      Click this link to download a pdf file of the D&C article.

      Webster Schools raises taxes, dip into reserves, and still face cuts in staff for 2011-12

      3/9/10
      The Democrat and Chronicle reports that the Websters School District is raising taxes 1.9 percent, dipping into its reserve funds for the second year in a row, and is trying to negotiate with unions for concessions. If conceessions are not given, the District is looking to lay off up to 55 teachers.
      Click this link to download a pdf of the D&C article.

      Hilton Schools propose budget cuts and increased taxes for 2011-12

      3/9/10
      The Democrat and Chronicle reports that "The spending plan, reviewed by the Board of Education earlier this month, calls for $68.4 million in spending, a reduction of 0.3 percent over this year's $68.6 million budget. Due to a decline in revenues — mostly attributed to a expected drop of $1.2 million in state aid as called for by Gov. Andrew Cuomo — the plan calls for increasing the tax levy by about $1 million, or 3.08 percent."
      Click this link to read the D&C article.

      Pittsford Schools propose spending more in 2011-12

      3/9/10
      The Democrat and Chronicle reports that "The preliminary 2011-12 budget is $111.6 million, a 1.69 percent increase from the current budget. The school tax levy, the amount of money a school district raises on taxes, is $84.8 million, a 2 percent increase."
      Click this link to read the D&C article.

      Seperate but not equal - race in Monroe County Schools

      3/20/11
      A very good Democrat and Chronicle article by Tiffany Lakes on racial disparities in Schools and School Districts across Monroe County.
      Click on this link to download a pdf file of the Story.

      Budget Cuts Threaten Jobs in Canandaigua Schools

      3/11/11
      The Democrat and Chronicle reports that due to proposed budget cuts in Canandaigua the Canandaigua City School District might eliminate 40 positions to help close a $7.1 million budget gap.
      Click this link to download a pdf file of the article.

      Greece CSD proposes cutting teachers and programs

      3/10/10
      The Democrat and Chronicle reports that the Greece CSD proposes to cut a number of teaching positions and special programs as well as to raise the tax levy to budge the 2011 School budget. Significantly the District appears to be further eroding the recent special education class action lawsuit in that it is proposing cutting 5 special education teachers and 7 litercy coaches.
      Click this link to download a pdf file of the D&C article.

      NY State proposes to cut budget for Rochester School for the Deaf and others

      3/9/10
      The State is looking to cost shift the funding for Rochester School for the Deaf (RSD) and other Schools back to local School Districts. Currently when a student is placed at RSD or the School for the Blind, the State pays directly or the costs. The State is now proposing to reimburse Local Education Agencies (School Districts) for the cost of the program using a complicated funding formula.
      Click this link to download a pdf file of the D&C article covering this change.

      Brighton proposes cutting teachers and paraprofessionals and increasing tax levy

      3/9/10
      The Brighton CSD has proposed "eliminations that include the equivalent of 8.25 teaching positions". The District has also proposed an increase of 0.9 percent in the tax levy.
      Click this link to download a pdf file on the proposed cuts.

      Bernanke and Bill Gates both give speeches warning about cuts in Education

      3/4/11
      Both Ben Bernanke and Bill Gates both recently gave speeches on how State budget cuts are threatening Education. This should sound familiar.
      Click this link to read about the issue on the Planet Money blog.
      Click this link to read Ben Benanke's speech, which was suitably given in NY STate.

      NY State says most NY State High School graduates not ready for college

      2/21/11
      New York state has reported that over 50% of NY State High School graduates are not ready for college. In this data, only 5% of City of Rochester graduates are college ready. College readiness was considered to be getting a 75 on the English Regents and a 80 on the math Regents. Getting grades at this level the State commission indicated would get at least a C in a college-level course in the same subject.
      Click this link to read a NY Times Article on this subject.

      Churchville-Chili rejects Urban-Suburban Transfer Program

      2/2/11
      Staff report from the Democrat and Chronicle • February 2, 2011
      "The Churchville-Chili Central School District has decided not to implement an Urban-Suburban Transfer Program, which would have allowed minority city students to attend school in the district, spokeswoman Amanda Wood said Tuesday.
      After 11 presentations and the completion of a district-wide survey on the program, feedback was compiled and shared with the Board of Education last month. Wood said there were varied opinions on the proposal and responses led the district to conclude that participation in the program did not match the district's core beliefs.
      The board and superintendent have decided to instead increase dialogue on the topic and pursue other opportunities to expand diversity in the district."

      One third of Suspended Students in NYC are in Special Education

      1/31/11
      In NYC the rates of Suspensions has increased even as the number of students in NYC has decreased. Among the students suspended one third of these students is in Special Education.
      Click this link to read an article about the report.
      Click this link to download the pdf file of the report.

    2010

      Minimal requirements for classroom aides, substitutes at BOCES

      12/5/10
      A story in the Democrat and Chronicle reports on the fact that paraprofessionals working in BOCES's programs do not have to have a Regents's diploma.
      To read the story click on this link.

      New Federal Guidance for School on Bullying

      11/17/10
      The U.S. Department of Education has issued guidance to support educators in combating bullying (click on this link to see a fact sheet on bullying from the US Department of Education)in schools by clarifying when student bullying may violate federal education anti-discrimination laws. The guidance, which is in a Dear Colleague letter sent to schools, colleges and universities, explains educators' legal obligations to protect students from student-on-student racial and national origin harassment, sexual and gender-based harassment and disability harassment.
      In August of 2010 the Government also launched the Stop Bullying Now Campaign, a national database of effective anti-bullying programs.
      Click this link to read the guidance.

      Racial Disparities in Middle School Suspensions

      9/15/10
      In a story with similar findings to my dissertation, racial disparities were found among suspension patterns. This study specifically focused on middle school suspensions. One of the findings of the study, quoting from the NY Times was that "Among the students attending one of the 9,220 middle schools in the study sample, 28 percent of black boys and 18 percent of black girls, compared with 10 percent of white boys and 4 percent of white girls, were suspended in 2006". Disparities were also found among racial/ethnic groups.
      To read a NY Times article on the study click on this link.
      To read the study, “Suspended Education: Urban Middle Schools in Crisis,” from the Southern Poverty Law Center, click on this link.

      NY State changes Standards and more Students in need of AIS Services

      8/9/10
      NY State has reconfigured the passing rates for NYS Tests given to students in 3rd through 8th grades. This change has made it harder for students to achieve proficiency on NY State Tests. It also calls again into question why schools spend hundreds of hours preparing students to take one test.
      Click this link to read a NY Times article on the changes.

      Secretary of Education promises changes in Special Education

      8/9/10
      Secretary of Education Arne Duncan Candid About Special Education Shortcomings, Promises Change.
      Click this link to read the article.

      School District That Takes the Isolation Out of Autism

      8/9/10
      NY Times article on how the public schools in Madison, Wis., work to include children with Autism in classes and in the school community.
      Click this link to read the article.

      Three States have requested to cut their special education funding

      7/25/10
      Kansas, Iowa, and South Carolina have requested waivers from the Federal Government to cut the amount of money they give to School Ditricts to pay for special education services. Kansas and Iowa have already been granted these waivers.
      To read more about the story click on this link.
      You may also read the article at http://ideamoneywatch.com/main/.

      NY State to make it harder for students to pass NY State Testing

      7/21/10
      NY State has announced the it will make it harder for Students in grades 3 through 8 to pass the mandated NY State Testing. All Students in NY State are required to take sets of testing. The NY State Department of Education recently commissioned a study to compare the results from this testing with other National tests. The study found that while the number of students in NY State who achieved a 3 or higher on the NY State tests was rising that in reality NY State students were not doing better on the National Tests. As such the standards will be raised to make it harder for students to achieve a score of 3 or higher. This includes students who just took the tests this Spring.
      To read a New York Times article on this topic click on this link.

      An International Perspective on Special Education

      7/5/10
      Not every country views Learning Disabilities and provides services for individuals with Learning Disabilities. This article from Australia reports on Special Education practices in England. It also highlights the fact that LD is not a legally recognized medical condition in Australia, and that children in Australia have no right to any special education or related services.

      Parochial Schools begin to embrace Special Education

      7/5/10
      Children with educationally handicapping conditions have the right to Special Education Services if they are in a Public or Charter school. They have the same right if they attend a Private School, but it becomes much more complicated. Because many private schools do not have the resources to support children with special needs, they for years have not accepted these children. It is not uncommon to have a family with one child in a private school, and another in a Public School so he or she could receive their special education services.
      Some parochial and private schools, however are finding that offering some level of special education services is an important factors in retaining families and students in the midst of changing educational systems. Click on this link to read an article about how one private school in Norfolk Virginia has found a way to grow their student body by offering some special education services.

      NY City asks NY State to decrease special education regulations to save money

      6/12/10
      About 177,000 students are in the city's special education classes, NY City is asking NY State to cut regulations effecting the education of these students to save money. Advocates are worried the cuts will weaken special education programs. To read about the story click on this link.

      NYC Mayor pushes for Schools to take more responsibility for Children with Special Needs

      5/12/10
      Mayor Bloomberg, who is one of the models for Mayor Duffy's push for Mayoral control of Schools, is overhauling special education by asking every principal to take in more of the students and giving them greater flexibility in deciding how to teach them.

      Currently many students with disabilities are not taught in their home schools, but instead are sent to other district schools that have specific programs for special education. This has been the case in NYC for decades.
      To read more about this topic click on this link.

      Victor schools to investigate case of Student with Autism's arrest

      4/5/10
      An article in the Democrat and Chronicle by Bennett J. Loudon on April 15, 2010 reveals that Victor School District officials will be investigating the handling of an incident last week in which an autistic student was jailed after allegedly disobeying and hitting an Ontario County sheriff's deputy. The 19 year old student was charged April 7 with disorderly conduct after he allegedly became physically aggressive at school. The student is described as having been disruptive throughout the day and is charged with endangering himself and those around him. The student was sent to jail in lieu of $500 bail, but was released on April 8 by order of the Victor Town Court.
      The D&C reports that "In a letter to parents dated April 14, Victor schools Superintendent Dawn A. Santiago-Marullo said she has 'launched a full investigation of our disciplinary process to ensure that a situation such as the one we just experienced never happens again.'" This is unfortunately not a totally uncommon incident. With the increased presence of police officers in school there have been a number of cases of the crimilization of students.

      Greece School District Audit Details Waste

      2/9/10
      Audit of the Greece Central School District details released. The audit found a number of areas of improprieties. Parents in the Greece Central School District should read through the following articles as well. The first is the Review of Payroll and Personnel Records from the auditors. The second document is the Eldredge, Fox & Porretti audit of the Greece Central School District . While many parents were fighting to have their children receive appropriate special education services the district was as the audits so grossly mismanaging district resources.

      State Comptroller blasts BOCES 1

      1/13/10
      The State Comptroller has found serious problems in an audit of BOCES 1 (based in Perinton). Among the findings were that:
      The district rented a bus garage facility owned by the district's head mechanic where district employees also worked for the head mechanic's used car dealership.
      Board members did not disclose their connection to a private foundation when they acted to lease buildings from the nonprofit organization.
      Former Superintendent Gregory J. Vogt ignored complaints about wrongdoing and suppressed the findings of an investigation.
      The probe also found "the misappropriation of funds" and "improper interaction with students by various personnel," according to the state.
      The State Comptroller's report can be read by clicking on this link.
      More on the State Comptroller audit of BOCES 1 - For additional information on the State Audit of BOCES 1 read the story on 1/21/10 in the Democrat and Chronicle.

      State Comptroller audit faults Fairport CSD

      12/30/09
      The State Comptroller in an audit faults the Fairport Central School District for increasing the tax levy by 17 percent while accumulating $16.6 million in excess funds over five years. (The Comptroller's report is available as a pdf file). In a story in the Democrat and Chronicle on 12/29/09 the paper found that "According to the audit, Fairport schools circumvented state law that limits how much money districts may hold as unreserved fund balance by pouring surplus money into reserve funds (akin to targeted savings accounts) and by making it appear the district would spend some of the unreserved funds in the following year, even though the money didn't end up being spent." The Fairport School District response to the audit is available by following this link. To read more about the audit click this link. Additionally to read more about reserve fund issues read the story below.

      The Greece Central School District agrees to a one year extension of its special education consent decree

      11/5/09
      A class action law suit was filed against the Greece Central School District in 2005 by attorney Jonathan Feldman, of the Empire Justice Center. The plaintiffs in the case were eight families who alleged that the district was failing to provide a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) to their children with special needs. The School District settled the case in 2007 indicating a recognition of its obligation to provide FAPE. The settlement was originally a two year agreement. The district agreed as part of this settlement to the following:
        • To not have any Caps or Quotas regarding the number of students being classified or declassified
        • To not have any Caps or Quotas regarding placement or programs, including placement of student with handicapping conditions in out of district placements or programs
        • That the District would provide resource room services to any student who required this level of support
        • That the District would adopt and implement PBIS (Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports)
        • That the District would contract with an outside behavioral specialist to provide staff training and consultation services
        • That the District would hire additional behavioral specialists, autism specialists, and a transition specialist
        • That the District would agree to adopt a Person-Centered Planning Process in its Transition Model
        • That the District would remove all 8:1:1 classes from the BRIDGES Program located in the Greece Ridge Mall
        • The district agreed as part of the case to have an independent expert help monitor the compliance of the district.
      The district has recently agreed to a one year continuation of the consent decree. As part of this the District has agreed to focus on three particular areas. A summary of this agreement is posted on the district website.
      Click this link to see that summary.
      For background on this case click this link.
      To read the Wall Street Journal Article on the case form 12/14/07, click this link to read the article.

Quick Links

A primer on Rochester Charter Schools - 12/7/14
Click this link to search the D&C database for NY State teacher and administrator pensions
Find information on your School and District with new widget - 1/27/11

Data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress

The NAEP is the Nation's Report Card. It is given every other year to samples of students across the country. Just as in NY the Regents exam is a measure that allows comparisons of student achievement across the State. The NAEP does the same thing across the country. As such it exists as more of a gold standard to view how State's are doing in educating the State's children.

    The Widget above provides a quick and easy way to find information on your child's School and District. Zoom in on your School and click the icon. This will take you to the Great Schools webpage where you can pull up a variety of data on your chld's School including NYS Test Scores.

    © Copyright, all rights reserved Daniel J. DeMarle, Ph.D. 2014