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RCSD superintendent recommends various school closures, mergers

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Several schools in the Rochester City School District would close or merge under a plan outlined Tuesday night by Superintendent Lesli Myers-Small.

One of the main factors is a decline in enrollment throughout the district. Current enrollment is 23,865, which officials say is a decline of about 4,600 since the 2015-16 school year.

Myers-Small also notes that the district has 12 schools in receivership, and a number of other schools have been designated by the state as needing certain improvements. The superintendent says under this plan, students would continue to get high-quality instruction and would get the support they need, including expanding AP, dual credit, and various other specialized programs.

This is the plan outlined by Myers-Small Tuesday night as part of her proposal for the 2022-23 school year:

Elementary Schools:

Virgil I. Grissom School No. 7 would close. Current K - 6th grade students would participate in the school of choice process to select a new school for next year. The current School No. 7 building, located at 31 Bryan Street, would become the new home for RISE Community School No. 106 and serve Pre-K-5th grade students. 

RISE Community School No. 106 would relocate to current School No. 7 campus, which is located in the Northwest Zone and would serve Pre-K – 5th grade students. Out of zone and current 5th and 6th grade students would participate in the school of choice process to select a new school for next year.

Adlai E. Stevenson School No. 29 would relocate to Dr. Charles T. Lunsford School No. 19 at 465 Seward Street. That school would become a PreK – 5 building. Out of zone and current 5th and 6th grade students would participate in the school of choice process to select a new school for next year. The GEM program at School No. 29 would also be relocated.

Dr. Charles T. Lunsford School No.19 students would merge with students from School No. 29. Out of zone and current 5th - 8th grade students would participate in the school of choice process for next school year. The District will ask NYSED for a School Accountability Review upon the merger.

Flower City School No. 54 would close. Current students would participate in the school of choice process to select a new school for next year. 

Montessori Academy School No. 53 would be relocated to Flower City School No. 54 campus. That school would become a Pre-K - 5 building. Current 5th and 6th grade students would participate in the school of choice process to select a new school for next year. 

Nathaniel Hawthorne School No. 25 would relocate to Andrew J. Townson School No. 39 at 145 Midland Avenue. School becomes a PreK – 5 building. Out of zone students and current 5th and 6th grade students would participate in the school of choice process to select a new school for next year. The District will ask NYSED for a School Accountability Review upon the merger.

Andrew J. Townson School No. 39 would merge with students from Nathaneil Hawthorne School No. 25. Current students within the zone can attend school. Out of zone students and current 5th and 6th grade students would participate in the school of choice process to select a new school for next year. The District will ask NYSED for a School Accountability Review upon the merger.

Secondary Schools:

Leadership Academy for Young Men in Charlotte closes. Current 7th - 11th grade students would participate in the school of choice process to select a new school for next year. 

Northeast College High School relocates to Leadership Academy for Young Men in Charlotte with a social justice focus. Current 9th - 11th grade students at Northeast would have the option to move to the new campus in Charlotte or participate in the school of choice process to select a new school for next year.

Program at Rochester International Academy would relocate to Wilson Magnet High School at 501 Genesee Street. New comer students in 6th - 8th grade would move to a middle school model.

Dr. Alice Holloway Young School of Excellence transitions to a 6 – 8 building from a 7 – 8 building.

Northwest Junior High School transitions to a 6 – 8 building and remains at the Douglass Campus. The intention is to have 6th grade students from schools like No. 19, No. 25, RISE Community School No. 106, and Montessori Academy School No. 53 to transition to schools like Dr. Alice Holloway Young School of Excellence and Northwest Junior High School which will each pick up 6th grade students from those schools that would become PreK – 5 buildings. 

Officials say there will be several stakeholder engagement meetings between now and February of 2022 when the Board of Education votes on these proposed recommendations. 

These will include meetings with individual school communities:

Student Leadership Council (SLC): November 17

Parent Leadership Advisory Council (PLAC): November 17

Bilingual Education Council (BEC): December 14

Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SEPAC): December 13

And there will be a public hearing will be held on December 15

The school board on Tuesday night also approved a measure to have city police officers monitor the situation outside 11 high schools at arrival and dismissal time. That would go on for a 30-day period while the impact of having that service is evaluated.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.