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Last May, after George Floyd was killed in police custody and nationwide protests for social justice began, East High School Superintendent Shaun Nelms challenged his colleagues across Monroe County to teach students about Rochester's history of segregation and disparity.

"I would also say that the death of Daniel Prude in Rochester was also a reminder that this work is critically important," Nelms added, referring to the man who died last March after Rochester police restrained him. 

Parents whose children attend the Rochester City School District have until Friday to let the district know whether they want to stick with remote learning or shift to a hybrid model on Jan. 4.

The district extended the deadline for families to respond to a survey detailing their preferences.

As of Thursday morning, 85% of the parents with elementary students in the district and 69% of those with secondary students had responded.

How is remote learning going for local students and teachers? This hour, we hear from parents and a teacher about how their children and students are adapting to the virtual learning environment this fall. What's working? What are the challenges? What can be done to help keep students engaged and socialized over these virtual platforms?

Our guests address these questions are more:

  • Christina Knauf, parent of a pre-K student at CP Rochester, and ELA teacher-leader at East Lower School in the RCSD
  • Kearstin Brown, parent of two RCSD elementary scholars, and host for WXXI's Classical 91.5
  • Scott Fitzgerald, parent of three students in the Fairport Central School District

ROC the Future has released its annual "State of Our Children" report card. It tracks key measures of wellbeing of children and youth in the Rochester area.

Our guests discuss what the data shows when it comes to education, health, and more, and their action items going forward. Our guests:

We talk with Rochester City School District Superintendent Lesli Myers-Small and Rochester Teachers Association President Adam Urbanski about the latest news from the district.

Myers-Small announced Thursday that RCSD students with disabilities who are in specialized programs will have the option of returning to the classroom in-person four days a week, beginning in January.

We discuss the plan, the surveys the district and the RTA sent to teachers, students, and families to help make the decision, and what they expect in the months ahead. Our guests:


The Clyde-Savannah school district in Wayne County is moving back temporarily to virtual learning, after starting out the year with a hybrid model.

A letter from the district’s superintendent, Michael Hayden, on the Clyde-Savannah website notes that as a precaution, a quarantine will need to be put in place for non-instructional staff members from the transportation department.

Experts in child health and education say the pandemic will have lasting effects on children's social and emotional needs and their overall wellbeing. Effective in April 2021, the Children's Institute will be ROC the Future's new anchor entity. Representatives from the two organizations say the partnership will enable them to better focus their work on the intersectionality of health and education. 

We talk with them about how parents and teachers can help children navigate this unprecedented time. Our guests:

The state’s largest teachers union filed a lawsuit on Wednesday against Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state Division of Budget over more than $5 billion in state spending that’s expected to be withheld from school districts as the state grapples with an unprecedented budget crisis.

New York State United Teachers claimed in the lawsuit that a law approved earlier this year that would allow those cuts is unconstitutional and shouldn’t be enforced.

A diverse collection of school administrators, parents, teachers and students all weighed in Tuesday night on plans to reopen school during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The occasion was a WXXI Live Forum about reopening school, on WXXI-TV, radio and online.

It would be an understatement to say this won’t be a normal school year by any measure. But whether it’s city or suburban districts in Monroe County, participants in the forum Tuesday night sound cautiously optimistic they’ll be able to provide education and support to students and their families.

We look at some hard facts about our city and our community. "Hard Facts" is the name of a 2017 report on inequality, and this week, there's an update. The 2020 Hard Facts report does not offer a much brighter picture. Our community continues to see massive disparities when it comes to educational and economic opportunities. Those disparities tend to fall along racial lines.

The authors of the report join us to discuss the roots of these inequities, the data itself, and what can we do to create systemic change. Our guests:

  • Ed Doherty, principal author and researcher of the Hard Facts Update
  • Simeon Banister, vice president of community programs at the Rochester Community Foundation
  • Ann Johnson, executive director of ACT Rochester