WXXI AM News

RCSD

New reporting from Justin Murphy at the Democrat and Chronicle shows that more than three quarters of Rochester City School District teachers and principals live in the suburbs. Murphy writes that of the top 100 earners in the district, only 12 live in the city. People studying the effect of this issue say there's a cost: a financial one, with tax dollars leaving the city and widening economic disparities between the city and the suburbs; and there's an impact on community-building at schools.

This hour, Murphy joins us to discuss what he learned from his extensive analysis, and we hear from community leaders who share their perspectives. Our guests:

  • Justin Murphy, education reporter for the Democrat and Chronicle
  • Simeon Banister, vice president of community programs at the Rochester Area Community Foundation
  • Adam Urbanski, president of the Rochester Teachers Association

While some area school districts are pushing to increase the number of in-person school days before the end of the school year, that won’t be happening in the Rochester City School District.

That’s according to the weekly message posted Friday on the RCSD website by District Superintendent Lesli Myers-Small.

Research shows fewer high school seniors have applied to college during the pandemic, and the students who have been impacted the most are those from lower-income backgrounds. The data indicates that these students were more likely to be affected by financial challenges related to the pandemic, and also by direct health risks from the virus. Experts say the current disparity will contribute to education and wealth gaps in the long term.

What can be done? Our guests explain the challenges and share their ideas for how to support students. Our guests:

Nearly 2,900 students are returning to hybrid/in-person learning this week in the Rochester City School District.

It is Phase 3 of the district’s reopening plan.

This includes students in grades 7 to 12 enrolled at all secondary schools and students in grades 7 and 8 enrolled at all pre-K to 8th grade buildings in the district.

In January, students in specialized programs returned to the hybrid/in-person learning, and earlier this month, more than 4,100 students in grades pre-K to 6 returned to hybrid/in-person learning.

Some students in the Rochester City School District are back in the classroom, in-person, despite pushback from the Rochester Teachers Association.

Parents in favor of in-person learning join us to talk about why they feel it's essential for their young learners. We're also joined by RTA president Adam Urbanski and RCSD School Board member and parent Amy Maloy, who share why they support the RTA's position on learning remaining virtual until 70 percent of teachers are vaccinated.

Our guests:

  • Gipsy Escobar, RCSD parent who supports in-person learning at this stage
  • Leslie Knox, RCSD parent who supports in-person learning at this stage
  • Adam Urbanski, president of the Rochester Teachers Association
  • Amy Maloy, RCSD School Board member and parent

Students in the Rochester City School District no longer see police officers in their schools. As part of the approval of the city’s budget in June, all 12 school resource officers were removed from RCSD campuses. The call to remove police officers from schools is being made by districts across the country; those calls escalated following the killing of George Floyd. Advocates for removal say officers make students feel unsafe and they  can criminalize students – especially students of color. Those who support the presence of police in schools say well-trained officers can help students diffuse conflicts and address issues like drug and alcohol use.

Our guests this hour discuss the issue: 

We get an update from the Rochester City School District. Superintendent Lesli Myers-Small is asking the Finger Lakes Reopening Schools Safely Task Force to conduct an independent review of the RCSD's reopening plan. The request comes after a Rochester Teacher's Association survey indicated that the majority of RTA members want the district to remain in remote learning until 70 percent of teachers receive a vaccine.

The district has returned to in-person/hybrid learning under a three-phased plan. Superintendent Myers-Small joins us for the hour to discuss reopening and to answer our questions and yours. Our guest:

*Note: The district has shared the following information:

The superintendent of the Rochester City School District, Lesli Myers-Small, is asking for an independent review of the district's plan to reopen school buildings.

Myers-Small made the request Friday to Jo Anne Antonacci, Monroe BOCES superintendent and chair of the Finger Lakes Reopening Schools Safely Task Force.

Myers-Small's request is in connection with the upcoming plan to phase-in a return to the classroom for some city school students.

Rochester School Superintendent Lesli Myers-Small is releasing plans about a return to school for some students, and more remote learning for others. She said that grades 7 through 12 will stay with remote learning  for the rest of the school year.

Myers-Small notes that a survey of parents supported this type of model.

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:

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