Rochester Teachers Association

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

James Brown / WXXI News

The Rochester Teachers Association has strengthened its stance against students returning to the classrooms in the Rochester City School District. 

Superintendent Lesli Myers-Small plans to bring thousands of students back to buildings in February. A few hundred students with special needs returned to school buildings in early January. 

James Brown / WXXI News

Rochester Teachers Association leader Adam Urbanski is urging the district to pause in-person instruction as part of a hybrid learning plan until teachers are given a “coherent” plan how to do it. 

“Because they’re being asked to perform tasks that are simply not doable,” said Urbanski.

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:

Emily Hunt for WXXI News

An overwhelming majority of teachers in the Rochester City School District say they want to continue with all-remote learning through the end of January.

Of the union members who responded to a recent survey, 81% have concerns about returning to in-person classes as the COVID-19 pandemic merges with flu season.

Rochester Teachers Association President Adam Urbanski said he knows remote teaching and learning is difficult for students, teachers, and their families, but the inconveniences pale compared to the alternative.


Three busloads of people headed from Rochester to Albany on Tuesday to demand an increase in education funding.

Rochester City School student Maya Adams led a chant,“Whose money! Our Money! Our Schools! Our Schools!” from the well of the state Capitol. She’s part of a group including students, teachers, and Rochester residents hoping to prevent further layoffs in the district. The district laid off about 100 teachers mid-year because of an estimated $65 million budget shortfall.

We continue our series of conversations about the proposed cuts in the Rochester City School District. Last week, former RCSD teacher and current doctoral candidate at the Warner School of Education, Robert Hoggard, told the Connections audience that he thinks it’s time for new leadership in the Rochester Teacher’s Association.

Adam Urbanski was elected president of the RTA in 1981 and has held the position since. Hoggard says Urbanski “has been wielding too much power in the school district and hiding behind organized labor.”

Urbanski joins us in studio today to share his perspective on the proposed cuts and to address the criticism from Hoggard. In studio:

  • Adam Urbanski, president of the Rochester Teacher’s Association

The Rochester City School District is moving toward adopting a new code of conduct, but plans are mired in controversy. The code is designed to lead to fewer suspensions, less of a police presence in school buildings, and more focus on restorative practices and structural racism.

Rochester Teachers Association President Adam Urbanski says the new code will fail without more funding and more staff support. Members of the Community Task Force who co-wrote the report with Urbanski disagree. Our guests discuss the code and the concerns. In studio:

  • Adam Urbanski, president of the Rochester Teachers Association
  • Mary Adams, member of the Community Task Force and the Rochester City School Board
  • Kit Miller, director of the Gandhi Institute

RTA President Speaks Out on Teacher Evaluation Ratings

Oct 23, 2013
City Newspaper

The leader of the local teachers union is speaking out on recently released teacher evaluation ratings.

According to the State Education Department, more than 90% of public school teachers outside of New York City received high scores. They were ranked either “highly effective” or “effective.”

While the ratings may seem favorable, Rochester Teachers Association President, Adam Urbanski, said they don’t tell the whole story.