The Education Committee of the SW Common Council

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

6:30 to 8:00 pm at

Arnett Branch Library, 310 Arnett Boulevard

The video of this meeting can be viewed at:


John Boutet                 SWCC Education Committee Chair, 328-4271,

John Laing                   19WCA Schools Comm & Sch #16 Vol, 235-5236,

Moniek Silas-Lee         Principal, School 19, (585) 328-7454,

Alicia Ward                   Baden Street ATTAIN Lab, 325-4920 x1127,

Snow storm significantly impacted attendance, but DID NOT cancel the SWCC Education Committee meeting.


  • Receivership Issues

  • New Code of Conduct Progress

  • Short Distance Busing Initiative

School #10, Camaron Clyburn, Principal

John B. & John L. compared notes on CET meetings attended. Both attended #16. John B. attended CET at 19 and Wilson Foundation. John L attended the Receivership Hearing at #10 and met Dr. Walter Cooper. Camaron Clyburn, Principal, sent John B. an update on School #10:

We are scheduling another CET meeting to discuss our recommendations from the Public Hearing to create our Receivership Plan. This is where we are currently.” Note went on to say: “We also have some updates on our renovations. On Friday, March 1st, LeChase Construction will be notifying neighbors of the renovation process. They will also let them know that they will be housed at DWCA for the construction period. Beginning Monday, March 4th, work will begin internally in the building. They will begin removing soil, etc. to prepare for the back half of the building’s tear down around Easter.”

School #19, Moniek Silas-Lee, Proud Principal

Methodical deadlines being established for CET; deadlines are reasonable. Three primary categories: Social/Emotional, Instructional, Community Engagement. Next CET meeting for School #19 – Wed, 4/6, 5:30pm.

John B. and John L. noted that they miss the Coffee & Conversations the Superintendent used to hold. Very low attendance but was an opportunity to speak with school officials. School #19 offers this to parents once a week.

District is very supportive of Restorative Practice being offered at the school. Significant decrease in disciplinary incidents having adopted this model. Many very positive students leave at 6th grade because of Strings for Success violin program at SOTA. Trying to expand the School #19 program so that perhaps students would stay. Bottom line is they support the student in the direction they are going.

Four core teachers who teach 7th and 8th grade.

Busing Petition: Moniek estimates that ¼ or more students walk to school. She will try to get the busing petition link out to parents as soon as possible. Busing petition asks NY State for reimbursement for short distances; A bill would need to be passed in both the Assembly and Senate. Moniek agrees that parents do have hesitation letting students walk to school, even at short distances, based on safety issues. When Ralph Spezio was principal at School #17 in the 1990's he was able to eliminate busing when that was something principals could do. School attendance, parent involvement and performance went up.  Now at School 17 current principal Caterina Leone-Mannino does not have the option to stop the busing.  In 2017 only 22% of students were from the neighborhood.  Caterina was able to get the District to provide local busing at the District's expense and now the neighborhood enrollment is up to 77%.  Parent involvement is also way up.

John B. has studies that show that when local busing is instituted and 25% of kids from the neighborhood take you up on it, it breaks even because you are cutting down the overall number of buses necessary.  Please sign the online short distance busing petition at

Would it increase attendance? Thought is that it would. If a child who is locally bused misses the bus they could walk to school. If they are bused 2 miles and miss the bus, they can't just walk and probably miss a day.  School #17 does have high attendance. Does this policy reduce healthy exercise options OR address neighborhood safety issues. Walking School Bus, used in the past at School #19, had parents walk with students to school, which address both health and safety issues. Schools which surveyed their students now for walking school-buses find there is not a high enough concentration of students attending from the neighborhood to make a Walking School Bus practicle. Alicia suggested having the Walking School Bus adult be paid, knocking on doors, and then being able to find out why a child isn’t coming to school. Would eliminate truancy; monitor when children get home. Could also promote biking.

Moniek would need to engage her parents for their input around this. She can see the benefits; but how would it look systematically. Maybe look at one school at a time or one zone at a time.

Currently District is using "Back-filling" to provide some busing to neighborhood students. The district sets up all the 1.5 mi. bus routes to a school then if there is spaces left on the bus they offer them to local students starting with K first.  District needs to wait until after the first week to offer local rides.  For K and early grades it is crucial to have students attend right from the beginning of class and parents need to know busing will be available before school starts.

New Code of Conduct: When suspension is down; courses failed goes down. Moniek noted that her students are self-correcting their behavior.    

Children's Agenda "New Code of Conduct" report at School 17 > Read the Good News here! or watch the February 24th Press Conference video: 2019-02-14 - Breaking the School to Prison Pipline at Every school should implement this fully.

Spelling Bee: Five or six participants recruited. 19thWCA working with 5 schools to provide candidates for the Annual Spelling Bee. Winners go on to the UR to put on a spelling bee there. Grades 3-6. UR Fraternity does a very good job working with the students.

Candlelight Dinners: 19WCA organizes February dinners; families open up their house to host a dinner, host cooks the main coarse while guests bring dessert, salad, etc. Good way to meet people in the neighborhood. It’s been a long time since teachers live in and know the neighborhood. They are generally not connected to the community. Teachers were encouraged to participate in candlelight dinners this year from School #16 and #44 to become more familiar; none attended this year.   We'll need to recruit more hosts next year and we will try again to involve teachers again. Procedure: Sign up at 19WCA office to be a Host or a Guest; if a Host, decide how many people you can accommodate; call Guests to let them know what to bring (Host provides the main course, Guests bring something to go with it). Moniek inquired as to “who” does the hosting – usually middle class.

Westside Farmers Market

Another networking opportunity. Operates June – October, 4-7pm on Tuesdays.  Alicia recommended inviting churches to the event to get more neighborhood folks in.  Alicia noted that there are many educators who live in the neighborhood and attend churches. She will get John B. that information.

Scribe Services: Eleanor Coleman, YouthBuild & OACES/NEDP, 224 -5119,


SWCC Education Committee Chair: John Boutet, 328-4271,

19thWCA Schools Committee Chair: John Laing, 235-5236,

Views: 75

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