19th Ward Schools Committee
7:00 pm, March 1, 2022
Present by Zoom: Joe Baldino, John Boutet, Douglas Giebel, Lee Loomis, Phyllis Moss, Jay and Dan Ross, Eva Thomas, Jason Wertz, Sarah Yaworsky.
Dr. Phyllis Moss, chair of the committee, began the meeting by having the participants introduce themselves.
Tutoring: Lee Loomis reported a productive meeting with Phyllis Moss, Michele White, and Dr. Eva Thomas on proposed training for tutors to use zoom for tutoring. Dr. Thomas reported that the teachers since that meeting have indicated they are unable at the present time to be engaged in working with tutors, and asked to defer it until later. The meeting plans may still be beneficial for future use. Dr. Thomas indicated having tutors read books with students might be an effective way of presently helping achieve literacy standards, without adding work load to the teachers. She offered to provide a list of books that has been compiled to affirm goals the school is aiming to achieve.
Spelling Bee: Douglas Giebel reported that there has been some limited participation in the Saturday zoom practices so far. Zoom spelling bee practices are currently planned for Saturdays at 1:00 pm, with the prospect of adding more when the demand calls for it. A poster with a QR code to help the students access the practice is being circulated to the teachers and principals of the schools involved. Dr. Thomas suggested in-person practices at the schools after the teaching day has concluded may be an effective way of getting more students involved. The University of Rochester is willing to host the spelling bee as they have traditionally done, with a date of either Saturday April 2 or 9 being proposed.The Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity is planing to organize recreational activities and lunch for the students on campus and then conducting the bee in the afternoon.
School 10 Report: Dr. Thomas, principal of School 10, reported on the success of the school’s celebration of Black History Month through music, art and culinary experiences. She indicated that everyone is working hard on preparing for state tests. School 10 has a year and a half to get out of receivership. I-Ready is a tool being used for preparation and tracking of learning progress. Dr. Thomas indicated there are many mental health needs apparent particularly in the younger students, with weak language skills and poor emotional controls.
School 29 Report: Joe Baldino reported on School 29. He reported that they are gearing up for the state exams as well. There are many socialization issues with some of the students, with frequent displays of rage. These challenges demonstrate the continuing need for the programs School 29 has to offer. The decision on school closings has been put off until October 2022, but some closings will be necessary. He indicated that Vice President LeBron on the Rochester City School Board and others are compassionate about providing for the students with special physical needs. Dan Ross’ position paper on keeping School 29’s program intact has been received by the appropriate school officials, but may need to be recirculated when the issue comes up for decision again.
19WCA Newsletter: Phyllis reiterated our interest in submitting brief articles to the 19WCA Newsletter, with a goal of having something published each month. Information regarding the 19th Ward Spelling Bee was encouraged for the March issue to help build interest and participation in that event scheduled for early in April.
Local Busing: John Boutet reported that two bills have been introduced in the state legislature to provide busing of students who live within 1/2 mile of their schools. The objective is to support community-based schools by reducing the distance students must live to qualify for busing. John highlighted past efforts at local busing, including one that Ralph Spezio, former principal of School 17, was able to get privately funded for his school. It became a state model for a community's involvement with their public school. John also mentioned the efforts of Daisy Algarin, the Director of the City’s Neighborhood Service Centers, to get every department of the city and the City School District to work together to bring stability to our city schools.
Our next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, April 5 at 7:00 pm.
The meeting adjourned at 8:14 p.m.