19th Ward Schools Committee
7:00 pm, 6 September 2022
Present by Zoom: John Boutet, Douglas Giebel, Lee Loomis, Josie McCleary, Lynn Mordenga, Phyllis Moss, Sarah Yaworsky.
Opening Remarks: Dr. Phyllis Moss, chair of the committee, began the meeting by having the participants introduce themselves. Phyllis made an initial plea that our efforts to assist in the schools would be most productive if we can plug into existing successful programs, rather than creating duplicate competing programs.
Rochester Engineering Tutoring Program: Lee Loomis gave a brief history of the tutoring program. It has been operating for about ten years, with some interruption in the past 36 months because of the pandemic. It was initiated at School 10, the Dr. Walter Cooper Academy because Dr. Cooper was an engineer whose excellent work was recognized by an award given by the Rochester Engineering Society. Lee participated this past week in a Back to School Bash for School 10 organized by the principal, Dr. Eva Thomas. The tutoring program which he advertised at that event was welcomed by many parents participating in the event. Lee was optimistic that with Covid restrictions abated, his face to face tutoring program should have 24-30 engineers helping tutor students at School 10 by this November.
Homework Club: Phyllis mentioned that she is starting an after-school Homework Club with her son and several other committed students at its core to assist in the academic accomplishment of these students. She plans to provide a snack, help them with their homework, and play an educational game with them. She is eager to welcome any students who care to join in these activities, either in person (at her home presently), or by Zoom.
Spelling Bee: Douglas Giebel reported on the recent history of the Spelling Bee. For the past three years practices have been conducted by Zoom because of the pandemic. Fraternity brothers from the University of Rochester’s Sigma-Phi-Epsilon, who have traditionally sponsored the Bee on the university’s campus, have been instrumental in the success of the practices and the conduct of the Bee generally. Last year the actual Bee was held on campus once again, while the previous year it was held at School 10. This year, plans are being laid for an April, 2023 Bee held on the university campus, with Zoom and in-person practices held on Saturday mornings at the Arnett Library beginning in January, 2023. Dr. George Larkins, a retired Rochester Public School principal and now an RIT education faculty member, has come forward wanting to add 7th and 8th grades at the Joseph C. Wilson Foundation Academy to the spelling Bee, with potential funding from RIT-related sources.
Community Engagement Team Meetings: It was reported that Community School Site Coordinators Melody Bishop, School 19; Michelle White, School 10; and Mia Sinclair, School 16 are doing an effective job of using their monthly progress reports on the state receivership of their respective schools to keep the community informed on the schools’ educational progress at their regularly scheduled CET meetings. School 29 in not in receivership, but has a similarly active CET program.
Community Updates: John Boutet reported on his recent participation in community activities with the current concerns for the replacement of the Rochester Public School District Superintendent of Schools, the effective use of the school budget, and efforts towards an expanded busing program to include students within a half-mile of their local school. Phyllis and John agreed meet off-line to collaborate further on these efforts.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:00 pm with the next meeting set for 7:00pm on 4 October 2022.
Douglas Giebel, Secretary pro tem