The Education Committee of the SW Common Council

Wednesday, 10/28/2020

6:00-7:15 pm.

 Here are the meeting notes as a .pdf file:SWCC Education Committee Minutes 2020-10-28.pdf

Video of meeting posted at:


Joe Baldino School #29 Principal, 490-2245,

John Boutet SWCC Education Committee Chair, 328-4271,

Eleanor Coleman Rotary SW, CFC YouthBuild, 224-5119,

Joseph D. Fargnoli Community Volunteer/Advocate, 298-8582,

Chantal Lischer WFA Community School Site Coordinator, 463-4100,

Lee Loomis School #10 Volunteer Tutor Recruiter,

Deasure Matthew WFA Principal,

Update on Remote Learning

  • WFA - Data shows students are zooming in; all grade levels except 1st grade, are above 90% attendance. Attendance system has improved. Faculty and staff will focus on 1st grade home visits.

  • School #29 - Disabilities (multiple) brings different challenges. Half of parents want on-site learning. Much needed for all the modifications necessary.

  • Decision to be made by the end of this week or middle of next as to whether or not to continue online learning; Superintendent will make a final decision public about online learning. Students 6-12 were surveyed; overwhelmingly, want to get back. Parents & Staff more concerned with safety issues.

  • Concern about younger grades Pre-K - 1st grade and trying to get them prioritized for a hybrid model.

  • Older students seem to have adapted better to the online model; don’t see that population coming back to the building as soon as younger population.

  • Second semester: sports will hopefully pick up.

  • Kindergartener more likely to follow the rules (keep your mask on) vs middle school students (very impulsive, touching, doing the opposite, etc.)

School #10 - Loomis

  • Staying in touch with student mentors providing up-to-date educational info to them regularly

  • Kindergarten, 1st grade having lots of challenges with remote learning; not a lot of adult assistance available.

John Boutet gave updates on current information available via the Rochester Coalition for Public Education:

  • Peter McWalters (Superintendent in the 1980's). A bio for Peter can be found at: He has seen all aspects of the US education system and has seen how it disadvantages minority children.

  • Proposals that Linda Darling-Hammond and many other education reformers are advancing today could be a great benefit to our impoverished city schools. The COVID pandemic has disrupted our education system and forced us to face the inequalities and institutional racism in our system. As we rebuild the education system for the post pandemic era we have the unique opportunity to make changes to better serve our city students. You can watch the 10/23 video of Peter McWalters presentation at:

  • Conversations supported by Rochester Superintendent that suggested we move from “thinking outside of the box” to removing the box altogether and coming up with something new and better that works for everyone.

  • There is overall support for Community Schools & Neighborhood Schools and decreasing dependence on busing and disrupting neighborhood connections.

  • Down the road, can we rely more on Zoom meetings for Parent Groups/parent involvement if that is more reasonable for them?

  • Refer to the report attached to the invitation to this Education Committee’s meeting sent 10/27/20 - A New “New Deal” for Education: Top 10 Policy Moves for States in the COVID 2.0 Era.

    Top 10 policy moves proposed:

1. Close digital divide

2. Strengthen distance learning

3. Emphasize authentic learning and assessments

4. Insure supports for social and emotional learning

5. Redisign schools for stronger relationships

6. Support community schools

7. Expand learning time

8. Use formative assessments that support growth

9. Leverage more equitable school funding

10. Sustain early childhood education programs

The Budget Problems

  • We are in bad shape.

  • WFA - Budget cuts in August resulted in 2 layoffs, 1 retirement (which wouldn’t have happened if layoffs in the other area hadn’t occurred). This is in addition to significant cuts in the previous school year.

  • School #29 - only have one teacher per grade level; lost one Pre-K teacher; lost 8-10 teacher’s aides and support staff. New support hires are focused only on distance learning.

  • Will heating budgets be lower? Probably, as allocating heat is done by rooms. All controlled by Central Office.

  • WFA won’t be used in evening or on weekends; buildings pretty much closed at 5pm; saving on electricity, overtime, SSO’s.

  • What will State be doing in regards to the overall budget.

Start-up of CET meetings

  • WFA, School 19, School 16, School 10 and School 3 have all started meeting. John Boutet attends all 5 meetings.

Rochester Coalition for Public Education

  • Next meeting Friday, October 30th, from 4-5:30 pm, at which Idonia Owens will facilitate a discussion of the book, "Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome" by Joy DeGruy, as part of our work for racial equity & justice. There may be time to report on group member experiences with the "21 Day Challenge" for racial equity & justice.

  • Good for SWCC Education Committee and CET's to stay connected to Rochester Coalition for Public Education as they are strong on advocacy and identify current issues. High stakes testing vs mastering a subject. While suburban parents opting out of high stakes testing, many city parents concerned that absence of testing measures will result in unfair, objective evaluations of their children.

Walk in items

  • CFC YouthBuild - students winding up curriculum instruction and will be going onsite with Habitat for Humanity in one week. Next class will start 1/11/21. YB working with Home Leasing to provide career tracks in construction and property management.

Scribe Services: Eleanor Coleman, CFC YouthBuild & Rotary, 224 -5119,

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

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