Dear Rochester City School District Families,
I hope you had a wonderful holiday season and that your children returned to school rested and recharged for the new year.
January is a busy month. Students will take different assessments depending on their grade level and programming. Students in grades K – 8 will take an i-Ready diagnostic assessment while eligible high school students will take one or more NYS January Regents Exams. In addition, the administration of LAS Links for English Language Learners will begin in late January and run through mid-February. Your child’s Principal can provide additional information on these assessments and how they are used to help us understand more about their learning. Schools are also communicating directly with the high school students taking a Regents exam.
Later this month on Saturday, January 28, the Office of Parent Engagement (OPE) is hosting a kick-off event for Parent University at East High School. I encourage you to attend and learn more about Parent University and preview OPE’s 2023 calendar of events. Additional information, including the link to register, is posted in this newsletter. It is sure to be a fun day for all, with a community resource fair, raffles, music, and food. I hope to see many of you there!
Dr. Carmine Peluso
Superintendent of Schools
RCSD’s School of Choice process is now open! Students who need to choose a new school for 7th and 9th grades, and students entering Kindergarten should visit www.rcsdk12.org/schoolchoice to explore school options and learn more about the lottery. This year, the process can be done completely online. The deadline to participate in the School of Choice lottery is Friday, February 17, 2023.
School Closings for Inclement Weather
In the event of a school closure or delayed opening due to inclement weather or other emergency condition, the District notifies all families via robocall and email. Announcements are also shared with local television and radio stations and posted on the District’s website and social media pages.
The RCSD now uses text messaging to communicate with families. Custodial caregivers of students who have a mobile number on file with us are asked to opt in to this feature. If you do not have a mobile number on file, please contact your child’s school to update your contact information. For more information about SMS texting or how to opt in or out of receiving messages, please visit www.rcsdk12.org/text.
You Are Invited!
The Office of Parent Engagement (OPE) invites you to the Parent University Kick-Off on Saturday, January 28, from 11:00 am – 2:00 pm, at East High School. Parent University is a series of free, informative programs and events meant to educate and empower parents within the RCSD and the Rochester community.
Join us for a fun-filled day, where you can learn more about Parent University and OPE’s calendar of events for 2023. Enjoy a community resource fair, raffles, student activities, music, food, and a highly engaging workshop by Michael Herring, the President of Personal Safety and Educational Development.
Free RTS bus passes are available for participating families who register by Friday, January 20. For more information, including the link to register, visit www.rcsdk12.org/OPEevent today!
Staying Safe Online: Sextortion
We want to share important information about a disturbing crime called sextortion that is targeting children. Sextortion is a form of online blackmail that happens when an adult convinces a person younger than 18 to share explicit and/or sexual images. With phones, tablets, and other electronic devices possibly being gifted over the holidays, we want to provide information on how to protect children from this crime and monitor their social media activity.
Young people are being targeted on social media and gaming platforms by offenders who appear to be their age using fake pictures and profiles. Blackmail happens when the offenders threaten to share these images with the victim’s friends, parents, or school if their demands are not met. They often demand money in electronic or other forms, or they demand more sexual imagery.
Here are some tips to share with your children about staying safe.
- Be suspicious if someone you meet on a game or app asks you to start communicating with them on a different platform.
- Never send compromising images of yourself to anyone, no matter who they are, or say they are.
- Do not open attachments from people you do not actually know.
If this should happen to a child you know, do not delete any of the communications, immediately contact the police department, and report it to CyberTipline.org. The key to fighting this crime is by educating children. They are not alone and help is available.
Below are additional resources from the FBI and National Center for Missing & Exploited Children:
RCSD Parent Group Meetings
Parent Leadership Advisory Council (PLAC)
Are you the parent or caregiver of an RCSD student? Then you can be a member of PLAC – join today here! We hope to see you at the following upcoming events:
- Wednesday, January 18 is the next RCSD Budget Parent University Winter Wonderland Family Celebration at the Freddie Thomas Campus on Scio Street. Pop in anytime between 5:30 and 7:00 pm to receive more information and connect with community partners. It is sure to be fun for the whole family! Get the latest news on the event here!
- Wednesday, February 15 is the next General Membership meeting. Register here!
Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SEPAC)
SEPAC is a group of parents with special needs students in the RCSD. Together, this group works to provide a supportive environment for students, families, and educators who help each student achieve their potential. SEPAC's monthly meetings provide an opportunity for parents to meet other parents, RCSD staff, and community partners. Monthly meetings typically include a short workshop on the Special Education process. All parents or caregivers of students with an IEP or 504 plan are welcome! Additionally, if you would like to be more involved, you can apply to be a SEPAC Parent Representative. For additional information or to be added to their monthly meetings, please email RCSDsepac@gmail.com.
The next general membership meeting is Monday, January 23, at 6:00 pm. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for the Zoom link and meeting information.
Bilingual Education Council (BEC)
BEC advises the Superintendent on matters related to bilingual education, including curriculum, instructional materials, and cultural issues. BEC is made up of parents, community organizations, students, teachers, and administrators of the RCSD, who have demonstrated their concern for the development of bilingual education. For more information on joining BEC, please email email@example.com.
The next meeting is Tuesday, January 3, at 5:00 pm, at the Trenton and Pamela Jackson R-Center, 485 North Clinton Avenue, 14605.
Multilingual Parent Advisory Council (MPAC)
MPAC is a vehicle for parents of scholars who are learning English as a new language. The purpose is to collaborate in the areas of problem-solving, program enhancement, communicating with parents, and recognition of student achievement. The purpose of MPAC is to encourage and support parental involvement and participation in English Language Learners’ programming and academic achievement.
The next meeting is Monday, January 23, at 3:30 pm, at the Office of Adult and Career Education Services (OACES), 30 Hart Street, 14605.
What's on the Menu?
Athletic event schedules for RCSD high schools can be found on the Rochester City Athletic Conference webpage.
Student spectators from the home and away teams must show a valid school ID to attend RCSD-hosted games. Students from any other school must be accompanied by an adult who is at least 25 years old with a valid ID.
Tips for Staying Healthy
With the increase in respiratory illnesses, including influenza, RSV, and COVID-19, here are some simple precautions you can take to help keep your family healthy this winter:
- Stay up to date on vaccines, including flu and COVID-19.
- Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
- Cough and sneeze into your elbow and not into your hands.
- Stay home when you are sick and experiencing symptoms.
- Consider wearing a well-fitting, high-quality mask when in public indoor spaces. Each school has a supply of masks for anyone who chooses to wear one.