Dear Rochester City School District Families,
It is starting to feel like spring in Rochester, and that brings more outdoor activities to enjoy with family and friends. While school is almost over, there is still much learning ahead of us, and I encourage all our students to remain focused and end the school year strong.
With the New York State 3 – 8 English Language Arts assessment behind us, I want to thank you for all you do to support your children at home. May is another busy assessment month beginning with students in grades 3 – 8 who will take the NYS exams in mathematics next week and the science 8 performance assessment later in the month. Students in grades K – 8 will take their final i-Ready diagnostic assessment while some high school students will take Advanced Placement exams, and all students classified as English Language Learners will take the NYS English as a Second Language Achievement Test.
I also want to provide you with information about the investments in school safety we are making. I am most concerned that crime and violence have worked their way onto our campuses. I take the safety and well-being of our students and staff very seriously. Since becoming superintendent, I have been working closely with the Mayor, the Rochester Police Department, and my administration to develop strategies that protect students and staff. Earlier this month, this team met to continue our conversations about addressing safety and security in and around our schools. Sadly, the challenges continue, and we are dealing with new situations daily. To address these issues, we have taken some additional steps to help keep everyone on our campuses safe.
- Since January, Rochester police have been present outside several of our schools during arrival and dismissal times, and they are engaging in more strategic patrolling of parking lots based on reported incidents. They are also supporting neighboring schools throughout the day. These patrols will remain in place throughout the end of the school year.
- Police captains and school principals have begun to meet regularly to strengthen their relationship and connection. They share information about the events and issues happening in schools and the community and address situations that may arise in a proactive manner.
- We are continuing to upgrade radios, communication equipment, bag-scanning, X-Ray machines, and metal detectors, including hand wands, and increasing the number of doors requiring badge ID for entry.
- Yesterday evening, the Board passed a resolution that allocates $7 million from the District’s Fund Balance for continued safety and security measures at various facilities.
We are also in the midst of the budget season, with final deliberations taking place on Wednesday, May 3. The special Board of Education meeting to adopt the 2023–2024 budget is Tuesday, May 9, followed by City Council’s vote on Tuesday, June 20. Please visit www.RCSDK12.org/budget for up-to-date information, including key budget dates, presentations, and past budgets.
Dr. Carmine Peluso
Superintendent of Schools
Important Dates in May
- No school for students on Monday, May 1, and Tuesday, May 16, as these are Superintendent’s Conference Days.
- The last half-day for students is Monday, May 15 (check dismissal times here)
- All facilities are closed for Memorial Day on Monday, May 29.
We are seeking your continued feedback! Please take a moment to complete a survey about school climate that is running from Monday, May 15 through Friday, June 9. Results from this survey will help provide the District with a basis for understanding and improving the educational climate in our schools. This survey is completely anonymous and can be accessed from anywhere after May 15 at www.rcsdk12.org/climatesurvey. Students in grades 5 through 12 will be taking a similar survey on May 15 in school. Thank you!
Free Academic Support 24/7!
We are excited to announce the District’s partnership with Paper to provide free, 24/7 access to one-on-one tutoring and writing support for all students in grades 6 – 12.
Paper is the leading provider of unlimited, on-demand tutoring and academic support, including:
- 1:1 live-chat tutoring sessions with subject-matter experts in over 200 subjects
- Expert review of any written work (essays, creative writing, poetry, lab reports, etc.)
- Hundreds of resources and activities to help you best support your children at home
- Interactive shows and activities to expand learning beyond the classroom
Reading Support at Home
We are also partnering with Amira Learning, an online digital reading tutor that can read with your child in English and Spanish. Students in grades K – 5 are given reading practice for use at home or in after-school programs. Amira is available to students by logging on to ROConnect using a computer or tablet. Amira helps facilitate meaningful data that teachers can share with parents. We hope you will take advantage of this valuable resource to support your children’s reading! Families can learn more at www.rcsdk12.org/amira.
Get Ready for RCSD Summer of Discovery
Parents and caregivers of RCSD students currently in grades K – 7 can register now for summer offerings beginning in July! Through Summer of Discovery learning experiences, students will develop key competencies, mindsets, and conceptual understandings essential for success in school. To learn about our summer learning programs, visit www.rcsdk12.org/summer.
In order to register, you will need to provide your contact information and your student’s name, date of birth, and ID number (9-digit ID beginning with 890). Once you select your child’s current grade level in the registration form, all available summer offerings will be displayed.
If you have questions or need assistance with registration, please email us at email@example.com.
Free, High-Quality Books for Our Youngest Learners
The District has partnered with the local chapter of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library to provide RCSD families with a free monthly book subscription for children from birth to age 5. Each month, the Imagination Library mails an age-appropriate book to the homes of all registered children, at no cost to the child’s family. The books feature a diverse cast of characters, settings, and authors.
This initiative will help increase the literacy and kindergarten readiness of our youngest learners by providing families with a new, high-quality book each month. For more information on the Imagination Library, including registration, please visit www.rochesterimaginationlibrary.org/sign-up.
Get College Ready
If you need help preparing your child for college and beyond, then look no further – visit www.rcsdk12.org/collegeready today! This website is a one-stop shop designed to help support students with the whole college process, with information on community events, college applications, scholarships, and more. Check back regularly, as this information is continually updated.
Consider applying to a Historically Black College and University (HBCU)! They consistently outperform non-HBCUs in student experience, affordability, and after-college preparedness for Black students. Many HBCUs use the Common Black College Application, which allows students to apply to many schools using a single application – it saves time and reduces the need to fill out multiple forms!
Also, if you haven’t checked out Naviance with your child, ask them about it! There are many great college and career-readiness activities to help prepare students in grades 7 -12 for the next step in their educational journey. As always, students should reach out to their school counselor for assistance. For a complete list of school counselors by school, click here.
Scholarships to Help Pay for College
There are many scholarships available to help students and families pay for college, and now is the time to apply! Visit www.rcsdk12.org/collegeready for a list of scholarship opportunities, resources, and how-to videos to help with the application process. As always, students can also connect with their school counselors for assistance.
Life After High School
There are many ways in which students can start planning life after high school. Students have access to BigFuture through their College Board accounts. BigFuture has career quizzes, a career exploration section, and steps to help you plan for college and careers. Completing each step as a junior and senior will place students in a drawing to win between $250 - $40,000! Visit Home – BigFuture | College Board
National Decision Day!
Help us celebrate our seniors next week, as May 1 is National Decision Day in the United States. National Decision Day is when students announce their post-secondary plans, which may include college, vocational training, and the workforce. The Class of 2023 has been preparing for this since their junior school year. Please connect with your school counselor if any support is needed with post-secondary planning. Check out the District’s social media pages to see what our seniors will be up to after they graduate!
Become a Lifeguard
Get the training you need at upcoming classes, available for youth ages 15 and older. All classes are held at the Trenton and Pamela Jackson R-Center, 485 North Clinton Avenue.
The classes are free for city residents, $75 for non-city residents, and $125 for adults, though fees can be waived if you pass pre-employment and accept a summer lifeguard job with the City of Rochester. You can see available summer aquatics positions available online here. For more information, including how to register, visit www.cityofRochester.gov/lifeguard.
Credit Earning Opportunity
If you have a student in grades 9 – 12 who is looking for the opportunity to earn an additional elective credit, take a Dual Credit course in preparation for college, or schedule time to complete an Online Credit Recovery (OCR) class, then sign them up for Innovation Academy!
Innovation Academy is a virtual learning program that allows students to complete an Initial, OCR, or Dual Credit course outside of the traditional school day. The program has the flexibility of asynchronous learning while you complete your work at a guided pace with the support of certified RCSD content teachers. Classes are scheduled on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays in an assigned Zoom meeting room. To learn more about the courses being offered this school year, including registration, please connect with your school counselor. If you have any questions not related to registration, reach out to our Innovation Academy Program Director, Katherine Orem, at Katherine.Orem@rcsdk12.org.
RCSD Parent University Sessions in May
Parent University is proud to offer many courses throughout the month of May, including a focus on mental health awareness every Tuesday as part of our Lunch and Learn series. There is also another opportunity for the whole crew to participate in family-centered exploration and play during our Family Academy Saturday on May 20!
Parent University is a series of free programs and events meant to educate and empower parents within our District and the Rochester community. RTS bus passes, childcare, and interpretation services are available for participating families for any session with advanced notice via phone (324-9999) or online registration.
Visit www.rcsdk12.org/parentuniversity today to learn more about each session and enroll in one or more events happening now through June.
Our Mental Health Awareness Lunch and Learn Workshops kicks off on Tuesday, May 2, beginning at 11:00 am, at the Thomas Ryan R-Center, 530 Webster Avenue.
RCSD Parent Group Meetings in May
The 2nd Annual PLAC Parent Celebration is Wednesday, May 17, at 6:00 pm at Helen Barrett Montgomery School No. 50, 301 Seneca Avenue! Bring the whole family for food, fun, and information. To ensure we have enough food (we ran out last year!), please register at www.rcsdk12.org/plac. Transportation is also available for all requests received by noon on May 16. See you there!
All parents and caregivers of RCSD students with an IEP or 504 plan are invited to join SEPAC. Monthly meetings provide an opportunity for parents to meet other parents, RCSD staff, and community partners. Additionally, if you would like to be more involved, you can apply to be a SEPAC Parent Representative. The next meeting is Monday, May 8, at 6:00 pm. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for the Zoom link, meeting information, and additional information about SEPAC.
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. This group advises the Superintendent on matters related to bilingual education, including curriculum, instructional materials, and cultural issues. The next meeting is Tuesday, May 9, at 5:00 pm, at the Trenton and Pamela Jackson R-Center, 485 North Clinton Avenue, 14605. For more information, email email@example.com.
All parents and guardians of students who are learning English as a new language are encouraged to attend a monthly MPAC meeting. 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, May 15, at 3:30 pm, at the Office of Adult and Career Education Services (OACES), 30 Hart Street, 14605. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Important Changes with Medicaid, Child Health Plus, and Essential Plan
Families who currently have health insurance through Medicaid, Child Health Plus, and the Essential Plan will need to renew their coverage in the coming year. To prepare for this change, you should take action now by making sure NY State of Health has the correct contact information for every member of your family that is on Medicaid, Child Health Plus, and the Essential Plan. You can update your information by calling 1-855-355-5777. NY State of Health will begin sending renewal notices to enrollees of these programs soon, so please act now!
It is also important to open and respond to all mail from Medicaid, Child Health Plus, and the Essential Plan over the next year to avoid losing your healthcare coverage. We also encourage you to sign up to receive text alerts from NY State of Health by texting “START” to 1-866-988-0327. We want to make sure you have the information you need to protect coverage for your child and other members of your family.
Still not receiving text messages? Custodial caregivers of RCSD students can sign up anytime to receive text messages. All you need is a mobile number on file to opt in to this feature. If you do not have a mobile number on file, simply reach out to 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, visit www.rcsdk12.org/text.