“We shouldn't have an elementary school on a persistently dangerous list, it just shouldn't be,” says Dr. William Cala, interim superintendent of the Rochester City Schools District.
The NYS list of persistently dangerous schools was released on Tuesday. In
In the 2006-2007 school year, School No. 8 reported 317 incidents. In the 2005-2006 school year, the elementary had 335 incidents. According to
“School number eight for the most part, has a lot of small incidents and that's how an elementary school ends up getting on the last,” says Dr. Cala who adds the incidents such as weapons possession must be looked at on a deeper level.
“But when you interview kids as to why are you bringing this to school, it's because I need to get to school safely.”
A plan has already been put in place to remediate the problem at School No. 8. Among the inventions:
- Alternative suspensions for students. Children will receive academic assistance and behavioral counseling rather than being kept away from school.
- A “prevention” teacher will be hired to help children resolve conflicts peacefully. This position will be grant-funded.
- An anti-bullying program focused on character building.
- An on-site case manager from the Urban League of Greater Rochester to provide counseling and aid student needs.
- Stronger presence of the clergy and parents as supportive roles at the school.
- Establishing a Family and
in partnership with the YMCA. Student Support Center
- Staff development focused on teaching staff how to handle conflict in the classroom.
Dr. Cala is also meeting with developers to re-vitalize the neighborhood; his most recent meeting occurred three weeks ago.
“We chose for a variety of reasons, school number 8, and I'm sure this probably won't be in our intervention plan. It relates to the Children's Zone, it also relates to neighborhoods that need to be revitalizes and it also relates to strengthening the community immediately around the school.”
The Children’s Zone Program in City Schools is not yet up and running. An executive director for the program is scheduled to be hired in November. In the meantime, parents of children at School No. 8 have the option to send their children to a different