Van Henri White

(Taped November 2016)Rochester City School Board President Van Henri White discusses the changed role of the school board in recent years, which has resulted in an increased graduation rate and innovations in education practices. Topics discussed include how the board’s role has changed; the district’s approach to “receivership schools”; the impact of charter schools and the promise of magnet schools and “Breakthrough Schools”.


Author Educator Banke Awopetu-McCullough Part 1


Author educator Banke Awopetu-McCullough discusses her novel ‘Always Want More,’ which tells the story of a young African-American woman who struggles through her first year of teaching in the Rochester City School District while also coming to grips with her community and her personal goals. The author was a teacher in the Rochester City School District. She discusses the characteristics of a failing school district, especially as it reflects institutional racism.

Restorative Justice 2

(Recorded August 2016) Jeanne Carlivati of Partners in Restorative Initiatives returns to discuss her organization’s efforts in the Rochester City School District. After a review of Restorative Practices, we discuss the newly adopted Code of Conduct, then talk about the recent changes at East High, particularly the drop in suspension rate and the retention rate of ninth-graders. We review the great success these principles have had when implemented over the last 10 years in the Oakland California School District. Jeanne describes the expansion of restorative practices to other buildings in the RCSD. Finally Jeanne talks about how restorative practices fit into the larger issues of poverty and racism.

Restorative Initiatives I

Recorded August 2016. Jeanne Carlivati of Partners in Restorative Initiatives discusses the implementation of restorative practices in the Rochester City School District. She describes the four basic levels of restorative practices. Also discussed were the recent implementation of the Code of Conduct and the recent takeover of East High by the University of Rochester.

RCSD Parent Advisory Council

Rochester City School District Parent Advisory Council Chair Ericka Simmons and Vice Chair Makita Saloane discuss the importance of parent involvement in school district decisions. They also discuss the difficulties of being partners at the decision-making table with elected and appointed school leaders. (Taped July 2016)

John Bliss 4

John Bliss is a long-time educator in both public and charter schools. He is the founder of Urban Choice Charter Charter School and currently teaches 6th grade in the Rochester City School District. In this episode, John focuses on the rigid patterns public schools have fallen into which can only produce more of the same failing results. He champions a reorganization of city schools spearheaded by “outsider” stakeholders who are not tied to policies and practices that perpetuate themselves but do not move the needle on student gains. He also calls for more respect and support for classroom teachers with the following quote: “Teachers should be the rock stars, not the roadies.”