Need to Know Rochester: A Challenge for Rochester Schools

You can now watch this special edition of Need to Know Rochester online as we focus on the plight of black male students in the Rochester City School District.

The program profiles of young men who are facing significant challenges as they try to beat the odds. Black males make up a significantly disproportionate number of the students being expelled or referred to special education and they're much more likely than other students to dropout before earning their diplomas.

WXXI News Director Julie Philipp is joined by reporter Helene Biandudi who, along with videographer and editor Marty Kaufman, conducted interviews for this special edition of the program.

Watch Need to Know Rochester Friday at 8:30 p.m. and Sunday at 12:30 p.m. only on WXXI Television. You can watch the program in two parts in the video boxes below.

For more info on the dropout crisis nationwide, check out this NPR special series.

PBS NewsHour also focused on the problem looking at New York City high schools labeled dropout factories.



NTKR: A Challenge for Rochester's School

News director Julie Phillips and reporter Helene Biandudi missed an opportunity to generate authentic dialogue where it's needed the most (at the grassroots level) in redressing the sociocultural obstacles that contributes heavily to African American Males being dislocated in the RCSD.

The so-called professional guests that appeared on the program was not an accurate representation of what has taken place in previous and current initiatives to address the issue of poor academic performance and off-tasks behaviors by many African American males in the RCSD.

Upon a survey of many students, parents and staff members that participated in the I'M READY Program under the leadership of Dr. Jerome Watts, one will find mass dissatisfaction, in addiction too the reality that Mr. Watts abandon the sinking ship. Thus, Mr. Watts has no influential credibility as a leader at the grassroots level.

Unfortunately, most Rochester News media is notoriously known for seeking out the usual black political talking-heads and so-called black religious leaders that has no successful track record in changing the course of direction at is pertains redressing sociocultural issues that hampers African American children lives.

My challenge to WXXI NTKR is to seek out the grassroots leadership perspective on this issue and allow your viewing audience to experience what I and others consider a non status-quo approach to redressing "Rochester, NY African American Community Cultural Crisis."

Avery T. Blackman

Dr. Watts

Dr. Watts ended RCSD two hours a day tutoring policy for long-term suspended students by creating the I'M READY program. The program had over 2200 students in three years in a small former Catholic School building. He left the district to pursue a much larger vision of improving academic achievement across NYS and the nation. I'M Ready is still in session and delivers six hours of instruction and social/emotional learning including Mr. Blackman speaking at events.

The links below will give you more information about Dr. Watts and his passion to see the graduation rates improve in Rochester, Syracuse, Buffalo and surrounding counties! This includes his new book, tutoring centers, and reenrollment centers that he is opening for students. As a community we need to support projects like Dr. Watts.