A Challenge to Rochester Schools (2011) On-Demand

A Challenge to Rochester Schools (2011) On-Demand


Need to Know Rochester: A Challenge to Rochester Schools(2011) focuses on the plight of black male students in the Rochester City School District. They 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. We'll examine why this is happening, and what might help these boys succeed in school. Watch On-Demand

Watch On-Demand: A Challenge to Rochester Schools Part 1



Watch On-Demand: A Challenge to Rochester Schools Part 2



Need to Know Rochester: A Challenge to Rochester Schools presents three powerful profiles of young men who are facing significant challenges as they try to beat the odds.  Junior Patrick Boyd, who has a history of getting into fights, being expelled from school -- and caring for his younger siblings while his mother was in jail.  Senior Steadman Dolphey who shows up for play practice, despite frequents stints of homelessness and being on his own.  Seventh-grader Philippe Sheppard who is trying to make his father, who is an inmate at a maximum security prison in Plattsburgh, proud.

The program also features Adeyemi Stembridge, Ph.D. of New York University's Metropolitan Center for Urban Education; Dr. Jerome Watts, author and former administrator of the Rochester City School District's "I'm Ready" program; former RCSD Superintendent Jean-Claude Brizard, who is now chief of the Chicago School District; and others.

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.  Aired Friday, September 16, 2011 at 8:30 p.m., and Sunday, September 18 at 12:30 p.m., Re-aired Friday October 7, 2011 at 8:30pm and Sunday, October 9. 2011 at 12:30 p.m. Airing: Tuesday, November , 2011 at 8:30pm on WXXI Television.  This program is part of the American Graduate: Let's Make It Happen WXXI Project . Listen to audio from the program here:

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Presenting multi-dimensional representations of Black males

What I most appreciated about the piece is the FULL representation of the young, Black males as complex, multi-dimensional human beings with a range of interests and motivations. All too often, broadcasts like these reduce Black boys to caricatures of some version of urban youth that is meant to scare the general public. These false images of Black males implicitly send the message that Blacks and Latinos and other marginalized groups deserve the low-performing schools they attend because they are “not like the rest of us.” This piece blows that kind of thinking out of the water! Patrick comes across as reasonable and mature. Steadman strikes me as thoughtful and introspective. Phillipe is loving, loyal, and yet profoundly hurt by his father’s incarceration. None of these three demonstrate the anti-intellectualism with which we regularly charge young, Black males. They all speak to the importance of school in their lives. Those of us invested in the improvement of Rochester schools and urban schools nationwide are wise to listen to our students. We need to let them inform us of how schools can be improved; and in our listening, we will hopefully abandon the notions that they are anything less than the embodiments of brilliance and boundless possibilities. -- A Stembridge, PhD

Black Male in RCSD

Great job on this program. I wish I could send a link for others to watch. Will that be possible? I recognize many of these situations, I have been a teacher at East High (you showed our In School Suspension room) for the last 12 years (total of 20 years teaching in the city). I chose not to come back as a 7th grade math teacher this year, and am pursuing a masters in Library Science at UB full-time. Many of my reasons for not returning to teaching math at East were due to the increases in state testing. My supervisors and the school culture were pushing for more test prep to improve scores, but I believed that was counterproductive to a student's need for a math education, as well as their understanding of concepts. The math tests we have to give involve many small independent topics, and involve much reading to understand the problem. Due to low reading skills, many of the students do not understand what is being asked in the question. Measurement of their mathematical understanding were based on questions that they could not read. It is a deplorable situation, but that is how our schools and students are measured these days. In my classroom teaching I introduced real concepts that students needed in life: paychecks, taxes, interest on bank deposits, interest on bank loans, credit card interest. Many of these concepts are not stressed in the curriculum, but they certainly are in life.

I still wish to work with city students. I have a patience and understanding of them, and can do much good. I am on an unpaid leave of absence, and I can return to my position after my leave. I wish to come back as a school librarian. I think in this position I can help students pursue their interests and work with them on more relevant learning than what the state dictates. I am especially interested in teaching information literacy, having students use technology for meaningful and effective research, and get them away from shallow use of these powerful technologies. This years SAT reading scores were the lowest on record. I think I can best help city students towards successful lives though promoting reading, information literacy and teaching them the skills to be life-long learners. I can best do this as a middle school or high school librarian.

Thank you again for your realistic view into city school student's lives. I look forward to seeing your future installments.