It’s the first day of school for RCSD. Watch our coverage from School No. 8

Beautiful mural at Roberto Clemente School no. 8 saying “WE ARE STRONGER TOGETHER THAN WE ARE APART.”
The mural at Roberto Clemente School No. 8 says “WE ARE STRONGER TOGETHER THAN WE ARE APART.”

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Wednesday is the first day of school for students in the Rochester City School District and other local districts. We have live coverage on News10NBC Today for the return of students at Roberto Clemente School No. 8.

Many local districts either started on Tuesday or start on Wednesday.

  • Districts that started on Tuesday, Sept. 6 include: Webster, Gates Chili, Brighton, Rush-Henrietta, Brockport, East Rochester, Spencerport, Honeoye Falls–Lima, Victor, Geneseo, and Gananda.
  • The Districts that start on Wednesday, Sept. 7 include: Rochester City School District, Greece, Churchville Chili, Wheatland-Chili, Hilton, Penfield, Fairport, Pittsford, West Irondequoit, and East Irondequoit.

Students can connect with classmates as COVID protocols loosen

Students will bring the type of back-to-school excitement we see every year here in the district. a chance to reconnect with friends and teachers they last saw before the summer break. We speak to Lajuan White, Chief of Schools at School No. 8, to explain how the school is going to help students make social connections.

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For the first time since COVID-19 started over 2-years ago, students throughout the district will be able to enjoy the school environment just like in pre-pandemic times. Instead of separation, it’s all about moving forward and building those long-lasting friendships with fellow classmates.

Stephanie Thompson, the principal of School No. 8, said the school has team activities planned for this year to help students connect.

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New leadership at RCSD

The new school year also brings some new leadership at the Rochester City School District, including a new interim superintendent.

This morning, we spoke with the interim superintendent, Dr. Carmine Peluso. He has worked in education for nearly 30 years, previously serving as chief of schools within RCSD. He was also the principal of East Rochester Junior Senior High School and an assistant principal in Pittsford. He said it was an easy decision to take on the interim role.

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RCSD is the largest district in the region, with 25,000 students starting on Tuesday across 46 schools. Kids in Pre-K through eighth grade will start here at Roberto Clemente School No. 8 in just a couple of hours.

Like many other districts, staffing has been a challenge for RCSD. One of the positions it’s looking to fill is the superintendent.

Former superintendent Dr. Lesli Myers Small said on Twitter that “serving as the Rochester City School superintendent has been the opportunity of a lifetime.”

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Despite RCSD’s staffing challenges, the district is optimistic about the year ahead. Dr. Chris Miller, the RCSD chief of human capital, said the district has filled more than 600 vacancies since July.

“Compared to last year, we’re in great shape. We’re ready to go,” Miller said. “Tomorrow is the first day all of our classrooms are covered, all of our paraprofessionals are covered, all of our teaching assistants are covered, and we’re working to ensure that we have a great opening.”

Miller said the district has been busy this summer working to fill vacant positions. Nearly all of the classroom positions are filled and there are under 100 administrative positions that haven’t been filled.

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RCSD works to communicate messages across five languages

Marisol Ramos-Lopez, chief of communications for RCSD, said the district is working to expand its communication to languages beyond English and Spanish.

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The district is working to translate its messages to three other common languages that some students and parents in the district speak, Arabic, Nepali, and Somali.

The district is also working to allow parents and students to translate the messages they receive in more than 100 languages. Ramos-Lopez said that making message translation more accessible is part of RCSD’s Language Equity program.

Kind messages at Bay Trail Middle School

Penfield students head back to the classroom on Tuesday as well. Thanks to three Bay Trail Middle School students and girl scouts, many of them will get a warm welcome.

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The three young ladies created signs for lockers to help students feel more welcome starting at a new school. The messages included “You got this!” and “You’re awesome just the way you are!” The school posted these pics, saying it’s a great example of taking care of others.

NY State has lifted most of its COVID protocols for schools

Schools statewide this year will look very different this year compared to 2021. New York State no longer requires all students to wear a mask or practice social distancing.

The few protocols that remain include staying at home when testing positive and wearing a mask for ten days after coming in close contact with someone who tested positive. Any student or faculty member who is experiencing unusual symptoms must take an at-home test.

Students will each get at least one at-home testing kit at the start of the school year and the state has 14.5 million kits available. You can read more about the new state protocol here.

Read more of our coverage

First Day of School: Our complete coverage from Webster and Gates Chili

RCSD school safety is top of mind for many as students get ready for back to school

30 days before school, RCSD is trying to fill hundreds of teacher jobs

First day of school at Gates Chili Central School District