‘We love our school’: Parents, staff express views on possible School 10 closure

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — School 10 on Congress Avenue — Dr. Walter Cooper Academy — is just one of 11 schools in the Rochester City School District that could close if the superintendent’s reorganization plan is approved.

On Friday, faculty, parents and students at the school met for a town hall hosted by Superintendent Carmine Peluso.

Shortly before the meeting started, district officials told News10NBC to leave the building, but that didn’t stop faculty and parents from speaking with us before and after the meeting.

For parents like Tracey Carter, School 10 is more than just a building. It’s where her youngest daughter is thriving in the second grade.

“Her education means a lot to me. Because you can’t just put a kid who has some challenges in any environment,” Carter said.

She continued: “I have four kids. Three of them are all grown. I have dealt with charter schools. I’ve dealt with city schools. And this has been the best school I have ever encountered.”

If approved by the Board of Education, the RSCD reorganization plan will shutter School 10 and 10 other schools at the end of the academic year. Displaced students will be assigned new schools via lottery — leaving parents like Marlene Serrano wondering where their children will end up.

“It’s like you’re telling us this, like, three weeks before into when school starts. You think I’m going to be able to enjoy Christmas, New Year’s, Thanksgiving? Now I have to start the process over. I have to make sure the reviews are okay,” Serrano said.

In the meantime, Wanda Samuels, who teaches third grade at School 10, says she will keep asking questions.

“We can express to him tonight the reasons why we love our school. our students love it. our community. our partners our parents. our staff. So we really just want to express to him how much we love our school and really want to remain open,” Samuels said.

Before the town hall, parents, students, and staff held a protest at the school, as they did Thursday.

In previous statements, Superintendent Peluso has said the reorganization addresses a 40 percent decline in enrollment across the district over the last two decades. The plan requires school board approval to move forward.

Peluso told us tonight’s town hall was only for parents, students and staff, but he would talk with us afterwards. But he left without speaking to us.

The district has scheduled “community-wide conversations” to discuss school reconfiguration fo October. One will follow a Board of Education meeting on Oct. 10, which starts at 5:30 p.m. at East High School Collaboratorium; the second will take place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Wilson Foundation Academy.