School 10 principal receives award amid looming school closure

School 10 principal receives award amid looming school closure

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Dr. Walter Cooper Academy, or School 10, closes at the end of this year.

But if Wednesday night is any proof, Principal Dr. Eva Thomas’s dedication to her students and the community won’t soon be forgotten. She was given the Difference in Education Award by the Rochester Education Foundation.

“This is a lady that, she went over and beyond. Inside of school. Outside of school. She calls you. They all check on you – all the staff. They call you. They check on you. ‘What do you need? How can we help you in the community?’” parent Tamika McClendon said.

Now, part of her job is preparing families for some big changes.

A week ago, the Rochester School Board approved Superintendent Dr. Carmine Peluso’s plan to close several buildings, including School 10 on Congress Avenue, because of declining enrollment.

McClendon’s daughter started at School 10 last year. She said she started thriving.

“She came to this school. She’s now completely talking. She’s now completely walking. She knows her letters. She knows her numbers. She can write her name. She’s comfortable. She’s growing,” McClendon said.

Her daughter, along with the rest of the students at Dr. Walter Cooper Academy, will be placed in a lottery at the end of the academic year to determine their next school.

“We are disappointed in the decision but now we have gotten through that and our focus is on children. and it will remain on children: that our children be successful this year,” Dr. Thomas said.

After receiving the award, Dr. Thomas attributed the success of her building to her team and innovative curriculum.

When asked about teacher and faculty retention, Dr. Thomas said of the district, “They are working on their plan. I do not have the details, but I am sure it will be released at a board meeting. When all things are said, I’m very confident that our families will be taken care of. They are our number one priority.”