RCSD superintendent Terry Dade wants to change the district’s narrative

Education

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The Rochester City School District’s new superintendent has officially started his first week on the job. Terry Dade has been meeting with school officials and working on plans for the upcoming school year.

This all comes just after the mayor’s call for state takeover of RCSD. The referendum will be voted on by the public in November.

Dade hasn’t met with the mayor yet. He said the meeting is in the process of being scheduled.

“I would love to hear her perspective on what the district could utilize with progressive resources, partnerships, and strategies to move the district forward while also sharing my perspective on what we need to do together to move the district forward. So I’d rather it not be centered around a takeover,” said Dade.

Dade’s first priority is to change the narrative at RCSD. He wants to eliminate the focus on negativity and focus on setting high expectations for students and staff.

“How do you hold people accountable and able for this work, how do you engage in this work as a true partner and how do you focus in on students seeing themselves and seeing a narrative of hope and success and fulfilling dreams, versus adults pointing fingers at each other and talking about all the negative aspects of our school system,” he said.

Dade also plans to work on the relationship between central office staff and staff at the individual schools. Increasing graduation rates is also on the list. He said he’ll look at improving attendance and student performance in ninth grade to ensure more students cross the stage with a diploma.

“I know something I’m looking at right away is absenteeism rates. You cannot provide support for students if they’re not in school, so looking at our chronic absenteeism rate what are we going to do to truly engage students in school. I’ve also looked closely at that eighth grade to ninth grade transition year. You can really predict what a student’s going to look like and what their challenges will be just by examining their ninth grade year,” Dade said.

Dade said he realizes all of this will take longer than his three-year contract. He plans to stay longer to see the project through.

“We have a lot of work to do, this is a complex system so I know it’s gonna take five to ten years to really start to see some of the fantastic gains that we know we can accomplish as a family, so I don’t expect to be here in the short term no matter what is going on around our schools.”

Dade also told News 8 the district is using the final report issued by Dr. Jaime Aquino, the state-appointed distinguished educator. Dr. Aquino left in June after his year-long contract was up. The district hopes to have an action plan finished by the end of the summer.

Dade said he’s met with board members and it’s been successful so far.

Board president Van White told News 8 the board has plans with Dade, including retreats. He also said he’s gotten lots of positive feedback about Dade from others as well.

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