School #9 Parents Push Back

The fate of a popular program at a high-needs Rochester elementary school is in doubt.

The district plans to move 7th and 8th graders who attend the Boys Academy at School #9 to the Charlotte campus, where there is an existing all-boys school.

The district has not decided if all-boys classes and services will be continued to grades 3 through 6. 

“What are we doing with these boys who have had extreme challenges in the regular population?” said Sandra Fink, a retired teacher who worked under contract School #9.

“Devastated that I won’t have this program to help me because the Boys Academy is just like my second family,” said Crishawn Hunter, who is going into the 6th grade.

In addition, the district is transferring the beloved administrator of the Boys Academy, Burnice Green, to the Charlotte program.

 “A lot of boys don’t have fathers in their homes and Mr. Green has been just that,” said Diane Hunter, who has three grandchildren who attended Boys Academy. “Mr. Green has been a godsend for my boys and other boys.”

The district may also transfer principal Sharon Jackson. Sources say she was told last week she would be removed as principal. Then she was reinstated. Tuesday, the district said it had not decided if she will stay at School #9.

“If  anything to dismantle, why would you dismantle something that works?” asked Lacy Holloway, whose son just completed 8th grade at Boys Academy. He credits the program with teaching his son respect and discipline. 

Parents received a letter about the changes just before the school year ended. 

Superintendent Bolgen Vargas said the changes are necessary.

“The performance of the school for the past 10 years has been so low the state of New York is saying I’m giving you one year to show us significant improvement, or the school could go into the hands of the state,” Vargas said.

The district believes School #9 will improve as a k through 6 school. Older students will get more resources at Charlotte. School #9 had staffing problems because it didn’t have enough 7th and 8th graders  to hire full-time teachers for some subjects.

Vargas said he will work with parents on changes between now and September.

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