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RCSD Shedding Racist History

Photo: Rochester City School District

To align with the mission of improving student achievement, the Rochester City School board has taken on the important task of renaming selected schools. This initiative is part of the district's larger reconfiguration plan, known as Invest Into Tomorrow, which aims to create a more effective educational structure.


In November, Superintendent Dr. Carmine Peluso introduced the Invest in Tomorrow initiative, a comprehensive school reconfiguration plan aimed at shaping the future of education in the District. This plan includes the establishment of four new middle schools and one new high school, with a focus on academic and emotional preparation, athletic development, and providing nurturing spaces for student growth. Alongside this reconfiguration, the District will rename selected schools, shedding the names of individuals associated with slavery and segregation, and honor leaders who have united and transformed our community.


According to the District, renaming the schools provides an opportunity to honor leaders who have made a significant impact in transforming our community. By selecting names that represent unification and trailblazing, the District believes this can inspire students to emulate these qualities and strive for positive change. These new names are designed to serve as a constant reminder of the values and ideals that the District upholds, fostering a sense of pride and motivation among students and staff.


Reports state the Middle school at 200 Genesee Street could be renamed after a local civil rights activist who fought for equality and unity, such as Frederick Douglass.

  • The Middle school at the Dr. Freddie Thomas campus could be renamed after a prominent educator who dedicated their life to empowering students and fostering a love for learning, such as Mary McLeod Bethune.

  • The Middle school at the Charlotte campus could be renamed after a trailblazing female leader who has made significant contributions to the community, such as Susan B. Anthony.

  • The Middle school at the Jefferson campus could be renamed after a leader who has championed social justice and community development, such as Martin Luther King Jr.

  • The High school at the Franklin campus could be renamed after a visionary leader who has transformed the community through innovation and progress, such as Steve Jobs.


Under this new plan, the district will implement a grade division system, with schools catering to PreK-6, 7-8, and 9-12 grade levels. As a result, five schools will undergo a name change to better reflect this new structure, according to Lashara Evans, the Chief of Staff at RCSD.


Additionally, two other schools, currently known as number 34 and number 46, will also be renamed for the upcoming school year. Evans explains that these changes are necessary to ensure that the schools' identities align with the district's mission and goals.


Supporters believe renaming these schools is not just a symbolic gesture; it is a tangible step towards creating an educational environment that reflects the values and aspirations of the community it serves. Through this act of renaming, the District paves the way for a brighter and more inclusive future for all its students.


The increased awareness has already prompted the Rochester City School District to remove Nathaniel Rochester's name from School 3 in Corn Hill. In its place, the district chose to honor Alice Holloway Young, the first Black principal in the city. These changes signify a commitment to creating a more inclusive and representative educational environment for all students.

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