The Rochester Teacher

Winner of NYSUT journalism awards and the Ted Bleeker award as “Best of the Best”

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Our Union Contract

The newly bargained agreement is good for students and fair to teachers.

Click here to download our contract.

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The Rochester Retired Teacher Association is a Dept. of the RTA, composed of all retired members of RTA. Learn more…

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Major charter researcher causes stir with comments about market-based school reform

Margaret Raymond is the founding director of the Center for Research on Education Outcomes, known as CREDO, which is part of the Hoover Institution located at Stanford University. CREDO’s mission is researching and evaluating educational policy and is best known for its research studies on charter schools in the United States. Raymond this week made some remarks about charter schools that are causing a stir in the education world. First, some background to put those remarks in context.


Teacher: The day I knew for sure I was burned out

Ellie Herman became a teacher after working for for decades as a writer/producer for television shows such as “Desperate Housewives,” “Chicago Hope,” “Newhart,” etc., and as an author whose fiction has appeared in literary journals, among them The Massachusetts Review, The Missouri Review and the O.Henry Awards Collection. In 2007, she decided, “on an impulse,” she wrote, to become an English teacher and got a job at a South Los Angeles charter school that was 97 percent Latino and where 96 percent of the students lived below the poverty line.


Big Drop In Students Being Held Back, But Why?

The question of when or whether it's appropriate to hold a child back in school is a heated one among teachers, parents and even politicians. And a new study is adding some kindling to the debate. Researchers found that the rate at which kids are held back — in education circles it's called "grade retention" — has dropped dramatically. From 1995 to 2005, the overall retention rate hovered near 3 percent. But, from 2005 to 2010 it fell to 1.5 percent.


NYS Education Commissioner, Dr. John King, Leaving for Federal Position

New York State Education Commissioner Dr. John King is stepping down from his post. According to the New York State Board of Regents, King will serve as Senior Advisor to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. He will step down as Education Commissioner effective at the end of the year. King was appointed as New York State Education Commissioner in 2011. Aside from the Common Core controversy, which was the biggest of his tenure at SED, he also touched nerves on issues like teacher performance evaluations and a new teacher certification system.


UR envisions smaller, more robust East High

After six months of planning, yesterday the University of Rochester presented the Rochester school board with a sweeping proposal to transform its low-performing East High School into a highly successful learning environment. If the proposal is approved by both the school board and the State Education Department, it will clear the way for the UR to assume full management responsibilities for East starting in July, 2015. The UR’s proposal identifies key areas in East’s culture, instructional abilities, and support services that it says must change if the school is to achieve an 84 percent graduation rate in about six years. The strategy involves creating a smaller, neighborhood-oriented school environment at East, increasing social-emotional support for students and families, and putting extra emphasis on ninth grade and alternative career programs.

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32nd Annual Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr

The RTA Human Relations Committee is sponsoring the 32nd Anniversary of         Student Recognition in memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  Each school is asked to select ONE STUDENT who best personifies the qualities exemplified by Dr. King.  RTA Reps are asked to complete the form below and return it to the RTA Human Relations Committee, c/o of the RTA Office, by Friday, December 19, 2014. The students' names will appear in an ad in City Newspaper on the week preceding the ceremony.  On Tuesday, January 20, 2015, participating students will receive a certificate of recognition and a letter from President Urbanski.  This event will be held at School of the Arts at 6:30 p.m.


Click here to download application…

In response to inquiries from teachers about the District’s recent emails regarding SLOs, I would like to clarify, highlight and provide some additional information. More details, of course, after the holiday recess. 


  1. This year’s APPR agreement between the RCSD and RTA continues last year’s agreement while further reducing student testing, especially at the Primary grade level


  1. The reason why you received, during the past few days, several emails from the District about SLOs is because it took the District multiple attempts to communicate the exact and corrected information 


  2. In an effort to assist teachers with the SLO target setting process, the District introduced eDoctrina, a new technology platform designed for this purpose


  3. Introducing new technology platforms is management prerogative and the District’s only obligation is to “consult” with RTA and other affected bargaining units


  4. As a result of such consultation, the District improved some language in their documents related to the SLO target-setting process, adjusted (postponed) SLO deadlines, and committed to provide related PD and access to information


  5. It is critical that the teacher set the SLO targets, not the administrator. The Lead Evaluator, whose sign-off is required, can propose adjustments only for cause


  6. RTA has developed an SLO Appeals Form (to be posted soon on www.rochesterteachers.com) for teachers who believe that the SLO target-setting process was unfair or not followed appropriately


  7. Teachers should retain a record (hard copy) of their SLO target-setting transactions for potential use in the APPR appeals process 


In addition to whatever PD and training the District may be providing, we are planning two RTA Educational Dinner Seminars to offer information and support with SLO target-setting specifically and APPR in general. The first of these sessions will be on January 7 and preference will be for those teachers whose deadline is January 9 (core academic and special subject teachers who have a first-semester course). The second session, for all others will be on January 22. Both will be for PD credit and will be posted on Generation Ready (formerly AVATAR) within a day or two.


Happy Holidays!

RTA Holiday Dinner Basket

Many thanks to the dozen or more volunteers who helped put together the Holiday Baskets! We had 60 plus schools/programs represented and over 120 baskets filled with food and a gift certificate to TOPs. You can pick up your baskets from 9AM to 3:30 PM this Monday-Thursday(Dec 15th -18th) the sooner the better! The boxes are big(20x20x20) so bring the appropriate vehicle for transportation. Feel free to add additional food, clothing or toy donations to the boxes from your building.


Thank you Rochester Teachers Association, RTA Social Workers,

RTA PR Committee, Matt Lavonas, Sarah Cooley, and all staff! 

Dave Wurz & Dawn Hohmann Chairs, RTA Action Committee.

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Crime Victims Assistance Committee

January 2015 Workshop Series

4:15 - 6:15 p.m.

RTA office

30 North Union Street


All RTA members are welcome to attend.  Light refreshments are provided.  You must register in advance using the form below.  Return your completed form to the RTA office as soon as possible.  Space is limited; registrants will be accepted in the order in which registrations are received.


Upon application to their school SBPT, attendees may receive Professional Development credit.


Questions? Leave a message for Greta Davis, CVAC Chair, at the RTA office: 546 2681