Recent comments

  • Mr. Oboe   10 years 15 weeks ago

    Of course, we're making the false assumption that he was a decent oboe player. An excerpt from Bach's Brandenburg Concerto is playing in the background, and maybe it's not him playing. Maybe he isn't that good, but the mere fact that he even knows how to put the instrument together is enough to make a commercial out of it.

    Even so, I think it's a great little story, well crafted in a very short time.

    As for a career in football . . . he IS making a ton of dough and is famous, something few oboists can claim.

    Thanks for writing.


    P.S. Andrew, I downloaded WNYC's program about Wagner's Ring Cycle, but haven't found time to listen yet. Looking forward to it!

  • Mr. Oboe   10 years 15 weeks ago

    What I didn't like is that the commercial made it seem like he was rescued from a life of oboe playing by the chance encounter with Ephraim Salaam....

  • Winter garden   10 years 15 weeks ago


    The snow is almost gone. Alas, it's Slushland now.


  • Winter garden   10 years 15 weeks ago

    Aside from a damp half-inch that melted within hours, we've had no snow whatsoever. I miss the snow. I know it makes travel difficult, and shoveling is never fun, but four to six inches on a Saturday really be that bad?

  • Safety   10 years 15 weeks ago


    You make a great point. Many of our sentries are conscientious and do a difficult job under difficult circumstances but there is a need to professionalize the force. Our new Safety Director’s experience in police science will help us get there. Also, as part of our safety audits, we will be reviewing all entry and exit procedures at schools. Our audits (starting in late February) will start with schools showing the greatest need in terms of safety.

    Thanks for the question and best for the rest of the school year.


  • Cracking the Joseph Schwantner Code   10 years 15 weeks ago

    It is said, perhaps apocryphally, that Brahms, while leaving a party, turned and exclaimed, "if there's anyone here I failed to offend, I apologize."

    I suspect he wouldn't be fond of Anne Midgette, either.

  • Other   10 years 15 weeks ago

    In addressing the issue of school lunches, Mr. Brizard also mentioned his concern with seeing soda machines and candy in schools. It may seem like a small detail, but making these small changes is part of what is necessary to make the bigger changes. The fact that he even noticed what is being sold in schools shows that he truly does have the students overall well-being as his first priority.

    P.S. The poor quality of school lunches is an issue in suburban schools as well. Perhaps some type of Wellness partnership can be looked into.

  • Mr. Brizard Comes to Town   10 years 15 weeks ago

    Mr. Brizard's marathon day of answering questions and interacting with the community is an impressive start. In the past, administrators have found the way to their office and shut the door, trying to work on all of the issues on their own.

    A caller to the program last night commented on the area's warm welcome for Mr. Brizard, and mentioned that it is tied to the desparation that is felt in the RCSD. This is true, but it seems Mr. Brizard is up for the hard work that lies ahead of him.

    Welcome, and thank you for choosing the RCSD.

  • Other   10 years 15 weeks ago

    Superintendent Brizard addressed a valid concern for student safety in the dark early morning hours. He also made a good point about productivity in the first few periods of a school day that starts at around 7:15am. As someone who worked in High Schools in the city and suburban schools as well, I would say that the first few periods were never very productive. Students used that time to bring food into class to have breakfast, and catch a little sleep if they could. The ones who were awake, were barely so and weren't getting much out of the classes.

    It is important to have students involved and interested in extracurricular activities. But, let's remember that school should be the first priority. I don't think anyone would suggest students just stay up later to fit it all in. Perhaps something has got to give, and it may have to be an afterschool activity. It is more important that students can stay focused and have a productive school day.

  • Parental and Community Involvement   10 years 16 weeks ago

    Thanks to WXXI for inviting direct comments on our city schools -- direct communication from individual RCSD parents to decision makers at the district level does not seem to be encouraged.

    I appreciate that Superintendent Brizard has been making himself available to his constituents today and thank the media who provided him and us with this time. Continuing to make himself this available and expecting the same of all district staff could improve the overall climate and tone of parent/district staff interactions. I also think that the RCSD website could be much more interactive and supportive of parental comments, concerns and involvement.

    My child is currently an RCSD high school student. Secondary school parental involvement is different from elementary school parental involvement -- the students have different needs. Parents and teachers need to be partners at every age level -- but I think it becomes more important to add guidance counselors and others to that mix (with the parents) as the children move along in secondary school -- in 7th, 8th, and 9th grade particularly -- sooner rather than later. If parents were asked what would be helpful to them I'm sure you'd have more than enough ideas to consider and implement. What works for one school may not for another -- but let's hold people accountable for continuing to try and for sharing what works across the city.

    Parents are in the schools when they feel welcomed and expected -- whether it's open house, curriculum night, school concerts, plays, science fairs, sports events, PTA/PTO meetings or events -- I would think that most schools have had fairly good turnouts for those events. Those are the events that District staff should attend -- take the opportunity to meet parents and students in their schools and listen to their experiences and concerns along with the school staff.

    I also agree with the parent who wanted District 'parental involvement' meetings to be "decentralized" -- have District parent meetings where the parents are.

    Let's also not require that a parent belong to any particular organization or group before he or she has a voice. As residents of the City of Rochester, taxpayers (either directly or indirectly), parents of RCSD students, etc., we don't need to belong to any other group to have a voice. We all belong at the table. As many others have pointed out, and as CSD parents know, we have a very diverse district -- many extreme challenges, but also a lot of kids who every day do what is asked of them. Let's not forget those kids. Let's listen to all those City of Rochester voices and make use of the common sense we were all born with.

  • Safety   10 years 16 weeks ago

    I school a couple of days ago someone brought 3 stink bombs to school. As I sit there and smell the unpleasent smell I wonder how did the person who planted the stink get that past the security guards and metal detectors. So if someone was able to plant a stink bomb in the school can you emagine what else they can bring that can not only indanger our nose but body and life.

    Am I really safe

  • Other   10 years 16 weeks ago

    You have to be very careful when you consider changing the school day start time based on studies and not on a holistic look at what it will do the community and to the high-achieving students already in the system.

    For example, we have children at three different high schools. Part of the choice process was based on the fact that the start times of these three different schools are compatible with our work schedules allowing for solvable but complicated morning commute that gets everyone to their separate places on time.

    Due to afterschool activities (sports, plays, volunteer work, clubs, etc) the kids already get home very late (sometimes after 9pm) to START their homework. Changing the school start times will be a huge problem that may very well upset the ability for high-achieving students late in their high-school experience to succeed at the activities their current schedules have allowed them to partake in.

  • Jerry Springer: The Opera   10 years 16 weeks ago

    First the Met goes to the movies, now Jerry Springer and the opera combine! The union is shocking! I will try to be open minded. I'm trying to think of other things I don't like that could be combined with opera - country music and opera, Bill O'Reilly and opera, okra and opera....

  • Truancy   10 years 16 weeks ago

    I think home visits to each child who has been out for over 2 days and phone calls home on day 1....If their family doesn't answer the door or the phone.... call CPS....We need to treat every child as if they were our own children...My husband and I know where our children are every moment and if one day we thought they were at school and they weren't...PLEASE call 911....Their safety might be in jeopardy. Why would you wait?
    If teachers or administrators are "leery" of going into the neighborhoods they teach in, then they need to move on to different schools in different neighborhoods.

  • Other   10 years 16 weeks ago

    Welcome to Rochester, Superintendent Brizard.

    In order to reduce the concentration of poverty in our schools, it would seem the district would be very interested in making middle- and upper-middle class families, who could choose to go elsewhere, feel more comfortable with city schools so that they will stay in the city. (This should be a priority for the City of Rochester as well.) Yet many decisions over the past several years - such as "school choice," which eliminates the guarantee that children can go to their neighborhood school and thus may drive families to the suburbs where they don't have to deal with this unpredictability - have seemed to have the opposite effect, creating even more uncertainty and discomfort.

    I am the parent of a bright and curious 4-year-old and will soon face the difficult decision to either stay in the city neighborhood I love, where I can (if I'm lucky enough to get a spot in my neighborhood school or another appealing program like Hola) send my child to a diverse and culturally rich school, or move to the suburbs, where I won't get to live in the kind of neighborhood I want but where at least the schools are a "known quantity." My husband and I are both highly educated and have every reason to believe that our children will do very well in any school they attend; we are also city-living fanatics who really want to believe in city schools.

    It sometimes seems that with all the emphasis on the negatives, not to mention the incessant testing, bright kids like mine may get lost in the shuffle.

    What can you tell parents like myself who look at all these factors and wonder whether retaining families like ours is a priority for the district?

    Thank you and good luck.

  • Performance   10 years 16 weeks ago

    I have noticed in most (not all) classrooms that are called "bilingual" all instruction is being done in Spanish -year after year- and not English. How does this help children to become proficient enough in English to pass state requirments, grade-level requirments etc....
    I know parents who try to get their children in regular classrooms because they want their children to learn English and they know their kids won't get that in most "bilingual classrooms.
    How will this change?
    Thank you, Mrs. Rios-Bakari

  • Parental and Community Involvement   10 years 16 weeks ago

    I have two children in the RCSD with a total of 7 years of parent involvement with PTA's, SBPT's, CAFEE, DACT, PPC, Various District Committee's and I have noticed a few things:
    - there a hundrends of parents who are very involved but sadly the value of a parent is measured (by some) by how many meetings and committee's they can go to like PTA, SBPT, PPC, DACT, etc... and not understanding that parent involvement may look differently from home-to-home and school-to-school. Maybe mom or dad can't run the schoolwide newsletter but they can make sure their children are ready and able to learn each day.

    - I never understood how parents who work for the district can also "wear the hat" of parent rep. on district committee's, DACT etc... Parents work various times during the day and so the times of these meeting should reflect parents availability.......
    lets mix it up and get some fresh eyes and ears on these committee's/boards.

    - Sometimes parents feel as if they are being "looked down on" or "judged" by other parents and staff. Families are different, we need to understand that whether someones family is headed by a very young parent, single parent, working parent, stay-at-home parent, grandparents, non-english speaking parents, parents who may or may not have finished high school or college etc. Everyone has a talent and our goal should be trying to find a place where parents are looked at as partners.
    - JUST ASK FOR HELP....the question was asked to a few parents at my school why they decided to help with a very large project -...and the most common answer was " I was asked". A face to face coversation, follow-up and genuine appreciation for our thoughts and ideas as partners.

    Mrs.Bakari - World of Inquiry and Wilson foundation
    Parent Partner

  • Child Poverty   10 years 16 weeks ago

    Many ambitious schemes have bitten the dust that tried to improve achievement in the District. In a district faced with such a high poverty level, not a whole lot will work. The poverty level will hold these children back. The children in the ghetto schools lack role models and encouragement. More needs to be done to alleviate poverty and give these children incentive. Also, our community needs to establish a county-wide school district to break up the concentrated poverty in the inner city. The pproblem of low achieving city schools affects the whole community.

  • Other   10 years 16 weeks ago

    Dear Dr. Brizzard,
    You appear to have a good understanding of problems in urban schools. I am a retired teacher from the District, having served 25 years. I saw many superintendents come and go on a regular basis. They all had ideas they wanted to implement, but don't stay long enough to have a real, lasting impact. The superintendents in the suburban districts stay much longer. On this morning's broadcast, I heard you say what you thought the District should look like in 5 years. My question is, do you plan to still be here in 5 years, and what could conceivably make you leave before that time?

    On this afternoon's broadcast, you were asked about Central Office employees numbering over 100 who make over $100,000 per year. Coming from the teaching ranks as I do, our opinion was that C.O. was overstaffed. You said that you did not have that information yet. Is this info easy or hard to get? I think easy, and I would like to hear more about that.

    Thank you for coming here and trying to make a difference.

  • Performance   10 years 16 weeks ago

    Superintendent Brizard, what is the different between zero-based and performance-based budgeting?

    Why not performance-based budgeting?

  • Facebook is evil?   10 years 16 weeks ago

    Hi, Rob,

    Great to hear from you! I haven't tried Twitter. My chief interest in the subject of social networking is related to broadcasting. The topic of how audiences are becoming increasingly fragmented comes up a lot in broadcasting centers and networks all over the country. The good news for people with specific interests (such as classical music, in my case) is that the web strips away much of the cultural trappings that turn people off. Still, even on the web, stuff creeps in. Check out my NEA friend Aaron Green, who maintains the classical music page on Note the tux.


  • Performance   10 years 16 weeks ago

    Everyone talks about sending so many students home, talk about the number of students sent out of class, talk about the number of un-resolved problems between school staff and adults in the home, etc.

    • Superintendent Brizard, specifically, what initiatives are you considering to address district/school environment?

    • What initiatives are you considering, to improve its discipline process?

    • What do you think of Character Education and what place does it have in this district?

  • Facebook is evil?   10 years 16 weeks ago

    Despite how evil (or not) as Facebook might be, WXXI is there.
    Become a fan of WXXI on Facebook here:

    Andrew Wheeland
    Director of Interactive Services

  • Other   10 years 16 weeks ago

    When I was a younger parent, I made the mistake of allowing my child to be classified and given an IEP. Although he has needed various services at different times it is frustrating to know that he could receive a special education diploma and have no prospects for higher education despite the fact that he has been in an inclusion setting since preschool and has developed in line with his peers with consultative instruction. He must take his tests without modifications and meets the state standards.
    This is a serious situation in the district given the number of males, particularly hispanic and african american males, in special education. Despite asking school board members, distirict officials, even a member of the African-American Health Status Task Force to examine methods used for evaluation and monitoring special education I get no answer. I understand that this is a complex issue but as a parent I would definitely be fully engaged in any effort to address this area.
    What is your perspective about the disproportionate number of males held in special education?

  • Parental and Community Involvement   10 years 16 weeks ago

    I agree with other parents that the traditional methods for involving parents should shift more to engaging parents- events that are inclusive of the whole family, done at the the district level rather than or in addition to what is done school by school -so that there is more consistency as a district.
    What is your intention with regard to making sure parents are active in the brainstorming and development of the activities offered to them so that they meet the real needs of parents and families?