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RIT creates new charter high school

Rochester, N.Y. RITs President Bill Destler says it's time for a major change.

The days in which universities could sit idly by and hope for the urban K-12 problem to solve itself, I think those days are over, Destler said. I think we desperately need more involvement from our universities and colleges in our K-12 systems.

RIT announced its partnership with Uncommon Schools, a non-profit organization and Rochester Prep to create a new charter high school for city students.

The goal is to focus on prepping students for college, helping them get a college degree and giving them the tools for a successful career.

I was really concerned about where he was going to high school, parent Tammie Taylor said.

Taylor's son is an eighth grader at Rochester Prep and will attend the new charter school next fall.

Taylor said she feels this will help further her sons education and create more opportunities.

That's something we strive for, education, because without education, you won't get anywhere -- you can be a Bill Gates, just continue your education and it's an open world for you, Taylor said.

The partnership would give charter students access to RITs facilities.

RIT students would serve as mentors and tutors.

The new school would focus on the basics and additional exposure to courses in the STEM fields.

We're just really excited about having a partner, similar to RIT that has a great academic and focus of helping low-income students of color and be able to improve our student achievement results, Joshua Phillips, Managing Director of Uncommon Schools said.

The school doesnt have a location yet but Phillips says there are several possibilities.

For now, theyre looking a temporary space to house 50 to 60 students next fall.

The charter school is expected to open in the fall of 2014 and ultimately grow by 2018 with about 500 students.

The high school will serve students already enrolled in Uncommon s four Rochester Prep schools which currently have 1,000 students in grades kindergarten through eight.

Uncommon Schools, which currently manages 38 schools in five cities, including three high schools.

Its schools serve more than 9,900 students.

More than 78% of students are low income and 98% are African-American or Hispanic.

Across Rochester Prep schools, 84% of students were eligible for free and reduced price lunch in 2012-2013.

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Washington Times