“City schools leader: ‘Last chance’ to improve outcomes” February 6th, 2013

“City schools leader: ‘Last chance’ to improve outcomes”  February 6th, 2013

This afternoon I heard the news that RCSD Superintendent Bolgen Vargas would be resigning in December.

While I doubt he recalls, I first met Dr. Vargas in September, 2010 one early morning before school at Brueggers on Monroe Avenue.  At the time, I was student teaching at the School Without Walls Foundation Academy. He was still a Counselor in the Greece School District. Bolgen saw I was grading papers and preparing for class.  Asking what I was doing, we chatted briefly. As he left, I remember him thanking me for the work I was doing for city kids.

A few weeks ago, Bolgen kindly wrote a Guest Post here. It is a touching account of teachers from the past who had touched him, without whose help he would never have become a Superintendent. RCSD Superintendent Bolgen Vargas joins our conversation

During my tenure with the D & C  Make City Schools Better  blog, on February 7th, 2013 the title of my first post (taken from a D & C  headline) was  City Schools Leader: ‘Last chance’ to improve outcomes  The day before in his State of Our Schools address, Dr. Vargas offered a dire, jeremiad-like, warning: “If we fail this time, the consequences for this community will be huge.”

While his last chance rhetoric was perhaps not meant to be taken literally, Bolgen did not fail.

For instance, his legacy will continue as the new East takes hold. Well before East was slated for closing, an overhaul or a takeover, Bolgen was pushing for collaborations between local colleges/universities and the RCSD.  When the University of Rochester and the Warner School first entered the scene, Bolgen supported the initiative even though it would mean ceding power from the Superintendent’s Office. I don’t know exactly the role he played in the negotiations, but the agreement happened.

Good luck, Bolgen. And thanks for the work you are doing for city kids.

For more, East/Warner

About The Author


Welcome to Talker of the Town! My name is David Kramer. I have a Ph.D in English and teach at Keuka College. I am a former and still active Fellow at the Nazareth College Center for Public History and a Storyteller in Residence at the SmallMatters Institute. Over the years, I have taught at Monroe Community College, the Rochester Institute of Technology and St. John Fisher College. I have published numerous Guest Essays, Letters, Book Reviews and Opinion pieces in The New York Times, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, the Buffalo News, the Rochester Patriot, the Providence Journal, the Providence Business News, the Brown Alumni Magazine, the New London Day, the Boston Herald, the Messenger Post Newspapers, the Wedge, the Empty Closet, the CITY, Lake Affect Magazine and Brighton Connections. My poetry appears in The Criterion: An International Journal in English and Rundenalia and my academic writing in War, Literature and the Arts and Twentieth Century Literary Criticism. Starting in February 2013, I wrote for three Democratic and Chronicle  blogs, "Make City Schools Better," "Unite Rochester," and the "Editorial Board." When my tenure at the D & C  ended, I wanted to continue conversations first begun there. And start new ones.  So we created this new space, Talker of the Town, where all are invited to join. I don’t like to say these posts are “mine.” Very few of them are the sole product of my sometimes overheated imagination. Instead, I call them partnerships and collaborations. Or as they say in education, “peer group work.” Talker of the Town might better be Talkers of the Town. The blog won’t thrive without your leads, text, pictures, ideas, facebook shares, tweets, comments and criticisms.


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