Community Voices

Hear what Rothenberg Preparatory Academy officials and Over-the-Rhine community members say about the Urban Cohort...

Rothenberg Preparatory Academy, Cincinnati, Ohio

Rothenberg is an inner city K-8 Cincinnati Public school that went through redesign in 2009-10. One hundred percent of its students qualify for free lunches. The Urban Cohort Program is working in partnership with Rothenberg staff, parents, and neighborhood residents.

Alesia Smith

Alesia Smith, principal:
"If you know the community, then you know your students.  So if you have students and student teachers who want to become teachers in the (urban) community, they actually get to feel what the kids feel, see what the kids see. They become immersed in the same lifestyle, so they’re better equipped to handle and teach the kids. Miami’s Urban Cohort Program would get an A from me...because of the respect they have for urban education."

Annette Digirolamo

Annette Digirolamo, 3rd-grade teacher:
"Urban teaching is a lot different than suburban teaching or rural teaching. There’s a big, big difference in training, or should be. By Miami recognizing that on the college level, maybe we can turn out teachers who are passionate (about urban teaching)."

Over-the-Rhine Community Members

Bonnie Neumeier

Bonnie Neumeier, community member:
“In the 40 years I’ve lived in Over-the-Rhine (an inner-city Cincinnati neighborhood), I’ve seen a lot of our schools have teachers come and go and not really understand the culture of our neighborhood. I feel strongly that the community has a lot to share and that future teachers have a lot to learn from us.”

William WallaceWilliam Wallace, community member:
“It makes a world of difference to have that interaction (between future teachers and the community) because I think it builds relationships, and I think that’s what school is all about. It’s about learning, but it’s also about relationships, too. That’s the key to making things better for the students who go here.”