Please Donate If You Support the Rochester River School.

Imagine starting a school from scratch! Everything that lies ahead of us—including the lengthy and complex charter application—requires us to consult costly experts like lawyers, human resources professionals, and accountants. The school application process itself is 500+ pages! Curriculum development, attracting quality teachers, sharing the news of our school with parents who might be interested are all also challenges that lie ahead. If you want Rochester to benefit from the Rochester River School, please be part of our solution. Please support us with a generous donation!!!!!

Ecological education . . . is directed toward changing our intellectual emphasis, loyalties, affections, and convictions. It requires breaking free of old pedagogical assumptions, of the straitjacket of discipline-centric curriculum, and even of confinement in classrooms and school buildings.
— Aldo Leopold

Grades K-12


The Rochester River School is the first school in the country to be based on the principles of humane education, as well as the first public school in the country to offer a free, plant-based vegan lunch program and curriculum. We hope that the school (both in terms of the physical space and programs) will eventually be a resource for other local district schools and neighborhoods, a center for environmental (broadly defined) change, and a model for schools nationally and even globally. Our school is modeled after both the Common Ground Charter School in Connecticut, which runs a school, farm, and environmental education center, and the Urban Assembly Harbor School in New York City. Like the Harbor School, we are attempting to create the best place-based, ecosystem-centered school in the country. In our vision, we anticipate a reorientation and reconnection toward the Genesee River, a currently underused, underappreciated, and underutilized waterway. We also expect that our school will act as a driving force for economic development in the neighborhood and eventually the larger community.

We expect to open the school in the fall of 2018 with Kindergarten and add one grade each year until the school includes Kindergarten through 12. There will be 50-60 students per grade level, separated into two to three sections. The school is open to any student who lives in the City of Rochester, but on a blind lottery system of students who select the Rochester River School. The school will ultimately be located in a new, state-of-the-art “green” building based on the principles of sustainability. In addition to the main school building, we expect to build two research field stations along the Genesee River. At the high school level, students will be expected to select a CTE (career and technical education) program of study in one of five primary focus areas: Marine Biology Research, Marine Systems Technology, Ocean Engineering, Professional Diving, and Vessel Operations. The first school-wide project is the Billion Bugs Project, the goal of which is education and conservation through the rearing, releasing, reestablishment, and monitoring of the Nine-Spotted Ladybug (the rare New York State insect) to Upstate New York.

Rochester River School Vision Booklet

Design by Nikolas Whiteside