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Superintendent Listening Post

Farewell Pinewood

Photo courtesy of RPS website

Rochester Public Schools (RPS) has announced significant changes to its attendance and transportation systems, leading to the closure of Pinewood Elementary School and other schools. 

At the School Board meeting in late January. Superintendent Dr. Pekel offered a number of alternatives for redesigning some of the aspects of the school district going forward. By a vote 6 to 1, Option 3 was chosen. According to information found on the RPS website, Option 3 calls for relocating Pinewood Elementary into the Longfellow Elementary building and running both Longfellow and Pinewood as separate schools inside the same structure, with Longfellow using the 45–15 calendar and Pinewood using the standard calendar (RPS). 

Pinewood became considered for closure when RPS noted that of all the primary schools in Rochester, Pinewood had the fewest number of students enrolled, 275, which is 26% fewer than when it peaked during the 2019–20 school year. 

With the news of Pinewood’s closure or relocation, current students, teachers, and alumni are mourning the loss of a place they know so well.

Photo courtesy of Kimberly Miller

Kimberly Miller, a four-year Panther, and early childhood educator discussed her experiences as a Pinewood staff member. She sees how this is impacting those who taught at Pinewood Elementary: “I loved Pinewood; it was great. It was a really nice, small school. All the staff were super friendly and welcoming.” 

It is still now known what will happen to the Pinewood building, but staff may go with the students when they relocate. Ms. Miller wonders about the idea that although the Pinewood staff is pretty loyal, some “of them [may] just move to something different because… they [may think that] it’s not going to be the same, and so they would maybe just want to start over.” Miller said, “It’s been a little confusing.”

Change is never easy. When one door closes, another opens. Former Panthers will forever miss the two-hallway building they grew up with, but this will have to be the new reality.



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