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Discovery Charter School opens doors to at-risk youth in Rochester

School receives important financing and assitance through the PathStone Enterprise Center, Inc.

ROCHESTER, NY (January 26, 2012) — 120 eager students showed up to the first day of classes last fall for the opening of Discovery Charter School in Rochester, NY.


The Discovery Charter School, an elementary school for at-risk children in Rochester, NY, opened its doors on August 15, 2011.

The idea for the school started in 2009, when a group of concerned individuals identified the need for an educational alternative for at-risk youth, particularly those living in poverty within the City of Rochester. Specifically, school organizers decided to focus on the Northeast quadrant of the city, one area in Rochester where PathStone has invested tremendous resources in developing affordable housing and focused its community revitalization efforts.

The need for educational alternatives for youth living in this area is exceptionally high. According to information from The Children’s Agenda, an independent Rochester-based non-profit focusing on the health and well-being of children in Monroe County, half of all students that enter Rochester City high schools do not graduate. Additionally, 88% of city elementary school students qualify for free or reduced price school meals.  

When asked about the reasons for starting the school, co-founder, Dave Vigren, said, “This effort is for the kids; the founders and I are determined to make a difference in the lives of a significant number of children. Discovery will teach real skills for the real world … it is an Expeditionary Learning school which blends real life experiences with fundamental learning.”

A lot of research, diligence and perseverance on the founders’ part made Discovery Charter School a reality.  Grants, along with financing from M&T Bank and a GAP loan from PathStone Enterprise Center, Inc., helped make the school a reality for many at-risk children in Rochester.

A lottery selected students from the more than 400 applicants, with two classes per grade: kindergarten, first and second.  Discovery will add a new grade each year, until it has reached its goal of serving children from kindergarten through sixth grade.  

Upon visiting the school, it is hard not to get excited about what is happening.  The teachers and staff are passionate and believe in what Discovery is trying to accomplish.  At Discovery, it is all hands on deck; everyone pitches in wherever there is a need. School Director, Joseph L. Saia, knows the students and truly believes that “Discovery will be a place where students, parents and teachers can make dreams a reality.”

At the school, success is seen every day.

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