Homework Hotline American Graduate: Dr. Walter Cooper



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In this American Graduate we meet a man in Rochester, NY that has been inspiring people for generations. Dr. Walter Cooper will tell us why receiving an education is important.

(Kids sing Good Morning song) (Teacher) Good Morning, Dr. Walter Cooper. (Cooper)Good Morning, Ms. Scatia. Good Morning, students. (Students) Good Morning, Dr. Walter Cooper. (Voice Over) WALTER COOPER – OR “DR. WALTER” AS SOME STUDENTS REFER TO HIM – IS
A MAN OF MANY HATS AT SCHOOL 10 IN THE ROCHESTER CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT. (STUDENT) HOW OLD ARE YOU? (COOPER) I’M 86. (STUDENT) YOU’VE LIVED A LONG HEALTHY LIFE. (VOICE OVER) HE’S THE GO-TO FOR LEARNING
ABOUT EYE-WITNESS ACCOUNTS OF HISTORY. (STUDENT) OUR TEACHER MS. BARRET TOLD US YOU WERE IN THE UH, NOT SELMA. (COOPER) “THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON, YEAH
I WENT THERE. IT WAS MORE LIKE A SPIRITUAL MARCH. YOU HAD THE WORLD’S POPULATIONS REPRESENTED. YOU HAD RABBIS, YOU HAD PRIESTS, YOU HAD PREACHERS. (VOICE OVER) HE’S ALSO A MOTIVATOR… (COOPER) WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO CAREER WISE? WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE? (STUDENT 1) PEDIATRICIAN! (STUDENT 2) I WANNA BE A HAIR STYLIST OR DANCE
TEACHER. (COOPER) HAIR STYLIST? OK BE A GOOD ONE CAUSE THERE'S LOTS OF COMPETITION
THERE. (VOICE OVER) A CHALLENGER… (COOPER) WHY ARE YOU INTERESTED IN BEING A
GAMER? PARDON ME SPEAK UP LOUD I'M NOT GONNA HURT
YOU I'M YOUR FRIEND – SHAKE MY HAND. (STUDENT) CAUSE I'M GOOD AT IT. (COOPER) CAUSE YOU'RE GOOD AT IT OK. YOU'LL BE BETTER AT IT IF YOU COULD READ WELL. (VOICE OVER) AND…A GRANDFATHER…HE ALSO
HAPPENS TO BE THE NAMESAKE OF THE SCHOOL. IN 2010, THE BUILDING WAS NAMED “DR. WALTER COOPER ACADEMY.” THE FORMER RESEARCH SCIENTIST AT KODAK AND
LONG-TIME EDUCATION ADVOCATE IN ROCHESTER, SAYS IT’S AN HONOR THAT HITS CLOSE TO HOME. (COOPER) MY FAMILY ACTUALLY CAME OUT OF THE
DEPRESSION AND WE MOVED TO EVOLVE TO ANOTHER HIGHER PLANE ECONOMICALLY AND KNOWLEDGE WISE,
ALL BECAUSE OF EDUCATION… WE HAD NO MONEY, BUT WE HAD DRIVE AND THE
INTEREST TO MAKE SOMETHING OF OUR LIVES, AND WHAT I TRY TO CONVEY TO THE CHILDREN HERE,
WHENEVER I ENGAGE WITH THEM INDIVIDUALLY, THAT YOU’RE HERE TODAY AT THIS STAGE OF
YOUR LIFE, BUT IT DOESN’T NECESSARILY MEAN THAT IT’S THE BEGINNING AND END STAGE. YOU HAVE MANY STAGES TO CLIMB AND THE FUTURE
IS AHEAD OF YOU, AND YOU CAN CREATE IT. (VOCIE OVER) ENGAGING WITH THE STUDENTS OF
THE DR. WALTER COOPER ACADEMY IS A HIGHLIGHT OF HIS
BUSY WEEKLY SCHEDULE. COOPER USUALLY VISITS THE SCHOOL TWICE A WEEK…STOPPING
BY CLASSROOMS, THE NURSE’S OFFICE, THE CAFETERIA AND SCHOOL LEADERSHIP MEETINGS… (CLYBURN) HE’S INVOLVED IN EVERYTHING. HE COMES TO OUR PLANNING MEETINGS, HE’S
BEEN AN ADVOCATE FOR US WHEN WE NEEDED THINGS AT CENTRAL OFFICE. HE’S FAMILY TO US… HE’S JUST NOT A BUILDING NAMESAKE. (VOICE OVER) COOPER’S PRIORITIES ARE TO
ENSURE STUDENTS KNOW THEIR WORTH, THAT THEY SHOW UP TO SCHOOL EVERY DAY AND THAT THEY’RE
ALL READING AT GRADE LEVEL BY THE THIRD GRADE. THE LAST OF WHICH REQUIRES WHAT HE CALLS “TOUGH
MEDICINE” AT TIMES. (COOPER) HOW CAN YOU BE PROUD OF THAT BECAUSE
THAT DETERMINES YOUR FUTURE? YOU CAN'T BE PROUD OF NOT BEING ABLE TO READ,
PEOPLE CALL YOU A DUMMY AND EVERYTHING AND THEN YOU END UP BEING DEPENDENDENT ON SOMEONE
ELSE FOR YOUR FUTURE. (VOICE OVER) HIS FOCUS ON LITERACY IS PART
PERSONAL AS HIS OWN FATHER NEVER LEARNED HOW TO READ OR WRITE. IT’S ALSO A SCHOOL-WIDE MISSION KNOWN AS
“THE COOPER CHALLENGE” (COOPER) THE YOUNGSTER HAS TO READ A BOOK
AND THE PARENT HAS TO SIGN OFF ON IT. AND THAT BECOMES PART OF THE CHALLENGE. IT’S X NUMBER OF BOOKS PER WEEK OR PER MONTH… AND SO IT IS WHAT I WOULD CALL A VERY RELEVANT
AND CONVENIENT SCHEME TO ENGAGE THE PARENT AT LEAST IN TERMS OF OVER-LOOKING THEIR YOUNGER’S
READING. (IVERSON) I WASN’T ACTUALLY READING UNTIL
HE HAD TALKED TO ME AND IT MADE ME FEEL LIKE I SHOULD ACTUALLY READ… I ACTUALLY THINK IT’S FUN TO READ. RIGHT NOW, READING THESE SCIENTIFIC BOOKS
THAT HE HAS READ, SOME OF THEM, BACK IN HIS DAYS. I’M LEARNING. (COOPER) YOU KNOW I WILL CONVEY TO THEM YOU’LL
BECOME A MODERN SLAVE IF YOU DON’T LEARN TO READ, WRITE AND COMPREHEND BECAUSE YOU’LL
NEVER HAVE A JOB OF VALUE IN A SOCIETY THAT ACTUALLY DEMANDS SOME KIND EDUCATIONAL AND
THEREFORE ECONOMIC STABILITY. (VOICE OVER) AND ACCORDING TO WALTER COOPER,
THE WORK OF EDUCATING CHILDREN ISN’T SUCCESSFUL UNLESS IT ALSO INCLUDES THE FAMILY. SO THIS SUMMER THE SCHOOL IS LAUNCHING ITS
FIRST 6-WEEK SUMMER LEARNING PROGRAM FOR PARENTS. THE AGENDA INCLUDES LESSONS ON DEVELOPMENTAL
NEEDS OF KIDS, LITERACY, NEW TECHNIQUES TO PROMOTE CURIOSITY IN LEARNING, AND MORE. (COOPER) I BELIEVE THAT THE FAMILY IS THE
PRIMARY DETERMINANT OF EDUCATIONAL ACHIEVEMENT. BUT IF A YOUNGSTER DOES NOT HAVE FAMILY, HOW
DO YOU MAKE AMENDS OR HOW DO YOU ACTUALLY PROVIDE FOR THE YOUNGSTER NEW INSIGHTS, NEW
HOPE? THE SCHOOL HAS TO BE THE YOUNGSTER’S REFUGE. (VOICE OVER) COOPER SAYS NOT MUCH CAN SLOW
HIM DOWN IN HIS WORK WITH THE TEAM AT THE SCHOOL TO CONTINUE MAKING THE DR. WALTER COOPER ACADEMY A REFUGE FOR KIDS. AND TO CONTINUE INSTILLING IN STUDENTS “THE
COOPER CODE” – TO NEVER, NEVER, NEVER GIVE UP.