Dirk Hightower featured in the RBJ


Dirk Hightower celebrates 35 years at Children’s Institute this year and chairs our School Readiness CAN, which works to ensure more children begin school ready and able to learn. Under the School Readiness CAN is the GROW Rochester initiative that is working to integrate comprehensive developmental screenings for all of Rochester’s 3 year olds.

Read more about Dirk’s work here in his profile in the Rochester Business Journal.

Black Heritage Conference 2017

Black Heritage Conference 2

The City of Rochester’s Black Heritage Committee and the Rochester Teacher Center hosted the 4th Annual Black Heritage Conference with the theme “The Institute for Teaching & Learning, Informed by Cultural Knowledge.” The conference kicked off on Thursday, April 6th at School of the Arts with a keynote by Dr. Molefi K. Asante, Chair, Department of African and African American Studies at Temple University, entitled “Revolutionary Pedagogy: From Pedagogy of the Oppressed to Innovation.” On Friday, April 7th teachers and administrators from the Rochester City School District (RCSD) joined community members at the Rochester Educational Opportunity Center for a full day of learning and sharing. Attendee’s heard opening remarks from Jackie Campbell, ROC the Future Alliance Director and Jerome Underwood, Attendance CAN Chair. An interactive group activity was facilitated by Melanie Funchess which challenged the group to think about the ways they are engaged in community work. Dr. Asante then presented “How African Americans Launched Freedom in the Nation: Teaching Victorious Thought.” His presentation highlighted the “Essential Knowings” for being mentally, emotionally and spiritually healthy, and responded to the difficulties of public education meeting the educational needs of children, their families, and the community. Continue reading

Website Update

Have you checked out our new website? Over the past few months we have refreshed our existing website to give it a new look, make navigation easier and keep you up to date on ROC the Future happenings. New to the website is a Convener member log in feature, where Conveners can log in and access a library of documents such as meeting agendas, minutes and reports. As we move forward in our communication efforts it is our intent to reduce the number of attachments in our email communication and drive traffic to our newly updated website. We hope that you find the website helpful and resourceful. Continue reading

 Cold Can’t Stop Us – Winter Attendance Challenge


We are nearing the end of our RCSD Cold Can’t Stop Us – Winter Attendance Challenge on April 28th and many students still have a chance to win a $500 Walmart gift card for their family.

While we are forging ahead with our attendance campaign one of the District’s biggest challenges to attendance is coming up quick. Spring Break is from April 14th to April 21st, but it can be tempting for parents to send their children back a day late.  Continue reading

Watch our Interview on City Wise – Cable Channel 12


Dr. Robin Hooper, Early Childhood Executive Director at the Rochester City School District and our Communications Specialist Jessica Lewis joined Tiana Stephens, host of CityWise to discuss the importance of parent engagement, and the newly launched ReadyRosie app which is an early childhood tool free to City parents of children ages 0-5.

The air schedule along with viewing information may be found HERE.

Rochester Receives 5th Annual Campaign for Grade-Level Reading Pacesetters Honors


48 communities including Rochester, New York have been recognized for achieving measurable progress in advancing early literacy.

The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading announced its 5th Annual Pacesetter Honors. Forty-eight communities across the nation including Rochester, New York have been recognized as Pacesetters for “leading by example” to solve one or more of the challenges that can undermine early literacy– school readiness, school attendance and summer learning.

“Recognizing the Pacesetters is our way of applauding the civic leaders, organizations and agencies that have joined forces to build brighter futures for the children in their communities,” said Ralph Smith, managing director of the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. “We are learning with them and from them what it takes to move the needle and close the gap.” Continue reading

Read Our Op-Ed Piece in the Minority Reporter Newspaper about Parent Engagement

J. Lewis photo

Parents play the most powerful and influential role in children’s lives. And, as their children’s first and best teacher, parents set the stage for success in the early years, and early grades.

Read our column in the Minority Reporter explaining the importance of parent engagement written by Jessica Lewis, Communications Specialist at ROC the Future.

Read the piece HERE.

FASFA Fest Wraps Up


FASFA Fest has officially wrapped up and we would like to send special thanks to the members of the College Access CAN and FASFA Fest volunteers for helping to make FASFA Fest a success. We were able to serve over 200 students over the course of seven events, six of which were organized by the Rochester Education Foundation and Rochester College Access Network.  Continue reading

Convener Member Spotlight: ROC the Future Welcomes East High School Partnership with University of Rochester as New Conveners

Convener Member Spotlight: ROC the Future Welcomes East High School Partnership with University of Rochester as New Conveners

Dr. Shaun Nelms

Dr. Shaun Nelms

Dr. Shaun Nelms is superintendent of East Upper and Lower Schools and director of the Center for Urban Education Success at the University of Rochester Warner School of Education, where he also serves as an associate professor. He became East’s superintendent in 2015, when the University of Rochester, as the Educational Partnership Organization (EPO), assumed full management for East. Dr. Nelms is committed to creating a positive and successful educational experience for students and is working to create a replicable reform model for urban secondary schools. Before becoming East’s superintendent, he served as a district administrator and principal in other suburban, urban and high needs districts.

Lorna Washington

Lorna Washington

Lorna Washington serves as the Chief of Staff/Special Assistant to the East Educational Partnership Organization’s (EPO) Superintendent. She is responsible for fostering the expansion of strategic community partnerships and parent engagement initiatives, NYS Education Department reporting and project management for the EPO.

For almost 15 years she worked in the business/healthcare field, transitioning into education 10 years ago, where she supported Rochester City Schools as a Central Office Administrator. She has held several positions including, Special Assistant to the Deputy Superintendent of Teaching and Learning, Director of the Network Team, Director of Special Projects and Administrative Analyst/Project Manager.

Pencils & Paper

Pencils and Paper

Pencils & Paper is a program of Jewish Family Service that helps students in need by providing their teachers with the opportunity to shop for free school supplies for their classrooms. The challenges to our community and schools are well-known. Pencils & Paper helps by making sure that financially vulnerable students have access to the basic tools for learning. Pencils & Paper primary focus will be serving schools where 70% or more of the students are receiving free or subsidized meals. If you are interested in learning more about Pencils & Paper, donating or volunteering, please contact Howard Grossman, Pencils & Paper Program Coordinator, at 585-506-3071 or 585-461-0110 x109.