Shared Accomplishments

October 2014 to September 2016

Children need continuous and consistent support both inside and outside of the classroom in order to achieve academically.  Since ROC the Future launched in 2011, we’ve focused on learning more about the state of children in our community, and factors that impact their chances for success.  These are highlights summarizing some of our shared accomplishments.

Key Accomplishments

  • Reduced chronic absence in the Rochester City School District  As a result our collaborative effort, chronic absence during the 2015-16 school year improved from 30.1% to 27.6% for K-3 students, and reduced to 32.7% for the district overall.
  • Completed more than 600 separate health and developmental screenings for 3-year-olds  Children are assessed in seven areas using robust tools: vision, hearing, dental, speech and language, cognitive, fine and gross motor and social and emotional growth.
  • District-wide roll-out of evidence-based book distribution  All PreK-11 students had an opportunity to select their own free books for summer reading, a practice proven to reduce summer reading loss. PreK-2nd grade students each received 10 books, 5 of which they chose themselves based on their interests. Third-11th grade students chose 2 chapter books of their choice for summer reading as well.
  • Summer learning opportunities  RCSD offered more than 50 summer learning programs, serving more than 8000 K-12 students. A recent Rand study on effects of summer learning examined summer programs in 5 urban districts, including Rochester Summer Scholars program, and found that elementary students with high levels of attendance benefitted in both Math and Reading. In summer 2016, the Horizons program increased enrichment and summer learning opportunities by 20% over 2015 – serving approximately 1100 students at 17 sites.  The SummerLEAP programs are on a mission to provide life-transforming high quality summer enrichment to all qualifying students in the Greater Rochester area.  Their PreK-3rd Grade Initiative improved kindergarten readiness by 38% this summer. Students from previous cohorts demonstrate positive reading proficiency,  with 91% of original 2013 cohort reading at or above grade level upon entering 3rd grade, this past September – after their 4th summer at Horizon’s at Harley. All students have  also been taught to swim (www.summerleap.net).
  • Increased filings of college financial aid forms  Rochester City School District and area charter school student early FAFSA applications for federal student aid rose 17% from March 2015 to March 2016.
  • Ready Rosie Funding  PECAN was launched in March 2016 to support the deliberate engagement of parents and families in Rochester’s school success movement. Funding received from ROC the Future stakeholders to support Ready Rosie include the: Farash Foundation, Friends & Foundation of the Rochester Public Library, Healthy Baby Network, and Children’s Institute.
  • National Student Clearinghouse Subscription  An annual subscription to this national database will allow ROC the Future’s College Access Network to identify how many students enroll in college upon graduation from Rochester high schools, their  college persistence rates, as well as their college graduation rates. This subscription is made possible by a generous donation from the John and Jayne Summers Foundation at the Rochester Area Community Foundation.
  • City of Rochester’s Children Impact Statement  The City of Rochester aligned its spending and priorities for children and families using the ROC the Future Framework in the 2016-2017 budget, and provided operational support for the first time.
  • Campaign for Grade Level Reading Pacesetter Awards   The Rochester community was recognized with three Pacesetter Honors, for “leading by example” to solve one or more of the challenges that can undermine early literacy.  The award was received in January in recognition for achievement in three areas. School Attendance: significantly reducing the number of chronically absent children in K- 3rd grade from 37% to 30% in just one year; Summer Learning: 90% of approximately 1200 struggling readers maintained or improved their reading levels over the course of the summer, almost twice the rate for comparison students who did not attend the program; and Early Grade Reading: Last year, Rochester saw a  5% increase in the number of 2nd graders reading on grade level from  Fall 2014 to Fall 2015 based on the NWEA assessment.
  • K-2 Curriculum Rewrite  Working closely with the School Readiness workgroup, RCSD includes funding  for 5 teachers to rewrite the K-2 curriculum to be more academically relevant and culturally appropriate in its  2016 – 2017 budget.
  • Expansion of RTF Convener Leadership Table  ROC the Future welcomed 6 new Conveners to the leadership table, with the goal of being more representative of all the efforts in our community to improve public education for children: ESL Charitable Foundation (also a new funder); East High School; Great Schools For All; Nazareth College; the North East Charter School Network; and the Community Advisory Council.
  • Reduced chronic absence by 10.7 percentage points During the 2014-15 school year 442 more K-3 students in 13 target schools attended school at least 90% of the time as a result of three years of collaborative work through Rochester City School District’s (RCSD) Attendance Initiative.
  • Comprehensive, integrated developmental screenings for 3-year-olds (GROW Rochester) ROC the Future helped secured a $789,000, 3-year commitment to scale-up and integrate comprehensive vision, hearing, and developmental screenings for 3 year-olds beginning fall 2015. Funders include Greater Rochester Health Foundation, the United Way, City of Rochester, and Rochester Area Community Foundation.
  • Expanded evidence-based book distribution All RCSD K-11 students had an opportunity to choose books for summer reading, a practice proven to reduce summer reading loss.
  • Increased summer learning opportunities by 25% In summer 2015 RCSD and partners  increased enrichment and recovery summer learning opportunities by 25% over 2014 – serving more than 12,500 students.
  • Increased filings of college financial aid forms Applications by Rochester City School District students for federal student aid rose 9% from March 2014 to March 2015.

Additional Accomplishments

In addition to the outcomes listed above, we recognize progress by our collaborative action networks on the action plans they have developed to meet our overarching goals.

Goal:  Every Child School Ready

  • Added Perinatal Collaborative Action Network affiliated with Healthy Baby Network, which is now developing an action plan to address gaps contributing to low weight births, such as early prenatal care – a major determinant of later child, youth and adult success.
  • Increased professional learning about early childhood for RCSD teachers, staff, and administrators.

Goal:  Every Child Supported

  • Students needing support declined from 22% to 14% in the pilot assessment of 14 out-of-school sites measuring the impact of their program on participating K-8 students’ social-emotional competency and resilience.
  • The inventory of out-of-school-time opportunities describes recent growth in school-based Expanded Learning Time programs, summer learning opportunities, and initiatives to boost the quality of traditional after-school programs.  It also documents the continuing gap between need and supply. Research indicates expanding capacity and improving quality will increase the positive impact of out-of-school-time programming on students’ academic and social competence.

Goal:  Every Child Successful

This goal relates primarily to 3rd, 4th, and 8th grade New York State English and Math proficiency tests and graduation rates. Detailed information on these indicators, including rates by race and income, are available  at the following indicators link

  • The high school graduation rate improved 3 percentage points to 51%.

Goal:  Every Child College and Career Ready

  • College information website sees 1,300 users Rochester Education Foundation, a ROC the Future convener and facilitator of the Rochester College Access Network Collaborative Action Network, developed a website with information on local colleges, financial aid, and college admission counselor contacts.  The website had more than 1,300 users in June 2015.
  • Pilot of college visits for 10th graders Monroe High School sent 46 10th grade students on 65 college visits in preparation for a broader effort to include all 10th
  • Chosen to participate in Clinton Global Initiative to pilot test of college readiness Chosen by SUNY Cradle to Career Initiative to pilot a test of college readiness.

Increased Community Alignment

  • Unified Advocacy Agenda 69 community leaders formally voted to sign on to an ongoing, unified, focused advocacy agenda for children and youth which calls for:
  1. Increasing the number of parents who receive in-home parenting education through home visitation.
  2. Increasing the number of children who receive high-quality early care and education.
  3. Increasing the number of children who receive high-quality summer learning between their pre-K and kindergarten school years.
  4. Increasing the number of Rochester children who attend high quality after-school programs.
  5. Increasing the high school graduation rate by creating a Career and Technical Education pathway to a NYS Regents diploma.
  • Growing Collective Impact and Leadership: Based in part on their collective impact experience with ROC the Future, Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle, County Executive Maggie Brooks, Mayor Lovely Warren and the United Way helped develop the Rochester-Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative at the request of Governor Cuomo.  Leonard Brock moved from Alliance Director of ROC the Future to head up the new Anti-Poverty Initiative, and Jackie Campbell, active in ROC the Future’s collaborative action networks in her role with the City Library, has assumed leadership as Alliance Director.
  • Seminar on Social and Emotional Competence: Critical Skills for Success in School and Life, September 2015   Paul LeBuffe of the Devereux Center for Resilient Children outlined for over 170 community members the components of social-emotional learning, their importance in school and life, and research documenting the results of intentionally teaching students these skills. An overview of 213 studies assessing the impact of teaching social-emotional skills to K-12 students identified improvements in classroom behavior and test scores and decreases in conduct problems and emotional distress such as anxiety and depression.  This event was organized by the Greater Rochester After-School Alliance and co-sponsored by ROC the Future.
  • Leadership Summit in Urban Education, March 2015 Organized by Nazareth College, ROC the Future co-sponsored this event, bringing together more than 225 educators to hear NYS Regents Wade Norwood and Lester Young Jr. and successful urban educators from around New York State.
  • National League of Cities Educational Alignment for Young Children Summit, October 2014  More than 200 early childhood experts and community members from across New York State attended sessions detailing what is being done here and in other communities to advance children’s early literacy and overall development. Organized by the City of Rochester and The Children’s Agenda, the statewide summit was co-sponsored by ROC the Future.
  • Advocated for Increased Child Care Subsidies The Rochester Business Alliance’s Community Coalition and more than 100 religious congregations in The Children’s Agenda’s Interfaith Collaborative advocated for increased child care subsidies in part due to its impact on school readiness.

State and National Recognition for ROC the Future

“Moving the Needle on Chronic Absence” about the success of Rochester’s Attendance Initiative, profiled on StriveTogether’s National blog, September 2015.

NY Life Excellence in Summer Learning Award, August 2015.

Rochester profiled in “Expanded Learning, Expanded Opportunity:  How Four Communities are Working to Improve Education for Their Students,” by America’s Promise Alliance, July 2015

Children’s Institute director, convener, and School Readiness Network facilitator, Dirk Hightower, participated in panel “Lessons Learned” at SUNY Cradle to Career Convening in New York City, June 2015.

ROC the Future met a more advanced national benchmark for local affiliates of the StriveTogether Cradle to Career Network, May 2015.  For more information see StriveTogether network affiliates