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Every child is PREPARED for school

Every child SUCCEEDS academically

Every child ENROLLS in some form of postsecondary education
Every child GRADUATES and is CAREER ready
Key Information and Accomplishments

Fact Sheet

About ROC the Future:
ROC the Future is a collaborative, communitywide initiative of leading Rochester-area
institutions and community partners. For a list of ROC the Future partners, visit

Mission: ROC the Future is an alliance of leading Rochester-area institutions and community partners
that promotes alignment and focuses community resources to improve the academic achievement of
Rochesters children.

Vision: ROC the Future is recognized by key community stakeholders as an effective catalyst for
driving the academic improvement of Rochester school children.
The alliance offers a cradle-to-career educational pipeline that can serve any child in the
Rochester City School District, for success in school and throughout life.
ROC the Future is supported by a national and statewide network of similar initiatives based
on the STRIVE model that uses evidence-based practices and communitywide data indicators
for goal setting, process improvement and performance measurement to ensure the academic
success of Rochesters children. To learn more about STRIVE, visit:

The goal is to promote, align and focus community resources in an effort to improve the
academic achievement of Rochesters children.
ROC the Futures strategic goals include:
Every child is prepared for school.
Every child succeeds academically.
Every child enrolls in some form of post-secondary education.
Every child graduates and is career ready.

Focus Area:
The primary focus area for ROC the Future is third-grade literacy, which prioritizes three
Expanded learning opportunities
School readiness
In 2011-2012, Monroe Community College, the Rochester City School District and the United
Way initiated the project; large, communitywide plenary sessions were held to communicate
intentions and to solicit information, interest and feedback. With this feedback, and informed
by evidence, the conveners selected third-grade literacy as the starting point of this work. An
expanded Conveners Group (executive board) was established with representatives from
early-childhood organizations, K-12 schools, higher education, community organizations,
government, philanthropy, faith-based institutions and corporate partners, all of whom
volunteer their time and contribute institutional resources to further the collective vision,
provide strategic guidance, promote and report data, and provide the leadership necessary to
advance the project.

Report Card:
The report card gives the ROC the Future team a place to start by grading the job we,
as a community, are doing to prepare our kids to succeed.
It lays out significant educational milestones along the path from cradle to
college/career and assesses how our children are doing at each point.
Focuses on the City of Rochester because the needs are greatest there.
Half of Rochesters children are growing up in poverty, one of the highest rates
in the nation.
Almost all students in the Rochester City School District qualify for subsidized
lunches because their families earn so little.
Research and experience show that childrens success is determined at key momentum
points from cradle to college or career.
The report card provides grades for indicators at these points. The indicators were
selected by the ROC the Future collaborative action network members, networks made
up of volunteer professionals, and community members with experience in areas like
school readiness and extended learning.
The current version of the report card shows disappointing performance on most indicators
(school attendance, third-grade reading performance, graduation rates), but also some signs
of progress (high rates of pre-kindergarten enrollment and high quality in many pre-K
The report card becomes available once a year in the fall.
To view the report card, visit on the ACT
Rochester website.

How to Get Involved and Contact:
If you would like to support, get involved with or receive more information on ROC the Future,
visit or contact Dr. Leonard Brock at or 585-
256-2620, ext. 2604.



2013-2014 Accomplishments: First Year While Staffed
ROC the Future is an alliance of leading Rochester area institutions and community partners
working with the Rochester City School District to promote alignment and focus community
resources to improve the academic achievement of Rochesters children. We do this by
bringing increased focus to community resources and alignment of practices onto
key cradle-to-career leverage points, with third grade literacy as a launching point. We are
supported by a national and statewide network of similar initiatives based on Cincinnatis
very successful StriveTogether model, which has succeeded over the past 5 years in lifting
grade literacy, high school graduation rates, and college entrance with a population
similar to Rochesters.
Conveners are:
ABC: Loretta Kruger
Bonadio: Mario Urso
CGR: Kent Gardner and Joseph Stefko
Childrens Agenda: Leonard Brock, Larry
Marx and Jeff Kaczorowski
Childrens Institute: Dirk Hightower and
Terry Hartmann
Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity
School: Marvin McMickle
City of Rochester: Lovely Warren, Len
Redon and Patricia Uttaro
Dixon-Schwabl: Lauren Dixon
Ibero: Hilda Rosario-Escher
JP Morgan Chase: Joe Rulison
MCC: Anne Kress and Jeffrey Bartovich
Monroe County: Kelly Reed and Nancy
NYS Delegation: Joe Morelle and Joe
NYS Regent: Wade Norwood
The Community Foundation: Jennifer
Leonard, Hank Rubin and Maired
RBA: Chris Wiest
RCSD Board: Van White
RCSD: Bolgen Vargas, Kathryn Yarlett,
and Jerome Underwood
Rochester Education Foundation:
Patricia Braus
SUNY/REOC: Roosevelt Mareus
United Way: Peter Carpino and Dawn

In summer 2013, ROC the Future appointed The Childrens Agenda to serve as a backbone
organization, with Executive for Education Initiatives, Dr. Leonard M. Brock, hired as full-
time Alliance Director. ROC the Future staffing was made possible thanks to financial
contributions from JP Morgan Private Bank, The Community Foundation, United Way, the
Brighter Days Foundation and others. Conveners elected 4 officers: Anne Kress, MCC as
Chair; Jennifer Leonard, Community Foundation as Vice-Chair; Chris Wiest, Rochester
Business Association as Treasurer; Patricia Uttaro, City of Rochester as Secretary.


List of Accomplishments
Coordination & Alignment Progress
1. Developed shared, common community priorities (3
grade literacy, which is
determinative of long-term success), goals, and measures for continuous tracking.
2. Developed and released first annual comprehensive "report card" of data to measure
progress on key outcomes of childrens cradle-to-career success (thanks in large part to
the Center for Governmental Research and ACT Rochester).
3. Engaged over 50 different institutions for joint recommendations and actions in
Collaborative Action Networks on the most important leverage points for improving
academic success by 3
grade: School Readiness, Attendance, Expanded Learning Time
and College Access.
4. Elevated 3rd grade reading as a community focus and priority:
City of Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren has emphasized this as part of her Early
Learning Councils 3 to 3 initiative;
Rochester City School District and the City Public Library system have added 9
positions in a new coordinated effort at summer reading;
ROC the Future has promoted, endorsed and, in partnership with others, secured
support for several summer learning programs, i.e., Center for Youth, and continues
to work with other service provider partners working to scale evidence-based
program models.
The Rochester Business Alliances Community Coalition adopted child care subsidy
advocacy in part due to its impact on improving school readiness;
5. Created and adopted mission, vision, governance guidelines and structure for ROC the
6. Adopted first comprehensive action plan in Spring 2014, driving coordinated priorities,
goals, and measures down into strategies, programs and actions for next 2 years.
School Readiness Progress
1. Thanks to RCSD leadership, our local state legislative delegation and the State of New
York, 830 more 4 year-old City of Rochester children went into full-day pre-K this year,
for 1,936 total kids in half-day and full-day pre-K.
2. Engaging more than 20 early childhood experts and stakeholders in this Collaborative
Action Network.
3. Researched, drafted and adopted first-ever, commonly agreed-upon community
definition for school readiness (thanks in large part to the Childrens Institute).
4. Lobbied the State of New York on behalf of the Monroe County Early Intervention
5. Created an action plan for enhancing readiness of the family, and increasing the number
of three-year-old children who receive developmental screenings.


6. Assisted with the drafting of community survey on socio-emotional development
training needs of child care providers.
Attendance Progress
1. Led by the Rochester City School District, the Attendance Collaborative Action Network
targeted 4 elementary schools and raised daily student attendance the 2012-2013
school year by 2% over the previous year, for 500 more kids in school every day. Under
RCSDs leadership, approximately 20-25 volunteers from ROC the Future constituent
organizations knocked on doors of 100 homes of frequently absent children from
targeted schools each month. Expanded to 13 schools in 14-15 school year.
2. The Attendance Network is coordinating responses to troubled families of frequently
absent children between the City, County and School District, between government and
nonprofits, and over 40 participating organizations.
Extended Learning Time Progress
1. Separate, overlapping groups merged to form this network currently engaging more
than 200 stakeholders in determining outcomes for children and youth participating in
out-of-school-time (OST) programs, thanks to the leadership of the Greater Rochester
Afterschool Alliance.
2. Reviewed and endorsed youth program quality standards for local OST programs and
service providers
3. Endorsed youth program accreditation process and quality improvement processes for
OST programs
4. Selected youth-level outcome tool to measure social and emotional health
5. Created outcome table, including definitions and crosswalk to Common Core State
Standards and NYS Social Emotional Learning Standards

College Access Progress

1. Under the leadership of the Rochester Education Foundation, developed an
organizational infrastructure that consists of broad representation from local colleges
and universities and non-profits more than 15 participating organizations
2. Planning a campaign in 2014-2015 focused on supporting student and family
knowledge and access to financial aid as a way to support college access. The group has
started offering support in the community.
3. Using partners and social media, reached out to more than 220 local ministers,
encouraging them to share information about financial aid support and a local event in
January 2014.
4. Organized several community events and activities that raised awareness about the
importance of financial aid
Community Engagement Progress


1. Campaign for Black Male Achievement events with national campaign manager for Open
Society Foundation, Shawn Dove, and 100 local participants, 8/1/2013.
2. Co-hosted Americas Promise Alliances Grad Nation local event with 300 participants to
discuss actions to improve graduation rates, 10/30/2013, thanks to the leadership of
the Rochester Area Community Foundation.
3. Media coverage:
D&C: Education group aims to ROC the Future 5/31/13
D&C Op Ed: Despite formidable challenges, Rochester's outlook can improve
Unite Rochester online Facebook dialog with 200 participants, 7/1/13
WXXI: "The Graduation Conversation," with Anne Kress of MCC and Jennifer
Leonard of the Rochester Area Community Foundation, 10/17/2013
WXXI: A Change is Coming for City Kids, But When? with Dr. Kent Gardner, Center
for Governmental Research, and Dr. Leonard Brock, ROC the Future Alliance
Director and The Childrens Agenda, 10/17/2013
D&C Op Ed: Helping city kids read by grade 3 is our priority, 11/3/13
4. Established a website:
5. Engaged Dixon Schwabl with a ROC the Future communications team to ensure
consistent, effective messaging and ongoing communications with key constituents.
National Recognition for Rochester Progress
1. National Campaign for Grade Level Reading: ROC the Future was designated as the lead
partner for the local campaign in November, 2013. As a result, ROC the Future was
invited to present at several statewide meetings, including the NYS literacy coalition
conference held in Syracuse.
2. StriveTogether national alliance: Officially designated ROC the Future as a network
member after a robust assessment of local viability and progress. The Childrens
Institutes Dirk Hightower and Alliance Director Leonard Brock presented on topics
related to data-informed decision making and use of data management systems at the
Strive national conference in February, 2014, and has been asked to provide coaching to
several emerging networks/alliances throughout the country.
3. Annie E. Casey & Strive Together National Leadership Program: ROC the Future was
one of five communities selected from a nationwide competitive process to participate
in this inaugural program. Representing Rochester are Leonard Brock, Dirk Hightower,
and Jerome Underwood, Senior Director of Youth and Family Services at Rochester City
School District.
4. Annie E. Casey Pacesetter award: ROC the Future was given this award recognition for
2013 in January, 2014, highlighting ROC the Futures commitment to evidence-based
5. National League of Cities: Thanks to the leadership of Deputy Mayor Len Redon, City of
Rochester Library head Patty Uttaro, and The Childrens Agendas Carolyn Lee-Davis,
Rochester was selected as one of only 8 cities in the country for the Municipal
Leadership to Promote Educational Alignment for Young Children technical assistance
grant, aimed at improving outcomes for children ages 0-8.
1 South Washington Street Rochester, NY 14614 OFFICE 585.256.2620 ext.2604


2014 has been good for the U.S. economy. GDP grew at a rate of near 5% in the 2
quarter. Rochester added
over 4,000 jobs since August 2013. But youth who leave school this year without a sound education will find few
opportunities to join the mainstream economy. Competition from global labor and technology has kept wages
stagnant. Jobs that pay a living wage demand fundamental literacy and numeracy. Options are few for those
who lack the basics.
ROC the Future has continued to mature in the past year. Its subgroups, known as collaborative action
networks (CANs), have taken shape and are taking action. While the CANs are establishing and achieving
process outcomes, the 2014 Report Card reminds us how much we must do and how difficult the task remains.
Both this report card and ROC the Future focus on the City of Rochester and its more than 30,000 students
because the needs are greatest there. Half of Rochesters children are growing up in poverty, the second highest
rate in the nation. Growing up poor doesnt make learning impossible, but it does make it more difficult.
Children must overcome obstacles in their families and neighborhoods ranging from crime to homelessness to
poor nutrition to inadequate health care. To make a difference for these children, we must align our
communitys efforts, assuring that they add up to more than any one program or initiative can provide.
Although the ROC the Future collaborative is tracking more than forty measures, the 2014 Report Card grades
progress on selected milestones on the cradle to college/career pathway. The indicators were selected by the
ROC the Future collaborative action network members, networks made up of volunteer professionals and
community members with expertise and experience in areas like school readiness, extended learning, and
college preparation. Like all of ROC the Future, the 2014 Report Card supports collective action aimed at
improving outcomes for Rochesters children.
1 South Washington Street Rochester, NY 14614 OFFICE 585.256.2620 ext.2604
ROC the Future is focusing particular attention on a few key milestones.
Childrens success begins before they are born with mothers who take care of themselves and their developing
babies, starting with regular doctor visits. In Rochester, 69% of mothers began prenatal care early in their
pregnancies, compared to 79% in Monroe County as a whole. Children born small are at greater risk of learning
problems in future years. About 11% of Rochester babies had low weights at birth (under 5.5 pounds),
compared to almost 9% in the county. (Data from 2012)
Schools need to be ready for kids, with good teachers, adequate supports and supplies, and engaging
instruction. But children also need to be ready for school. Too many children lack necessary skills when entering
school: Only 2/3 of city children who attended pre-K were at expected levels in language development, math
and other areas on a screening assessment done in the fall of their pre-K year (Data from 2014).
Is it true that 80% of success is showing up? Too many Rochester students dont show up for school. Average
daily attendance levels are 92% in elementary schools (K-6) and much lower 85% -- in secondary schools (7-
12), compared to 95% and 93% in Monroe County (data from 2013). Average daily attendance masks the
severity of the problem for individual students. The Rochester City School District has devoted significant effort
to addressing chronic absence, defined as missing more than 10% of school. Last school year about 38% of RCSD
children had missed more than 10% of class days, putting them at critical risk of falling behind. At the
elementary level a third of students were chronically absentthe problem is worse in high school with 46% of
students missing more than 10% of school.
Learning shouldnt stop at 3 p.m. or in June. When children and youth participate in quality after-school and
summer learning opportunities, they are more likely to do better in school. Parents are a childs first teachers,
and their success depends on parents reading with them and supporting their school work. Children also form
relationships that keep them safe and engaged in positive activities outside of classrooms. As a community, we
dont have an accurate count of the total number of students attending high-quality after-school and summer
programs, but we do know that average daily attendance for afterschool programs funded by the United Way
was about 1,200 in 2013. In addition, the Rochester School District is expanding afterschool opportunities
through its extended day initiative.
Research shows that students who are reading on grade level by 3
grade have a much better chance of
successfully finishing high school. Rochesters children have far to go in 2014, just 5% passed the states new,
tougher reading test, compared to 32% in Monroe County. Rochester students in charter schools pass at the
same rate as the county average. Test scores in RCSD schools were lower than the aggregate among African-
American and Hispanic children in 20132 and 3 percentage points below, respectively.
Grade: FAIL
1 South Washington Street Rochester, NY 14614 OFFICE 585.256.2620 ext.2604
Early numeracy (basic arithmetic) is as essential as literacy. Students with a strong foundation in math also have
more college and career opportunities related to valuable Science, Technology, Engineering and Math
pathwaysthe so-called STEM fields. Rochesters 4
graders scores improved in 2014 to 12% from 6% in 2013,
compared to 43% in Monroe County and 48% among Rochester students in charter schools.
Grade: FAIL
The years leading up to high school are pivotal good attendance and decent grades in 8
grade improve the
odds that a young person will successfully transfer to the high school environment. Far too many Rochester 8

graders are failing just 6% passed the states English exam, compared to 36% in Monroe County and 12%
among Rochester students in charter schools. About 8% of RCSD students in 8
grade passed either the 8
Math test or the Regents Algebra I test. This compares to 17% passing the 8
grade Math test in all of Monroe
County and 16% passing 8
grade Math among Rochester students in charter schools. An unknown number of
county and charter school students also took the Algebra I test, so the figures are not strictly comparable. (Data
from 2014)
Grade: FAIL
A productive, self-sustaining adult life begins with graduation from high school. Overall, just under half of
Rochesters students successfully complete high school in 4 years: 48% among African-American students, 47%
among Hispanic and Asian students, and 59% among white students. For Monroe County as a whole, 80%
graduated on time. (Data for Class of 2013)
High school graduation rates tell only a small part of the story on college readiness. Nationally and locally, not
all high school graduates are prepared to succeed in college. Far too many students cross the stage at high
school graduation and walk directly into remedial courses in college. A large share of the Rochester City School
District students who go on to college attend Monroe Community College (MCC), which assesses each student
upon entry. In 2013 at MCC, 50% of RCSD graduates were deemed college ready in English, and 34% were ready
in math. Only 23% were college ready in both subjects, down from 42% in 2008.
Of Rochester students graduating or earning a GED in 2012, 53% had enrolled in a 2-year college and 16% had
enrolled in a 4-year college. Although 2-year college enrollment has stayed the same, the 4-year college
enrollment rate was 7 percentage points below that of the Class of 2008. Persistence in college also fell: Only
41% of Class of 2012 students enrolling in college in 2013 returned for a second year, down from 56% for the
Class of 2008. The federal Department of Education reports that 39% Class of 2013 applied for federal financial
aid, down from 45% for the Class of 2012.

ACT Rochester hosts ROC the Future indicators. Review all of the indicators at

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