Education is an important engine of economic growth and individual and family financial self-sufficiency. Growing a stronger economy and reducing poverty will depend on better outcomes in education, cradle to career. To achieve these results, for every child, every step of the way, greater Rochester leaders at all levels of the education, nonprofit, community, civic, and philanthropic sectors are working together as part of ROC the Future to improve academic achievement and equity.
ROC the Future serves as a catalyst for working together, across sectors, and along the entire educational continuum, to improve academic achievement for City of Rochester children.
ROC the Future has four overarching goals:
Our initial priority is improving the proportion of students reading at grade level in third-grade. This includes a focus on school readiness, attendance, and expanded learning opportunities.
ROC the Future works through Collaborative Action Networks tasked with identifying appropriate measurements, indicators, and detailed action plans to improve outcomes related to our goals. ROC the Future is also committed to engaging parents, students, and the community in efforts to improve academic achievement. See the most recent report card measuring our progress and some of ROC the Future’s recent accomplishments and media coverage.
Goal 1: Every Child is School Ready
The first three years of a child’s life—when the human brain develops more rapidly than at any other time—are an opportunity for enormous social, emotional, physical, and intellectual growth. The pace of this growth depends on whether the child’s eagerness to learn is stimulated by his/her environment. For children to grow into successful adults, they need a supportive and healthy early environment.
Why is it important?
Both research and experience show that investment in students, families, early pre-natal care and early childhood education can:
- Reduce variations in children’s achievement that persist and widen over time
- Increase children’s cognitive and social skill development, which is mostly complete by age 5
- Make children’s home environments safer and reduce the likelihood that they will become victims of abuse and neglect
- Reduce effort and cost compared to student remediation or other attempts to reduce education deficits later in the life
- Increase a child’s likelihood of graduating from high school, finding sustainable employment, and contributing to the economic vitality and quality of life of our community
Our children are a precious resource. Every family must have access to high-quality early pre-natal care and early childhood education. Every parent must have knowledge of how to support his or her child’s development. Our community must also prioritize investments in children and families.
Goal 2: Every Child is Supported
City of Rochester students make similar academic progress during the school year compared to their suburban peers. However, without summer and other extended learning opportunities, they lose ground over the years. City of Rochester students also face high levels of stress, violence, and trauma due in part to the high level and concentration of poverty in their neighborhoods.
Why is it important?
Rochester has a long history of collaboration to provide out-of-school time learning opportunities. ROC the Future has spurred systematic investments in improving program quality, expanding capacity, and evaluating outcomes. This work ensures youth receive an appropriate balance of social-emotional, academic, and health and wellness supports to succeed in school and in life.
Goal 3: Every Child is Successful
High-quality teaching and involved parents and caregivers are critical factors in determining academic outcomes. Teacher training and professional development, plus support for students and families, must align with high expectations for every student.
Why is it important?
Student academic success is the core objective of all the strategies implemented as a part of ROC the Future. All the education partners from early childhood through college and career are committed to establishing high standards for all students and providing a rigorous curriculum that challenges students and prepares them with the skills and knowledge to succeed in the 21st century. In order to promote student success, educators, families, service providers, and the community must focus on each student gaining the necessary skills and knowledge at each transition point to be successful at the next level. A priority transition point identified by ROC the Future is reading at grade level by third-grade. This allows students to read to learn in later grades.
Goal 4: Every Child is College and Career Ready
Financial self-sufficiency in the 21st century global economy demands education beyond high school, whether it is a two- or four-year college degree or a technical certification. Students, families, and teachers must have access to college and career information and support, and financial barriers must be addressed.
Why is it important?
There are many individual and community benefits of postsecondary education, whether it be a two- or four-year degree or a technical certification. A few such benefits include:
Increased Income The median income of a worker with a high school education is $30,665, while those with at least an associate degree earn $37,493. Those with a bachelor’s degree can earn almost twice the median income of a high school graduate, a pattern that continues over the course of a worker’s lifetime.
Workforce Development A more educated community leads to economic development. A skilled workforce attracts work opportunities and demands livable wages resulting in a better quality of life for the entire community. National employment projections indicate that jobs requiring only a high school degree will grow by just 9 percent, those requiring an associate degree will grow by 31 percent, while those requiring a bachelor’s degree will grow by 25 percent.
Health and Well-being College graduates have lower smoking rates, more positive perceptions of personal health, and lower incarceration rates. Higher levels of education are correlated with higher levels of civic participation including volunteer work, voting, and blood donation.