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ROC the Future addresses the "State of our Children"

A group that works to improve academic achievement for Rochester's children is out with its annual report card.

ROC the Future is a public/private partnership of over 100 organizations.

Chair Ajamu Kitwana says the group's shared goals include making sure every child enters kindergarten school-ready, that they're supported through their journey through school and that they're ready for college or a career.

He says the report card shows progress in many of those measures, with positive trends in high school graduation, early grade literacy, and middle-grade math.

"That said, they aren't trending positively fast enough.  So we really have a lot to do and a lot of potential to grow to really get to where we want to be," he said.

Credit Alex Crichton
ROC the Future Chair Ajamu Kitwana says the laser focus on outcomes will pay dividends in the future

Director of Special Projects and Education Initiatives for the city of Rochester, Sandra Simon, says this year, ROC the Future is putting more emphasis on involving the city school district as an essential partner.

This comes one day after Distinguished Educator Jaime Aquino issued a report which included over 100 findings and 84 recommendations to address many problems in the district.

Speaking at the ROC the Future event, East High School Superintendent Shaun Nelms said he believes Aquino did a thorough job of identifying the critical needs of the district, many of which he says are already being worked on.

"Dr. Aquino brings some credibility to the work in identifying school transformation, and I'm encouraged by the school board and school officials that they will take those recommendations seriously, and hopefully work towards enacting a plan to address the things that are most critical in helping support our students and our families" he said.

Nelms says at East High, they took a year to understand what the true problem was before putting a plan in place to address it.

He says there's nothing that they are doing at East that can't be replicated at other places.