"Men in Red" help one city school start off with a lot of encouragement

Sep 4, 2019

Credit Randy Gorbman / WXXI News

Wednesday was the first day of school for a number of area districts including Rochester, where about 27,000 students headed back to class.

At School 57, Early Childhood School, they held their annual “Men in Red Day” activity to welcome the students back.

Fathers, grandfathers and other mentors didn’t let a brief, torrential downpour stop them from welcoming the students back into the Pre-K through 2nd grade School on Costar Street.

They were wearing red clothing as they lined up under a sea of umbrellas to welcome kids off the bus.

The new Superintendent for Rochester City School District, Terry Dade, says this all fits in with his focus on wanting to improve the district’s chronic absenteeism rates.

“Starting today, coming to school each and every day; express to parents the importance of getting their kids to school each and every day, coming up with a plan, a back-up plan if there’s any troubles or challenges getting the students to school,” Dade said.

School principal Eva Thomas says the "Men in Red" initiative is important as a way of getting families more involved in their kids’ lives. One reason for focusing on having men as part of this first day of school activity is that she has very few men on the school staff.

“I decided to focus on the males because I have very few males in the building. I have approximately four males in the building out of 60 staff and so it’s important for them to see men in other roles, see men doing a number of other things,” Thomas said.

Dade says one of the main goals he has as he starts off the school year is to reduce the rate of chronic absenteeism in the district.