State of Our Children Report: Some Progress, But More Work To Do

Oct 25, 2016

A report card from an organization that tracks key measures of well-being for children and youths in the City of Rochester finds some bright spots, but also a lot of room for improvement.

It’s the 4th annual report put out by the organization ROC the Future, and it’s called “State of Our Children.”  The CEO of the Rochester Community Foundation, Jennifer Leonard, says one of the improving trends listed in this report is the rate of absenteeism.

She says there were 620 fewer chronic absences in the city school system in the latest data. But those absenteeism numbers were up for pre-K students and the report also shows the need to improve academic achievement including graduation rates.

Even though Rochester’s child poverty numbers are some of the highest in the country, Leonard says that shouldn’t mean we accept low performance in school.

“Kids in poverty can learn, and do learn. It takes extra support, it takes really smart teaching; we’re working on a different K-2 curriculum right now with the school district.”

Jackie Campbell is the alliance director for ROC the Future. She says the organization is benefiting from receiving better data which has helped the group target different approaches for different types of students.

“If one percent of students are passing 8th grade math, it’s not that the students just can’t learn, there is something inherently wrong with the system. And so Roc the Future is really going to be looking at what in the system can we actually work with,” Campbell told WXXI News.

ROC the Future has been trying a number of techniques to improve academic performance, including putting an emphasis on parent engagement and summer learning.