ROC the Future Annual Report Card Revealed - State of our Children

An event today to discuss the future prospects of children in Rochester. ROC the Future’s annual report card tracks key measures of well-being for children and youth in the City of Rochester from cradle to career. The 4th annual report was released today as part of an annual inter-governmental, public/private “State of Our Children” address. Representatives from ROC the Future convener organizations, came together to discuss how the community can rally together to benefit Rochester’s youth including: Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo, Mayor Lovely Warren, Rochester City School Superintendent Barbara Deane-Williams, United Way CEO Fran Weisberg, and Rochester Area Community Foundation President and CEO Jennifer Leonard.
ROC the Future is tracking a total of 45 cradle-to-career indicators of academic achievement. The 2016 report card shows improvements in four of 10 key indicators including a 1.6 percentage point increase in third-grade reading, 620 fewer truant students, and a 17% increase in FAFSA filings.
Five additional indicators are steady, and one is worsening. Pre-K data continues to show 55.5% of students chronically absent, and expanded learning opportunities continuing to miss the mark with 65% of youth left without access to after-school opportunities.
“We’re at a critical turning point, and by aligning our efforts and focusing strategically we can be assured greater impact on reaching our shared goals,” said Jennifer Leonard, President and CEO of the Community Foundation and Chair of ROC the Future. “Progress isn’t nearly big or fast enough, and we are far from satisfied with these outcomes.  But we are using these challenges to inspire and accelerate a greater collective effort among us to drive results.”
ROC the Future (RtF) is an alliance of more than 50 leading Rochester-area institutions and community partners that works with the Rochester City School District (RCSD) to promote alignment of strategies, resources, and accountability for improving the academic achievement of Rochester’s children. 
“If we are to see improvements across the board for our children it will take maximum effort and support from the community,” says Chris Wiest, Vice-President of the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce, and Treasurer of RtF. “We hope this data brings even more community partners to the table so we can build upon the work being done and further our results.” 
Through funding received by Farash Foundation, Rochester Public Library, Healthy Baby Network, and Children’s Institute, ROC the Future launched Parent Engagement CAN program (PECAN). The program, represented by 25 community organizations, works to improve the engagement of parents and families. The summer pilot program focused on reducing chronic absence at the Pre-K level by offering parent orientations to increase awareness and skills to monitor and reduce incidents leading children to miss school. All parents who attended the orientations developed action plans to improve school attendance in the coming year. The second pilot program will introduce ReadyRosie, an early online education resource that leverages video and mobile technology to equip parents where they are. ReadyRosie is scheduled to rollout this fall/winter 2016 with plans to serve 400 parents through 2017.
“By aligning community investments and will, we, the early childhood community, secured funding to support critical developmental screenings for 3-year-olds, and summer programming through summerLeap for four-year old’s,” said Dirk Hightower, Executive Director of the Children’s Institute, and Chair of RtF’s School Readiness Collaborative Action Network. “This in turn helped to fuel and align our efforts with the Rochester City School District, who through the leadership of Robin Hooper secured the largest grant for 3-year-old children in New York State.  By jointly pushing and working together we are collectively starting to make an impact.”
In addition to the institutions mentioned above, RtF’s convener organizations include:  Action for a Better Community, Bonadio Group, Center for Governmental Research, The Children’s Agenda, Children's Institute,  Tipping Point Communication, Greater Rochester Quality Council, Healthy Baby Network, Ibero-American Action League, JPMorgan Chase, Monroe Community College, NYS Board of Regents, NYS legislators, Rochester Business Alliance, Rochester City School Board, Rochester Education Foundation, Rochester Public Library, and SUNY/REOC.  An additional 30 organizational partners are involved in one or more work groups to identify, test, and expand proven practices that improve children’s outcomes as measured by report card indicators.  
The report card and all indicators can be viewed at

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