Symposium Focuses On Improving City Schools

The Rochester City School District faces several issues, which have made it one of the worst performing districts in the state, "the biggest challenge that we face in the Rochester City School District is getting our children to read on grade level by third grade," explained Superintendent Bolgen Vargas.

Solutions for the RCSD were the focus of the University of Rochester's Presidential Symposium.  Mayor Lovely Warren plans to create an early learning commission to address key issues, "we know we have a lot of work to do," said Warren, "but today is the start to beautiful relationships and making sure we're doing everything possible to give our children an opportunity to succeed."

Warren says she'll go knocking on doors to get funding for education.  She's scheduled to meet with leaders of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in March, "we have a budget deficit," explained Warren, "so we recognize that we have a lot of programs here in Rochester that have been successful and we're hoping to expand those programs bring them into our recreation centers and help the city school district and our educational outcomes here."

Vargas is working with area colleges and universities to close the summer skills gap, "the University of Rochester is doing a great job," explained Vargas, "if you come to this campus this summer you will see RCSD students learning during the summer to address a very serious problem that has been taking place for quite some time, in terms of our children not having productive activities and learning activities during the summer."

In November Superintendent Vargas introduced a plan that would allow colleges and universities to manage struggling schools.  He says several institutions have shown interest.  He would like to implement the plan by September 2015.

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