How the $1.7 million for violence prevention programs will help RCSD


ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The Rochester City School District has been awarded a $1.7 million state-funded grant for violence prevention programs.

According to school officials, the grants, $350,000 each year, will be administered over a five-year period, from July 1 to June 30, 2026, totaling $1.7 million.

The grant money will allow the District to fund a wellness center and a student support center coordinator at Roberto Clemente School No. 8, Dr. Charles T. Lunsford School No. 19, and Henry Hudson School No. 28. Additionally, this money will allow the District to support intervention services for students who are victims of violence, trauma, and/or gang-related activity.

“The relationship piece, it’s that additional level of support, that tier three support for students and families,” Stephanie Thompson, principal of Roberto Clemente School No. 8 said. Thompson said once relationships are built, students and families will return to the center.

“Whether it’s for continued support, or just advice, or just the relationship and supportive pieces academically, socially, emotionally and behaviorally,” Thompson said.

Support center coordinator Carly Jelsma said the money helps the center present solutions for crises like displaced families after housefires.

“We meet people sometimes, possibly on their worst day and we need to be prepared and supportive to guide, but also to listen and really come up with a plan of how we’re going to help.” said Jelsma

These services are helpful to increase the school’s low attendance rate. Thompson said at the end of the year, the school saw a 25% in-person attendance rate and slightly higher online rate.

“In order for students to engage, families need to know they have relationships and they are a part of our school community,” said Thompson.

“If we have any of our families that are in need of assistance, they can call the main office. We will have staff here everyday.”

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