Tracking school attendance in the City of Rochester as pandemic wages on


ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — It has now been three weeks since the school year began for the Rochester City School District.

RCSD is one of a few districts locally to conduct 100% remote learning, and for principals of K-12 city schools, navigating the technology with young students is one of the biggest challenges when it comes to attendance.

“My parents of my younger children — kindergarten to at lest fifth grade — the parents are pretty much in chrge of the technology and there’s some learning curve there,” said Deasure Matthew, Wilson Foundation Academy K-8 Principal.

For the first three weeks of school, from September 14 through October 2, attendance rates for RCSD were just above 80%, with slight increases each week.

That compares to last year when the average daily attendance rate was 87%.

RCSD attendance is slightly lower than area charter schools, like Uncommon School Rochester Prep. They point to their remote learning plan as the reason for their 85% average attendance rate.

“We came up with a model for this school year where we have the live instruction daily, and also recorded instruction,” said Powel Powell, Assistant Superintendent for Uncommon School Rochester Prep. “And so every day of live instruction starts with an exciting 30 minute community building moment.”

Rochester city schools are focusing on improving access to technology, engaging families, and holding weekly attendance meetings to push their attendance numbers higher.

“We’ve identified students that have already missed 10 days or more and my parent liaison and our Center for Youth coordinator started home visits today,” Matthew said.

Over at the Anna Marie Douglass School #12, Principal John Gonzales says attendance is better than anticipated — at 88% currently, but they are focused on making connections with families to understand needs, as well as working on teacher lesson plans to ensure students are engaged with the work.

“Navigating and troubleshooting those tech issues to the more engaging lessons that our teachers provide on a daily basis, making connections with those students that are culturally responsive, and getting them excited to come into class and learning,” Gonzales said.

As of Wednesday, RCSD officials have not announced plans for remote learning beyond the first ten weeks of school.

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