ROC The Future
ROC the Future Report Card
REPORT CARD 2015
This report card tracks key measures of well-being for children and youth in the City of Rochester, from cradle to career.
Since 2011, ROC the Future has been building a community-wide alliance to align efforts and resources to improve academic achievement for Rochester’s children. ROC the Future’s most signifi cant accomplishments to date – developmental screenings and quality preschool education for 3-year-olds, along with improving K-3 attendance – may take years to be refl ected in improved academic performance. We must maintain our focus on achieving grade-level reading by 3rd grade, which enables students to read to learn in later grades, and sets them up for academic and lifelong success.
Rochester’s child poverty rate has grown from 38% in 2000 to 55% in 2013 based on annual census data; 8 out of 10 elementary school students in Rochester city schools qualify for free or reduced price lunch. The data show that the student poverty rate in Rochester – as well as all the other Monroe County school districts – is closely correlated with standardized test scores. Poverty is not an excuse for failing to educate children – exceptional children and schools, including charters, can succeed despite the odds of high poverty rates. But that success is still despite the odds for most students stuck in concentrated poverty.
The Rochester-Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative, formed in 2014, has recently announced a goal of reducing poverty by 50% by 2030. Aligning our community’s supports to address the needs of children impacted by poverty, and reducing the rate overall, is critically important. As a community, we must hold ourselves accountable for results. We expect no less of our children. We need to raise expectations for our community’s adults.
Goal: Every Child is School Ready
Children’s road to success begins before they are born, with healthy choices by their parents. One of those is accessing early prenatal care (in the fi rst trimester of pregnancy). In Rochester in 2013, 72% of births were to women who received early prenatal care, up from 63% in 2000, though still below the region-wide fi gure of 78%.
The preschool years are critical to healthy child development. Enrollment in a quality pre-kindergarten program can make a big diff erence in children’s readiness for school. In 2014, 67% of Rochester’s 4-year-olds were enrolled in publicly funded pre-K, the highest level in the region and up from 31% in 2001. If we add in 4-year olds attending the federally funded Head Start program, the participation rate exceeds 95%.
Assessments of Rochester’s pre-K classrooms consistently rank the programs as high quality. By the end of their pre-K year, 64% of pre-K students were considered ready for school in 2015, an encouraging benchmark, though it means the remaining 36% were behind in the development of necessary skills.
Goal: Every Child is Supported
In the early grades, children build the habits and skills needed to move successfully through their school years. One of these is the simple act of attending school. Rochester has put a bright focus on school attendance in recent years, and its eff orts are paying off , though chronic absence still remains too high. In 2014-15, 30% of students in kindergarten through 3rd grade missed 10% or more of the school year (18+ days) and so were considered chronically absent. This was a decline from 37% the previous year. More progress was made in target schools, which saw the rate drop from 47% to 37%. Overall K-12, the rate is 35%, down from 38%, due to high chronic absence in the secondary schools.
Goal: Every Child is Successful
Missing school, along with other factors, puts students at high risk of academic failure. The story told by state test results remains disappointing, with 7% of Rochester’s 3rd graders meeting state standards on the reading exam, 9% of 4th graders passing math, 4% of 8th graders passing English and less than 1% of 8th graders passing math. It should be noted that some 8th graders do not take the 8th grade state math exam, opting instead to take the Regents Algebra exam; Rochester’s overall passing rate on this exam (not just 8th graders) was 41%. Rochester’s charter schools had better results; for example, 33% of 3rd graders in charter schools met state standards on the reading test.
Despite the odds against them, 51% of Rochester students who began high school in 2010 graduated within 4 years in 2014. This rate was up slightly from 48% for the previous class. Graduation rates varied by race/ethnicity: 52% among African American students, 43% among Hispanic students and 63% among white students. A fi fth year can make a diff erence for some struggling students; 53% of Rochester’s Class of 2013 had graduated by 2014.
Goal: Every Child is College and Career Ready
Unfortunately, even among those who graduate, many are not ready for college academics. Of Rochester graduates who enrolled at Monroe Community College, 27% were considered college-ready in math, 45% in English, and 18% in both subjects. The progress we have made in some early childhood measures, can give us hope that outcomes for Rochester’s children will improve if we continue working.
ROC the Future's collaborative action networks work to improve report card indicators. Since many of our eff orts may take years to show results, we also
track interim process indicators.
School Readiness Network
The School Readiness Network is working to ensure more children begin school ready and able. Part of that is expanding summer programs for students entering kindergarten. In 2015, 275 children participated in programs, up from 48 the year before. A big focus of the group’s work has been increasing screenings among 3-year-olds to find and address challenges in hearing, vision and development. The group has secured $789,000 to expand screenings. As a result, GROW Rochester will screen 400 additional 3-year-olds in 2015-16, followed by 800 in 2016-17, and 1,200 in 2017-18.
In addition, the network supported the Rochester school district’s application for state funding to extend pre-K to more 3-year-olds. Rochester received by far the highest grant awarded in the state: nearly $12 million of $30 million awarded. This will allow the district to serve up to 1,000 more 3-year-olds in community and school-based settings beginning in January 2016.
Expanded Learning Network
The Expanded Learning Network is working to ensure that more Rochester students can participate in quality afterschool programs. In 2014-15, one program measured its impact on participating students’ socialemotional development, which is a key aspect of development and important to school success. In a pre-test of students early in the school year, 22% of students needed support and 9% had strong skills. After completing the program, 14% needed support and 15% had strong skills.
The network completed an inventory of out-of-school time programming. The inventory indicates after-school programming accommodates approximately 31 percent of
Rochester’s youth age 6 to 17 whose parents are working.
College Access Network
The College Access Network is working to encourage Rochester students to go to college. Part of this eff ort is a website helping students navigate the road to college. Users of www.RocheserCAN.org grew from 356 in January 2015, its fi rst month, to 1,316 in June 2015.