State education officials hope a massive report delivered Wednesday by its distinguished educator will lead to fundamental change in the Rochester City School District. The report and its 84 recommendations were given to the State Education Department and Education Commission Mary Ellen Elia at a meeting in Rochester.
State University Chancellor Betty Rosa sums up a key finding: Rochester School District leadership has been consistently unable to bring about more than slight improvements in the district’s high school graduation rate and performance rate on standard tests. Those rates are consistently among the worst in New York State.
Distinguished Educator Jamie Aquino finds Rochester has one of the best Pre-K programs going, but children begin falling behind in elementary school.
State Education Commissioner Mary Ellen Elia says most of the recommendations attack that problem. She says the district needs to build on that solid foundation
Among the top recommendations: major overhauls for the academic, operational and fiscal health of the City School District ... a roadmap of what needs to be done...and a timetable for doing it.
District leadership comes into question for the school board’s understanding of its role in driving the focus on student performance. Aquino also says there’s lack of consistency in district leadership with three school superintendent’s in ten years, three deputy superintendents for education in one year, and almost yearly changes in the people school principals report to.
Aquino finds district budgeting also needs an overhaul. He recommends a long-term budgeting strategy to replace year-by-year financial planning.
The district has until February 8th to submit its plan of action to Commissioner Elia, detailing when and how these recommendations will be put in place.