'ROC The Future' Report Shows Minimal Progress for Rochester Children

ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Juan Laboy grew up in a single-parent working household.

"I remember when it was hard, me growing up and not having my mom there because she was working two, three jobs," Laboy said.

He says he's doing his best to take an active role in his children and god-daughter's education. He reads to them.

"'Daddy read me a bedtime story,' and I saw the encouragement and they love the little stories," Laboy said.

That's the kind of early parenting ROC the Future says leads to school readiness, improved attendance and eventually, high school graduation.

The coalition of 60 community partners wants every child to be school ready, supported, successful, college and career ready.

ROC the Future's report card for children in Rochester shows minimal progress. Less students are chronically absent overall, but only 8 percent of third graders met English state standards, 11 percent for math and 15 percent of high school graduates are college ready.

"Our kids are the poorest children of any similarly sized city in America," said Jennifer Leonard, ROC The Future chair. "We owe them more. Kids in poverty can learn and do learn. It takes extra supports and really smart teaching."

The partner agencies use the data to redefine goals and mobilize resources.

The Rochester City School District has extended learning times, a kindergarten through second grade curriculum rewrite, summer learning opportunities and free book distributions.

"It's not just about the schools and it is not just about the students, it is also about ready family and ready community,"  said Jackie Campbell, ROC the Future alliance director. "Brain development comes when children come out of the womb so how we sharing that new information and evidence based strategies with our families."

Laboy says every parent can do better.

"Just try to be more a part of your child's life as much as you can," Laboy said. "Even it is just an hour or day reading a book or something, it impacts their life tremendously."

Spectrum customers get full access
to all our video, including our live stream.