Please read “Building our Children’s Future, Together.” the full education plan here: http://bit.ly/15A0a6c
“Schools need to be places where children feel safe and free to learn. Having a new Superintendent every few years, changing up curriculums, dividing up and renaming schools and coming up “new” plans every two years is not the way to provide stability in their learning environments. It’s time for adults to stop fighting, stop pointing fingers, come together and get back to basics and fix this problem. And that’s exactly the course I’ve taken since becoming Mayor. ” –Mayor Tom Richards
Mayor Richards supports a more stable path for Rochester’s schools. He believes that children shouldn’t be subjected to a new school administration or a different school plan every other year. City school children have been the victims of this approach for decades and they require stability from the adults who oversee the system. Mayor Richards is working to ensure that unstable home circumstances aren’t duplicated in the schools. He supports consistent programs in consistent locations with consistent leadership. Mayor Richards also believes that the school district needs fewer programs, done well.
The Mayor is pulling together district administrators, teachers and unions to work with parents and the community to improve educational outcomes and will implement a “get back to the basics” approach to Rochester’s schools. Mayor Richards is working with the school Superintendent and other community stakeholders on joint City/District programs that have one goal, to improve students’ educational outcomes.
Mayor Richards supports a collaborative approach to education that places children first. City Hall supports city schools through many shared services, cooperative programs and annual funding of $119 million. The Mayor intends to continue pursuing synergy between the city schools, the city library system and city recreation and community centers. Mayor Richards will ensure that the School District has what it needs to educate Rochester’s children. He understands that City Hall is not in charge of the school system and cannot tell the district how to educate its children.
Learning to Read by Third Grade
“I am the Mayor of the City of Rochester and I have a primary obligation to the Rochester public school system. There will be tens of thousands of children in that public school system for the foreseeable future and I have no intention of giving up on them.” -Mayor Tom Richards
Mayor Richards will measure the school district’s performance by its ability to teach children to read to learn by the age of eight or nine. To be successful in their scholastic career, children must master the basics and that means that they must develop adequate reading comprehension skills by the time they finish the third grade. Educators agree that two of the top indicators of student success are attendance and reading comprehension by the end of the third grade. The Mayor knows that city children, with the help of their parents and the city school district—are quite capable of achieving this goal and that’s why he’s working with the District and community partners to help support the District’s efforts.
That is why the Mayor is fully funding city libraries, after-school programs and recreation centers. Some of these activities include.
A review of all recreation programs is underway to better coordinate them with school activities.
Support universally available pre-school programs to better prepare children.
Administer pre-school reading programs at city branch libraries.
Provide and enhance year-round, elementary-aged literacy programming at city libraries.
Collaborate with the school district on summer literacy programs.
Collaborate with the school district on extended day classrooms.
Foster library partnerships with Project Head Start and the University of Rochester on reading and science programs.
Create a Literacy Coordinator position to oversee and administer literacy programmingin the libraries.
Continue expanding literacy partnerships with the City School District, community initiatives and neighborhood organizations.
Keeping Children in the Classroom
“It’s vital to engage parents to let them know that if you love your children – make sure they get to school.” -Mayor Tom Richards
During each school day, more than 3,000 City School District students are not present in their classrooms. Of those, about 1,000 are in grades K through 3 — precisely the most critical time for learning to read. No matter how excellent the teacher or curriculum is, if a child is not in school, they cannot learn.
Shortly after being elected two years ago, the Mayor began working with new school Superintendent Bolgen Vargas, Monroe County and other community stakeholders to address truancy. This led to the District’s revamping of its attendance and procedures to more accurately record and report children not attending school. The Mayor believes that if you can’t define the problem, then you can’t solve it.
Again, we must build on the basics such as taking attendance and enforcing it, beginning in kindergarten and continuing through 12th grade.
Mayor Richards has engaged the District, the county and the community in an effort to reduce truancy — especially in the early grades by:
Working with the district to develop reliable, accurate attendance data daily.
Meeting with the County, District and stakeholders monthly.
Adding City funding and staffing to anti-truancy programs.
With the Superintendent – making home visits to truant households.
Celebrating the students and parents with excellent attendance records.
In addition, the City’s Summer of Opportunity program encourages children to stay in school and give them training and job skills.
Longer School Day and Neighborhood Campus Schools
“Our city children should have the longest school day in the county – not the shortest if they are going to maximize their learning experience.” - Mayor Tom Richards
Mayor Richards supports the Superintendent’s plan to implement a longer school day. The City is partnering with the School District on this effort and will provide City library staff and facilities for extended day school programming. City recreation programs can expand existing programs or add new programs to support the extended day.
Our schools will soon be a place where kids and their families can not only learn, but also take part in sports, music and the arts. Today’s schools need to support a broader range of the community needs. The Mayor supports the use of school facilities during traditionally non-school hours because attendance in extended day and after-school programs can provide supervision and productive things to do during times when kids are looking for things to do and can use the extra help.
Neighborhood school campuses that allow the entire community to become part of our children’s learning experience. Mayor Richards is shepherding the largest public works project in Rochester’s history with the Schools Modernization Program, which provides us with an excellent opportunity to make this concept a reality.