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ROC the Future report delivered at event

Rochester Business Journal
October 16, 2015

Lovely Warren wants Rochester to be seen again as a city of opportunity.

The Rochester mayor addressed nearly 250 people in attendance at Friday’s ROC the Future: State of Our Children's Address and Report Card Release, part of the RBJ Power Breakfast series.

ROC the Future is an alliance of more than 50 area institutions and community partners working together with the Rochester City School District to align strategies and resources toward improving student achievement.

Talking about how her parents came to Rochester in the 1960s because of the opportunities the city presented, Warren said the city needs to do better in serving its children and returning to a place where opportunities are abundant.

The efforts of ROC the Future are a major investment into that future, giving children the skills needed to succeed in school and grow into productive adults, Warren said.

“Frederick Douglass said, ‘It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men,’” Warren said. “If we don’t do this work now, we will see the results when we they hit 16 and 17. It’s easier to build strong children and build into them what they need than to have them decide to end lives or sell drugs when they get older.”

The event coincided with the release of ROC the Future’s third annual report card, which showed what organizers describe as important signs of progress. The report found 95 percent of 4-year-olds in the city are now enrolled in pre-kindergarten programs, and that rate of chronic absence among kindergarten through third grade students decreased by 7 percentage points.

The initiative tracks 45 indicators of academic achievement, showing improvement in four out of 10 key objectives. Another three indicators remained steady while three showed decline, the report found.

Friday’s event included a panel discussion of ROC the Future’s leaders, including Warren; Maggie Brooks, Monroe County Executive; Jackie Campbell, ROC the Future director; Fran Weisberg, president of the United Way of Greater Rochester Inc., Jennifer Leonard, president and CEO of the Rochester Area Community Foundation; Erika Rosenberg, principal at the Center for Governmental Research Inc.; and Bolgen Vargas, superintendent of the Rochester City School District.

At the event, panelists talked about the major efforts being undertaken across sectors to address these problems, saying it will take nothing short of a community wide approach to improve outcomes.

“Cleary we have made progress and continue to move the needle in critical areas, but it is still daunting and we can’t lose sight of the efforts it will take to fix these problems,” Brooks said.

The report card and all indicators can be viewed at

Additional information on the report card and ROC the Future can be seen in the Oct. 16 issue of the Rochester Business Journal.

(c) 2015 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or e-mail

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