The Need

The purpose of Friends of Educational Excellence is to support partnerships between community organizations and Rochester city public schools to help students succeed in school.  Rochester has an urban school system that has a critical need for community support to improve educational system outcomes, and also is a city with a rich history of community involvement in public schools.

The Rochester City School District (RCSD) provides an education for more than 34,000 students in pre-K through grade 12.  The academic results of Rochester public schools are poor.  In 2009, only 61% of elementary school children passed the State English Language Arts (ELA) exam; 3600 children did not pass (performed below their grade level).  These children will struggle in school until they have adequate literacy skills. 

Most elementary schools do not achieve acceptable results.  In 2009, only 9 out of the 38 elementary schools had more than 70% of the students who passed the ELA exam.

Percent of students who passed the 2009 ELA exam in each Elementary school
90 – 100%: 1 school
80 – 89%:  1 school
70 – 79%: 7 schools
60 – 69%: 9 schools
Less than 60%:  20 schools

In 2009, the Rochester City High Schools reported a graduation rate of 52%.  In order to increase this graduation rate in the future, the 3600 elementary school students that did not pass the 2009 State ELA exam must improve their literacy skills.
Educated citizens get better paying jobs and support their local communities.  Rochester high school dropouts generally don’t get good jobs and will struggle financially, are more likely to live in poverty, may participate in illegal activities, and may end up in jail and be unavailable to support their family.  Improving students’ success in school is fundamental to improving Rochester family life and enhancing our local community.  Better public education outcomes can transform the Rochester community.

There are three critical factors to student success in school:

The student has the academic skills to succeed  --> the student's school provides the environment and Support to Succeed  --> the student has the desire to succeed

Community partners that provide volunteer support can help teachers ensure students have the academic skills to succeed.  A McKinsey study of the best schools in the world found the best schools do 3 things: 

  1. get the best teachers
  2. provide great training for teachers
  3. step in when pupils start to lag behind

(The Economist magazine, October 2007)

Friends of Educational Excellence will assist Rochester city elementary schools by providing additional assistance to students.  Friends of Educational Excellence fit into the overall education process by providing additional volunteer resources for students:

schematic diagram showing inputs and outputs of school system, as mediated by production operations

Volunteer academic support can be effective to help students perform better.  The Campbell Collaboration systematic review (May 2006) found that volunteer programs can positively influence student language and reading. Friends of Educational Excellence will assist community-school partnerships to provide academic support for students that need another helping hand to succeed.