Friends of Educational Excellence - February Newsletter

Dear Friends of Educational Excellence,

Happy Valentine's Day!

The best Valentine you can give to a Rochester city student is the gift of reading!

Save the Date

Friends of Educational Excellence Annual Meeting

When:  Tuesday April 24 at 4pm

Where:  Rochester Central Public Library, Kate Gleason Auditorium - 115 South Ave.

What:  Keynote Speaker, Dr. Bolgen Vargas, Interim Superintendent of Rochester City School District

           Strive Rochester / ROC the Future Panel Discusson, lead by Clayton W. Jones, MCC Exec

Free and Open to the Public - Refreshments will be Served

New Milestone for Friends of Educational Excellence Support

In February, the 10 Friends of Educational Excellence schools have 350 volunteers providing 1,100 hoursof support per week for Rochester city students!

February Volunteer News

Each month the partnership coordinator at each FREE school sends a News email to their volunteers to keep them informed, engaged, and appreciated.  I want to share with you the News email I sent to the School 52 volunteers this month:

Dear School 52 Volunteers,

Currently we have 47 volunteers providing 176 hours of support per week.  I'd like to welcome 14 new volunteers at School 52:

 - Temple B'rith Kodesh (TBK) members (5)

 - SUNY Brockport college students (8)

 - St John Fisher College college student (1)

I'd like to thank teacher Jason Branner who arranged the assignments for all of these new volunteers!

Volunteer Tutoring

People ask me if our partnership program is making an impact on student academic performance.  If you are a volunteer at school, you can see the progress.  It happens at a different pace with each student but overall you can definitely see the positive progress.  Our support for students extends beyond the students we tutor directly.  By helping specific students, we are giving the teachers more time to work with other students.  In addition, by providing community support for the school, we are helping to transform the learning environment for all students.  Everyone benefits.

There is hard evidence of the benefit. The TBK-School 52 Partnership began in 2005.  The NYS English (ELA) and Math tests started in 2006.  Here is the School 52 ranking in the Rochester City School District (RCSD) amongst the 38 elementary schools over this six year period:

School 52 Ranking from 2006 to 2011

  2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
  Rank Rank Rank Rank Rank Rank
ELA 8 5 5 4 2 2
Math 23 20 14 7 4 4

In English Language Arts (ELA), School 52 improved from 8th in the district to 2nd and has held this #2 ranking the last two years.  In Math, School 52 improved from 23rd in the district to 4th overall and has held this #4 ranking the last two years.  Much credit has to be given to Principal Denise Rainey and her fine teaching staff.  They do the hard work each day.  But our community volunteer support of their efforts has definitely played an important part in achieving these results.

So Thank You, Thank You, Thank You to all the volunteers who come to School 52 each week to help students succeed in school.

Volunteer Mentoring

As a School 52 volunteer, you are a positive adult role model for the children there.  An important part of your role is to provide appropriate mentoring on how to become a successful student.  The Friends of Educational Excellence mentoring framework is called WAVE for Success.  Please use the WAVE for Successmessages with your students whenever you meet with them to keep them on track.  Here is a summary:

W = Work hard!

A = Have a positive Attitude.  Believe in yourself.  You can do this.

V = Have a Vision of where you want to go and why school is important to get there.

E = Eagerly commit yourself to work hard enough to achieve your vision.

Have your students take the WAVE for Success pledge!

ROC Read

In December, the RCSD promoted reading at home over the winter recess with the new ROC Read initiative.  Students got prizes for reading with an adult family member and doing a short writing assignment.  The District will continue the ROC Read initiative during the February and April school recesses.  Please encourage your students to participate in ROC Read over these holiday breaks.

In addition, please encourage your students to read EVERY NIGHT at home during the school year.  If they don't already have a book at home to read, give them a book from the school library to take home, monitor their reading progress, and then praise them on Working Hard to be a successful student! 

February School Calendar

 - February Recess:  Monday Feb. 20 to Friday Feb. 24.  School begins again on Monday Feb. 27.

 - ROC Read - over the February break next week. 

Please let me know if you have any comments (positive or negative) about your volunteer experience this year.

Thanks so much for supporting the students at School 52!


School 52 Partnership Coordinator

Friends of Educational Excellence Needs More Volunteers

If you'd like to help a Rochester city student succeed in school, please send an email to Bruce Pollock at

Thank You for supporting Rochester city students!

Bruce Pollock

Executive Director

Friends of Educational Excellence Partnerships