May news & updates
May 12, 2021| Issue 5
Education Highlights
Rochester recognized as Campaign for Grade Level-Reading Bright Spot
The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading (CGLR) announced the 54 communities that are Bright Spots for their responses to the COVID crisis last year, Rochester being one. The early childhood work in summer of 2020 led by the Greater Rochester Summer Learning Association/summerLEAP is recognized for their Family Support Initiative focused on home visits and delivery of the summerLEAP PLAY@HOME KIT, and weekly summerLEAP SCIENCE@HOME KITS. 

Specifically, CLGR is highlighting communities that developed exemplary or innovative responses to the COVID crisis, including new or adaptive roles, programs, organizational relationships/collaborations, policies and/or resources. In particular, the Campaign is recognizing communities for crafting solutions that seem especially effective, replication-worthy and/or deserving of being sustained during the post-COVID period.

Some of the initiatives include the use of digital tools, virtual tutoring, summer lunch programs, learning pods, books and learning resources distribution, community-wide COVID relief funds and other programs.
Over 400 surveys completed for KABOOM! Adventure Course at Grand Ave Park
In case you haven’t heard, Grand Avenue Park in Beechwood is getting an Adventure Course in August! Because this addition to the park belongs to the neighborhood and is specifically for youth, local organizations and community partners involved want to make sure that these groups are placed front and center throughout the design and build process.

On Saturday April 24th, local youth participating in the adventure course planning and staff from Connected Communities, a local non-profit, took to the streets asking the community to vote for their favorite adventure course design. By Monday, 422 community members had cast their vote! Option 1 was the clear winner with over 300 votes.

Build week for the adventure course begins on August 11th! Check out the Grand Ave Adventure Course website for more information and updates.
New Get Ready to GROW Video
Get Ready to GROW offers free comprehensive health and developmental screenings and connection support for follow-up evaluations for children ages 12-60 months. Meet some of our Get Ready to GROW partners, see how Get Ready to GROW screenings are done, and get a sneak peek of what it is like on our mobile screening unit!
News from StriveTogether
Community Conversations from Across the Country
Change begins with hearing the hopes and needs of communities, and we’re listening. StoryCorps worked with Coalition for Community Schools, Communities In Schools and StriveTogether to capture conversations between friends, colleagues, family and neighbors in Chicago, Ill.; Dayton, Ohio; Lehigh Valley, Penn.; and Memphis, Tenn.

The effort is a collaborative project from Together For Students, a national collaboration that leverages the strengths of Communities In Schools, the Institute for Educational Leadership’s Coalition for Community Schools and StriveTogether, funded by Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.

The work was rooted in the belief that every child should have every opportunity to succeed. COVID-19 exposed systemic weaknesses that interrupted learning for many children of color and children living in poverty. This led to a desire to hear directly from community members, to amplify their voices and raise the invisible to the visible. These stories help inform and shape the work being done to break down barriers for children and families across the country.
Spotlight: Monroe High School
In 2018, Monroe High School held a ribbon cutting ceremony to open the doors of their newly renovated space. This year, under the leadership of Principal Jason Muhammad, the school is still beaming with pride. Last year, Monroe High School saw a 20 point increase in their high school graduation rate. During our last High School Graduation Outcomes Team meeting, Principal Muhammad attributed the gains to the relationship the faculty and staff cultivated with the students and helping students find their why and purpose to fuel their internal motivation. Also mentioned were the wonderful renovations the school experienced and how that contributed to the positive school environment. Today, we are shining a light on Monroe High School.
Closing the Digital Divide
Stephanie Townsend joins Monroe County Broadband Task Force

The past year has made the digital divide that has existed for years glaringly apparent. When individuals and families cannot access online resources and services, they lose out on education, social support, human services, healthcare, and job opportunities. From families of our littlest learners who need early intervention and preschool special education to high school graduates who are pursuing post-secondary education and entering the workforce, it is imperative that we close the digital divide. That is why ROC the Future Conveners and backbone staff have been working to ensure all children in PK-12 have age-appropriate devices and access to the internet. 
Emergency Broadband Benefit Now Available

The Federal Communications Commission has launched a temporary program to help families and households struggling to afford Internet service during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Emergency Broadband Benefit provides a discount of up to $50 per month toward broadband service for eligible households. Eligible households can also receive a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers.

Eligible households can enroll through a participating broadband provider or directly with the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) using an online or mail in application.

Help us spread the word through your communication channels utilizing this outreach toolkit chock full of infographics, flyers, and social media assets. You can learn more about the benefit, including eligibility and enrollment information, by visiting, or by calling 833-511-0311  
ROC the Future in the News
Watch this interview with Maria Cruz, PECAN Parent, as she talks with Phillip Boudreaux of Spectrum News about the ways she is using our learning loss resources and tools to help her kids down a path towards educational recovery.
In this episode, the Collective Impact Forum chats with Jackie Campbell, Alliance Director of ROC the Future, to hear how we take a systems lens to our work with youth, including supporting our community through the ongoing COVID pandemic and racial justice reckonings as well as uplifting parents as leading partners for their kids’ education needs.
Congratulations LJ Shipley and Jeff Kaczorowski on receiving the Dr. David Satcher Community Health Improvement Awards
Laura Jean Shipley, M.D., FAAP
Jeffrey Kaczorowski, M.D., FAAP
The Satcher Community Health Improvement Awards recognizes University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) faculty and staff for significant contributions to the health of the community through research, teaching, practice, and/or service programs.

The awards reflect the mission of the Center for Community Health & Prevention and the URMC to develop and expand community-university partnerships that support community-engaged research and interventions that reduce health inequities and improve the community's health. Awards are made based on work done in the greater Rochester area and Finger Lakes region.

Congratulations to LJ Shipley and Jeff Kaczorowski, who in partnership with area pediatricians, lead our PedsROC4Kids pediatric work group.
News from the State
NYS Budget prioritizes health and well-being of all New Yorkers, especially children and families living in poverty
The final 2021-22 New York State Budget contains some extraordinary investments in New York State children and families. Among the headlines: a commitment to fully fund the State’s public schools to correct longstanding inequities in the State funding formula which led to sharply unequal funding for low-income schools; creation of the strongest-in-the-nation Excluded Workers Fund; $2.3 billion in new (federal) funds for child care; $105 million in new (federal) funds for pre-K; a first-in-the-nation guarantee of affordable broadband; and elimination of co-pays for vision care and dental care for hundreds of thousands of low-moderate income families who get coverage through New York’s health care exchange. These investments, effectively rolled out, will make a real difference in the lives of New York families.
Community Happenings
Athletes and Scholars: Understanding Wellness in Urban Sports
Students who play sports face additional challenges as they pursue achieving peak performance in both their academic and sports endeavors. Students from marginalized communities often do not have access to the resources that can have a tremendous impact on their overall school experience and enhance the student’s ability to navigate both the academic and physical performance challenges associated with playing competitive high school sports. 

Register for this talk on Monday, May 17, 2021, Noon – 1:00 p.m. as part of a new webinar series sponsored by the Warner School’s Center for Urban Education Success (CUES).
Sesame Street in Communities Virtual Summit Rescheduled
Join WXXI Education and partners for a special virtual Community Summit on Sesame Street in Communities on Tuesday, May 18th at 7 p.mThis hour long virtual community summit will provide parents, caregivers, early childhood educators, and community members an opportunity to learn about the Sesame Street in Communities resources and hear from a panel of local experts on a variety of family topics (health and wellness, social-emotional strategies, routines, and more!).
Youth Voices Aren’t Too Little: We Are Today’s Tomorrow
Register for "Youth Voices Aren't Too Little: We Are Today's Tomorrow" on May 20, 2021 from 5-7 pm hosted by Whole Child Connection at Children's Institute and America's Promise Alliance, Community States of Young People. Youth leaders from across Monroe County will focus on the importance of elevating youth voice and the need for adults to create spaces where youth perspectives are honored, activated, and valued. 
We have NEW email addresses. Contact us here:
Jackie Campbell -
Camille Simmons -
Jessica Lewis -
Stephanie Townsend -
Kilolo Moyo-White -
Ryan Lavoie -