Great Schools For All (GS4A) began as a small group from the 10-congregation Urban Presbyterians Together (UPT) consortium. The group began exploring problems with urban schools and was motivated to act after reading Hope and Despair in the American City: Why There Are No Bad Schools in Raleigh, by Gerald Grant, Professor Emeritus, Syracuse University. We asked what we could learn from Raleigh that might be applied in Rochester.
We were further motivated by conversations at Rochester’s 2013 GradNation Summit, and expanded our group beyond UPT to include other interested citizens from the community. We obtained a grant from the Rochester Area Community Foundation for a two-way exchange with Raleigh.
In April 2014, eleven people from Rochester traveled to Wake County, N.C., to explore ways to break down the effects of concentration of poverty in public schools, interviewing over 75 community and school leaders. In November 2014, five Raleigh leaders traveled north to participate in a day-long educational symposium with some 150 participants from a broad cross-section of the greater Rochester community.