Year-End Update

Over the past several months, much has happened behind the scenes in the effort to create cross-district integrated magnet schools in Monroe County. And Great Schools for All is in the midst of making changes to upgrade and improve its communications look and reach a broader audience with more timely information. Look for these changes early in the new year.

Superintendents from BOCES and school districts throughout the county, along with GS4A and other community representatives, began meeting late this fall in an exploratory planning process involving three work groups. These work groups are focusing on (a) governance and staffing, (b) finance and transportation, and (c) preliminary nature/design of one or more pilot schools, along with the outline of any legislation that would be required to implement such pilot school(s).  This exploratory planning process is being facilitated by Causewave, supported by a grant which GS4A received from an anonymous local foundation affiliated with the Rochester Area Community Foundation.

The planning process is being guided in part by the findings and recommendations from an independent 2021 study commissioned by GS4A and conducted by the Orrick, Herrington and Sutcliffe global law firm, which specializes in conducting objective research on integration and education. Orrick Report

The three work groups expect to issue reports on their preliminary findings and
recommendations early in 2023, for presentation to the school boards of the participating districts. If districts decide to move forward at that point, discussions are expected to continue with members of the local NYS Assembly and Senate delegation about any needed legislation and how best to proceed at that time.

It is anticipated that if districts are in support of moving forward, a second phase of the
planning process would include an extensive community engagement focus designed to engage with parents, students, school staff and the larger community to seek guidance on various aspects of school design.

Decades of national research have shown unequivocally that socioeconomically and racially integrated schools can dramatically improve the odds of academic progress and graduation for low-income students, as well as improving critical-thinking and problem-solving skills and readiness for future college and work for all students. More recent research documents positive long-term outcomes well into adulthood among students enrolled in such integrated schools.

Several professional surveys of county residents, parents and students have documented widespread city and suburban support for the creation of such schools.

As the work groups have been organizing their work, GS4A has been proceeding, with the support of a separate grant from The Community Foundation, on three new initiatives designed to improve our communications with key audiences throughout the county. These initiatives will result in a new look and expanded posts for our GS4A website, the hiring of a part-time coordinator to manage our website and expanded social media presence, and the creation of a video documenting the importance and evidence-based value of integrated magnet schools.

These initiatives are expected to be in place in the first quarter of 2023.
Please let us know if you have questions or suggestions, and please share this information on social media and with friends. In the meantime, our best wishes to all for a wonderful holiday season and new year.

With gratitude,

Great Schools for All

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