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February 19, 2014

Symposium addresses challenges in Rochester city schools

Joel Seligman speaking
“K–12 education is one of the great social challenges of the 21st century. When many universities have scaled back their support of schools of education, the University of Rochester is determined to invest in K–12 education as part of our commitment to the greater Rochester community and, most of all, its children.”
—University President Joel Seligman

Bolgen Vargas
“In the very near future it is my hope that Rochester will no longer be called the city where our children are performing the least well. We can change that together. We begin by getting our children to read at grade level by third grade and that begins by engaging the families.”

—Superintendent of the Rochester City School District Bolgen Vargas

Mayor Warren speaks
“The discussion around education, and how best to educate our children shouldn’t be a call to arms or a field upon which political battles are fought but a collective commitment to making sure Rochester’s children have equal access to educational opportunities. We can’t lose our focus. Too much is at stake.“
—Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren

Raffaella Borasi
“When hearing of the great problems facing urban education, it is easy to despair that we would never find a solution, and feel helpless. Or, we may react in the opposite way and jump to action­—any action—in the belief that any change is better than the status quo.We should learn from all these efforts before making decisions about what to do to improve Rochester students’ learning opportunities and outcomes.”

—Warner School Dean Raffaella Borasi

Giving schoolchildren in Rochester the kind of education they need to succeed will take more than a village—it will take a city, a graduate school of education, a university, and a web of community partners.

That was the message from a special symposium focused on “Revitalizing K–12 Education in Rochester” held at the Interfaith Chapel on Feb. 4. While recognizing that the city’s public schools face enormous challenges, community and University leaders, city school educators and administrators, educational scholars, and area educational innovators said they were ready to get to work.

Full remarks from featured speakers and panelist presentations are available at

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