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Rochester City School District

District Partner 2004-2005, 2007-2011

ERS partnered with Rochester City School District (RCSD) to help meet the ambitious student outcome goals first defined by its Blue Ribbon Panel in 2004.

"People always ask me, 'What do you need?' And I always tell them two things: leverage and talent. You allow me to do what needs to be done, and then hire the people I need, and you're going to get magic. "
-Jean-Claude Brizard, Superintendent
Interview with Rochester City Newspaper, March 2010

District Facts


Work Focus

2004-2005: In 2004, the RCSD Superintendent created a Blue Ribbon panel to study the financial and academic programs of the RCSD and offer appropriate recommendations for improvement. In addition, ERS performed an in-depth analysis of professional development (PD) to help identify ways to more strategically allocate resources to support teaching effectiveness and leadership development.

2006-2007: Developed performance standards of what excellent schools should know and be able to do, and included supporting performance rubrics to assess progress in achieving the district’s Seven Essential Standards for Schools. ERS also supported RCSD’s strategic planning process.

2008-2011: Redesigning Rochester’s funding system to better support the district’s core values of Achievement, Equity, and Accountability.


  • Creating a resource map of RCSD to examine current resource allocation practices.
  • Supporting RCSD in developing a school support and accountability framework, with initial focus on the creation of five Autonomous Contract schools. These schools will have significant control over their budget (through weighted student funding), staffing, scheduling, and instruction (curriculum, assessments, materials, PD)

Findings and Outcomes

  • Based on findings from ERS’ 2004 analysis of RCSD’s fiscal management, budget process, and educational outcomes as they relate to finance and budget, ERS recommended a series of action steps for RCSD including allotting time for common planning and coaching of core subjects, providing system-wide PD targeted to meet district priorities, building principal capacity to strategically manage school-level resources, and continuing to track PD spending and effectiveness in meeting goals.
  • Findings from ERS’ 2005 analysis of PD spending indicated that the districts’ investment in teaching effectiveness was significant, particularly in the area of school-based coaching. However, implementation of high-performing strategies supporting this investment, such as common planning time, was variable across schools.
  • In 2006, ERS helped RCSD develop the district’s seven Essential Standards for Schools as well as design performance rubrics that articulate the key factors necessary for the successful achievement of these standards. ERS also assisted RCSD in developing a strategic plan and a high school strategy.
  • In 2008, ERS began work with RCSD to design a new school funding system (weighted student funding) that will support and facilitate the district’s core goals and academic vision, provide greater equity across schools, fund students based on need, and devolve control over resources to schools. The new weighted student funding system will be piloted in the 2010-11 school year in a subset of schools with full roll-out anticipated in the 2011-12 school year.
  • Four schools were chosen to be Autonomous Contract Schools in 2009. As the program is implemented further, ERS will report progress.

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