Wednesday 5 October 2022
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Parent Engagement is the Secret Sauce

Op/Ed By Jessica Lewis,
Communications Specialist for ROC the Future –


J. Lewis photoParents play the most powerful and influential role in children’s lives.

And, as their children’s first and best teacher, parents set the stage for success in the early years, and early grades.

ROC the Future recognizes that parents are the secret sauce.

Without parents, it is unlikely that we can make progress on community-wide outcomes.

This is why a focus on parent-engagement is integral to our work.

In March 2016, we launched a Parent Engagement Collaborative Action Network to improve the engagement of parents and families in the Rochester area.

We already know that learning occurs long before children enter kindergarten. Research shows that more than 1 in 3 children arrive at kindergarten without the skills necessary for lifetime learning.

Even more alarming is that by the age of three, high-income children have double the vocabulary of low-income children.

In addition, reading proficiency by third grade is the most important predictor of high school graduation and career success.

Yet, each year more than 80 percent of low-income children miss this crucial milestone.

In Rochester, only 8.2 percent of children from the Rochester City School District passed the NYS English assessment in 2016.

This means that 92 percent of Rochester’s third graders are reading below grade level, which has significant and long-term consequences—not only for each of those children, but for our communities, and for our nation as a whole.

If left unresolved, this problem will deter progress to end poverty, close the achievement gap, and reduce high school dropout rates.

As result, in addition to addressing inequities in the school system, and in our classrooms, parents must be equipped with the tools needed to best help children succeed.

That’s why ROC the Future has partnered with the City of Rochester and the Rochester City School District to get high quality early childhood educational tools like ReadyRosie directly into the hands of parents and caregivers of children, ages 0-5.

ReadyRosie is an early education tool that is currently helping schools, and communities across the nation, deepen and scale their parent engagement efforts by leveraging the power of video modeling, and mobile technology. ReadyRosie has hundreds of brief videos in English and Spanish that model everyday interactions with real parents and children in familiar environments. The videos take place in restaurants, grocery stores, and playgrounds to demonstrate how to find teachable moments in everyday activities.

Studies show ReadyRosie increases language and learning in the home, and increases academic outcomes for students with an 80 percent increase in the total number of words.

Parents of young children are increasingly connected, and like the convenience of receiving information online, through social media, videos, and interactive platforms.

ROC the Future has secured funding to give every parent of a 0-5 year-old who lives in the city of Rochester free access to ReadyRosie. To start receiving your two minute videos, register HERE.


About: ROC the Future is an alliance of leading Rochester-area institutions and community partners that promotes alignment, and focuses community resources to improve the academic achievement of Rochester’s children. Visit or additional information regarding the organization.

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