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The City School District has been faulted in a new report for having inadequate information about where students apply to and attend college and whether or not they graduate.
"They don't have a picture that any of us know about," said Patricia Braus, executive director of the Rochester Education Foundation, a nonprofit group that prepared the report for the Rochester Area Community Foundation.
The report, Success for Rochester City Students: Making a College Education Attainable, also calls for a greater community-wide effort in getting students ready for college - and tells of success elsewhere.
"This is an area where other communities have made progress. We can do it," said Braus.
Currently, each city high school tracks college applications through its counseling office and admissions based on self-reported data from graduates.
"Limited information exists regarding how many city students go to college and graduate from college from year to year, creating barriers to tracking programs and setting goals for improvement," says the report.
Braus, a co-author of the 36-page report, noted that there are ways the district could devise a systematic way of tracking students.
District spokesman Chip Partner said that officials were working on getting better data about the students.
"The district recognizes the need to improve data and tracking and we're working on the most effective way to do that," Partner said. No timetable exists for when the district will have plan.
Braus said that students in the suburbs more often have the financial resources to pay for assistance in preparing for college.
"One of the ways to increase the number of kids going to college is to increase the number of kids taking SATs and filling out financial aid forms," Braus said.
The report urges more support for city students by, for example, providing more advisers and mentors.
Various locals programs are listed in the report that help in college preparation and access, such as initiatives that allow high schoolstudents to take courses for college credit and Upward Bound programs.
Rochester is one of the sites across the state that has a program- ROC the Future - that is based on a model of creating a "cradle to career" pipeline. The focus of this model locally has been on bringing the community together to address third-grade literacy.
Braus said that she has recently become involved in this initiative, but that it is still in the developmental stages. ROC the Future, Braus said, could be a useful tool.
"In order to advance college readiness and get going, it needs to have community indicators as a guide for action," she said.