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Mayor Warren forms early education commission

Rochester, N.Y.- Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren announced Tuesday the formation of an Early Education Commission to support the success of Universal Pre-K.

She made the announcement at the University of Rochester Presidential Symposium, Revitalizing K-12 Education in Rochester.

"The good news is that this year, policymakers are finally taking notice of the mountain of compelling research in support of Universal Pre-K, said Warren. There's a growing consensus that it's more cost effective to provide high-quality early learning experiences than remediation later."

Theres no word yet who is on the Commission. But the members will be tasked with:

*    Engaging all stakeholders to help convince leaders in Albany that our region needs its fair share of the new Universal Pre-K funding announced by Governor Cuomo in his State of the State and budget messages.

*    Seeking grant money to conduct an enrollment study to quantify the total seats and enrollment projections, parental demand, and identify barriers to access. The data will be made available to providers interested in expanding or starting up new programs.

*    Working with community partners with pre-K experience, like Action for a Better Community, Baden Street Settlement, the city school district, charter schools and others to assess whether there is sufficient supply of pre-K teachers and quality professional development programming.

*    Convening parent focus groups to collect feedback.

Mayor Warren also announced she was invited to Washington, D.C. next month to attend a meeting with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. They will discuss ways to collectively work to increase the achievement of students, particularly those who are disadvantaged.

She expressed her desire to eliminate barriers to progress and work with all willing partners on seven key strategies: empower parents with more choices so that all children can go to a school that helps them reach their potential; expand access to high-quality early education for all children; launch a program to set up schools as neighborhood centers with expanded hours, services and community partnerships; help RCSD recruit extraordinary urban teachers to Rochester through partnerships and incentives; expand college access and attainment; strengthen and expand the pathways to careers by focusing on vocational-technical programs; fight summer learning loss through re-tooled City Recreation programs focused on creative learning opportunities.

My door is open, said Warren. And I hope we can all work together to build a better future for all of our children, and now that every child has the potential to achieve greatness regardless of their zip code."

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Washington Times