WXXI AM News

NYS Ed. Commissioner appoints consultant to help improve Rochester City Schools

Mar 27, 2018

New York State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia has appointed someone to, as Elia puts it, give the Rochester City School District “much-needed assistance in developing and implementing plans to carry out its responsibilities to ensure all children in the district receive the education they deserve.”

Elia has appointed Kenneth Eastwood as “Distinguished Educator,“ and she says he has the experience and skill needed to help children in the Rochester district’s low performing schools.

Eastwood has 30 years experience as an educator, including nearly 20 years as a superintendent of schools in the Oswego and Middletown City School Districts. 

Elia says that, “For far too many years, the Rochester City School District has struggled to address a myriad of issues relating to instruction and student support that have created impediments to student learning.”  She says that Eastwood will help District Supt. Barbara Deane-Williams, the school board and the district develop plans to address fiscal, operational and instructional challenges.

In the statement she released on Tuesday, Elia noted that the Rochester district has the second lowest 4-year, 5-year, and 6-year graduation rates of any district in the state that has more than 30 students in a cohort.  She says that the district is one of only five in the state in which 20 percent or more of schools have been placed in receivership by the state.

Eastwood will be considered a consultant and his services will be paid for by the district. He will also serve as an ex-officio, or non-voting member of the school board. 

Elia told WXXI News that, “Since we don’t do this very often I think this should be an important step for everyone in Rochester to realize that we have some work to do and I’m anxious for Dr. Eastwood to get our report to us and start working with the district to make sure that those things happen." 

His appointment is effective April 25th.  District Supt. Barbara Deane-Williams released this statement in response to Eastwood's appointment:

I welcome the participation of Dr. Eastwood in addressing the fiscal, operational, and instructional challenges facing the District. While I am confident of the direction in which the District is currently proceeding, I also know that there is additional urgent work to be done to serve Rochester’s children and their families. Our children deserve the very best and I remain deeply committed to serving this community.”