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Rochester City School District

District Partner 2004-2005, 2007-2011

ERS has partnered with Rochester City School District (RCSD) on a variety of projects, from analyses of professional development practices, central office spending, and school design, to supporting the development and implementation of a Weighted Student Funding formula.

"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, former Superintendent, Rochester City School District (Interview with Rochester City Newspaper, March 2010)

District Facts

Students: 34,000

Work Focus


  • Professional Development: Perform an in-depth analysis of professional development (PD) to identify ways to more strategically allocate resources to support teaching effectiveness and leadership development.
  • School Performance Assessment: Develop performance standards of what excellent schools should know and be able to do, and include supporting performance rubrics to assess progress in achieving the district’s Seven Essential Standards for Schools.


  • School Funding: Redesign Rochester’s funding system to better support the district’s core values of Achievement, Equity, and Accountability.
  • Special Education: Analyze special education spending to identify areas of improvements around student and program placement.
  • Central Office: Analyze central office spending to identify opportunities to realign spending with other benchmark districts


  • Teaching Quality: Analyze teaching quality practices around hiring, staffing, evaluation, and compensation to support the upcoming contract negotiations.
  • School Design:  Analyze school design practices to identify opportunities for improvement around maximizing academic time and providing individual attention for students.
  • School Autonomy: Support 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


  • Weighted Student Funding: Supporting RCSD in developing and implementing a Weighted Student Funding system (called Equitable Student Funding in Rochester), adopted by all the schools in the district.

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 designed 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.

  • ERS worked with RCSD on the formula and policies for a new school funding system (weighted student funding) that will support the district’s core goals, provide greater equity across schools, fund students based on need, and devolve control over resources to schools. The new weighted student funding system was piloted with 5 schools, and then subsequently rolled out to the whole district

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