|Input in Community Members’ Own Words
|Vertus Verbatim Email Response to Community Members
|Community Member – More job training will prepare students for skills in a particular trade – they can enter the job market immediately without accruing enormous college loan debts. Regarding the value of the online component of Vertus’ blended learning program – Some do very well online, others have trouble focusing. Adequate mentors/leaders would be required.
|…We agree that for some students remaining focused on studying (online) will be challenging…. There will be at least three staff members, including a Lead Teacher, in each learning lab to observe, encourage, and provide small group and individual assistance.
|High School Student – This is a great oppurtunity for young males to be successful in life. It will benifit them because they can have someone to talk to when they have personal issues going on in there life….they will have a better chance of graduating and know how to get a job.
|Thanks for filling out Vertus’ survey.
|Hispanic Community Leader – The first thing I notice was it is in Spanish also. Very seldom do you see that. For Latino children that is a missing link that we need to make sure is incorporated in the education system. Regarding Tutors – That is something that our kids are missing. Having a person who can answer questions and be a role model for the kids would be great. Regarding critical components absent from most schools – The environment that is parent friendly, school that focus on careers. Kids not been challenged. Celebrating kids culture and language rather than seeing it as weakness.
|…Regarding your responses on the survey, Vertus will work hard to build relationships with families, including by hiring some bi-lingual staff. We will do home visits with each family at the beginning of each school year. And we will have an individual plan with each student / family. Hopefully, we will get to meet in early October. When we do I’d like to gain more of your perspective, including on how to respect students’ and families’ language and culture.
|African American Community Member – I like the innovation and believe the ideas and information and timely. I enjoyed our meeting, and am grateful that was my first impression of this effort. My hope is that all work would be initiated in those types of principles presented are relevant, needed. I believe career education is a key component missing from existing education. Regarding critical components absent from most schools – Positive Black Men (in teaching, administrative, mentoring, coaching positions), a curriculum that is culturally relevant, wellness services (including psychologists, mental health screening, and community resources and referrals), career development and PLACEMENT assistance, and parent (or family or community) advocacy and support.
|…we intend to actively help each of our students with career placement, … to have many staff who look like and personally understand our students, will have wellness services, for example mental health and restorative justice services / programs, and we will look to form a productive relationship with each student’s parent(s) focused on their child’s academic, character, and career goals. I look forward to talking further about how to ensure our staff is culturally humble.
|Community Leader – Innovative model that fills a niche. Calls for character education and a better articulated path to career are common in the community, but have fallen on deaf…ears…. Rochester has the highest unemployment in the state and a famously broken CTE curriculum. We are desperate for new leadership to bridge the school-employer divide.
|Thank you for your responses to Vertus’ survey.
|Parent of School Age Child – Please have longer days, uniforms and opportunities for families to feel invested in the school. Help families with tools to support these young men. Some guardians want to help but don’t know how to, maybe lack education themselves, face addictions, poverty, domestic violence etc.
|…we will have a longer school day and school year. We will have a dress code, which we will expect everyone to take seriously. I especially appreciate your recommendation – that we help parents to find the tools they need to better support their children. We need to try to do this. But we will need the right community partners….Can you recommend any agencies who you believe would do a good job in helping our families?
|High School Student – I feel this is a great oppurtunity for young men trying to achive and suceed in life and want to better them selves. Bringing this program to rochester will increase the graduation rate for male student in the rochester city school district.
|Thanks for filling out Vertus’ survey.
|Parent of School Age Child – Make sure it has energy and excitement [hand written survey]
|When I next see Mr. Foster at NEAD or the Freedom School I will ask his advice on how to do just as he suggests. Vertus will need to be a spirited place to get everyone across the goal line.
|African American Community Member – Regarding having one full-time adult mentor for every 8 to 12 students – I believe that this is the crucial difference that sets Vertus Charter School apart from other schools. The mentor can add that extra support that many of our young men need during the high school years to make it through school and on to successful adult lives. What additional information would you like us to consider when creating our educational program? “Please seek out authentic community voices to help you build. If the community feels ownership in the plan they will support it with all their might. and you will experience success.
|Leigh and I want to continue to talk with you, Jackie, Sherita and others about how to be sure we are listening to people whose views authentically represent the community, its needs, and its wisdom….[We] will be back in touch soon.”
|Grandparent – When students graduate, encourage them to return each year on a certain day (homecoming?) so the younger students can see what those who graduated before them have achieved. It can be very encouraging to a younger person to see that someone else “made it” and they can too.
|This is a terrific idea and fully fits with how we want to inspire our students to aspire to be successful. With some community volunteers to help us to develop and maintain a Vertus alumni association, surely we will do this.
|Teacher – Regarding a critical element often missing in schools – This school needs a deliberate and codified mechanism for connecting young men to community members and the workforce for paid internships.
|Regarding your input, yes, Leigh and I firmly believe that it is through deliberate, codified policies and procedures that Vertus’ mission and vision will be translated into the right actions leading to strong results. We have a lot more planning to do ensure connections like those you recommend occur before school opens.
|Community Member – I would like you to consider opportunities to integrate students from Rochester’s suburbs into at least some of the school’s activities in ways that foster meaningful relationships between students across the urban/suburban barrier. This will require some very creative thinking but is an important piece for the long-term health of our region.
|…Vertus intends to develop men prepared for a diverse workplace and world. Your recommendation does challenge us to think about how best to prepare our students accordingly in the context of their generally segregated experience. Correspondingly, without a doubt our young men will have much to offer their suburban peers. In time we … find ways to bridge such gaps.
|Physician – Include youth from the beginning in planning, implementation and evaluation. As youth say: “Nothing about us without us.”
|…thank you for challenging us to include youth in our planning. Assuming we get our charter and move to Rochester in January, we will work with local agencies to find ways to do so.