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Our Approach

The statistics paint a grim picture for young men in the city of Rochester. Graduation rates for young men of color rank last out of the Big 5 cities in New York. Rochester ranks 3rd for the highest murder rate per capita in all of New York and has the highest state poverty rate with roughly 33.4% of all families living below the federal poverty line. Vertus’ goal is to help young men in the city of Rochester defy the odds. We achieve our mission, “Preparing leaders of character,” by focusing on the four pillars below.

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Strong Relationships

The old saying “It takes a Village,” has never been more true. Vertus’ staff build relationships with students and their families in order to help students be successful. Your student will be a part of a small learning team of 12-16 students, led by a Preceptor who serves as a role model, motivator, character builder, and academic liaison. The bond that develops between a student, his Preceptor, and the team serves as a way to encourage school attendance and character and academic growth.


Personalized Year Round Academics

Vertus’ innovative school model combines technology, small teacher-led classes, and a year round calendar. These components allow your student to close learning gaps, build skills, and work towards their New York State Regents diploma. A variety of electives such as Creative Expressions, African American History, and Personal Finance along with various clubs and sports keep active adolescents engaged and build real-world skills.

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Character Education

Every student participates in a daily seminar, led by his Preceptor. The seminar, based on our Character Curriculum, explores our three virtues of Courage, Leadership, and Responsibility through engaging dialog, a circle protocol, and team building activities. Goal setting provides an opportunity for students to choose which character strengths they want to focus on. Character reports are shared with students and their families twice a year and highlight overall character growth. Weekly and monthly ceremonies recognize students that exhibit character strengths that lead to success, such as grit, social intelligence, and self-control.

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Career Preparation

After graduation, each student chooses the path that is right for him: college, technical training, joining the military, or starting a career. Vertus has a variety of partnerships that allow students to be better prepared for whatever path they choose. We partner with Monroe Community College and Bryant and Stratton which allow for students to begin earning college credit, at no cost to the family, while still in high school. While at Vertus, students also have an opportunity to visit the local colleges in the area, meet with admission representatives from schools outside the immediate area, and participate in our annual Job Fair. The Job Fair brings together military recruiters and employers from various companies that focus on the trades along with other local service agencies. Students can apply for positions on the spot and, with the help of our counseling staff, prepare for interviews that may result.

Students will Graduate Prepared for Success

A student that completes their education at Vertus is ready for the next step. Working hard to develop character and meet the NYS academic requirements for a Regents diploma allows students to build habits that will benefit them in whatever they choose to do. The relationships that they have built guarantee that there is a Vertus staff member to support them throughout their first post-secondary year. In the words of our Creed, which we recite daily, they will forever be “Their Bothers’ Keeper, Leaders of Character, and most importantly, Vertus Men.”

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