Friday, August 30, 2013

Don't Judge Rochester Off-campus Charter High By Low Test Scores

Something struck me when I looked for very high and very low scoring schools in the Post Bulletin. Century was the school I picked because of its high test scores, but the lowest stuck way out - was some place called Rochester Off-campus Charter High. I could not find anything on a web search that would explain what the school mission was, but I suspected on the basis of the scores that it was the sort of remedial school that other districts have for students that don't do well in a normal high school environment, and the testimonials and reviews I have bear this out - students are transformed from failures to people who succeed on their own terms, and  this is a good thing. Not every gets high test scores, and it is very destructive to have a culture that demands that everybody must be in the top 20% or be labeled "below average" = failure. 

From Post Bulletin A6 August 27, 2013

Ranked by Math grade 11
Math11  Sci 
  73.9 64.4 Century High School
  62.9 67.8 Byron Senior High School
  61.5 48.5 Mayo High School
  60.0 73.8 Zumbrota-Mazeppa Senior High
  48.7 50.7 John Marshall High 
  47.9 36.7 Winona Senior High
  43.9 47.0 Austin Senior High
   4.8 26.7 Rochester Off-campus Charter High

Rochester Off-Campus has very low scores, but that doesn't mean it is a failure. Its purpose appears to be to serve students who don't have the highest scores and need extra help, one review: 
Roc is a place u can call home..The staff are there for you when you need them ...And Jay thanks for believin in so many off us that were ready to give up in school...Roc is a great school the students get extra help more then usual schools. With out Roc I dont know where I would be at this moment...Roc staff's thanks for everything and Jay thanks for believing in us... 
—Submitted by a student
like small schools and the teachers are great. Jay, our Principle, is the best guy you'll ever meet and is willing to give anyone a chance to make it in school. We're not like other schools, we're more like a family, cause everyone has respect for everyone. Making it so there are no fights and not as much drama. This is the best school I have ever been too. Thanks for having ROC as a school in Rochester. Parents don't worry about sending your kids there cause the school is a clean, drug free, and sober environment. We plan on keeping it that way too.
—Submitted by a student

Posted April 25, 2007
ROC has been been a life saver for my daughter. My daughter struggled through elementary & middle school and we feared that she would get into high school and have the class work be way over her head and for her to give up and drop out. My daughter gets up for school everyday she still struggles with getting work done but she is learning and growing everyday. Thanks to Jay and the staff my daughter is competing her 10th grade year and is excited to go to college once she graduates from high school. Rochester Off Campus Charter High School is a dream come true.
—Submitted by Shannon Laugen, a parent
The following are comments received from parents & guardians regarding ROC.

"ROC has been a miracle for my son. Until starting at ROC he has struggled with every teacher and every assignment given to him. He would skip school and run away from home. He was doing drugs and not caring in the least about his future and graduating high school. Since starting at ROC, his whole attitude has changed. He looks forward to school. He hasn't been in a physical altercation with any teachers or students. He follows my rules at home, gets to bed on time and wakes up for school without problems!"

"At ROC my son has found a place where he can be himself and everyone there respects that."

"My daughter just started attending ROC on April 12th, 2010 (1 week before comment was received). I have already witnessed a change, for the positive, in her attitude and attendance where school is concerned."

"My son went from failing grades to A's and B's."

"I just have to say that ROC hasn't just changed my kids' lives, it's changed mine. They actually want to go to school. That alone is a great acheivment."

"This school has saved several former foster youth of mine. The education provided to them helped them become better citizens, good parents and even helped some conquer addictions."

"My son LOVES being at ROC. He feels the teachers really care about him and his education. This is literally the first time our son has enjoyed learning and is getting passing grades. Our son knows all the teachers and administration at ROC and doesn't ever want to be without any of them or his school."

"ROC culture is something that everybody understands that goes to ROC. It is a place where you care about each other and everyone is safe and no one will judge you and you will be accepted for who you are. I have heard this testimony time after timee after time after time from my own kids and so many other students."

"ROC has been the best thing for our son. Since the day he started last year, he has not once complained about getting up and making the 50 minutes commute each day. His teachers and Jay have been a huge asset with keeping him on track, and actually wanting to go to school."

"My son went from F's and not caring about school and is now consistently getting A's and B's and has a better perception of school and education."

"Before the tour of the school was over, I knew that this school would rescue my daughter and change her life forever. AND I WAS RIGHT! I have never seen my daughter so happy and hopeful."

"I know that because of ROC she has become the great student and person she is."

ROC's greatness comes from those who have walked within and are a part of the family. These are their stories (click on the links below for individual stories).

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