FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Commissioner Elia Names Dr. Jaime Aquino Distinguished Educator for Rochester City School District
State Education Department Commissioner MaryEllen Elia today appointed Dr. Jaime Aquino as a Distinguished Educator (DE) to the Rochester City School District (Rochester CSD), the Department announced today.
“Dr. Aquino’s significant leadership and teaching roles in large urban school districts that serve diverse student populations make him an excellent fit to help the Rochester City School District,” Board of Regents Chancellor Betty A. Rosa said. “All of Rochester’s students deserve a high-quality education. The Distinguished Educator can help the school board and district make sure the children are well served through improved teaching and learning."
“The Rochester City School District needs to address many deficiencies in instruction and student support that are barriers to student learning,” Commissioner Elia said. “Working with Superintendent Deane-Williams and the district, Dr. Aquino will assess the district’s fiscal, operational and instructional operations and develop strategies for improvement.”
Vice Chancellor of the Board of Regents T. Andrew Brown said, “The Board of Regents and the State Education Department are committed to working with the Rochester community to provide all students with the knowledge and skills to choose their own path to success life. Dr. Aquino will be an asset to the district, the board and the children they serve.”
Dr. Jaime Aquino has worked in education for more than 30 years, starting his career as a bilingual teacher in Queens. Dr. Aquino’s vast experience as an educator includes serving in leadership roles in school districts in Los Angeles, Denver and Hartford, CT. Born in the Dominican Republic, Dr. Aquino holds a B.S. in psychology from Instituto Tecnológico de Santo Domingo, an M.S. in bilingual education and a Ph.D. in curriculum and teaching from Fordham University.
Over the last several years, the Rochester CSD has experienced significant academic issues, which include, but are not limited to:
The district has the second lowest 4-year, 5-year, and 6-year graduation rates of any district in New York State that has more than 30 students in a cohort.
Last year, the district had the lowest combined English language arts and mathematics Performance Index in the state at the elementary and middle school level (grades 3-8). At the high school level, only one district performed at a lower level than Rochester on the combined ELA and math Performance Index.
Rochester CSD has the highest percentage of schools identified as Priority (54 percent) of any district in the State.
The district is one of only five in the state in which 20 percent or more of schools have been placed in Receivership, and one of only three school districts in which a school in Receivership has failed to make Demonstrable Improvement.
Rochester CSD is currently classified as a District in Need of Intervention under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”) and is required to implement a Corrective Action Plan because of its failure to provide appropriate services to students with disabilities.
Issues have been identified with regard to the provision of services to English language learners, and the Department expects to shortly issue a Corrective Action Plan as a result of a monitoring visit to the district.
As specified in education law, the DE is considered a consultant to the district and his services will be paid for by the district. The DE responsibilities include conducting an intensive review of district systems, structures and operations with the goal of helping the district to fully and effectively implement its improvement plans for Priority Schools and Focus Schools and developing an action plan to support district improvement.
The Distinguished Educator’s work will include reviewing the District Comprehensive Education Plan and related plans for Priority Schools and Focus Schools and either endorsing the plans or making recommendations to the District’s Board of Education for their modification. To support the DE in developing recommendations, Commissioner Elia has directed Dr. Aquino to also review the district’s fiscal and organizational systems. He will also serve as an ex-officio, non-voting member of the board of education.
During the first 45 days of his appointment, the Distinguished Educator will focus on working collaboratively with the district to develop an action plan outlining the goals and objectives for the district and himself for the ensuing school year. This action plan shall be submitted to the Commissioner of Education for approval. Upon approval, Dr. Aquino shall provide a copy of the action plan to the school district, as well as submit quarterly reports to the Department.
Dr. Aquino’s appointment is effective August 18, 2018.
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