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March 27, 2018
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JP O'Hare

(518) 474-1201



Commissioner Elia Names Distinguished Educator for Rochester City School District

State Education Department Commissioner MaryEllen Elia appointed Dr. Kenneth Eastwood as a Distinguished Educator (DE) to the Rochester City School District (Rochester CSD), the Department announced today.

“With a distinguished educator on board, Rochester will have much-needed assistance in developing and implementing plans to carry out its responsibilities to ensure all children in the district receive the education they deserve,” Board of Regents Chancellor Betty A. Rosa said. “Dr. Eastwood has the knowledge, experience and skill to be a meaningful partner with the school board and district for the benefit of every child in the district’s low-performing schools.”

“For far too many years, the Rochester City School District has struggled to address a myriad of issues relating to instruction and student support that have created impediments to student learning,” Commissioner Elia said. “The appointment of Ken Eastwood as a Distinguished Educator underscores the commitment of the Board of Regents and the State Education Department to partner with the Rochester community to create a new, brighter future for our RCSD students. Dr. Eastwood will help Superintendent Deane-Williams, the school board and the district develop and implement plans to address fiscal, operational, and instructional challenges faced by the district.”

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.

Dr. Kenneth Eastwood has 30 years of experience as an educator, including nearly 20 years as a superintendent of schools in the Oswego and Middletown City School Districts. Dr. Eastwood holds a B.A. and an M.S., both in education, from SUNY Potsdam, and an Ed.D. from Syracuse University.   

As specified in education law, Dr. Eastwood is considered a consultant to the district and his services will be paid for by the district.  Among his responsibilities, Dr. Eastwood will conduct 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 develop an action plan to support district improvement.

Dr. Eastwood’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 Eastwood in developing recommendations, Commissioner Elia has directed Dr. Eastwood 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.

Dr. Eastwood 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. Eastwood shall provide a copy of the action plan to the school district, as well as submit quarterly reports to the Department.

Dr. Eastwood’s appointment is effective April 26, 2018.