E3 Rochester is a grassroots,
community-based, non-profit organization that recruits,
launches and supports high-quality public charter schools
in the City of Rochester.
Our Mission and Vision
Need in Rochester
Backed by the commitment and determination of our board of directors, volunteers and a growing community network, E3 Rochester was formed in 2012 to create systemic change in K-12 education for the children of the City of Rochester to drastically change the dire student academic outcomes in the worst performing urban district in the nation: in 2015, just 46% of students graduated from high school on time, with only 5% proficient to enter college or begin a career.
Increase the number of proven, high-performing public charter schools by recruiting charter management organizations and leaders from across the country who have demonstrated a proven record of success educating children and teens in economically challenged urban neighborhoods. Support the schools and they successfully grow to full enrollment and expand.
E3 Rochester: What We Do
E3 Rochester works with the charter schools, neighborhood, business and community leaders and funders to ensure schools have the resources and funding necessary for successful launch and growth. E3 serves as a local advocate, connector, and supporter to raise community awareness of successful schools.
Recruit and Expand High Quality Schools
Select and recruit nation’s leading high quality charter schools using strict E3 Rochester criteria
Coordinate Rochester visit to introduce charter leaders to neighborhood, business and civic leaders
Assist in the formation of charter school board of trustees and assist with letter of intent and charter application to authorizer
Assist with community outreach efforts to build support, petition drives, community forums
Support efforts to recruit school leaders: principal, teachers, and staff
Support and Expand High Quality Schools
School facilities inventory and assessment: identify, assess, and secure suitable real-estate options for schools with location strategy based on neighborhood needs, environmental and architectural assessments, legal assistance, and financing
Resource development: provide or connect charter school leadership with the resources necessary for growth and expansion
Student recruitment/enrollment: Assist in coordination and provide funding for recruitment efforts to ensure students and families are aware of option to attend a high performing charter school
Issue and Problem resolution Advocate expediently to resolve barriers for success
Development fundraising to ensure schools are equipped for successful outcomes
Collaboration and networking with community, neighborhood and other charter school leaders
Community and neighborhood relations
Advocacy and Communications
Accomplishments to Date
Recruit and Support high-performing charter school leaders and organizations
E3 Rochester co-founders Joe Klein and Bryan Hickman traveled to 27 cities to identify the nation’s best charter leaders with proven records of success and recruit them to launch in the city of Rochester. E3 Rochester used a rigorous set of criteria developed with the advice and guidance of major national foundations and charter school experts.
E3 Rochester successfully recruited and opened two charter schools in 2014; Vertus Charter School for at-risk high school boys (grades 9-12) and PUC Achieve Charter School (grades 5-8). E3 Rochester financed the charter application process, helped write the applications, recruited boards of directors, conducted community outreach and carried out the full range of activities for the PUC and Vertus schools to receive charters from the State of New York, enabling their opening in 2014 to serve the most impoverished and academically challenged children in Rochester.
PUC Achieve Charter School
- E3 recruited PUC Schools of Los Angeles to Rochester to open the PUC Achieve Charter School in August 2014. Located at 14 Mark Street in the most impoverished neighborhood in the city in the NE Quadrant, PUC is providing a warm, safe, but demanding learning environment with an extended school day for over 290 5th and 6th and 7th graders, and will grow to 400 students in grades 5-8 by 2017-18. With the majority of incoming students 5th grade students testing at the K-2 reading level, significant progress has been achieved with both 5th and 6th grade students increasing two grade levels in reading and one grade level in math.
- E3 created and implemented a financing plan for purchasing St Bridget’s Church and to fund the recent 30,000 sq. ft. building expansion. When it was determined that funding would not be available solely through bank financing, an E3 board work group formed to expediently resolve the issue, devising an innovative loan program involving securing individual investors. E3 established an LLC, and secured $4.1 million in loans from individuals and foundations to match bank funding.
- PUC Achieve Charter School exemplifies E3’s Rochester’s comprehensive approach: excellent schools anchoring neighborhood revitalization. Expansion plans are underway to create a safe, neighborhood “Campus” adding PUC Achieve Charter Primary School (grades pre-K-4) to serve 600 students and a PUC Achieve Charter High School (grades 9-12) to serve 400 students. PUC Achieve Charter Schools will grow to serve a total of 1,400 students on a 7 acre “Campus” with three school buildings, green space with athletic fields, a bus loop, parking and recreational facilities that will anchor the surrounding neighborhood.
Vertus Charter School
- E3 recruited Ohio charter leaders Perry White and Leigh McGuigan to open Vertus Charter School all-boys, year-round high school. Vertus combines on-line learning and intensive small group instruction that allows each student to proceed at his own pace, so it can serve those who are academically far behind as well as those who are proficient or advanced. In addition to teachers, a full- time “preceptor” serve as a mentor and role model for every 14 students. With the support of local businesses, each student will follow a career track towards a credential that will help him chose to attend college or get a job upon graduation.
- Vertus Charter School opened in September 2014, and currently serves 260 students in the 9th and 10th and 11th grades. Vertus will grow to serve 400 students in grades 9-12 when fully enrolled. More than half of Vertus students are considered at-risk. Beginning the year with 40% of students who had already failed 9th grade and/or were classified as Special Ed., the school helped its students make stunning progress academically, socially, and emotionally. Vertus students jumped two full grade levels (from fifth to seventh grade) in both math and reading as measured by the NWEA tests taken by millions of students across the country in the school’s first year.
- In 2014, E3 assisted Vertus Charter School in securing leased premises in a former Catholic Diocese building on the corner of Lyell Avenue, for their first two years of operation. In July 2016, after identifying and assessing over 12 facilities, E3 secured a new location, at the corner of Humboldt Street and Culver Road to accommodate enrollment growth and curriculum needs. The expanded space was custom-designed for student use and includes a regulation-size gymnasium, Maker Lab, art room, science laboratory, several computer labs, and classrooms for small group work and seminars.
Impact and Outcome
All children in Rochester will be able to choose a great school best suited to their needs and learning styles, which will prepare them for success in college, career—and life. We believe a great education is key to a thriving community and a solution for poverty.
Strong neighborhoods. E3 Rochester’s preferred model is a neighborhood community school, drawing in families and tying into the community in ways that give their students more stability and support, leading to better educational outcomes while also reviving devastated neighborhoods.
- 6,000 additional city children are enrolled in high performing charter schools on a new trajectory in life.
- Graduates capable and prepared for college or a career in the workforce. E3 Rochester’s goal is 85% of students graduating by 2020.
- Bringing back the neighborhood school and revitalizing a sense of community in our City neighborhoods.
Ensuring every child in Rochester is enrolled in a great school will literally transform the lives of city children, their families, and in the long run will revitalize our city.
E3 Rochester Inc. has a 20 member board of directors and board of fellows comprised of business and community leaders, and several committee volunteers.
E3 Rochester Executive Director Jim Brush, co-founders Joe Klein and Bryan Hickman are donating their services full time to carry out the mission. See more on our leadership here.