Day 8: Looking Beyond Our Borders

  • It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way—in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.” - Charles Dickens, “A Tale of Two Cities,” 1859

    One could think of the city of Rochester in this way. It has both great economic opportunity and great unemployment. It has world-class educational institutions and a city school district struggling to provide educational opportunities for its students. Although we in Rush-Henrietta are somewhat removed from these challenges, these nearby inequities should concern us all.

    The Rush-Henrietta community is diverse in so many ways. Walking through our hallways, you will notice students from every imaginable background. The district’s student population is 56 percent white, evidence of its ever-growing racial diversity. Some students are living in apartments, while others’ homes are worth many hundreds of thousands of dollars. More than 40 percent of our students qualify for free or reduced lunch, a number that nearly has tripled during the past two decades. Taking a drive throughout our 67-square-mile district, there are striking geographical differences as our district morphs from rural to suburban to urban as one travels north.

    It is important to understand how these disparities came to be, and how they exist in close proximity to each other. It is even more important to reflect on ways to change this for the future.

    Did You Know?

    Twenty years ago, 11 percent of Rush-Henrietta students were eligible for free or reduced lunch. Today, that number has risen dramatically to 42 percent.

    Resources for Learning

    Option 1: Watch Systemic Racism Explained (4:23)

    Option 2: Watch What is Systemic Racism in America? (4:29)

    Option 3: Read Poverty’s Long-Lasting Effects on Students' Education and Success

    Consider these ways to reflect, grow, and take action:

    Questions to Consider for Self-Reflection: 

    • How has decades of housing discrimination impacted your community? 
    • How has the history of land ownership affected your economic situation?

    Ways to Get Involved: 

    • Visit ACT Rochester regularly to learn more about this and other issues affecting our community. This link includes reports, surveys, and other significant information:

    Office of Professional Learning Google Site Offering: 

    Additional ResourcesEngaging Students with Poverty in Mind

    "Engaging Students with Poverty in Mind," by Eric Jensen

    This book offers a look at the role engagement plays in the classroom, and the impact it can have on students. While poverty can be a barrier for students to learn effectively, renowned educator Eric Jensen offers strategies teachers can use to better engage all students and increase student achievement.


    R-H Equity Journey Copyright © 2021, All rights reserved.

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