News Release - Mayor Warren Announces Early Learning Council Members

City of Rochester

News Release

(Monday, March 10, 2014) — Today Mayor Lovely A. Warren announced the names of the individuals appointed to serve on her Early Learning Council and the Council’s public hearing schedule. The Council will be led by co-chairs Dr. Joanne Larson, professor of education at the Warner Graduate School of Education and Carrie Remis, parent advocate and member of the New York State Education Reform Commission. The Council will be staffed by Allen Williams, the City of Rochester’s Director of Special Projects and Marisol Lopez, the Commissioner of the Department of Recreation and Youth Services.

The Mayor convened the Council in response to Governor Cuomo’s recent proposal to expand New York State’s pre-K program. The governor’s plan will create $1.5 billion in competitive pre-K grants and open up the program to charter schools, which had previously been ineligible for pre-K funding. Mayor Warren said, “The Governor’s plan would provide Rochester with powerful new tools to make high-quality pre-K a reality for all of our children, regardless of zip code, socio-economic status or race.”

The Council had its first organizing meeting last Thursday, March 6. It is tasked with:

• Leading a robust public discussion about the challenges and opportunities inherent in educating Rochester’s youngest and most vulnerable students. The Council will convene a series of public hearings, inviting parents, practitioners and early childhood experts to present feedback on the current Pre-K delivery in Rochester and explore local and national models. 

• Reporting on the status of Rochester’s current pre-K program, including current and projected enrollment, funding sources, the supply of high-quality professional development and  barriers to access and expansion.

• Recommending program and policy changes to improve Rochester’s pre-K program, including concrete strategies to expand access, improve quality and increase parental choice. Final recommendations will be due to the Mayor by June 30, 2014.

• Lobbying for Rochester’s fair share of federal and state pre-K funding

The Council is comprised of early childhood experts, business leaders, funders, practitioners and parents.

Mayor Warren said, “The Council’s mix of establishment experts and change agents is no accident; if we want different educational outcomes, we must embrace different perspectives and different approaches to problems. I am especially honored to have four parent advocates join the Council, each with their own track record of winning change for parents in state and local policy.”

Mayor Warren said, “From President Obama to Governor Cuomo to the mayors of New York’s Big 5 cities, there is growing consensus that investing in high-quality pre-K will pay big dividends and must be central to any strategy to revitalize our cities. I am deeply appreciative to everyone who has stepped forward to help us in this important mission to bring in new resources on behalf of our youngest and most vulnerable children.”

Early Learning Council meeting will take place from noon to 1 p.m. on the following dates: March 27; May 15; May 29; June 12. Meetings will be held at City Hall, Room 309-A, 30 Church St.

Early Learning Council public hearings will take place from 6 to 9 p.m. on the following dates: March 19; April 15; May 1. Public hearings will be held in City Council chambers, City Hall, 30 Church St. Those wishing to speak must sign up by 5 p.m. the day prior to the hearing.  Call 428-6856 to sign up. Speakers will be given three minutes to speak. 

The Council will make all testimony, research and recommendations available on the City’s website. In addition to testifying in person, members of the public are invited to submit written testimony and feedback by email.

Early Learning Council Members:
• Hollis Budd
• Dr. Peter Carpino
• Carolyn Lee Davis
• Ernest Flagler
• Dr. Marilyn Patterson Grant
• Dr. A. Dirk Hightower
• Ty Kelly
• Doretha King-Simpson
• Dr. Joanne Larson **
• Jennifer Leonard
• Dr. Jeffrey Linn
• Carrie Remis**
• Makita Saloane
• Loretta Scott
• Patricia Uttaro
• Jeff Smink
• Van White, Esq.
**Denotes Co-Chair


News Media: For more information, contact Communications Director Christine Christopher at 428-7135.