At The Sands Family Campus on Lake Avenue, hundreds of students are being equipped for lifelong success as part of EnCompass Navigation, a holistic pre-K through graduation pathway, which integrates year-round academics, college and career development, and wraparound supports. Now in year-two, the groundbreaking approach is yielding results for students by addressing barriers to learning, graduation, and college and employment success.
“We see firsthand the harm Rochester’s educational crisis is causing for children and families and we are not standing by,” states Joseph Martino, EnCompass CEO. “Student and family voice must be the driver for solutions, and programs must equip families to knock down barriers- this is EnCompass Navigation.”
Of the 1,900 students EnCompass serves annually, staff “Navigators” address challenges with 500 students and families for whom school success and graduation is most at-risk. Students attend more than 17 public schools throughout Rochester, school and community partners are added daily, and EnCompass plans to expand to serve more than 1,100 individuals in Navigation by 2025.
Young children are referred by their schools in hopes Navigators will get to the root of major attendance and family-school communication issues. Often housing instability, transportation issues, hunger, and other challenges brought on by poverty are causes; Navigators partner with parents to address challenges at home and school. Together they attend school meetings, tackle transportation, connect in resources, budget household expenses, and coach through family struggles. Families’ paths become cleared of barriers and many children who before struggled to get to school, grow academically, or even stay in class are now becoming role model students.
Lakesia, an EnCompass parent, shares, “This program is very helpful, mentally and physically. We don’t give up, we have to keep our heads up, this is the perfect program to help you do that.”
Whole-family programming, Cooking Matters classes and family dinners develop natural networks, and families can access support to meet urgent needs, like food and housing assistance, and receive training to become advocates and leaders of their children’s educational teams.
In 2019, Navigation expanded to serve teens in “Future Ready,” with a focus on successful navigation of academic challenges, employment-readiness, and college and career development. Today, several evenings per week,150 high school students arrive by bus to the Sands Family Campus, where attendance approaches 100 percent, graduation of seniors in year-one was 100 percent, and all students are supported to maintain a 2.5 GPA to obtain job placement with one of Future Ready’s employer partners, Wegmans, University of Rochester, Rochester Regional Health, Seabreeze, and Selby Marketing / Graywood Companies.
Barb Zalazny, Principal, Young Women’s College Prep Charter School states, “Numerous students have been placed in jobs already thanks to the guidance and support of the EnCompass Program! Future Ready is a valuable resource for schools like ours, employers, and - most of all- our students.”
Navigation and all EnCompass academic programs, are provided at no cost to students thanks to tremendous local philanthropic investment. Recognizing the power of Navigation’s holistic approach, Education Success Foundation (EnCompass’ parent organization) has undertaken a fundraising campaign to sustain year-round Navigation programming.
The EnCompass Campaign received a $1 million boost this January with a charity golf tournament hosted in Delray Beach, Florida by Richard Sands, founder of EnCompass and Chair of Education Success Foundation. More than 80 business leaders participated and 21 individuals and companies made multi-year commitments to raise the critical sum, including M&T Bank, Five-Star Bank, Bonadio Group, LiDestri Foods, The Pike Companies, and Flaum Management.
“I am thrilled and humbled that we were able to raise this much money. The level of support by these leaders shows how dire the situation is in Rochester for students – our community’s business leaders are eager to invest in a viable solution for the myriad of problems brought on by poverty and a failing school district. We are fortunate they see EnCompass Navigation as a solution. Our expertise has demonstrated innovative solutions for children and the tenacity to mitigate some of the most extreme problems in our community,” states Sands.
“Every dollar we raise represents additional children we can reach, critical services we can provide, and makes the case to the New York State Government that they must consider a deeper financial commitment to reaching vulnerable children and families in Rochester through EnCompass.”
Education Success Foundation equips children to succeed in school and in life. With our supported organizations, EnCompass: Resources for Learning and The Norman Howard School, we serve 2,000 students in academic and wraparound services every year. To learn more contact Rebecca Ferri, Director of Development & Communications, at 585.563.2969 | [email protected] or visit www.educationsuccessfoundation.org .