Rochester’s high education expectations stem from the work of a dedicated community, says school board chair Gary Smith, who trusts the same institutions here to educate his grandchildren as they did his own children.
“One of the things that makes Rochester truly unique is our culture of collaboration, especially in education," he says. "The strength of the district is that everyone – students, teachers, administrators, businesses, and the community – revolve around our mission. We value public education.”
K-12 Public Schools
That starts with the city’s exceptional K-12 program in a diverse district that serves more than 16,000 students. Smith iterates the need to serve all students, making sure that in getting kids from point A to point B on a particular subject, they recognize “not all students start at A, and many go on to point C and beyond.”
The district began all-day kindergarten in 2014. It's also dedicated to creating a learning environment that provides individual technology for all students for 1:1 computing study. Although the district’s success levels are already high, with 80 percent of children going on to some form of post-secondary education, “we can’t afford for anyone to fall through the cracks,” Smith says.
To that end, the city has begun design on CTECH (Career Technical Education Center at Heintz), an extraordinarily innovative center on the Rochester Community and Technical College campus designed to meld the education and business communities. CTECH will provide hands-on vocational and career learning opportunities to prepare students for post-secondary study as well as training for the job needs of the local business community.
Colleges and Universities
Rochester Community and Technical College shares its campus with a branch of Winona State University at the University Center Rochester, previously home to the University of Minnesota Rochester (UMR). UMR has recently established a separate, downtown campus near the Mayo Clinic. The Mayo Medical School offers medical study and research programs as well.
Area private schools include Crossroads College and branches of Augsburg College, the College of St. Scholastica at the new Minnesota BioBusiness Center, Cardinal Stritch University and St. Mary’s University of Minnesota. The Minnesota School of Business also has a campus in Rochester.