Educational excellence is achieved at all levels in Rochester, a true hub of learning in southeast Minnesota. Residents are supplied some of the finest educational opportunities in the country through Rochester Public Schools and a selection of top-rated colleges and universities. From early childhood learning through graduate studies, education remains a cornerstone in the Rochester community.
ROCHESTER PUBLIC SCHOOL DISTRICT 535
Rochester Public Schools is recognized as one of the best public school districts in the country, enrolling more than 16,300 pre-K through 12th grade students annually—a number that represents the state’s seventh-largest enrollment. The district is composed of 17 elementary schools, four middle schools and three comprehensive high schools, with a total staff exceeding 2,200 members. Nearly 1,200 dedicated teachers are included in that number, of which more than 69 percent hold training of a Master’s or higher.
In 2008, the district launched its Five-Year Plan, which ultimately focuses on the strategies and opportunities for enhancing the achievement and success rate of each student enrolled in the school district. Since its institution, the plan has proven successful, as the district has seen increases in proficiency across the board. Student achievement remains above state and national averages, with a recent graduation rate posted at 94 percent.
Alternatives to the public school option are widely available in the Rochester area. Rochester Catholic Schools, which include Lourdes High School and three others, provide quality education for nearly 1,800 area students. Schaeffer Academy, a K-12 independent Christian School founded in 1993, is another option and currently educates more than 360 students. Another great resource is Rochester Central Lutheran School (RCLS), a Christian-based institution offering preschool through 8th grade academic programs. RCLS was established in 1875 and has since grown to serve nearly 400 students each school year.
The Rochester area is full of opportunities for higher education and includes a dozen colleges and universities in the area. Among the area’s colleges and universities are Rochester Community & Technical College, the state’s oldest two-year college and one of the nation’s oldest original community colleges; Winona State University – Rochester, which has served the region since 1917; and University of Minnesota Rochester, which has been recognized as a learning environment like no other in the world, where faculty and students, research and education intertwine seamlessly with the strengths of biomedical and business enterprises of the Rochester area and the international reach of the University of Minnesota system. Other notable institutions include Augsburg, Cardinal Stritch, Concordia, Crossroads College, Mayo School of Health Sciences, St. Mary’s University, Minnesota School of Business, Luther College and College of St. Scholastica.
Rochester’s many higher educational institutions are surely leading the way to a brighter future for our community, state and world.