Wednesday, April 23, 2014

School Turnaround promises 100 percent graduation at East

Posted By on Wed, Apr 23, 2014 at 9:10 AM

School Turnaround says that 100 percent of East High's students will graduate and be ready for college if the Rochester school district agrees to partner with the organization to fix the failing high school. 

But to reach those goals, School Turnaround says it will need to fire East's current principal and hire and train a new one. And Turnaround will “revitalize the staff by hiring and rehiring process that identifies those teachers with the energy and commitment to clear results.”

A search committee of the Rochester school board met this evening to review the proposal submitted by School Turnaround to improve East High. It was the only proposal the district received. Working with an Educational Partner Organization such as School Turnaround is one of the options allowed by the State Education Department to fix a failing school.

The EPO would serve as the superintendent of East and report to the school board. EPO's are currently running two Buffalo schools.

The search committee, which is made up of school board members, labor representatives, a student, teacher, and parent at East had many questions to submit to School Turnaround. For starters, the bid spoke of 1,000 students. East, however, has about 1,800 students. So what happens to the other 800 students?

And Turnaround is proposing partnering with Empire State College for teacher development, not something that Empire State is especially known for. Why was Empire chosen over all of the colleges in the Rochester region with solid education and teacher preparation programs?

And a major component of the bid requires developing strong parent engagement, but it doesn’t say how that would be accomplished.

There are also questions about how the district’s massive facilities modernization program would be impacted at East, since costly improvements are supposed to begin at the school soon.

School board President Van White stressed that the committee is on a fact-finding mission. No comments from the public were allowed at this evening’s meeting, and the committee didn't make a recommendation to approve the proposal from Turnaround.

Vargas has until May 15 to respond to the SED with a proposal for improving East.  

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