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East High is not alone, says Commissioner King 

There are schools in the Rochester school district in the same situation as East High, said State Education Commissioner John King at a press event at Greece Odyssey Academy High School today. And Rochester schools Superintendent Bolgen Vargas could be ordered to come up with plans to turn those schools around, too, he said. 
click to enlarge State Education Commissioner John King. - PHOTO PROVIDED
  • State Education Commissioner John King.

King would not give a time frame or say which school could be next. But he made it clear that he has little sympathy for these failing schools. They've been given the necessary funds and support, he said, but they have not sufficiently improved. 

The Rochester school district has many schools identified by the state as priority schools — those that are persistently failing academically and are in need of immediate remedial attention.

Once a failing school is singled out by the SED, officials have limited options and limited time to try to fix the school's problems. They can: close the school; convert it to a charter; open a new school while phasing out the failing school; turn the school over to SUNY to manage; or work with an educational partner organization.

Vargas has issued a request for proposals to find an EPO for East High, though he's said he's not necessarily committed to that option. He must submit a turnaround plan for East by April 30. 

King said he would like to see Vargas coordinate multiple EPO's for East, such as Monroe Community College, businesses, and BOCES. King defended the options the state offers to school districts. Evidence shows that with the right leadership, they work, he said. 

King was at Odyssey to observe how teachers are implementing the higher standards curriculum referred to as Common Core, and how they are using a $1.5 million “Strengthening Teacher Leader Effectiveness” grant. The grant is to train and develop teachers’ skills.

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