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East times 3? 

Rochester schools Superintendent Bolgen Vargas wants to divide the failing East High School into three separate schools, all housed in the current building.

Vargas made the recommendation at a school board meeting Tuesday night. The Rochester school district is under orders from the State Education Department to come up with a plan to drastically improve academic performance at East.

Vargas's schools would focus on career readiness. There would be a foundation academy for seventh and eighth grade; a ninth-grade academy; and a career pathways academy for grades 10 to 12.

Students in grades seven to nine would be broken into teams. The same teachers, for the most part, would instruct them through all three grades.

The year-round schools would have an 11-month calendar and offer flexible schedules for older students. The East academies would adopt the Linked Learning program, blending academic and career education. Linked Learning would build on the culinary, optics, and teaching preparation programs at East.

Vargas's plan is an alternative to the proposal by School Turnaround. The nonprofit that specializes in improving failing schools recommends reducing East's enrollment to around 700 students.

A plan for East is due to the State Education Department by May 15. Implementation is supposed to happen this fall, but Vargas says he plans to ask for a one-year delay.

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