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The following is an archived video story. The text content of that video story is available below for reference. The original video has been deleted and is no longer available.

Community addresses East High proposal

Rochester, N.Y. -- The clock is ticking for the City School District to come up with a plan to save East High School.

The district has until May 15 to present a plan to the New York State Education Department to change how the school operates, or risk closing. 

Right now, the district has one other option: working with the educational partnership organization School Turnaround. It was the only organization to submit a bid to take on the challenges at East High.

To go over the plan for East High, the city school board created an EPO screening committee, which will discuss the plan and advise the board. 

Based in Albany, School Turnaround is an affiliate of the Rensselaerville Institute. In a video presented to the EPO committee Tuesday night, School Turnaround boasted it specializes in breaking the cycle of underachievement for schools across the country.

School Turnaround gave the committee a 133-page proposal that detailed its strategy for East High. The committee did not share the full plan with the media, but instead highlighted some of the key points of the plan.

The goals for East High presented in the plan include 100 percent of students graduating with Regents diploma and all are accepted into a two- or four-year college or trade school.

To make that happen, School Turnaround proposed a new administration lead the school and a hiring/rehiring process to revitalize the teaching staff.

Block scheduling with double period of math, literacy and science to close the achievement among students is also part of the plan, but what students will be part of this retooled school is what raised concerns for the EPO committee.

Currently, East High has about 1,800 students, but School Turnaround listed next year's projected enrollment for grades 7-12 at only 1,000.

"So what happens to the other 800 students?" one committee member asked. "Is there an application process? That's certainly not something we want as a district we don't want to create anything that's about the haves and have-nots."

Each year, the proposal showed class sizes would get smaller and smaller.

The committee also expressed concerns that the plan doesn't address attendance or the future of special education classes at East High. 

The school district said it is also working on a proposal to phase in a new school. Superintendent Bolgen Vargas is expected make a presentation at a special school board meeting May 5, and will then make a final recommendation to the school board.

Whatever plan the district decides to go with will be passed onto the state, and the board of education will have the final say.

If the district and the state approve the EPO, School Turnaround will become the superintendent of East High. It would still be a public school, but it would separate from the City School District.  

 
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