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Interim plan for East High School

Rochester, N.Y. - School starts in five weeks but the plan to help rescue the troubled East High - a proposed partnership with the University of Rochester - won't go into effect until the 2015-16 school year.

To fill that gap, the school has a interim plan for the upcoming year. New strategies include, mandatory training for teachers, expanded learning times, and better communication with parents. The U of R offered its input but still in the works, student will go another year before the university's plan is fully implemented.

"You can't do that, especially not with that many students and with issues that are that important, you're talking about children's lives, children's futures," Karen Fox was the only parent at the special meeting to review the plan Wednesday night.

School Board of Education President, Van White said, "Just because the U of R is coming on in 2015-16, doesn't mean that these people don't have a job to do. There are kids that need to graduate this year."

State law requires schools that fall below certain standards to submit a School Comprehensive Educational Plan, or SCEP.

White said there are roughly 30 schools in the Rochester City School District that must submit a SCEP this year, categorized by the state as a focus or priority school. If those schools don't turn things around, White said they'll be in the same dilemma as East High--given an ultimatum by the state to change or close.

Principal at East High School, Anibal Soler said, "We have to do better in graduation rates, we have to do better in assessments, we have to do better..." But this is not the first time East High has submitted this kind of improvement plan.

White said, "It's clear no one was monitoring or managing the plan they submitted to the state last year-that is not going to happen this year."

The report the planning team submitted to the board blamed a lack of funds and leadership for the poor results made with last year's plan.

Soler said he could have communicated better and took some of the responsibility. "I'm the leader of the school so I do own part of the failure,"said Soler.

Multiple times school board members asked the planning team who will be accountable to make sure this plan is put in place.

Soler said the school's staff knows this could be their last chance to change things. "This is an opportunity for us to either readjust how we work or there is going to be an adjustment as to where we work and a lot of people dont want to leave East High." Soler said, "So you want to talk about accountability? -If we dont show something in this interim period its going to speak to whether we are part of the new East High School."

Part of the U of R's proposed plans includes a hiring and rehiring process. Soler said no one is ready to give up or walk away from the school but the board still has its doubts.

"Who is responsible? I'm not trying to embarrass anybody but I think we have to talk about that," White said, "because we cannot have this happen at East High School and I said to people you know, I don't want people to think 'oh we got U of R coming so don't worry about it.' No, no, no, this is our approach, this is what our approached did."

Tired of excuses, White said he wants an explanation so the district can prevent this from happening to another school.

East High must submit its SCEP to the state by midnight Thursday. Other district schools have until the end of August to develop plans.

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Washington Times