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State Says RCSD, UR Can Extend Agreement for East

Staff reports

Rochester City School District Board of Education can continue the Educational Partnership Organization (EPO) agreement with the University of Rochester for three years for East Upper School and East Lower School.

Stated Education Department Interim Commissioner Shannon Tahoe made the announcement June 22.

East Upper School and East Lower School are designated as persistently struggling schools under the state’s school receivership law and as comprehensive support and improvement school (CSI) under New York’s Every Student Succeeds Act plan.

Both schools have shown demonstrable improvement in the five years since the EPO agreement was first put in place.

The chart shows improvement in the graduation rate at East High School. File photo

“For too long, East students did not receive equitable opportunities and access to the most fundamental educational needs, but that is changing,” Board of Regents Chancellor Betty A. Rosa said in a news release. “We have seen real commitment from the University of Rochester to work with district educators, families, students, and the school community to make progress toward success for students. It is incumbent on the university and district to continue to be mindful of ongoing challenges and provide for even greater opportunities for all students.”

“When this partnership began in 2015 East High School was in imminent danger of closing after years of decline, but we now see incremental progress in the East Upper and East Lower Schools, and that’s good news for students and families,” Tahoe said. “Department staff have worked closely with university and district educators to establish school-wide systems and structures that promote continuous improvement and success for all students. Continuing this agreement will allow this team to build on that foundation.”

Under the EPO agreement and state education law, UR acts as the equivalent of a superintendent for the two schools on the East campus with the primary objective of raising student achievement through the institution of best practices following the state Education Department Diagnostic Tool for School and District Effectiveness.

The university provides overall management and supervision of the schools. Both parties have agreed to the extension and the department has granted its approval. The agreement will be in effect through June 30, 2023.

The University of Rochester details the actions it has taken at the two schools on its website devoted to the UR EPO plan. Information can also be found on the East Upper and Lower Schools website.