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Four city schools in receivership show improvement


More than a dozen schools around the state initially designated as 'struggling' by the NYS Education Department have been making progress. Four of those schools are in the City of Rochester: East Lower School and Upper High School, James Monroe High School, and Northeast College Preparatory High School.

The state says that all 14 schools initially identified in July 2015 as struggling academically have made what officials call "demonstrable improvement," although they remain under receivership, which means they get special attention from superintendents who have enhanced powers and responsibilities to help support dramatic changes.

East High is run through an arrangement with the University of Rochester, and its superintendent is Shaun Nelms. He says East High Schools have made a lot of progress in the last five years.

"We have focused on building a great collaborative culture between teachers and administrators and students and families and I think the drop in suspensions coupled with student engagement has led to more students being in class, and more students being focused and more teachers being able to teach," Nelms said.

Nelms anticipates East getting off the list of schools under receivership within the next couple of years, particularly at the Upper High School. He says getting East Lower School off the list is more of a challenge, because the students in those grades are new to the programs at East.

"Without a feeder pattern, meaning a school that's connected to East, grades pre-K through 6 or pre-K through 5, we'll continue to receive students who have underperformed or have been underserved. And so our challenge for East lower school grades, 6 through 8, is to support kids and catch them so that they can be successful in high school," Nelms added.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI News director.