Center for Urban Education Success

EVENT: Making Good on the Promise of a Guaranteed, Viable Curriculum for All

Tuesday, March 5, 2019 from 5 – 7 p.m.

Genrich-Rusling Room, LeChase Hall

University of Rochester’s River Campus

Sue Meier

Speaker: Susan Meier, Chief Academic Officer, East EPO, and Assistant Professor, Center for Urban Education Success

When the University of Rochester initially partnered with the Rochester City School District to create a plan to prevent East High School from closing, we understood the scope of the challenge. What we may have underestimated was the challenge – and the importance – of taking on curriculum. Hear our story and what we’ve learned so far about leadership practices that reveal complex interactions of curriculum, instruction, and situation.


2019 CUES Symposium

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Aligning Community Resources to Address Critical Needs in Urban Schools: A Forum on Community Schooling

More information will be added as available.

Cover of East EOP Three-Year Report featuring mural of multicultural faces

EAST EPO Issues Three-Year Progress Report

February 2019 — The EAST EPO has issued a report to communicate the progress of East High School in the first three years of the partnership with the University of Rochester. The Center for Urban Education Success supports and researches this partnership. Students, staff, and families have accomplished a great deal, and the trajectory for the future looks positive. Learn More


Marsh and Nelms Publish in District Administration on Attendance

January 2019 — Valerie Marsh and Shaun Nelms recently co-wrote an article focused on stemming chronic absenteeism in urban schools for District Administration magazine. Based on research conducted at the Center for Urban Education Success (CUES) (Attendance Brief #1, Attendance Brief #2) and applied at East Upper and Lower Schools in Rochester, NY, this article outlines four steps schools can take to increase attendance, especially pertinent to urban settings. Learn More


CUES Publishes Practitioner Brief on Bullying

October 2018 — CUES publishes a practitioner brief on bullying in schools, exploring prevalence, contributing factors, and interventions. This brief’s analysis of empirical research aims to provide a balanced and accurate depiction of bullying in all of its forms. A resource guide for teachers and practitioners is included. Learn More


CUES Receives $2.5 Million Gift from William and Sheila Konar Foundation

June 2018 –The Konar Foundation’s gift creates a new endowed directorship position to lead CUES, and Dr. Shaun Nelms, Superintendent of East Upper and Lower Schools in Rochester and formerly an affiliated faculty member of CUES, was installed as the inaugural director to fill this endowed position. Learn More

Supporting Meaningful, Lasting Change in Urban Schools

The Center for Urban Education Success is designed to support the success of K-12 urban schools in Rochester and beyond. We believe that through a combination of clinical and academic research, relationship building with other institutions, and a commitment to pursue and share best practices, we can support meaningful, lasting change for urban high schools in this country.

Grounded in the University’s partnership with East, CUES brings together the Warner School’s educational programs, community outreach, and research about urban schools and the University’s work at East. The center’s goal is to expand opportunities to apply quality research-based solutions at East and to leverage the knowledge gained at East to have greater reach in the revitalization of K-12 urban education regionally, nationally, and globally

Thus, CUES is creating a model for urban school improvement and a robust clearinghouse of research, practitioner guides, and other artifacts to support urban schools and the challenges they face. 

Message from the Director

Thank you for visiting the Center for Urban Education Success (CUES)! 

At CUES, we believe in equity and excellence for ALL students. In order to meet this demand, we must consider questions such as: Who will begin to change systems so this work and accountability is shared? And, under what conditions can this change take place? At CUES, we work daily to explore innovative approaches to tackle persistent challenges which hinder educational systems.  More from Director.

Focusing on Key Topics in Urban Education

CUES studies best practices in urban education and produces various resources for interested educators and scholars: research articles, practitioner briefs, videos, professional articles, and resource guides.


Absenteeism is a persistent problem, particularly acute in urban school settings. According to the US Department of Education, six million students (one out of seven) are missing at least 15 days during the school year, increasing their likelihood for lower achievement and dropping out.

Restorative Practices

As more and more schools are realizing that the traditional approach of punitive discipline is not only ineffective in improving student behavior, but resembles the culture of prison systems, they have been turning increasingly to a restorative practices approach.


Bullying, which involves an intention to do harm, repetition, and a power imbalance between bully and victim, has become a public health concern not only in the U.S. but worldwide. Alongside the increased attention to bullying, a related phenomenon of cyberbullying has emerged.

Distributed Leadership

In a distributed leadership structure, leadership roles are supported and shared among many individuals in the community. By expanding accountability and voice to teachers, staff, students, and families, distributed leadership shifts leadership more widely and horizontally.

ALL IN at East.

Step in for a look at the people, programs, and vision that are driving change at East High under the leadership of the University of Rochester – East High EPO.

As featured in the November/December issue of the University’s Rochester Review in 2017.

Connecting Theory and Practice to Improve Urban Schools


We have a deep commitment to research that is collaborative, participatory, and emancipatory.By researching alongside the East community, our goal is to produce more authentic and useful accounts of school change.

To this end, we believe the University’s EPO partnership with East is an exciting opportunity to take what researchers know about education to a school that will benefit from it. It is crucial that we document this partnership with rigorous research, but that we do not position East as a research “lab.”

East EPO Symposia

Each year, CUES organizes a major symposium designed to showcase and support the work at East and engage the larger community in a conversation and professional learning opportunity to promote quality education in our cities and support the transformation of community schools.

Practitioner Briefs

As a clearinghouse for research, we publish practitioner briefs that address particular topics, questions, and problems pertinent to urban education. We draw upon our network with other urban secondary schools to help understand how these schools are successfully addressing the challenges and questions they confront. Topics include:

Bullying in Schools

Educating English Language Learners

Restorative Practices


VIDEOS: Practices, Ideas and People Transforming East

CUES sat down with teachers, students, administrators, and staff to talk about the lessons they’re learning as they participate in this comprehensive project. The videos featured here share their successes, their struggles, and their plans going forward so that others who are interested in urban education reform may learn from their insights.