Congresswomen Louise Slaughter with staff and students in the Optics Lab

News and Events

three young women doing an experiment

Recent rise in racially motivated violence shifts community conversations

What education can do to move forward toward justice and equity

2020 — In the wake of a summer of violence against unarmed Black men both nationally and locally, East High Superintendent Dr. Shaun Nelms, discusses how to make systemic changes in countywide educational policies and the creation of an antiracist curriculum to help students learn about and discuss Rochester’s issues with racism and injustice. In two separate interviews, Dr. Nelms explains how East and how Rochester can do both.

Watch: “Anti-racism Curriculum to be Implemented in School Districts across Monroe County” on WHAM News (January 15, 2021)

Watch: “Anti-racist Curriculum to be Incorporated in History Classes in all Monroe County Schools” on WROC’s (January 15, 2021)

Read: “Across Monroe County, Students Will Soon have Anti-racist Lessons” on WXXI News and in City Newspaper (January 13, 2021)

Watch: “New Instruction Centered on Equity, Social Justice at Monroe County Schools” on News10NBC (January 12, 2021)

Watch:  “A Conversation with Shaun Nelms on Systematic Poverty in Rochester” on Spectrum News’s Capital Tonight (September 24, 2020)

Watch: “East High Superintendent Prepares Students, Parents, and Teachers to Address Racism” on News10NBC’s, Rochester in Focus (June 14, 2020).

East high building

$2.5M NSF grant will build upon UR-East’s partnership to bolster STEM programs for historically marginalized students

August 11, 2020 –East High School’s partnership with the University of Rochester is paying another dividend as the two will work together to explore ways to build a challenging mathematics program. The university’s Warner School of Education received a $2.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation. The task: Work on overcoming barriers for students in a high-poverty setting, identify resources and make sure they stay in place to keep the program going. The idea is to create a model that can be used in various settings.

Read article in Minority Reporter here.

Screen Shot 2020-06-16 at 9.50.28 AM

East High Superintendent, Dr. Nelms discusses how to prepare students, parents, and teachers to address racism

June 14, 2020 — Dr. Shaun Nelms was a guest on News10NBC’s weekend public affairs show, Rochester In Focus, to talk about ways to educate young people about racism and the initiatives being created to combat it, especially as we prepare for a new school year. Watch segment here.

Screen Shot 2020-06-03 at 6.35.28 PM

Dr. Nelms speaks openly about recent protests and racial disparities in education on Brian Mendler podcast.

June 2, 2020 — Dr. Shaun Nelms discusses how to have tough, uncomfortable conversations with your kids about racial inequality, the historical significance of these events, and how each person can do their part to improve social injustice. Listen to podcast here.


Marsh and Nelms write about decreasing cyberbullying for School Administrator magazine

May 1, 2020 — Steady increases in both teen suicides and school shootings have heightened public concern about cyberbullying. This article documents how the University of Rochester-East collaboration is reshaping school climate and strengthening relationships at school to curb cyberbullying. We describe how three aspects of school life — beliefs, structures, and policies — have changed the climate at East High, in ways that better attend to cyberbullying. Read full article here.

larson headshot

Larson comments on COVID-19's inequitable impact on students and families

March 23, 2020 — Joanne Larson is quoted in a Democrat & Chronicle story highlighting the inequities during a time when there is an increased reliance on parents as educators. The story looks more closely at four different families around Rochester and what their home school set-up looks like. Read the story “What Does ‘School’ Look Like These Days? That DependsHERE or at

East Latino Club 2019 132(1)

Marsh and Nelms write about fostering student voice for Educational Leadership magazine

March 2020 — This article documents how a collaborative group of teachers, administrators, parents, students, community members and university staff designed a model that built student voice into the foundation of school culture and practices.  The stakes were high. We faced both the pressure to prevent the school from closing and the opportunity to reshape it into a place that truly served young people and expanded their opportunities for advocacy. Read full article here.


CUES partners with Center for Disability and Education to Support Students with Disabilities at East

December 2019 — Schools only become “inclusive” once school culture changes. At East Upper & Lower Schools, students with disabilities are starting to feel the change. This article, by Warner’s Theresa Danylak, describes how the resources available within a university-school partnership worked to improve education for students with disabilities. Read article here.

Valerie Marsh 2016-103

Marsh writes about chronic absenteeism in American Educator Magazine

December 2019 — Absenteeism links to low achievement in urban districts. And since urban schools comprise a higher percentage of students of color and students living with poverty, absenteeism can be understood as contributing to the achievement gap between students of color and their white counterparts. Thus, reducing absenteeism is a move to reduce inequity. Read more here


East Leadership Team Discusses EPO progress on WXXI's Connections with Evan Dawson

July 19, 2019 — Representatives from the University of Rochester-East EPO partnership discuss the EPO’s three-year progress report. They share the challenges East has faced, the successes they’ve seen, and what they hope for the next phase of the collaboration.

Screen Shot 2019-05-23 at 1.24.01 PM

Nelms Delivers SUNY Fredonia's Commencement Address

May 2019 — Shaun Nelms was the keynote speaker this year at SUNY Fredonia’s 142nd Commencement. An article published in Observer captures some of the key highlights from his address. Read the article, “Fredonia Grads Challenged to Transform Society,” HERE or at:

The link to both Commencement ceremonies is on Fredonia’s website at:

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. Report in English. Report in Spanish.


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) 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


CUES 2019 Forum on Community Schooling

May 4, 2019 – CUES 3rd annual event brought together educators, policy makers, community advocacy leaders, and community members to discuss the community schools movement at East, Rochester, across the state and nation.

Media Coverage

The blueprint: East High superintendent Shaun Nelms and the University of Rochester is Mapping the Course in Southwest Tribune (March 27, 2020)

East High School delivers hundreds of laptops to students to help stay connected on 13WHAM-TV (March 26, 2020)

East High bringing the classroom to students at home during pandemic on WXXI News (March 24, 2020)

RCSD, UR renew East High School partnership for five years in Democrat & Chronicle (February 28, 2020)

Black History was brought to Life for Teenagers at East High on WROC-TV (February 26, 2020)

East High superintendent’s office transformed into dental clinic on 13WHAM-TV (February 6, 2020)

Portrait series honors historical leaders of color on WXXI News (January 9, 2020)

Why Rochester students walked out of classes: ‘We will be the voice for our schools’ in Democrat & Chronicle (December 9, 2019)

Four city schools in receivership show improvement in City Newspaper (November 8, 2019)

The state says ‘struggling schools’ are making progress on WXXI News (November 8, 2019)

How partnering with a local university saved this school from closure in EdSurge (October 21, 2019)

East High student donates clothes to classmate on Spectrum News (October 16, 2019)

Interview with Shaun Nelms on Trauma Informed Education (TV Segment) on WCNY (October 1, 2019)

East high students get something else to make them smile in Minority Reporter (September 11, 2019)

RCSD graduation rate rises to 58%; East hits 65% in Democrat & Chronicle (August 14, 2019)

RCSD officials tout increased graduation rates, but add there is no ‘mission accomplished’ on 13Wham-TV (August 14, 2019)

Rochester City School District Graduation Rates Climb on WXXI News (August 14, 2019)

RCSD Grad Rates Climb in City Newspaper (August 14, 2019)

Graduation rates reach 10-year-high across RCSD on Spectrum News (August 14, 2019)

Discussing the University of Rochester EPO’s progress report for East High School on WXXI Connections (July 19, 2019)

East’s Shaun Nelms leads ROC the Future convener board in Minority Reporter (July 3, 2019)

Need to Know: What is East High’s next chapter? on WXXI-TV (June 28, 2019)

East High School student credits partnership with UR for helping him graduate on WHAM News (June 26, 2019)

Not your normal retirement plan: Senior couple refurbishes instruments for students in need on WROC-TV (June 20, 2019)

Fredonia grads challenged to transform society in the Observer (May 19, 2019)

East High student recognized for outstanding progress in reading on Spectrum News (May 13, 2019)

East student receives national honor for success in the classroom on 13WHAM-TV (May 13, 2019)

East High, U of R extend partnership for next 5 years on Spectrum News (May 13, 2019)

East High-University of Rochester partnership renewed on WXXI News (May 10, 2019)

East’s partnership with UR extended in City Newspaper (May 10, 2019)

School leaders say pricey East High, UR partnership is paying off on 13WHAM-TV (May 10, 2019)

RCSD, UR extend agreement at East High School in Democrat & Chronicle (May 10, 2019)

The positive trajectory of the UR-East High partnership in Rochester Beacon (May 6, 2019)

What’s next for East High’s partnership with UR? on 13WHAM-TV  (April 16, 2019)

East High teachers use the power of food to connect with students on WXXI News (March 1, 2019)

Family at the heart of East High boys basketball in Democrat & Chronicle (February 26, 2019)

East Eagles hope family ties equates sectional success on Spectrum News (February 17, 2019)

Shaun Nelms on Black History Month on Spectrum News (February, 2019) 

Urban education turnaround: Fredonia graduate steers troubled school onto road to success in Statement magazine (Spring, 2019)

4 Ways to improve urban school attendance: Engaging environments, personal contact with families, systems, and logistics make the difference in District Administration magazine (January 3, 2019)

How a University Helped Save a Failing High School in The Chronicle of Higher Education (March 16, 2017)

See article above for video with captions.