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.

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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.


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Dr. Nelms answers questions about racial inequality and injustice in the local community on NewRadio WHAM 1180

June 12, 2020 — As Rochesterians continue to conduct peaceful protests agains racism and police brutality, Dr. Nelms discusses how to become antiracist. Listen to the Bob Lonsberry Show podcast here.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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) (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


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)

The Legacy Project: The Eyes of Our Ancestors on WHEC-TV (January 9, 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 (Radio Segment) on WCNY (October 3, 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)

Educator diversity playbook in The Education Trust-New York (May 2019)

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

East High honoring literacy all-star students on WHEC-TV (May 13, 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)

East Lower School student receives national 180 award on WHEC-TV  (May 1, 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) 

Cover of SUNY Fredonia magazine with cover featuring Superintendent Shaun NelmsUrban 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)

Rochester Model Can Help Buffalo’s Struggling Schools in The Buffalo News (October 10, 2018)

New York State struggling to find school counselors on WROC-TV (September 4, 2018)

The East-UR ‘experiment’ in Rochester City Newspaper (August 22, 2018)

University of Rochester remains committed to community in Democrat & Chronicle (June 29, 2018)

East High School graduating class reaches goal on WROC-TV (June 23, 2018)

Graduates discuss challenges leading up to graduation on Spectrum News (June 23, 2018)

East High graduates celebrate milestone graduation on 13WHAM-TV (June 19, 2018)

How an RCSD school raised its graduation rate by 20 points in three years with innovation in Democrat and Chronicle (June 15, 2018) 

East High School Triples Graduation Rate after U of R Partnership on Spectrum News (June 13, 2018)

All in at East in Rochester Review

“It can wait” campaign steers students away from distracted driving on Spectrum News (May 16, 2018)

Homeless students face challenges in the classroom in Democrat & Chronicle (May 16, 2018)

Virtual reality car crash shows East High students the dangers of distracted driving on WROC-TV (May 16, 2018)

VR simulator shows East High students distracted driving dangers on 13WHAM-TV (May 16, 2018)

East High student with mom in prison to graduate: ‘I want to be more” in Democrat & Chronicle (May 6, 2018)

Upstander program seeks to help students combat cyberbullying on Spectrum News (March 9, 2018)

East High program encourages students to stop on WROC-TV (March 9, 2018)

East high officials credit protocols and procedures after alleged threat on WXXI News (February 27, 2018)

East High School takes extra precaution after social media threat on Spectrum News (February 26, 2018)

East students find that friendship is round in City Newspaper (November 15, 2017)

UR education research focuses on urban schools’ conflict resolution, Rochester Business Journal (November 13, 2017)

East High: Education professor sees an environment in transition in NewsCenter (October 11, 2017)

East H.S. officials update the community on the UR partnership on WXXI News (September 28, 2017)

Improvements at East schools touted on Spectrum News (September 28, 2017)

East High students put science project into orbit in Democrat & Chronicle (August 15, 2017)

East High students celebrated for work on Space X rocket on Spectrum News (August 14, 2017)

East High student experiment blasts off into space on WXXI News (August 14, 2017)

East High students’ experiment taken to international space station on WHEC-TV (August 14, 2017)

East HS experiment traveling on Space C rocket to ISS on 13WHAM-TV (August 14, 2017)

East High School students watch their project launch into space on WROC-TV (August 14, 2017)

East High students to send project into space Monday on WHEC-TV (August 13, 2017)

East High students send project into space Monday on ABC Houston (June 27, 2017)

93-year-old WWII veteran graduates high school on ABC Houston (June 27, 2017)

93-year-old WWII veteran graduates high school in Rochester on ABC7 San Francisco (June 26, 2017)

WWII veteran graduates high school 75 years later on New York’s PIX11/WPIX-TV (June 26, 2017)

93-year-old WWII veteran graduates from high school on WWAY-TV (June 26, 2017)

World War II veteran received honorary diploma on WHEC-TV (June 25, 2017)

WW2 veteran honored at East High graduation in USA Today (June 24, 2017)

WWII veteran receives honorary diploma from East High on Spectrum News (June 24, 2017)

93-year-old WWII veteran gets special ceremony at East High on 13WHAM-TV (June 24, 2017)

WW2 veteran honored at East High Graduation in Democrat & Chronicle (June 24, 2017)

RCSD moving on neighborhood schools in Democrat & Chronicle (June 14, 2017)

Schools can’t do it all – no matter what we think in City Newspaper (June 14, 2017)

The UR’s bold commitment to a city high school in City Newspaper (June 7, 2017)

How to create schools that serve all children well on WXXI’s Connections (June 1, 2017)

Improving education outcomes in ROC on WXXI’s Need to Know (June 1, 2017)

Pedro Noguera, education expert, to speak at East High in Democrat & Chronicle (May 31, 2017)

Knighthawks recognized for work with East High team on WHEC-TV (May 25, 2017)

Creating High-Quality Schools in City Newspaper (May 17, 2017)

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.

Student-led restaurant RYCE, closes doors — The restaurant is looking for partners in the community to continue operations on 13WHAM-TV (May 10, 2017)

Student-run eatery closes in Village Gate in Democrat & Chronicle (May 10, 2017)

Bright spot: Diamond Packaging & Rochester Knighthawks donate equipment to East on 13WHAM-TV (April 14, 2017)

Knighthawks donate equipment, help coach city’s first school lacrosse team since 1970s in Democrat & Chronicle (April 11, 2017)

Homework hotline: RYCE on WXXI-TV (March 27, 2017)

Rochester in focus: RYCE on WHEC-TV (March 26, 2017)

Grand opening of student-operated restaurant stirs up success for city youth on Spectrum News (March 7, 2017)

Need to Know – RYCE restaurant on WXXI-TV (March 7, 2017)

Grand opening for restaurant run by East HS students on 13WHAM-TV (March 7, 2017)

Grand opening of student-run restaurant in Rochester on WHEC-TV  (March 7, 2017)

Student-run restaurant opens in Village Gate on WROC-TV (March 7, 2017)

Student scientists devise experiment that will really take off on PBS NewsHour (March 6, 2017)

Student Scientists Devise Experiment That Will Really Take Off on PBS Newshour (March 6, 2017)

Thumbs up for the opening of RYCE in Democrat & Chronicle (March 2, 2017)

Student-run eatery serves up Caribbean fare in Village Gate in Democrat & Chronicle (February 27, 2017)

New Rochester restaurant designed and run by students on 13WHAM-TV (February 27, 2017)

Catching up with RYCE in City Newspaper (February 22, 2017)

East High students sending experiments into space in Rochester in Focus (February 19, 2017)

Rochester school to send experiment to International Space Station in Innovation Trail (February 3, 2017)

Students running new restaurant in Village Gate on WHEC-TV (February 3, 2017)

6th, 7th graders from East taken to “Hidden Figures” screening on 13WHAM-TV (January 31, 2017)

East Eagle Eye Report (January 30, 2017)

Giving the gift of sight at East High School in Democrat & Chronicle (January 22, 2017)

More than 100 Rochester firefighters to be honored by retired East High School counselor on WROC-TV (January 22, 2017)

Local students send their work to outer space on FOX/Good Day Rochester (January 20, 2017)

East HS students launch science project on ISS on 13WHAM-TV (January 20, 2017)

East High Students’ Experiment Heading to Nasa on WXXI (January 17, 2017)

East students selected to be part of NASA mission on Time Warner Cable News (January 4, 2017)

East High students submit experiment to NASA on WROC-TV (January 4, 2017)

East High students’ experiment being sent to International Space Station on WHEC-TV (January 4, 2017)

Vision Care Program at East

Rochester Youth Culinary Experience (RYCE)

East students take field trip to promote literacy growth on WROC-TV (December 21, 2016)

The pressure is on for East in City Newspaper (November 30, 2016)

Students become STARS in El Mansajero Catolico (November 1, 2016)

NYSSBA conference tackles issues of educational equity (featuring East EPO Superintendent Shaun Nelms as panelist) on WBFO-FM (October 28, 2016)

East High looks back at year one of the UR receivership on WXXI News (September 29, 2016)

East High School ‘way better for students’ in Year One (July 15, 2016)

WATCH:: East High’s innovative intervention on WXXI-TV’s Need to Know (September 15 & 18, 2016)

East students start second year of UR partnership: Students at the school say they think oversight it helping on WROC-TV (September 7, 2016)

Many Monroe county schools start today: Amy Young spoke to the East High superintendent on staff preparations on WROC-TV (September 7, 2016)

RCSD suspension data shows mixed success in Democrat & Chronicle (August 2, 2016)

New teaching garden at East High School on WXXI-AM (July 28, 2016)

East High School ‘way better for students in year one’ in Democrat & Chronicle (July 15, 2016)

Report card for East High’s first year under U of R control on 13WHAM-TV (June 21, 2016)

UR Establishes Center for Urban Ed in the Democrat & Chronicle (June 3, 2015)

Warner School Announces Creation of Center for Urban Education Success on WROC-TV (June 3, 2015)

Local presidential primary stops provide civics classroom in Democrat & Chronicle (April 18, 2016)

Shaun Nelms bringing change to East High in POST (March/April 2016)

Change in leadership at two area high schools on WXXI News (January 8, 2016)

Signs of progress at East High in Democrat & Chronicle (November 16, 2015)

East School updates community on progress on Time Warner Cable News (September 22, 2015)

East High partnership is focus of 5-year study on WXXI-News (September 21, 2015)

East High’s first day marks a new era in Democrat & Chronicle (September 8, 2015)

New beginnings for East School: “Beacon of hope for community, city” on Time Warner Cable News (September 8, 2015)

Retrofitting Rochester: East High School in Democrat & Chronicle (August 31, 2015)

New East High superintendent shares vision for the school on WXXI-News (August 31, 2015)

UR’s new role in the city in Democrat & Chronicle (July 26, 2015)

Rochester (N.Y.) high school to drop Orientals name in USA Today (June 20, 2015) 

Our school-reform quest in City Newspaper (May 26, 2015)

UR Takeover nears in City Newspaper (May 5, 2015)

U of R announces East High principals in Minority Reporter (March 17, 2015)

East High plan gets state approval, $200K in Democrat & Chronicle (February 13, 2015)

New Center to Promote K-12 Urban Education Success (June 3, 2015)