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THE STATE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT/ THE UNIVERSITY OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK / ALBANY, NY 12234 Office of P-12 Education

Ira Schwartz, Assistant Commissioner Office of Accountability 55 Hanson Place, Room 400 Brooklyn, New York 11217 Tel. (718) 722-2796 / Fax: (718) 722-4559

March 14, 2014

Dr. Bolgen Vargas Superintendent of Schools Rochester City School District 131 W. Broad Street Rochester, NY 14614 Dear Dr. Vargas: I would like to again thank you for the productive meeting that we had on March 11, 2014 regarding East High School. As we discussed, this school has failed to make academic progress over the last three years, as required of schools identified as persistently lowest achieving (now known as Priority Schools). This letter is to provide you with a summary of the next steps that must be taken with this school prior to the beginning of the 2014-15 school year. Consistent with sections 100.2(p) and 100.18 of Commissioners Regulations, the Commissioners expectation is that the Rochester City School District (RCSD) will submit to the Commissioner by April 30, 2014 a plan for East High School that includes at least one of the following actions: Close the school and relocate the students. Phase out the school and replace it with an entirely new school. Enter into a contract with an Educational Partnership Organization (EPO) to take over administration of the school. Convert the school to a charter school. Allow the State University of New York (SUNY) to provide for the education of the students at the school.

In addition to one or more of the actions listed above, the district must offer students at East High School access to State Education Department approved Career and Technical Education programs at a BOCES or within a school in the district that is in Good Standing. Phase out/Phase-in Option The phase out of a school and phase in of a new school must be approved by the Board of Regents. If RCSD chooses to phase out East High School and replace it with a new school, the plan must specify the additional supports, including access to

high quality Career and Technical Education Programs that will be provided to the students who continue to attend the phase out school. The purpose of this action is to support these students in achieving higher academic outcomes. School districts must petition the Board of Regents to register a new school in order to receive a new BEDS code. Additionally, school districts must provide documentation as required by the State Education Departments (SED or the Department) School Registration process. The phase-in school can receive an accountability status of Good Standing provided that the school district has demonstrated that the new school is sufficiently different in staff, curriculum, and organization from the school that is being replaced. Petition materials as well as a description of the School Registration Process can be found at http://www.p12.nysed.gov/irs/newschool/. School Registration materials are usually due to SED by March 1, 2014. However, if you choose this option, SED will grant RCSD an extension of that deadline to April 30, 2014. Please let me know if you plan to use this option and take advantage of the extension.

Educational Partnership Organizations (EPO) If RCSD chooses to enter into an agreement with an EPO, Education Law 211-e requires that RCSD first receive the approval of the Commissioner to enter in to contract with the selected EPO. RCSD must submit draft copies of any prospective contracts to SED for review. The terms of these contracts must be aligned with the requirements for an EPO as outlined in Education Law 211-e. Enclosed is a document outlining the additional elements the Commissioner expects to see incorporated into any new EPO contract. This document can also be found on SEDs website, at http://www.p12.nysed.gov/accountability/documents/AdditionalFeaturesofEducationalPa rtnershipOrganization030414.pdf .

Charter School Conversion If RCSD chooses to explore the conversion of East High School into a public charter school, we would advise that the district meet with SEDs Charter School Office to discuss a process that would work for the district. The charter law on conversions leaves much of the process to the discretion of the district. It should be noted, however, that Education Law Section 2853(3)(b) provides some guidance on employee relations and obligations under the districts current Collective Bargaining Agreement and Sect ion 2851(3)(c) provides some guidance on required parent votes.

SUNY Option At our meeting I informed you that RCSD also had the option of entering into contract with SUNY, by which SUNY would assume responsibility for the education of the students who attend East High School. Section 355(n) of Education law gives the State University of New York (SUNY) the power to enter into a contract with the board of education of a city or school district in which a state-operated institution is located for

the education by such college, for such period of time as may be agreed upon, of all or part of the children of legal school age residing in such city or school district. A board of education in such a city or school district is hereby authorized and empowered to enter into such contracts with the state university trustees, subject to the approval of the Commissioner of Education, and to perform all necessary acts to carry out the purposes of this paragraph. SED interprets this provision to mean that the contract that is entered into between the SUNY Board of Trustees and the school district must be for educational services to be provided by a SUNY institution located within the boundaries of the Rochester City School District. SED is prepared to facilitate discussion between the district and SUNY, if the school district wishes to pursue the viability of this option. If you have any questions regarding the above, please do not hesitate to contact me at (718) 722-2796 or ischwart@mail.nysed.gov. Sincerely,

Ira Schwartz Enclosure c: John King Ken Slentz Bill Clarke Roberto Reyes

Features of Educational Partnership Organization (EPO) Model Required to Be Demonstrated to Receive Commissioners Approval:
Ability of the EPO to ensure successful instructional leadership at the school level through such strategies as employing a full-time mentor for the school leader (who, with the EPO and mentor, chooses the APs/building administrators to the extent allowable). Proven ability to effectively utilize time, including the development of a schedule that incorporates structured common planning time for teacher collaboration. A minimum number of hours for staff development, including facilitated collaborative planning time, must be incorporated into the schedule. Proven ability to support implementation of the Common Core Learning Standards in English language arts and mathematics. Ability to provide extensive support to teachers focused on implementing strategies for English language learners and students with disabilities. Proven ability to support use of formative and interim assessments. Ability to support implementation of the district's Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) plan, with particular emphasis on instructional improvement through creation of a strong, proven observation and feedback plan. Proven ability to serve as a Professional Development (PD) partner that will provide in-class coaching and development based upon data that identifies student and staff needs. Proven ability to implement an articulated plan for intentional support for student social emotional health. Proven ability to use data to inform instructional decisions and ability to provide staff with extensive PD on using data to inform instructional decisions. Where applicable, the ability to execute such site-based modifications to collective bargaining contracts as are mutually agreed upon with unions in order to facilitate implementation of EPO model.

Other Elements to Consider: Implementation of flexible scheduling that provides sufficient time for instructional interventions during school and as part of an extended learning time program. Implementation of a structured lesson plan format (with required elements). Proven ability to support implementation of parent engagement plans aligned to school goals. Proven use of an effective school-wide behavior management model (e.g., Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS)).

Note: If the EPO does not have all of the requisite capacity in-house, the EPO must inform the State Education Department (SED) of which organizations it will partner with to effectively provide these services to the school and provide information to SED regarding the chosen organizations proven ability to support the school in the areas identified.