The Educational Partnership Organization, the University of Rochester group overseeing East High School, recently elected a new superintendent.
Shaun Nelms has been working in education for fifteen years, from teacher to administrator, and says he's picked up several ideas along the way that he's excited about putting into practice at the school
For example, Nelms wants to set up a system to encourage parent participation in a variety of ways. He says he doesn't really believe in apathetic parents.
"I use myself as the best example. As an educator, I rarely attend my own children's events. I'm often at school events that are job related, I'm often helping students in the community, so I've missed more parent conferences than I've attended for my own children. So, defining parent involvement as being in the building I think is misleading."
Nelms says he and other administrators have been meeting with parents to find out how to meet them halfway. They'll be releasing school materials to parents in their native tongue, and they've redesigned their website to encourage more parent input in response to some of those conversations.
There will also be more visible changes to East High, Nelms says. Students will be riding yellow buses directly to and from school in response to safety concerns, and lowerclassmen will have uniforms.
"But they're not uniforms in the sense that everyone looks alike. They'll have a choice of three different colors, two different types of pants. So students can express their individuality, but also identify themselves as Middle School-ers or lower-school students."
Parents will also notice more electives being offered and advanced placement classes available for those students who are ready for the challenge. All these methods and techniques are designed to improve academic performance for the students of East High School over the next year.
Nelms says his immediate goal is to get as many students as possible in attendance on the first day of school, September 8.