Dear President Seligman,
Throughout your tenure you have laudably endeavored to make the University of Rochester one of the nation’s best universities, and through programs like the Rochester Promise, our “neighborhood college.”
Now, as the University considers managing East High School, another golden opportunity presents itself. A few modest proposals.
Enlist the full support of one of your core constituencies: local alumni. Thousands of UofR grads—many also proud graduates of the RCSD— live in our region. Of those I know, I can say with certainty they would relish the chance to pitch in, as mentors, tutors, you name it. Right now, approximately 1,500 volunteers are members of the UR Involved (URI) program, whose mission includes visiting local schools. Make turning around East a priority and they will come out in force.
Get all your grad students involved. Right now, your undergrads do a nice job tutoring local students. And already at East, Warner School grad students do fantastic work in the Science Stars program.
From there, expand opportunities for graduate students from all disciplines—history, English, art, math, science, etc—to be involved at East. These are energetic young people who have devoted their careers to education, and may one day teach at the secondary level. I can see them bringing their passion and expertise directly into the classroom: working with small groups on special projects, facilitating discussions, presenting cutting edge information.
Don’t just bring the UofR to East; bring East to the UofR. East High School has a wonderful faculty—many are master teachers with vast knowledge of their fields—who can be your greatest resource. Offer them free classes. Bring teachers to campus for seminars, lectures, and professional development. Encourage faculty-to-faculty collaboration. Better yet, if possible, create opportunities for these master teachers to also serve as adjunct instructors.
East High has an enormously rich history. Think of just a few of its graduates: David Hochstein, Mitch Miller, Ken Rogoff, Kim Batten, Roland Williams
Together, the best may yet to be.
For more posts on good things already happening at East see: