President Seligman, here are some ways you can help East and the University of Rochester

• May 29, 2014

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.”

See  “Rochester Promise” kept:  Wilson’s Owen Gabbey, three time RCAC player of the year, gains scholarship to the University of Rochester

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.

See Fostering community through a love of science at East and  Budding scientists make cinematic splash at East

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.

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For more posts on good things already happening at East see:

East’s Eagle Eye Report delivers homeroom announcements with 21st century flair

East’s Coach Brigandi proved the value of sports extends beyond the playing fields

“Teaching with poverty in mind:” One teacher’s perspective

Teaching teens how to understand and transform anger at East

Inspiring aspiring teachers at East High

East’s Optical Program helping students see a brighter future

East student documentary premiers in San Francisco. To be shown in Rochester today.

East baseball takes the show on the road. Destination Pittsburgh

Getting a head start on college at East High

Getting the“Word” out at East

About The Author

Welcome to Talker of the Town! My name is David Kramer. I have a Ph.D in English and teach at Keuka College. I am a former and still active Fellow at the Nazareth College Center for Public History and a Storyteller in Residence at the SmallMatters Institute. Over the years, I have taught at Monroe Community College, the Rochester Institute of Technology and St. John Fisher College. I have published numerous Guest Essays, Letters, Book Reviews and Opinion pieces in The New York Times, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, the Buffalo News, the Rochester Patriot, the Providence Journal, the Providence Business News, the Brown Alumni Magazine, the New London Day, the Boston Herald, the Messenger Post Newspapers, the Wedge, the Empty Closet, the CITY, Lake Affect Magazine and Brighton Connections. My poetry appears in The Criterion: An International Journal in English and Rundenalia and my academic writing in War, Literature and the Arts and Twentieth Century Literary Criticism. Starting in February 2013, I wrote for three Democratic and Chronicle  blogs, "Make City Schools Better," "Unite Rochester," and the "Editorial Board." When my tenure at the D & C  ended, I wanted to continue conversations first begun there. And start new ones.  So we created this new space, Talker of the Town, where all are invited to join. I don’t like to say these posts are “mine.” Very few of them are the sole product of my sometimes overheated imagination. Instead, I call them partnerships and collaborations. Or as they say in education, “peer group work.” Talker of the Town might better be Talkers of the Town. The blog won’t thrive without your leads, text, pictures, ideas, facebook shares, tweets, comments and criticisms.


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