Skip to main content

Warner programs join forces to support K-12 urban schools

Warner programs join forces to support K-12 urban schools

The Center for Urban Education Success (CUES) was created in 2016 at the Warner School of Education to support the success of K-12 urban schools in Rochester and beyond. In just five years, CUES has expanded and now includes Horizons at Warner, a community program that engages Rochester city students in meaningful and authentic learning experiences on River Campus during the summer and ongoing engagement throughout the school year.

Initially grounded in the University of Rochester’s partnership with East High School, CUES has grown by including additional programs that focus on working with schools and community organizations—and the lives of those they serve—to become more effective at improving educational outcomes.

“We are pleased to become one with the Center for Urban Education Success as these two University initiatives are deeply rooted in a commitment to equity and excellence in urban education—and in our community,” says Julia Postler,  executive director of Horizons at Warner. “This is a program that is close to my heart. I know that this new collaboration will open up more resources, opportunities, and programs to our Horizons families, ultimately expanding outreach and making a broader impact on Rochester’s students.”

Horizons at Warner, founded over a decade ago as the very first Horizons National affiliate to be located on a university/college campus, is a tuition-free summer academic enrichment program that serves more than 150 students in grades kindergarten through eighth grade from the Rochester City School District. Located in the Warner School’s LeChase Hall, Horizons provides a space for Rochester students to learn and grow, as well as access to university resources, such as labs, libraries, athletic facilities, faculty/staff members, students, and alumni.
group of horizon students sitting on stairs at U of RFor six weeks over the summer, Horizons students attend this dynamic daily program aimed at inspiring a love of learning in children and their families while also staving off the learning loss that otherwise would likely occur over summer. Students have returned every summer for more than 10 consecutive years of enrichment and learning, setting them on the path to successful academic and professional careers.

The new partnership with Horizons was spurred in part by the Center’s continued overarching goal to have a greater reach in the revitalization of K-12 urban education regionally, nationally, and globally. Through a combination of clinical and academic research, relationship building with other institutions, and a commitment to share best practices, CUES continues to grow and expand with the success Horizons at Warner has had in serving Rochester students and families. Likewise, the various University, community, and corporate partnerships that Horizons has established and nurtured over the past decade, as well as the many national resources, research, and enrichment opportunities Horizons at Warner brings to the partnership, will strengthen the foundation CUES has laid for improving educational outcomes for all students.

“When you work every day with students, you can witness first-hand the impact CUES and Horizons are having and how dramatically these two initiatives are changing lives,” says Shaun Nelms, associate professor and the William & Sheila Konar Director of CUES at Warner, who also leads East High as the school’s superintendent. “I am grateful for this opportunity to combine forces, while tapping into the work and lessons that we have learned from East and other urban schools, to make a difference more broadly, beyond just East, in the Rochester community.”

In addition to Horizons at Warner, other urban school programs that CUES supports and builds on include:

East Educational Partnership Organization (EPO), a partnership between the University of Rochester, Rochester City School District, and New York State Education Department to transform Rochester’s East High School, which was on the verge of state-sanctioned closure in 2014.

Project READ, a partnership with Rochester′s School 33, with a focus on first graders, that provides tutoring services, in-class support, professional development, and family literacy activities through literacy program for at-risk students.

Step to College (S2C), an innovative college preparatory program created under the University’s EPO partnership with East High that aims to prepare Rochester students for admission—and to persist in—two- and four-year colleges.

Monroe County Anti-racist Initiative, a partnership with CUES, school districts across Monroe County, and community partners that is developing new anti-racist instruction that will be implemented in Monroe County classrooms as early as spring 2021, beginning with grades 8, 11 and 12 and aligning with the U.S. history curricula and New York State standards.

School No. 33 Partnership, with the University serving as the EPO for East since 2015, efforts with the Rochester City School District have been ongoing to convert School 33 to an elementary feeder school to East. 

Through these programs and partnerships, the Center is creating a model for urban school improvement and a robust clearinghouse of research, practitioner guides, and other resources to support urban schools and the challenges they face. In addition, CUES launched a symposium series on urban school reform in 2017 that continues to bring experts on school reform to Rochester annually. Learn more about the Center for Urban Education Success.