The State Ed folks suggested Buffalo School leaders look at Syracuse and Poughkeepsie schools as models for good school reform plans. Poughkeepsie was awarded a multi-million dollar School Improvement Grant (SIG) through June 2014. Poughkeepsie High School is a persistently low-achieving school because of its low graduation rate. They are implementing the Transformation Model, extending the school day by adding another instructional period from nine to ten, increasing professional development, a new staff evaluation system rewriting their curriculum and intervention for failing students.
They are not only enhancing the rigor of the academic program but bridging the gap between the home and school through parent workshops improving technology to train parents to monitor the academic progress and attendance of their children. And educational consultants hired to monitor and evaluate the progress of the reform. Interestingly, the unions both teachers and administrators were involved in the application process that resulted in obtaining the SIG. After professional development provided staff deemed inadequate will be removed.
Syracuse City School District focused on systemic wide reform incorporating the Say Yes to Education program and the Rapid Results structural entry process to improve academic achievement. The district didn't achieve AYP in graduation rate with Latino students lowest 35% followed by African-Americans 49%.
Also, Dr. Sharon Contreras was appointed superintendent of the schools in Syracuse in March. Dr. Contreras is an African-American-Puerto Rican-Venezuelan graduate of the Broad Superintendents Class 2010 program.