Syracuse City School District

Schools began using Opportunity Culture® in:


Learn more about Syracuse City School District by visiting the district website.



The Syracuse City School District, one of New York’s largest districts, first implemented Opportunity Culture® staffing models in four of its highest-need schools in 2014–15 and quickly expanded to 15 schools in 2016–17. Seven of those schools were part of a broader turnaround effort being funded through a highly competitive, $1.5 million U.S. Department of Education grant to select, train, and support teams of a school leader and teacher-leaders at low-performing schools.

About one-quarter of Syracuse families live in poverty, compared with the state average of about 10 percent—and 50 percent of children under 18 live in poverty. System leaders focused on the fact that great teachers are the key to changing the odds for these students, and paying them more and letting them lead while teaching is essential to attract and keep them in Syracuse.

Syracuse City Schools Demographics

In 2018, the district had 31 schools serving 19,668 students. Of those students, 50 percent were black or African American, 22 percent were white. 13 percent were Hispanic, 8 percent were Asian or Native Hawaiin/Other Pacific Islander, and 6 percent were multiracial. Over 75 percent of students were eligible for free or reduced lunch.





Sharon Archer on Being a Multi-
Classroom Leader

Sharon Archer discusses what being a multi-
classroom leader requires, and what makes it
different than the standard teacher coach role.

Maggie Vadala on Being a Multi-
Classroom Leader

Syracuse City Schools Multi-Classroom Leader
Maggie Vadala discusses support she gets and
gives in her Opportunity Culture® school