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.
- Public Impact Press Release: Syracuse Schools Join National Initiative to Extend the Reach of Excellent Teachers
- How One Union-District Partnership Launched an Opportunity Culture, an Opportunity Culture vignette that details the collaboration between the Syracuse district administration and union in launching an Opportunity Culture, highlighting actions to consider and critical moments in the process.
- Keep on Keeping on: Using Data to Keep Students Moving Forward, a column by Multi-Classroom Leader Maggie Vadala
- Want Veteran Teachers to Learn New Things? Show Them Some Love, a column by Multi-Classroom Leader Sharon Archer
- Opportunity Culture Expands, Bringing More Excellent Teaching to SCSD Schools, December 2016, by Syracuse City Schools
- SCSD Schools Begin Transition to Opportunity Culture Model, June 2016, by Syracuse City Schools
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