Syracuse school district considers opening a Latin school

May 1, 2013

The Syracuse City School District is proposing a new school that will offer a classical education for high achieving students.

The school would be called Syracuse Latin and be a place for selected students in a district that struggles to graduate half its students.

There are Latin schools all across the country, including in Chicago, Boston and the Bronx. They focus on a classical education concept called The Trivium, and have been very successful in these troubled school districts.

It became a proposal in Syracuse after parents looking for more outlets for high achieving children came to Syracuse superintendent Sharon Contreras.

"Our parents have asked us to create more opportunities," Contreras says. "So we decided to develop an entire school for students who are high performing students."

Syracuse would find a sister school that would help develop a curriculum, and then the school would open in the Percy Hughes building on Jamesville Ave. It would begin enrolling kindergarten and first grade students in 2014, and then work its way up until the whole school is made up of Syracuse Latin students.

Students will have to test into the school, Contreras explains, but the district will use multiple measures.

"There will likely be an interview, other schools use criteria that include shadowing, shadow days, interview of parents, interviews of students," she says. "So there are several criteria we can choose from."

Contreras says ultimately there would also be a Latin school component in one of the city's high schools.

The school board will vote on the plan in May.