education

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

Last year, students suspended from the Syracuse City School District lost 23,555 days of instruction, and 55 percent of African-American students in the district have been suspended at least once. Those are some of the sobering statistics from a nationally known expert on school suspensions who reported on the state of suspensions in the district for the Board of Education last night.

Lekia Hill of the Alliance for Quality Education says the statistics are disturbing, especially when many of these suspensions are for minor infractions.

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

A Rochester-area native will become the 12th chancellor and president of Syracuse University in January. Incoming Chancellor Kent Syverud introduced himself to the university community at Hendricks Chapel on Thursday, after the Board of Trustees voted on his appointment.

Syverud said he is going to learn to bleed orange, and he has a good start.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

It was a tale of two distinct school districts in Onondaga County as State Education Commissioner John King visited central New York today during a new school year swing through the state. While there are big differences between the Fayetteville-Manlius and Syracuse City School Districts, he found some similarities especially when it comes to attacking the new rigorous common core standards.

knittymarie/flickr

The school year starts for New York children this week and next week. It comes amid concerns regarding low test scores for many of the state’s students, and harsh rhetoric from Gov. Andrew Cuomo, saying he wants a “death penalty” option for dealing with failing schools.  

Most of the state’s school children did not measure up in new tests administered last year. Only 31% passed the new math and English exams, according to the State Education Department. Numbers were higher in suburban schools and lower in urban and rural areas.

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

The head of the State University of New York welcomes the competition component of President Barack Obama's new education plan, intended to make a college education more affordable.

The president's plan would rank colleges and universities according to a number of factors, including student debt and graduation rates. It would then tie that ranking to federal student aid. SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher says the proposal will also encourage innovation and take measures to reduce student debt.

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

The seven worst schools in the Syracuse City School District are joining forces in an attempt to improve the performance of those schools in a short period of time. The district says the Innovation Zone schools, armed with more than $31 million in state grants, can turn things around.

This week marks the 50th anniversary of one of the largest political rallies for human rights in United States history. Half a century ago, hundreds of thousands of people marched on Washington and gathered to hear Martin Luther King, Jr.’s iconic “I Have a Dream” speech.

Fifty years later, Del Smith, director of the Center for Urban Entrepreneurship in Rochester, says African-Americans have made a lot of progress, but the business community is still catching up.

School officials throughout New York state weren't surprised when students taking this year's Common Core exams received low test scores. But most school board members are optimistic that next year's results will be better. A recent poll by the New York State School Board Association reports about two-thirds of school board members expect their district's students to improve next year. Only 12 percent say they don't expect better results.

Tom Magnarelli/WRVO

About thirty women stood on the steps of city hall in Syracuse Monday with democratic leader Nancy McCarty, showing their support for Syracuse City Councilman Pat Hogan for mayor.

Led by McCarty, a former city councilwoman and school board commissioner, the women voiced their support for Hogan's educational platform which includes full-day pre-kindergarten. Joanne Batalia, a retired teacher's assistant with the Syracuse City Schools, said President Barack Obama came to Syracuse because the Say Yes to Education program has been somewhat successful.

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

President Obama brought his message of affordable education for the middle class to Syracuse yesterday. It was an intimate atmosphere inside the gym at Henninger High School, with the crowd interacting with the president as he laid the groundwork for his plan.

"There aren't a lot of things that are more important than making sure people get a good education," Obama said. "That is key to upward mobility. That is key to a growing economy.  That is key to a strong middle class."

The crowd then started calling out and shouting to him.

"Love you back."

Syracuse schools superintendent discusses Obama visit

Aug 21, 2013
Tom Magnarelli/WRVO

Syracuse City School District Superintendent Sharon Contreras said the district is assisting the White House and Secret Service as they prepare for the arrival of President Obama at Henninger High School on Thursday.

Though Contreras wouldn't specifically say why Henninger High School was chosen as the location for President Obama to speak, she did say the Syracuse City School District's "Say Yes to Education" program would fit in perfectly with the president's speech on college access.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

As the sun heated up the parking lot outside Henninger High School this morning, umbrellas and other makeshift sources of shade began to replace pillows and blankets.

Some people had been in line since 7 p.m. Monday, shortly after details of President Barack Obama's visit to Syracuse were released, in hopes of getting tickets to see him give a speech at the high school Thursday evening about making education more affordable.

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

The study of robotics is dropping down into the middle school curriculum of the Syracuse City School District, starting with a two-week summer camp.

Bryan English, one of the high school teachers who teaches the ins and outs of making the erector set style robots, says the program - which is already employed in the high school - is a way to get students more interested in math and technology classes.

Beyond reading, writing and arithmetic, schools across Upstate New York are dealing more and more with school violence.

SUNY Upstate Medical University forensic psychiatrist James Knoll says if a person asks anyone about school violence, they'll answer Columbine or Newtown, Conn.

"Most of the lay public's attention gets focused on the rare, but sensational acts of school violence like school shootings," Knoll said. "But I think it's the more common everyday violence, physical and mental abuse, and bullying... where our efforts are best spent."

The Syracuse City School District

Only about a third of New York state's third through eighth grade students met the new tougher standards from April's round of state mandated English and math tests. That's about half as many as last year, before the new Common Core Curriculum was adopted in the state. For an urban school district like the Syracuse City School District, scores were in the single digits. Syracuse Superintendent Sharon Contreras expected the test results to be bad.

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

Education was on the mind of Syracuse-area Cong. Dan Maffei this week at a roundtable involving teachers, parents and administrators, and he got the sense that the current federal education policy is not working in schools in central New York.  

Maffei spoke specifically on the Race to the Top program, which pits states against each other in order to get federal funds, and he had some issues with it.

Credit License AttributionNoncommercialNo Derivative Works Some rights reserved by bitznbitez ( was lucias_clay) / Flickr

A math workshop designed in upstate New York has received a $120,000 grant to advance the model nationally.

The Rochester Institute of Technology's annual Summer Mathematics Institute Teachers’ Workshop aims to share strong stories about math in the real world to high school teachers.

The workshops bring together teachers to hear how professionals use math in a variety of careers ranging from baseball to counter-terrorism, engineering and cancer research.

Onondaga Community College

Community Colleges have a uniquely important set of educational roles to fill in their communities.  In this edition of the Campbell Conversations, Grant Reeher talks with the new President of Onondaga Community College, Casey Crabill.  They discuss how the diversity of community college missions fit together, and her priorities in moving the institution forward from an already strong base.

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

Advocates for the disabled in Syracuse are marking the 23rd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, but activists say there are still some areas where progress needs to be made.

Stephen Sartori / Say Yes to Education

Non-profit education initiative Say Yes to Education marked five years in the Syracuse school district by touting increases in college enrollment and adding some top schools to the program.

Say Yes entered Syracuse schools in 2009 with the goal of overhauling urban education and increasing the city's chronically poor graduation rates. Syracuse was the first city-wide implementation of the program.

Teachers continue to fight what they call the over testing and underfunding of education in New York state. Hundreds of teachers from central New York joined a rally in Albany this weekend to continue pressing the state for change.

In all, thousands of teachers were at the rally organized by the New York State United Teachers Union.

Ashley Hassett/Innovation Trail

More than 100 kids showcased their ideas at the 11th annual Western New York Invention Convention, held recently at Medaille College in Buffalo. It was created to promote creative thinking and encourage scientific problem solving.

Charter School for Applied Technologies

A new program aims to promote high-tech manufacturing careers in high schools across Western New York.  Dream it, Do it WNY educates high school students about the broad range of  careers available in the industry.

Thomas Favre-Bulle / via Flickr

Voices opposed to Common Core testing are rising in central New York, as teachers and parents met this week at a forum in Syracuse to discuss these new education standards that bring major changes to the way math and reading is taught in public schools.

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

Younger citizens may be more active in volunteer and service efforts than previous generations, but many remain profoundly uninterested and disengaged from anything they regard as political. One organization trying to combat that is ICivics, created by former Justice Sandra Day O'Conner, to provide online, interactive educational resources for middle school students. On this edition of the Campbell Conversations, Gene Koo, executive director of ICivics, outlines the challenges to civic engagement and how the organization is trying to address them.

University of Rochester

Researchers in western New York have been using brain scans to add to our understanding of how humans comprehend numbers. The new data could have implications in diagnosing learning disabilities earlier on, and aid in our understanding of why some kids struggle at school.

Are colleges and universities failing to meet proper ethical standards in the treatment of their faculties? In this edition of the Campbell Conversations, Cary Nelson, a recent past president of the American Association of University Professors and the author of No University Is an Island, argues that many schools are falling short, and that the explosion of what he calls contingent faculty--the faculty outside of the tenure system--hurts all higher education, and furthers social and educational inequalities.

An on-time state budget is good news for school districts across the state, as they plug in the hard numbers to proposed budgets. 

North Country Arts Council brings out kids' creativity

Mar 31, 2013
Joanna Richards

The North Country Arts Council has been a growing force for cultural activity in the Watertown area since its inception in 2009. The group aims to spotlight the work of regional artists, but it also hopes to draw more community members into arts activities too. Over the schools' winter break this year, the organization offered a day full of different art workshops for kids at its home on Public Square. 

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