Sharon Contreras

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

The Foster Grandparents program in the Syracuse City School District is growing. The expansion of a popular program means more support at a time when it’s needed most.

Jean Rand of Syracuse has been a foster grandparent for three and a half years in a Meacham Elementary second grade classroom. Her presence comes in handy, whether it’s helping someone with math problems or offering a hug during an emotional meltdown.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Some Syracuse public school students started the new school year this week in an entirely new schools aimed at turning around struggling academic buildings.

In the basement of Hughes Elementary School, Syracuse City School District Superintendent Sharon Contreras greeted students at the new Syracuse Latin magnet school. Its liberal arts heavy curriculum is being phased in first at the kindergarten and first grade levels.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Updated, 1:55 p.m. with comment from superintendent:

The first meeting between the president of the Syracuse teachers' union and the superintendent of the school system since their relationship publicly disintegrated last week has been called "productive."

Syracuse Teachers Association President Kevin Ahern and Superintendent Sharon Contreras met Friday morning under the invitation of Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

The Syracuse school district says it's already working to improve discipline with the city's public schools as the state attorney general investigates its practices.

The attorney general's offices launched an investigation in December into potentially overly harsh punishment of minority and disabled students in the Syracuse school system,

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

The head of the Syracuse public school teachers union and the superintendent of the district will sit down this week in hopes of repairing a fractured relationship. 

Mayor Stephanie Miner, a former labor lawyer, will mediate the discussion. 

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Syracuse's public school teachers have overwhelmingly said they no longer have the confidence in Sharon Contreras to lead the city's school district.

The president of the Syracuse Teachers Association, the union representing 2,800 teachers in the district, kicked off what turned into a lengthy and raucous board of education meeting Wednesday evening at Dr. King Elementary School.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

The superintendent of the Syracuse school system has lost the support of one of the district's school board members. But it's likely not enough dissent to force Sharon Contreras out of her job. 

Syracuse School Board member Max Ruckdeschel spoke out at their annual meeting Tuesday evening. To other board members' surprise, he says he can no longer blindly support the superintendent's administrative appointments.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

The Syracuse public school system has a plan in place for the future of Fowler High School, one of three it's overhauling this year. The school board has approved turning the school into one focused on public service and law enforcement.

Starting in the fall, incoming students will not attend Fowler High School, but the Public Service Leadership Academy.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Syracuse City School District superintendent Sharon Contreras apologized Wednesday night for the way news about plans to phase out three of the city's schools was made public.

A letter from the state Department of Education leaked to the press Monday outlined possible plans for three underperforming schools in the city: Fowler High School, Hughes Elementary and Delaware Elementary.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

The state attorney general is investigating disciplinary action policies within the Syracuse school district, and the school system says it's cooperating with his office.

On Friday, the school district's top administrator admitted there likely have been violations.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s civil rights office issued a subpoena to the Syracuse City School District on Oct. 16.

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

All the public schools in Onondaga County are now open for the new school year. The Syracuse City School District was one of the last ones to open its doors Thursday morning. And school officials used the occasion of the first day of school to show off one of the new I-Zone Schools in the district.

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.

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.

The graduation rate in the Syracuse City School District continues to be one of the worst in the state, with less than half the students getting their diplomas after four years of school. Technical education programs may be a solution.

The Syracuse City School District now has a blue print for the next five years, that administrators hope will take it from being one of the poorest performing districts to one of the most improved urban school districts in America. The plan calls for changes across the board.

Thomas Favre-Bulle / via Flickr

The decision for the Syracuse City School District Board of Education Wednesday night was between borrowing millions or cutting hundreds of jobs. Board members chose to balance a $366 million budget by whipping out the credit card.

With $11.5 million dollars at stake, the Syracuse City School District did some last minute negotiating with its teachers and principal's unions, in the hopes of getting some state funding reinstated.