The Syracuse City School District (SCSD), as many in the local education arena are already aware of, is pushing their city-wide educational support initiative, Say Yes to Education. One major component of this program is the Syracuse Mentoring Program.
The mentoring program, which the city will be hearing more and more of in the next year, is the SCSD’s major preventative initiate in an attempt to turn around the academic achievement gap currently plaguing the city.
With a horrible graduation rate, it is no mystery that the masses of students who do not graduate, fail out, or drop out, are the next wave of Syracuse citizens to transition into the poverty, crime, and/or the homeless social demographics of the city which grow larger each year. The education issue in Syracuse is closely connected to the economic, business, and social issues that hinder the city from truly thriving.
The SCSD is hip to the dynamic going on right now in the city and has made major strides to turn things around, including partnering with public departments such as public legal aide, public assistance, the police department, and local businesses.
The SCSD just received a new $3 million federal grant to transition failing high schools into smaller academies in order to bring more personal attention to the students in need, something the New York City Department of Education has implemented with success. The smaller class sizes, substitute teacher coverage when teachers need to spend extra time with students, and increased funding for grade-transition summer programming are a just a few methods by which the funding will be exercised. Coupled with the Syracuse Mentor Program, the path to success has gotten wider.
The true test for success is whether or not the SCSD will maintain their latest efforts and become accountable for their students and city. The steps in the right direction have already taken place. However, the hard part becomes turning policy into practice and following through to ensure success. With the SCSD taking the reins on such a crucial initiative as youth mentoring, they are proving step by step that they are ready to lead the fight for a brighter tomorrow for the youth of this city.
If you are interested in becoming a mentor for a teen youth in the Syracuse City School District, please visit any or all of the sites below. As SyracuseMentor.com puts it, “You can’t change the whole word, but you can change his.”
The Syracuse City School District Mentoring Program
Jubilee Homes Youthbuild
100 Black Men of Syracuse
We Begin Again
Boys & Girls Club of Syracuse
Outliers: Creating & Seizing Opportunities