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SU School of Education and Syracuse City School District collaboration earns $1.2 million grant success
SU School of Education and Syracuse City School District collaboration earns $1.2 million grant successDecember 17, 2004Patrick Farrellpmfarrel@syr.edu
Syracuse University’s School of Education (SOE) and the Syracuse City School District (SCSD) have been named recipients of a grant in support of the “Count On It” program. The grant is funded by the Wallace Foundation, formerly the Reader’s Digest Foundation; and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation through the New York State Education Department (NYSED). NYSED will receive approximately $1.2 million per year for the next three years for this project, which SCSD staff and School of Education faculty helped design.
“Count On It” is designed to improve the instructional and organizational skills of school leaders through in-school leadership development projects that focus on student achievement in middle-level mathematics. “Leadership is the most important factor after teaching in whether schools succeed in raising student achievement,” says Christine DeVita, president of the Wallace Foundation. The SCSD-SU approach makes extensive use of research-based practices to ensure that resources are channeled to where they will have the greatest impact on student achievement.
NYSED’s goal is to develop a model for collaboration between urban school systems and institutions of higher education in support of project-embedded leadership development. The program initially will involve four cities: Syracuse, New York City, Binghamton and Peekskill. The model that emerges from this phase of the program will eventually be shared with districts across the state.
SU’s partnership with the SCSD is presently the only model of close collaboration between an urban system and an education leadership program in the state. Central to this partnership is Diane Canino-Rispoli who, in addition to serving on the SOE’s Leadership faculty, is also the director of leadership development for the City School District-the only such school system-based director anywhere in the state. Associate Professor Patricia Tinto of the SOE’s Teaching and Leadership Program will work closely with Nancy Zarach, the SCSD mathmematics/science/technology coordinator, to direct leadership development for school leaders in the areas of mathematics instruction and assessment.
“I believe we were awarded this highly competitive grant due to the District’s outstanding leadership development program and the strong partnership the District has with Syracuse University’s School of Education,” says Donna DeSaito, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction. “This partnership reflects the District’s and the School of Education’s focus on research influencing practice and practice influencing future research.”
The Syracuse City School District has identified middle school math to be in critical need of improvement. A key objective of this project is to improve connections between elementary and middle school instruction, providing a broader, systemic view of issues affecting math education.
The “Count On It” project is part of the State Action for Educational Leadership Program (SAELP), which is funded by grants from the Wallace and Gates Foundations.
About the School of Education
Syracuse University’s School of Education, a national leader in improving and informing educational practice for diverse communities, is committed to the principle that diverse learning communities create the conditions that both enrich the educational experience and provide opportunities for all to realize their full potential. The School of Education pioneered the inclusion movement in the United States, making way for all learners to participate fully in mainstream classrooms and other inclusive learning environments.