There was plenty of cheer at the Blodgett school's holiday concert on Syracuse's west side on Wednesday night. Student musicians, vocalist and a choir all performed while parents, teachers, staff and students enjoyed snacks and sang along. Several parents said they were very happy with some positive changes at the school and felt hard work by teachers and staff has students moving in the right direction
"They took more time out academically. Teachers and students one on one, I think that's really good - students understand better," said parent Shaquiza Graves.
Syracuse School Superintendent Sharon Contreras just finished her first 100 days on the job. Contreras has been touring schools, looking for ways to improve the district. Five consulting groups also gave Contreras their detailed analysis and recommendations at no cost to the district. Contreras says she agrees with one of their main points raised by the The consultants recommended that city schools give teachers a consistent district wide curriculum for grades K through 12 - a point Contreras said she agreed with. Contreras said the curriculum across all the city schools is very inconsistent and doesn't always prepare students for college.
"Teachers can not teach what they don't have and students can't master what they have not been taught," said Contreras.
The consultants also said that Syracuse needs to find ways to fire bad teachers and speed up their hiring schedule so they don't lose talented young teachers to other districts. Contreras says she knows the district has to be more competitive.
"That came from our principals, our teachers that we wait much to late to hire. We're hiring after school begins," said Contreras.
Contreras said she has also been studying the consultants recommendations for how the district can deal with current and future financial challenges.