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Central, northern NY schools joining rural education initiative

Sandy Creek Central School District

Several school districts located in rural areas of central and northern New York are participating in a nationally funded program to address and potentially overcome some of the biggest obstacles facing their students.

About 50 school districts in New York and Ohio were selected to participate in the initiative. It's a partnership with Harvard University's Center for Education Policy Research, whose experts will help local school administrators develop evidence-based strategies for dealing with recurring problems in rural education, like chronic absenteeism, college readiness, and college enrollment.

Kyle Faulkner, superintendent of the Sandy Creek Central School District in Oswego County, says he's looking forward to addressing student attendance through the program.

"It’s something that as a district we are very interested in coming up with new, innovative ways, techniques to make sure our kids come to school because the bottom line is, they are not going to be successful unless they come to school," Faulkner said.

The Lafayette Central School District in Onondaga County, Canastota Central School District in Madison County, Thousand Islands Central School District in Jefferson County, Cato-Meridian Central School District in Cayuga County, and Mexico Central School District and Pulaski Academy & Central School District in Oswego County are also taking part in the project.

These and other school districts will collaborate with each other over the five-year study on their approaches and findings.

"I think it’s great seeing research and seeing what the data shows, but at the same time quite often more importantly is the opportunity to work with  districts that are going through similar problems, dealing with similar issues," He said.

The first meeting is scheduled to take place this fall.

Payne Horning is a reporter and producer, primarily focusing on the city of Oswego and Oswego County. He has a passion for covering local politics and how it impacts the lives of everyday citizens. Originally from Iowa, Horning moved to Muncie, Indiana to study journalism, telecommunications and political science at Ball State University. While there, he worked as a reporter and substitute host at Indiana Public Radio. He also covered the 2015 session of the Indiana General Assembly for the statewide Indiana Public Broadcasting network.