Some kids in Syracuse head back to school with earlier start times
First graders perched on a multi-colored mat at Webster Elementary School on Syracuse’s Northside welcomed officials from the district and City Hall on the first day of school. Superintendent Anthony Davis relished that first day feeling.
“It’s like just getting things back," Davis said. "Starting getting people back in routines and let's get this thing going for this education this year. So very exciting time.”
Every school year brings changes, and this year, a controversial change in start times for middle and high schoolers, goes into effect. Some students will be heading to school up to 25 minutes earlier, because of a school bus driver shortage. Davis said this is an interim move, and expects discussions to look at alternatives.
"We're looking forward to getting people's input and making decisions where everybody is at least aware," Davis said. "Everybody's not going to agree. We know that already. But at least everybody can be aware."
Davis said also this year, there will be more of a focus on the mental health of students and staff, noting the still lingering effects of the pandemic.
"We did commit to hiring a Director of Mental Health so that we can make sure that we're putting programs in place that's going to help our students and our staff," Davis said. "We wanted to make sure we're paying attention to everyone."
Syracuse schools serve almost 19,000 students. Just shy of 50% live below the federal poverty level.