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Politics and Government

Public meeting held as Syracuse middle school goes into receivership

Ellen Abbott
A public meeting was held this week at Clary Middle School in Syracuse, as the school goes into receivership

Changes are coming to Clary Middle School in Syracuse, the latest city school dealing with receivership, a state designation for persistently struggling schools.

Clary, on Syracuse’s south side, has two and a half years to show improvement in the performance of students, in order to get off the state’s watch list of struggling schools. It has taken the first step, a public hearing this week to let staff and families know what it means.

From here, the district has the authority to make changes to increase student performance. Syracuse's chief academic officer Laura Kelley said it’s too soon to know exactly what will happen, but they have an idea.

"We know we’re going to be measured on English language arts, on math, and on science," said Kelley. "So what sorts of support do we put place in our classrooms? How do we structure our schedule around those priorities? It doesn’t mean anything gets less time, but how do we make sure we are intervening with kids who are behind or aren’t performing where we know they should be?"

Specifically, Clary will be designated a community school. There could be changes ranging from longer school days to different ways of teaching particular subjects. A community engagement team made up of students, teachers, families and community members will help develop and monitor the school’s improvement efforts. 

Tabitha Love, the mother of a Clary student, said families need to be involved in making sure the school improves.

"You can have success. It’s just you as parents have to stay on these children, it’s our responsibility," said Love. "I really think the state misses the ball. It’s not the schools fault, it’s us, we’re the ones failing these kids."