ACTS ACTION ALERTS

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ACTS ACTION ALERT - AN URGENT REQUEST FROM THE ACTS YOUTH COUNCIL

Tomorrow - Wednesday March 9 - at 5:00pm the Syracuse City School Board will vote on the proposed district budget.  We are thrilled that the Superintendent included the ACTS Youth Council proposal to create College and Career Centers in each high school.  However, the new Centers would start out under-funded, so they would be initiated with built in challenges to their effectiveness and their reliability as a resource for students.  The Youth Council research showed that WE NEED 8 College/Career Counselors NOT 5.

 

The Youth Council asks YOU to send an email NOW to the members of the school board.  The youth have provided a template for these emails below with all their email addresses.  Adapt the template and ADD YOUR VOICE, but we need you to do it NOW.    [P.S. You can also come to the board meeting and speak up or hold a sign.  Arrive no later than 4:45 pm in the board room at the District Offices - 725 Harrison St. and fill out a blue card if they are available.]

Thank you - ACTS Team

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Email Template  - You may copy and paste the text below.  Feel free to edit and personalize this to your own choosing before sending it - perhaps adding more of your own personal experience or different research statistics. Alternative messaging tools including storytelling through personal experiences tend to be the most effective form of communication.

Subject: 8 NOT 5 College & Career Counselors for SCSD High Schools

Send to: ksojewicz@scsd.usmdmuhammad@scsd.ustbarnett@scsd.usdromeo@scsd.usjalicea@scsd.ussslack@scsd.us,   cbillue@scsd.usnbullock@scsd.uskcordano@scsd.us,   

CC: actsyouthcouncil@gmail.comBoardofEducation@scsd.uspaniaguarita@gmail.com 

Message:

Hello Superintendent Alicea, Board Members, and Chief Financial Officer Slack,

 

My name is _______ [YOUR NAME]  and I am a _______ [YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH THE SCSD, EX: STUDENT, PARENT, EDUCATOR, COMMUNITY ALLY] in the Syracuse City School District and [a registered voter in the city of Syracuse]. I am emailing you today to request that the budget for 2022-23 include 8 college and career counselors, not 5. The purpose of having 8 counselors at the College and Career Centers is to allocate an equitable number of counselors based on student population at each school. There is also a need for 8 counselors to ensure centers are covered when 1 or more counselors need to take time off for illness or vacation, personal or family needs. Also, clerical staff are needed but cannot replace counselors as they do not have the same expertise, training or skills. It is imperative that each center be adequately staffed in order to be fully operational and meet the needs of SCSD students.

[IF YOU HAVE AN EXPERIENCE AND FEEL COMFORTABLE, THIS IS A SPACE FOR YOU TO SHARE YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH COLLEGE AND CAREER CENTERS IN SCHOOLS. IN ADDITION OR ALTERNATIVELY, YOU MAY SHARE WHY THIS ISSUE IS SO IMPORTANT TO YOU.]

 

According to the mission of the Syracuse City School District, the goal is to graduate students who are “active citizens ready for success in college and careers and prepared to compete in a global economy.” Our students cannot succeed if they are not given the support and access to the resources to make that possible. We strongly encourage the board to make reconsideration and add 3 more counselors to the budget. The future of each student is in our hands; and now is the time to act. Fund the College and Career Centers so that they can be an effective and reliable resource for all SCSD students.

Thank you and best regards,

[YOUR NAME]

Update!  Initially We Got Results!

On February 9, 2022 we learned that Syracuse City School District Superintendent Jaime Alicea and CFO Suzanne Slack did include funding to initiate new College and Career Readiness Centers in each Syracuse High School.  This was exactly what the ACTS Youth Council had proposed and have been working towards for more than two years !.  Ms. Slack and Mr. Alicea both referred to this component of the new budget as the "ACTS Youth Council Proposal", and thanked the members of the Youth Council for bringing the need for these centers to their attention.  

   

According to the budget proposal, each center will have dedicated space with computer equipment, tables and chairs, supplies and reference materials and a full time counselor and Typist I will be hired to staff each of the five Centers.  They will work directly with students in each year of high school to help them make progress towards their college and career goals.  

  

HOWEVER PLEASE STAY TUNED!  

 

The budget proposal has several steps to go through before it can be approved, first by the school board and then by the Syracuse Common Council, but getting the centers included in the initial budget proposal was essential.  We will keep you apprised of the progress of the budget proposal, but we will need ACTS to speak again at two upcoming public hearings in March and later in the Spring and at subsequent voting sessions of the school board and Common Council. 

     

ACTS CELEBRATES THE YOUTH COUNCIL FOR ITS VISION, HARD WORK AND PROFESSIONALISM IN RESEARCHING, DESIGNING AND PRESENTING THIS PROPOSAL.  THIS SMALL GROUP OF ACTS YOUTH ARE TRULY MAKING A DIFFERENCE!  THEIR EFFORTS WILL HAVE A SIGNIFICANT IMPACT ON SYRACUSE  STUDENTS FROM ALL BACKGROUNDS AND NEIGHBORHOODS.  THE ACTS YOUTH COUNCIL ROCKS!

We issued a Call for Action on February 7th

On Wednesday February 9, 2022 at 5:30 pm, the ACTS Youth Council and several supportive ACTS adult urged the Syracuse City School District (SCSD) Board of Education to include the Youth Council's proposal to create college and career readiness centers in the budget for the next school year.  Supporters of this proposal were invited to join the members of the Youth Council in offering public comments in support of this important proposal. 

The School Board met in the boardroom at the district offices at 725 Harrison St., Syracuse, NY 13210.  Supporters were asked to please arrive by 5:00 pm to show their support, get a seat, and to fill out the required comment card if you are able to speak during the public comment period.  There is a large lot for parking inside the fence adjacent to the building.

On November 17, 2021 the Youth Council made an impressive presentation to the School Board about their proposal to create staffed College and Career Readiness Centers in each high school.  They explained how these centers will be an invaluable resource for students in the Syracuse City School District, and will provide sorely needed guidance to help students prepare for their futures.  The Youth spoke to how difficult it has been for them and for other students to identify paths for college and careers on their own, and to prepare the necessary forms and applications with little or no resources for assistance at school or at home. 

The ACTS Youth Council worked on this proposal for two years, doing extensive research and framing their arguments with great care and attention to detail.  They see the need for these College and Career Readiness Centers as an issue of  educational equity.  Establishing these centers will begin to help even the playing field for students across the district, and enable students to pursue their interests long past graduation.

After their presentation to the School Board on Nov. 17th, SCSD Superintendent Jaime Alicea expressed his support for the proposal, as did several of the members of the School Board.  However, re-establishing and staffing these centers in every high school will require the inclusion and approval of a significant expenditure in the district's budget.  This is not guaranteed.  The Youth Council really needs community members to express their support for this important priority.  

ACTS folk were asked to be there in solidarity with the ACTS Youth Council and lend their voices in support of their proposal!  The Youth Council can be reached at actsyouthcouncil@gmail.com

If you could not attend to speak in person in support of the Youth Council's proposal, you can send your comments by email to boardofeducation@scsd.us  Please consider this option if you could not attend to speak in person. 

Thank you, 

Alliance of Communities Transforming Syracuse (ACTS)