SyraFuse Program Helps Encourage Innovative Instruction in the SCSD
Published on 7/2/19
District News Huntington K-8 School Webster
Personal engagement in learning, with the encouragement of invested adults, helps our students to develop a greater sense of self-efficacy to pursue their life-long goals.
Effective classroom teachers have always personalized learning.
Now we can and will empower them with curriculum, pedagogy, tools and resources specifically designed to support personalization of each student’s learning.
One of the priorities of the Syracuse City School District’s strategic plan, Building Our Future, is to personalize learning for all students.
Thanks to the Fuse Syracuse “SyraFuse” program, SCSD teachers have been sharing successful personalized learning strategies and practices for three years.
During a yearlong fellowship, Fellows are trained on personalized learning models and best practices, coached on classroom implementation, and are supported as they establish their classroom as a “lighthouse classroom” to serve as a model of personalized learning for others in the district.
“Being a part of the SyraFuse program impacted my teaching in ways that I don’t think I can accurately articulate,” Webster Elementary Kindergarten teacher and SyraFuse Cohort 1 Fellow Katelyn Cleveland said. “I went in with an open mind but I had no idea just how much I would expand my views and ideas about teaching. I always believed in differentiation, but the ways in which I am now able to reach my students individually has completely changed. The strategies and tools as well as the mindset shift have helped me to tailor instruction to my students. An effect that I did not expect was that I now feel more comfortable presenting and supporting colleagues. Prior to SyraFuse, I was comfortable with students but peers made me freeze up. Now, though I still get nervous, I am more confident and enjoy presenting to others.”
“SyraFuse is a very intense program that engaged me in persevering and cultivating myself into the best educator and advocate I can be for my students,” Huntington teacher Cathy Bunce added. “This has been an insightful journey for me as well as for my students. Through the process, I saw my students grow as independent learners and self-advocates. They have used trackers to monitor their academic progress and seek help in areas that they feel they need support, helping them engage in conversations with me and other teachers.”
SyraFuse Fellows engage in ongoing training by way of online resources and monthly face-to-face meetings, as well as regular professional development opportunities where they can share their learning with others.
“Fuse Fellows are passionate, curious innovators in their schools who model a growth mindset, and are open to trying new things and taking their practice to the next level,” SCSD Supervisor of Library Media Services Manami Tezuka said. “They are natural change agents for their schools and welcome the opportunity to advance the field through their own leadership and instructional innovation. Fuse Fellows are willing to go outside of their comfort zones to personalize learning for SCSD students.”
Launched in January 2016 in partnership with the Highlander Institute, the SyraFuse program was turned over to the SCSD Personalized Learning Team this school year. Nearly 70 Fellows have completed the program in its first three years, and 50 applicants have applied for the 2019-20 cohort of SyraFuse! We look forward to seeing even more SCSD classrooms transform as the SyraFuse program continues to expand.