SCSD Superintendent Contreras Invited to White House Summit

     Published on 7/23/15   Tagged under:    District News   

Syracuse City School District Superintendent Sharon Contreras was invited to participate in the White House Summit on Supportive School Climate and Discipline.  Dr. Contreras requested that Syracuse Teacher’s Association President Kevin Ahern and Henninger High School Principal Robert DiFlorio accompany her to discuss not only challenges facing districts across the country but solutions as well.
Featuring remarks from superintendents and school leaders from across the country, Superintendent Contreras, Mr. Ahern and Mr. DiFlorio spoke of the district’s biggest challenges related to school discipline and worked with their counterparts nationwide to consider solutions and develop a strategy for improving school climate. In discussions led by the U.S. Department of Education and Department of Justice, they were able to learn about new federal tools created to assist districts in reducing the use of suspensions, expulsions and student referrals, including the School Discipline Consensus Project, the Civil Rights Data Collection and more.
In preparation for the Summit, Superintendent Contreras convened a meeting of about 40 SCSD stakeholders, including teachers, principals, STA representatives, parents, community leaders and citizens to discuss their thoughts on the challenges and prospective solutions of school climate and student discipline in the Syracuse City School District. As a result, they were able to present Summit attendees with several solutions, including the creation or expansion of block grants that expand the implementation of education programs that use restorative justice; incorporate cultural competency and restorative strategies into teacher preparation and certification processes; and increase funding for youth mental health services.
“I am honored to have had the opportunity to visit the White House and meet with members of the administration and education experts alike,” Superintendent Contreras said. “To ensure that the students of the Syracuse City School District receive the best possible education, it is crucial that we continue to build partnerships and work in collaboration with other districts and leaders to determine the best policies and procedures for our schools. The Summit on Supportive School Climate and Discipline allowed us to work together to come up with evidence-based strategies to consider for implementation in the Syracuse City School District. I look forward to partnering with local stakeholders to ensure that they are engaged participants as we move forward with considering these new ideas with the intent of continuing to improve the school climate for all of our students.”
As a result of the Summit, Superintendent Contreras will be invited to meet regularly with a working group that will assist in refining the new strategy for improving school climate. As always, district students, parents, teachers and community members are encouraged to submit their questions, concerns and feedback via the Let’s Talk! communications tool at

Follow the news coverage of the conference below: 
Oklahoma Watch 
Washington Post
USED Press Release
SCSD Press Release