Assurance of Discontinuance

The New York State Office of the Attorney General (OAG) and the Syracuse City School District have an agreement on an Assurance of Discontinuance (AOD) that will ensure that the District will adopt and implement fair and appropriate disciplinary practices to reduce the use of school suspensions through preventative and positive behavioral interventions as well as ensure students’ due process rights in the event of suspensions.

The Attorney General’s findings which were released in July of 2014 were largely consistent with two reports commissioned by the District in the spring and fall of 2013. Prior to the AG’s findings the district had taken purposeful steps to suspend fewer children for insubordination and non-violent behavior and began providing teachers with additional tools and support to manage discipline in the classroom.  A new Code of Conduct, Character and Support has been implemented across the District with substantial input from teachers, administrators, parents and community members. The new Code sets clearer expectations for student behavior and better defines interventions and consequences for Code infractions. It is focused on creating an environment of restorative justice – where students are actively engaged in taking responsibility for their behavior and staff is equipped to facilitate that process.

A major focus of the district’s efforts has been to dramatically improve processes and procedures within the district.  An emphasis has been placed on ensuring due process for all students and improving parental communication and engagement.  Improved data collection also allows the District to measure progress of student behavior and compare it to prior years.

To read the full text of the Syracuse City School District Assurance of Discontinuance with the Office of the Attorney General of the State of New York, please click here.
Independent Monitor
Dr. Atkinson has served public education in various capacities and positions.  She returns to the Syracuse City School District after most recently serving as Assistant Commissioner of the Office of Innovation and School Reform, for the New York State Education Department.  Her experience with successfully raising achievement and graduation rates for all students, along with implementing effective program models and innovative alternative approaches made her the candidate of choice to fill that position. In her capacity as Assistant Commissioner, after having worked with the lowest performing schools, currently designated as Persistently Struggling and Struggling, first year performance showed that nine out of the ten Persistently Struggling Schools were deemed to have made “Demonstrable Improvement” in the first year, 44 of the Struggling Schools fell into the “met progress targets” range, 24 fell in the mid-range, and only 4 had a Demonstrable Improvement Index in the lowest band.  These outcomes were attributable to the focused work between districts and schools and the Office of Innovation and School Reform, led by Dr. Atkinson.
Dr. Atkinson was previously the SCSD’s Chief Ombuds Officer and has served as Vice President for the Success For All Foundation, Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to the development, evaluation, and dissemination of research-proven reform models for preschool, elementary, middle, and high schools, especially those serving children considered to be at risk. She was also formerly Superintendent of the 27th largest school district in the USA, DeKalb County School District, in DeKalb, Georgia and the 10th largest school district in Ohio, Lorain City Schools in Lorain, Ohio (just outside of Cleveland). Other past experience includes Deputy Superintendent and Associate Superintendent in Kansas City, MO, Charlotte, NC, and Charleston, SC. As Superintendent/CEO, Dr. Atkinson has worked effectively with Boards of Education, business and community leaders, parents, district leaders, teachers, and staff members to plan and deliver results-oriented curricula and programs for student success.
Dr. Atkinson’s mission is to see that all children are educated at high levels, to prepare students to compete in a global economy, and to provide opportunities for every child to reach his or her full potential. 

You may reach the Office of the Independent Monitor by phone at (315) 435-6449.
Important Documents

Code of Conduct, Character and Support
Code of Conduct, Character and Support Parent and Student Summary
Superintendent Hearing Appeals Process


AOD Progress Report - April 11, 2018
Assurance of Discontinuance - Full Text
May 2017 PowerPoint
March 8, 2017 PowerPoint
2016-17 End of Year Executive Summary
2016-17 End of Year Presentation
Independent Monitor End Year 2 Report
Independent Monitor Report (Qtr. 1)
Independent Monitor Report (Qtr. 2)
Independent Monitor 2014-15 End of Year Summary Report