Career Ladder Program

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Career Ladder Program

The purpose of the Career Ladder program is to provide full time employees in units 6, 8, 9, 10 and 11 the opportunity to further their education by taking college courses and/or obtaining a college degree in an area of study or discipline that could lead to career advancement within the District. Employees must be accepted in a District approved program leading to a degree.

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A. Master’s or Bachelor’s Degree: Employees can receive up to 12 credit hours of paid tuition per fiscal year (July 1 – June 30) at the current State University or New York or Community College tuition rates. The District covers only tuition. Any associated fees, grades that fall below the contractual agreement, dropped courses that incurr charges and text books are the employees’ responsibility.

The total cost to the district for Units 6, 9 & 10 cannot exceed $10,000 per unit, per year and Unit 11 cannot exceed $15,000 per year.

B. The District will pay tuition costs directly to the college/university as long as the employee maintains a B average for graduate courses or a C average for Units 6, 8 & 11 for undergraduate courses.  Unit 9 must maintain a B average for graduate courses and undergraduate courses.

If a B/C average is not maintained the employee must reimburse the District the amount the District paid the college for that course or pay for his/her next college course. If the employee maintains the appropriate B/C average on a subsequent course he/she must submit the transcript and receipt for the course to the Career Ladder Coordinator for reimbursement at the SUNY or community college rate. The employee will be eligible to have future tuition costs billed directly to the District upon completion of either process.

C. To remain eligible for the Career Ladder the employee must submit final grades for each course to the Career Ladder program.

D. Procedure: Direct Pay: The Employee must complete the Application for Approval of Direct Pay and submit it to the Career Ladder Coordinator for approval. If approved, he/she will be given a letter to the Bursar (a voucher) that must be submitted to the college. The College/University will then bill the District directly.

Reimbursement: The District will reimburse full time employees tuition cost at any accredited college or university up to the SUNY rate. The employee must submit an Application for Reimbursement, transcript with final grade of at least B for graduate or C for undergraduate courses (B for Unit 9 employees), and proof of your payment receipt.

E. If you transfer into a bargaining unit not eligible for career ladder benefits or you are no longer employed by the SCSD before the class begins, the SCSD will not be responsible for tuition.

Sabbatical Leave

Sabbaticals are available for those members of Unit 8 and 10 for whom it is necessary to take a leave to complete an education program. Applicants requesting a sabbatical must have at least three years of continuous service in unit 8 or 10 and be in good standing in personnel.

  • The district will direct-pay tuition up to 15 credit hours (graduate or undergraduate) per semester at the current SUNY rate.

  • There are six full time sabbaticals available for unit 8 members and three full time sabbaticals for unit 10. If there are more applicants than sabbaticals available the more senior applicants will have preference.

  • There are three sabbatical leave options which are outlined in the Units 8 and 10 contracts:

    1. Full year at full pay and benefits. If this option is chosen, the employee is required to work the equivalent of twenty (20) weeks of full time assigned work. Six (6) week must occur prior to sabbatical leave (time to be negotiated between employee and district). A letter outlining your half-time work arrangement, signed by your supervisor, must be submitted prior to sabbatical leave.

    2. Full semester (5 months) with full pay and benefits. If this option is chosen there will be no work obligation during sabbatical leave.

    3. Full year at half-pay and benefits, no work obligation. If this option is chosen there will be no work obligation during sabbatical leave.

  • Employees who have received a sabbatical leave must work a minimum of five (5) school years for the District subsequent to the leave. If the employee is capable of, but does not wish to continue employment in the District for the five year period, the employee must reimburse the District for all salary paid during the sabbatical leave.

  • If the employee receives a verified job offer from another employer and is not offered a position by the District for which they have taken the sabbatical, the employee will be released from any salary reimbursement requirements.

Letters requesting sabbaticals must be submitted to Shirley Rowser, Recruitment & Selection at or fax 315-435-4163. Applications for consideration of Sabbatical Leave commencing for the fall semester must be submitted by March 31st. Applicants will be notified of approval by April 30th. Applications for the Spring semester leaves must be received by October 2nd and notification of applicants will occur by November 2nd.

Included with the sabbatical request should be the following:

  1. Official letter from the college indicating:

    1. Acceptance in a district approved program leading to a degree

    2. Outline of courses to be completed

  2. Official transcripts of undergraduate and graduate courses completed.

  3. Letter of intent including purpose of leave (i.e. pursuing Masters in Education at S.U.), pay option you are choosing (see above), and acknowledgement of your five year employment obligation to the district.

  4. School you are currently working and your current address and phone numbe

The Office of Human Resources has established a set of criteria in determining priorities for awarding Syracuse University tuition credit awards to those in Unit 1 and Unit 2 who are interested in taking classes at SU. At the beginning of each college semester a district committee will review all requests and award the tuition credits.  

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1.Individuals that host SU student teachers (must be tenured, highly effective and effective).

2.Individuals taking courses that would fulfill an identified district need.

3.Individuals seeking professional or permanent certification/Masters in their current teaching area.

4.Individuals who are participating in the Urban Leadership Fellows Program.

5.Individuals seeking improvement or growth.

6.Individuals who have demonstrated leadership capabilities through participation on District/School committees, task forces, projects, etc. that led to meaningful outcomes for students.

*Please note that participants in the Syrause Urban Leadership Fellows program with SU will be prioritized for Tuition Vouchers for those seeking a CAS in educational leadership or similar. If an award is not made to an employee, that employee should be prepared to pay for the SU course(s) or be aware of the applicable school drop/add policy.

You may contact Shirley Rowser at 315-435-4171, if you are interested in hosting a student teacher. Please direct all questions to the Office of Human Resources at 435-4171 or

In order to be considered you must fill out the online application by the specific deadline listed below

Summer Semester
April 1st
Fall Semester
August 1st
Spring Semester
December 1st

Teachers of Tomorrow - Tuition Reimbursement Programs

The Syracuse City School District was awarded a State grant for the Teachers of Tomorrow Program.  Please read the eligibility requirements carefully for each program contained in the chart below.  If interested, please use the embedded application links.  

Summer in the City Internship Program

This grant is effective for qualified staff from June 1, 2022 through June 30, 2023.


  • $2,000/annually and you may participate multiple years.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Have successfully completed 60 or more college cr edits.
  • Be in good academic standing as determined by the Institute of Higher Education (IHE) and have attended an accredited New York State institution in the current year.
  • Be enrolled full-time in a New York State registered teacher preparation program.
  • Demonstrate the desire to enter the teaching profession and agree to serve one year in a teacher or subject shortage area for each award received.
  • Be recommended by college or university to participate in the program..

In order to apply for a stipend, you MUST complete the application by clicking the link and submit a copy of a transcript(s) verifying successful completion of sixty (60) or more college credits.

NYS Master Teacher Program Grant (Unit 1)

This grant is effective for qualified staff from June 1, 20222 through June 30, 2023.

• $10,000 award (renewable for two additional years)
• Maximum $30,000
• Funds are in addition to and NOT a part of the teacher's base salary.

• Nationally Board Certified;
• Serve full-time at a (School Under Registration Review) SURR or low-performing public school; and
• Agree to continue serving up to three years (1 year for each award) at a SURR or low performing school.

To receive this award, you MUST submit a certificate issued by The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards by May 19, 2023.

Tuition Reimbursement (Unit 1)

• Up to $700 per course (Or, cost of course; whichever is less) for up to (3) courses per year and may be renewed for 2nd year.
• Maximum award ia teacher may receive is $2,100 per year or $4,200 for two years, provided they are in need of six courses for professional certification.

• Have initial or transitional certification, but NOT any permanent or professional certification to teach in public schools in New York;
• Employed full-time for the school year in a teacher certification shortage* area;
• Demonstrated record of effectiveness; and
• Agree to teach one year in a teacher certification shortage* area as a condition receiving this award.

If you have applied and received the Teachers of tomorrow Tuition Reimbursement award for any previous two (2) year periods, you no longer qualify7 for this grant.

Science, Mathematics, and Bilingual Education Tuition Reimbursement (Unit 1)

This grant is effective from June 1, 2022 through June 30, 2023.


• This program provides an initial reimbursement award of up to $10,000 per year (or the actual cost of tuition, whichever is less.).
• Renewable for one year, provided that the teacher still has uncompleted courses required for initial/professional certifications and the recipient has provided satisfactory teaching of science, math or bilingual education in a low-performing school, in the previous year. 

• This award is NOT part of the teacher's base salary.

• Teachers who have received or will receive a transitional certificate to teach science, mathematics or a bilingual extension to teach Bilingual Education; and
• Will be employed full-time for the school year for which the award is to be made; and
• Agree to teach in a low-performing school as a condition of receiving the award.

Teacher Recruitment Incentive Program (Unit 1)

The purpose of this program is to provide incentives to teachers employed for the first time in the school district.


• Award of $3,400 per year and is renewable for three additional years;
• The maximum cumulative award total per participant, after four years, is $13,600; and
• These awards are NOT par tof the teacher's base salary.

• Teachers who are employed for the first time in the school district;
• Hold initial, transitional, permanent, or professional certificaiton to teach in New York State;
• Agree to serve one year in a teacher shortage or subject shortage area for each award received as a acondition receiving the award;
• Agree to serve one year of service for each award received; and
• Awards shall be used to reimburse any educational costs including books and fees incurrred by recipient prior to receipt of award for certification as a teacher in New York State.  

Shortage Areas:
  • CTE
  • English
  • ENL
  • Health
  • Literacy
  • Math
  • Science
  • Social Studies
  • Special Education
  • World Language