About the Teacher Center

Syracuse Teacher Center (STC) collaborates with local, statewide, and national organizations to provide educators in Syracuse the highest level of professional development. Annually, over 3,500 constituents participate in over 400 activities supported by the Syracuse Teacher Center. These activities include courses, workshops, mentoring, training sessions, meetings, creating classroom materials, borrowing books and instructional equipment, and a variety of other activities. The professional development at the Syracuse Teacher Center has had a direct positive impact on classroom instruction and student achievement.

The Syracuse City School District supported the Teacher Center facility and the Coordinator’s position this past school year.  Due to cuts in funding over the past several years, many programs have been cut.  We hope to restore many of the successful programs and add to current initiatives to provide the best resources for the constituents we serve.  We are looking forward to a successful year as we continue our partnership with the district by collaborating with district staff that will provide professional development in areas identified by our Policy Board and SCSD district initiatives.

FacilityThe Syracuse Teacher Center provides a 12,000-square-foot professional development facility for the public and non-public schools in Syracuse.  There is free parking for over 100 cars.  It is open 8:00am-5:00pm daily including the summer months, and will extend its hours to meet the needs of groups beyond regular hours..

  • Meeting rooms – These are used daily for large group sessions (up to 100 educators) and are available for small groups and classes.  The two large group rooms have ceiling-mounted LCD projectors.  This saves the Syracuse City School District the expense of renting conference space for large sessions during the school day.
  • Computer Lab – The lab is equipped with 18 workstations, a ceiling-mounted LCD projector and a Smart Board for professional development on technology integration, e-School Plus (the District’s grade reporting system) and IEP Direct, the online planning and reporting system for special education students as well as many other initiatives in SCSD.
  • The facility also houses groups and individuals in the spirit of collaboration. These include SESIS (Special Education School Improvement Specialists), the District’s assistive technology specialists, the district’s Wilson Facilitator and other district support staff.  The Teacher Center is also the home for the Mentor Teacher Intern Program (MTIP), a proven program for promoting teacher retention.
  • The Teacher Workroom provides a laminator, poster printer, Ellison die cutters, button maker, and a variety of other resources to support teachers in creating educational materials.


StaffIn order to maximize this year’s grant funding the Syracuse Teacher Center will have a full-time Director who is supported solely through Teacher Center funding and one full-time clerical support staff position.  While the facility offers many benefits to the educators in Syracuse, we also plan to access professional staff within the district to provide the additional professional development that promotes improved student achievement through district-wide and site-based professional development and individual consultations.

  • Director – The current director oversees the day-to-day operation of the Center along with providing professional development in Instructional Technology, Instruction of students in Poverty and other areas as needed.

 Teacher SupportThe STC provides support to teachers in a variety of ways:

  • On site, job embedded PD is offered to teachers in the area of Instructional Technology, Integration of Technology into lesson design, SMARTboard and Enoboard lesson design and iPads.
  • SCSD ‘Teachscape’ initiative that will provide ongoing professional development in the use of this technology along with support for collecting and analyzing evidence of teacher effectiveness as outlined in our Model for Practitioner Evaluation (APPR) document.


Technology – Technology plays an important role in the program at the Syracuse Teacher Center.

  • The teacher center supports our ENL dept with their iPad initiative and hosts several "Appy Hours" to promote the integration of this technology.
  • New Technology Demands – The Teacher Center has partnered with businesses to provide professional development in the use of emerging educational technologies.

National Board – National Board Certification is achieved upon successful completion of a voluntary assessment program designed to recognize effective and accomplished teachers who meet high standards based on what teachers should know and be able to do.  As part of the certification process, candidates complete 10 assessments that include four portfolio entries that feature teaching practice and six constructed response exercises that assess content knowledge.  The STC will offer support and training to all current National Board Certified teachers who will be leading colleagues through this process and to all candidates pursuing certification.  In addition, the STC will facilitate a grant through NBPTS to support Take One! candidates to take the first step for National Board Certification.

Professional Development – The STC Policy Board will work with the STC staff and SCSD staff to plan, implement and evaluate quality professional development programs focused on identified areas.  This will be accomplished by offering varied opportunities to work with educators to improve instruction and student achievement. We will promote and sustain continuous development, growth, and examination of practice with clearly defined expectations and commitment to change.

As a teacher center serving an urban community, the STC must assist teachers in meeting the needs of students from a variety of cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds. Language other than English is spoken in 16.5% of SCSD students’ homes and.  Understanding and valuing diversity continues to be a focus of the Syracuse City School District. We assist teachers in recognizing and using diversity to enhance classroom instruction. We are especially committed to sensitizing and supporting new teachers who do not readily identify with, and struggle to understand, many of their students. We will continue to support Courageous Conversations About Race, Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP) and Positive Behavior Interventions & Supports (PBIS), programs active in all the city schools.

The STC professional development program is informed by the organizational goals of the Syracuse City School District’s Plan. The six focus areas of this plan are literacy, student engagement, family partnerships, diversity, facilities, finance, and leadership development. As a teacher center serving a large urban population, our work is also defined by the strategies and tasks identified in the District’s Strategic Plan. Our  superintendent will be revising that plan with input from all key stakeholders from inside the District and from key stakeholders in the community including parents, business representatives, IHEs, and community partners.  The STC has aligned its goals to support the  SCSD Strategic Plan. Individual and organizational goals are supported through District and site-based in-service courses, on-line courses, Educational Horizon Opportunities, Site-Based Professional Development Support, professional portfolios, action research, Collaborative Coaching and Learning, peer coaching, PLC's, and National Board Certification support. The Teacher Center Policy Board recognizes the importance of supporting teachers in schools which are not served by state and federal grant programs, and that it is necessary for the STC to provide services to staff members in these buildings.

Collaboration is a powerful tool for building capacity to meet the needs of our constituents. STC staff and Policy Board members work closely with the Syracuse Teachers Association, the SCSD Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment Division and will be partnering the SCSD Network Team to support Race to the Top initiatives. STC staff will assist in the implementation of a professional development program for SCSD staff that are serving as Instructional Support Teachers and Coaches along with Academic Instructional Support (AIS) teachers. The STC is involved in coordinating the School-Based Intervention Team (S-BIT) Project in collaboration with Say Yes to Education and the Promise Zone/PBIS project.  The STC supports implementation of the SESIS grant along with the office of Assistive Technology that is housed at the STC providing programs and sharing resources for students with disabilities. Projects outlined by local and state initiatives such as those with Partners for Education and Business, School-to-Career Partnerships and other Eastern Upstate Teacher Centers will be continued.

Other collaborations include Say Yes to Education, SUNY Cortland, Syracuse Educational Opportunity Center-SUNY Morrisville, Central New York Education Consortium, CNY Reads, The Onondaga Historical Association, The Syracuse Newspapers, Family Literacy Alliance of Greater Syracuse, the Landmark Theatre, Partners for Arts Education, Museum of Science and Technology, CNY Council on Adolescent Pregnancy, SECNY Federal Credit Union, and our local public television affiliate WCNY-TV. These efforts provide a variety of services, which not only enrich the education of our students, but also help us address the diverse professional development needs of our teachers.

The Common Core Learning Standards require that novice and experienced teachers provide outstanding research-based instruction, informed by assessment, to improve student engagement and academic achievement. To meet these goals we design programs that support teachers in the use of student data to make instructional decisions. We offer programs on the effective use of research-based instructional strategies, including differentiated and brain-compatible instruction.

Literacy instruction remains a major focus for professional development in the Syracuse City School District. We will continue to support initiatives in this area. Activities outlined in the district's strategic plan that include support for teachers, administrators and teaching assistants responsible for implementation of the Pre-K to 12 curriculum including differentiation of instruction to meet the needs of all learners; designing professional development to assist all teachers in ways to integrate literacy in all content areas; assisting instructional and all administrative staff in the use of data to improve student achievement; and providing ongoing job-embedded professional development and collaborative opportunities. We will continue regular and in-depth collaboration with the SCSD  to support instructional coaches specialists by nurturing their leadership skills and expanding their knowledge base to help all teachers improve reading and writing instruction.

Promoting and supporting technology integration is a major focal point of the STC program. Teacher center staff has worked with the SCSD Elementary Division and the AIS teachers on the district-wide information system, eSchool, an online student information program that records student progress monitoring and achievement data, and IEP Direct, an online application for centralizing all the data for special education students’ IEPs. The STC technology program offers district-wide and site-based courses, workshops and one-on-one support on a wide variety of topics focused on improving student achievement. Offerings include the Intel Teach program, Thinkfinity Literacy, Education and Technology for end users and for individuals interested in becoming certified trainers, Smart Board integration, linking literacy and technology, developing projects that integrate technology into all curricular areas, and online tools to support instruction. The STC provides an educational technology center with a computer lab, wireless Internet access, a large format poster printer, digital cameras, LCD projectors, document cameras and distant learning/online meeting equipment.

The Syracuse City School District has implemented a new teacher induction program to meet New York State certification requirements and the needs of new staff. The Teacher Center continues to contribute to the organization and implementation of this initiative as well as supporting certification requirements for teachers and teaching assistants. We will continue our collaboration on the implementation of the Peer Assistance and Review (PAR) program and Mentor Teacher-Intern Program (MTIP).

We will continue to support the implementation of other district mandates, including those identified through Smaller Learning Communities and the Title I School Improvement initiative. 

maureen kendrick,
Oct 9, 2017, 5:07 AM
maureen kendrick,
Oct 9, 2017, 5:54 AM