Elements of the Program

Schools of Promise involves three things: partnerships, professional development, and a leadership institute.

Partnerships with Schools of Promise

Schools of Promise partnerships involve a three-year commitment between a school/district and the Syracuse University SOP team. The school/district agrees to include all students, in particular students with disabilities, in general education with their peers. This means eliminating self-contained classrooms and pullout based programs as well as re-thinking tracking or densely clustering student needs in classrooms.

The partnership begins with a planning process that involves teachers and administrators reconfiguring the current use of staff to form teams of specialists and general education teachers to collaboratively plan and deliver instruction to heterogeneous student groups. This has resulted in all students being placed into general education settings (including students with significant disabilities, students with mild disabilities, students with emotional disabilities, students with autism - all students). Through this partnership the entire school team receives extensive professional development and support from the SOP team.

Current and past Schools of Promise Partnerships include: Salem Hyde Elementary, John T. Roberts Elementary, and Dr. Weeks Elementary (all in the Syracuse City School District); Sandy Creek School District; Dryden School District; Aurburn Enlarged City School District; Sandy and North Syracuse Central School District.

Professional Development with Schools of Promise

The SOP team works with districts, organizations, schools, leaders, and instructional teams to create and maintain inclusive services. This has involved:

  • Providing training for school leaders to create inclusive schools,
  • Consulting with schools and districts on how to increase inclusive services,
  • Leading professional development for teachers and staff about differentiation, collaboration, challenging behavior, and autism;
  • Problem solving with school leaders and instructional teams.

We have provided consulting and professional development around inclusive schooling in several districts in NY, including Baldwinsville CSD, Jamesville/Dewitt CSD, Homer CSD, East Syracuse Minoa CSD, Ithaca City SD, Syracuse City SD, Greene CS, and Monroe 1 BOCES. We have worked in a variety of districts in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, California, Colorado, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Canada.

The Schools of Promise Summer Leadership Institute

Each summer SOP runs an intensive leadership institute for school leaders from around the country on how to create inclusive districts, schools and classrooms. This interactive institute utilizes a multi-media approach combining film, the latest research, and key lessons from practice necessary to create equitable, excellent and inclusive schools for all students- with the particular focus on students with disabilities. Learn more about the Summer Leadership Institute

What it Looks Like

An SOP process may include/resemble the following:

The SU SOP Team Will Commit to:

  • An information session with administrators
  • An information session with staff
  • A school wide vote
  • School restructuring support that includes:
    •  5-8 planning meetings with school based team & consultations with administrators
  • Professional development in the following areas:
    • Inclusion, community building, differentiated, instruction, co-teaching and collaboration, communication support, paraprofessional support, problems solving, curricular adaptations
  • Research about effective inclusive practices.
  • A banner-raising event & publicity about the school’s/district’s work within the community.

The School/District Needs to Commit to (with support):

  • Include All Students in particular students with disabilities and students learning English:
    • Eliminate all self-contained classrooms within or housed at your school/district
    • Eliminate pullout based programs
    • Re-think overloaded/densely clustered student needs in classrooms
  • Provide the SU team access to personnel, classrooms, students, and student data for SOP research projects. The SU team will work with the IRB process, in terms of forms and clearance.
  • Placements for pre-service teacher from Syracuse University.