Getting children to think about recess is easy, but getting them to start thinking about college may not be as simple. Onondaga Community College and the Syracuse City School District are working together to plant a seed in students’ minds early. Superintendent Jaime Alicea and O-C-C President Casey Crabill say the partnership will give kids more opportunities.
"One of our goals in the Syracuse City School District is to graduate our students to be college and career ready. Exposing the students to college at an early age will provide them with opportunities."
"I don't think 6 or 7 is too young. They certainly have a lot of energy. If we can get that energy directed at themselves and their future, I think that’s great.”
This partnership began as a pilot last year at McKinley-Brighton elementary. Meachem Elementary and Roberts School are now being added to the project. Crabill explains that this is more than just field trips to OCC.
“We have volunteers who bring specific lessons to the school, engage with the kids with things like, oh, let's make a journal together to practice our writing skills. They bring hands on engaging lessons that augment what's happening in the school. They work with the teachers to make sure they're going to the most age appropriate group for those kinds of lessons. It's really to promote that learning is fun and never has to stop”
Superintendent Alicea says the program starts with south side schools because of their proximity to OCC. The program is aimed at getting kids out of the south side and into new environments. Alicea says the future of children should be a community effort.
“Education is not just the job of the school district. Education is a commitment that we all have to make as a community. We need to get the school district, the colleges, churches, the entire community to be involved in the educational process."
Activities with the students will take place throughout the school year.