Oswego County schools not making grade

Oswego County schools fall short in academic performance according to a recent survey.

Buffalo’s Business First released the 2011 upstate school district rankings, a report based on four years of test data from the New York State Department of Education.

Pulaski ranked highest in Oswego County coming in at 212 out of 431 upstate school districts. Sandy Creek ranked 217; Central Square, 235; Phoenix, 269; Oswego, 271; Fulton 273; Mexico, 332; Hannibal, 383; and Altmar-Parish-Williamstown (APW) ranked the lowest in Oswego County at 397.

“Our parents have always been interested in the education and well-being (safety and security) of their children. The Board of Education, administration and staff continues to remain focused on providing the best educational experience possible,” Oswego School Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Cathy Chamberlain said.

This information is being released to faculty, students and parents to observe. Many people are wondering why all Oswego County schools are all in the bottom half.

The current economic situation has forced numerous cuts and changes in the education system everywhere.

“Cutting funding for schools plays a huge role. Teachers are being cut; fewer teachers lead to larger class sizes. Large classes make it difficult for teachers to control behavior and to address individual students’ needs,” said Kristen Corbett, a social studies teacher at Oswego Middle School.

“I believe the demographics in the school district have changed in the last several years,” said Philip Mooney, a parent of four kids who have attended Oswego High School. “You start to see a lot more of nontraditional families. Some don’t have two parents and there’s a lot more people moving in from out of town.”

Many schools in the county have been making drastic changes to their curriculums. Some districts no longer offer summer school or advanced placement and honors classes. There is also little money to devote to literacy and reading classes.

“We knew it was happening. Our test scores kept coming back lower and lower,” said Malinda Reed, a senior at APW High School.

Schools in Oswego County are working on possible solutions to change the rankings once again.

“We continue to look at and analyze the data for school improvement initiatives,” Chamberlain said.