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NYSSBA presents OCSD with Champions of Change award for Focus Forward partnership program

At a recent BOE meeting, the New York School Board Association (NYSSBA) presented OCSD with a Champions of Change award for the success and structure of our district's Focus Forward program, coordinated by Jennifer Joyce.

NYSSBA Area 5 Director William L. Miller had the honor of presenting board members with a “Champions of Change” banner showcasing their effort in encouraging student academic and social-emotional success through OCSD’s partnership with SUNY Oswego’s Focus Forward Program.

"You’re involved with a college and you make that college feel like they’re part of your community, and you make the kids see what college life is like or what a college student does. I think this type of program that you guys are putting out there has certainly had an impact on students both academically and socially,” Miller said.
Focus Forward is a school-based mentoring program that strives to enrich students' lives in our Oswego community. The program matches middle-school and high-school students from participating school districts with trained and supported undergraduate mentors, under the supervision of SUNY Oswego faculty, who help provide the academic and social support necessary for each student to achieve their full potential.

“I’ve got to commend you as a board for allowing this type of program to be put on," Miller said. "It’s a program I haven’t seen anywhere else. But this type of program could be put anywhere, and probably should be a role model to other districts of how it’s done and what you’ve accomplished [by] doing this – and how you feel it’s helped your students emotionally and academically,” Miller said.

Mentors provide academic tutoring and social support to district-identified "opportunity" students through personalized one-to-one or one-to-two relationships. Recommendations for the program come from administration, guidance counselors, teachers and staff.

After school, OMS and OHS students meet with their mentors for homework assistance, team-building games and positive interactions that promote student success. At the conclusion of the program, students receive certificates to celebrate their involvement and effort.

Focus Forward offers mentors new opportunities to work with struggling students and build upon their own individual abilities, whether it is improving listening skills, practicing empathy, becoming more proficient in specific subjects, or eliminating the anxieties that may accompany social interaction.

All BOE meetings are held on the first and third Tuesday of every month. The next BOE meeting will be held on Tuesday, November 1 at 5:00 p.m. at the Oswego High School. All meetings are live-streamed through OCSD’s Youtube channel, WBUC.
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