Top five winning classrooms from three different schools enjoy pizza party hosted by the Mayor

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh, Deputy Mayor Sharon Owens, and Superintendent Jaime Alicea visit the top five classroom winners of the 2019 Mayor Walsh’s Summer Challenge in the Syracuse City School District (SCSD). Summer school students in kindergarten to fifth grade from eight different schools participated in the challenge with the help of administrators, teachers, and parents over a period of three weeks, from Monday, July 8 through Friday, July 26. A total of 98,782 minutes, the equivalent of 1,646 hours or more than nine weeks, were read by all of the summer school students.

Sponsored by the City of Syracuse, Literacy Coalition of Onondaga County, and participating SCSD schools, the challenge is two-fold in that it encourages teamwork and continuing learning outside of the regular school year schedule. Students recorded the number of minutes spent reading at home and in the classroom using tracking logs turned in to their teachers to insert into a classroom book tracker poster. Parents participated in helping to hold each student accountable for reading done at home, having to sign-off for each week completed.

“Often when school is out for the summer and assignments are not as frequent, students tend to fall behind,” said Mayor Walsh. “Summer reading is important because it can help a child explore and learn about new topics. I’m really glad that we have the Summer Reading Challenge program in order for students to remain academically involved while enjoying the summer.”

The winning classrooms receive pizza and cake to celebrate their amazing accomplishment, while reading books, asking questions and learning about each official’s role in the City. All of the student participants also received a postcard from Mayor Walsh, congratulating them on their hard work during the challenge. Winners are determined by the number of minutes recorded divided by the number of students that participated for each classroom in order to determine the minutes per student.

The winning classes are:

  • Ms. Denise Vaccaro’s Class at the Webster Elementary School site
  • Ms. Valery Wentworth’s Class at the Dr. Weeks Elementary School site
  • Ms. Dorota Mariak’s Class at the Dr. Weeks Elementary School site
  • Ms. Drioni Vergara’s Class at the Seymour Dual Language Academy School site
  • Ms. Danielle Forgensi’s Class at the Seymour Dual Language Academy School site

Participating school sites from the SCSD included McKinley-Brighton Elementary School, Porter Elementary School, Webster Elementary School, Dr. Weeks Elementary School, STEAM at Dr. King Elementary School, Syracuse Latin Elementary School, Roberts Pre-K-8 School, and Seymour Dual Language Academy.

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