The theme of our 2012 Annual Recognition Breakfast was “Kids Who Read Succeed” and corresponded to the same theme used in the 2011-2012 round of Grant Projects in Syracuse City Schools. With literacy and reading as the predominant aspect to Foundation programming, our award winners at the Breakfast were recognized because of their long-standing support of student literacy in the schools. Both Margaret Charters and the law firm Bond Schoeneck and King have gone above and beyond volunteer services in their support of literacy and education in our City Schools.
Margaret A. Charters
Dr. Margaret A. Charters is a native of Saskatchewan, Canada. After obtaining her master’s degree at the University of Chicago, she and her husband settled in Syracuse on Elm Street. Their three children attended Croton School, now Dr. Martin Luther King Elementary School. She received her Ph.D. in higher education from Syracuse University and retired from Syracuse University in 1995 as Professor and Director of Consumer Studies. A concern while at Syracuse University was her encounter with students who were behind in reading and writing. These issues made it harder for them to succeed on the college level.
Upon retiring she decided she wanted to do something about this, to even the playing field, and felt it was best to meet it head on in the beginning years of education. A plan was developed and, at the request of then principal Judy Brooks, Dr. Charters went in alone to work with students, not knowing if she would be accepted. The idea blossomed and soon Dr. Charters was being called upon by more and more teachers to include more students in the reading experience. It was in 2005 that Dr. Charters felt the personal need to go back to Syracuse University as a student and obtain a Master’s Degree in reading so she could better serve the students. The program continues to grow with over thirty volunteers currently serving the “strategic” students in grades one and two.
Her partnership with Park Central Presbyterian Church Community Reading Program at Dr. King Elementary School, Delta Sigma Theta, as well as other community organizations has provide volunteers from retirees, to university and community members. The volunteers are trained by Dr. Charters which is the model that was followed for the establishment of a volunteer reading program at Elmwood School for Bond, Schoeneck & King.
She is very quick to state that without the dedicated volunteers, there would not be a program. Her sincere appreciation also goes to the staff at Dr. King Elementary School who provide the flexibility for the program to exist.
The latest addition to Dr. King Elementary School is a lending library for the first and second grade students served by the program. Dr. Charter’s dream is to see the program replicated in every school in the Syracuse City School District.
Dr. Charter’s other honors include:
– Marjorie Dowdell Award: Delta Sigma Theta
– Certificate of Excellence: Parents for Public Schools
– Dr. Martin Luther King Unsung Hero Award: Syracuse University
You can find Dr. Charters at Dr. King Elementary School twice a week either reading in the library or helping students with their writing in the fifth grade. The fifth graders write and illustrate poetry, which is given as a gift to the first and second grade students.
For Dr. Margaret Charters, the question is not “What’s next?” but rather, “Where to next?”
Bond Schoeneck & King
Bond, Schoeneck & King is involved in many community relations activities that contribute to the betterment of this community. Bond
supports education and literacy and identified a partnership with Elmwood Elementary School through a reading program to be a win-win
opportunity for both parties. Through this program, over 40 attorneys and staff read weekly with students to foster a love of books, develop
inquisitive minds and to promote the value of mentoring. Their volunteers are also involved in book drives and the Corporate
Volunteer Council’s Dictionary Project, and they celebrate reading with the students at an end-of-year party. Bond has been proud to be a
literacy partner with Elmwood and their volunteer reading program for the past five years.
For school year 2011-2012, fourteen Bond attorneys are counseling parents or guardians of children in Syracuse City Schools every
Tuesday afternoon at Elmwood School on South Avenue on a rotating basis. This clinic is supervised by Heidi McCormick of Syracuse
University College of Law, Executive Director of the SAY YES to Education legal task force. Bond has participated with other Syracuse
law firms in staffing SAY YES legal clinics at Syracuse City Schools since 2009.
The staff and attorneys at Bond look forward to a continued and successful partnership with Elmwood Elementary in the years to come.
Educators of the Year Winners
The SCSD Educational Foundation, in cooperation with the Syracuse City School District, was proud to recognize these men and women who help to ensure educational excellence in Syracuse, New York.
Elementary Teacher: Carmela D’Agostino, Pre-K at Grant Middle School
Secondary Teacher: Rob Woolery, Science Teacher at Fowler High School
Support Staff: Tan Ngo, Teaching Assistant /ESL Department at Fowler High School
School Administrator: Kara Shore, Vice Principal at Delaware Academy