The State Education Department released 2011 graduation data. (It’s unfortunate it takes the state a year to release this information.) The data shows Rochester has the worst four-year high school completion rate of all of the state’s big cities.
The graduation rate is calculated by tracking all of the students who entered high school as freshmen four years earlier. The state released June and August rates. I tend to use the August rate, because it includes students who only needed to take a class or two in summer school to get their diplomas.
Here’s a look at the district’s four-year August graduation rate over time:
- 2008: 52 percent
- 2009: 46 percent
- 2010: 51 percent
- 2011: 49 percent
Here are some thoughts and highlights:
- Jean-Claude Brizard couldn’t make a dent. (No urban superintendent has the magic touch. Interim Superintendent Bolgen Vargas, in discussing the 2011 data, said students must come to school to learn.)
- The only schools with graduation rates above 60 percent were School of the Arts (90 percent), School Without Walls (66 percent), Edison’s Finance school (61 percent) and Wilson (61 percent).
- The worst graduation rate was at Monroe High School (33 percent). Charlotte High School (34 percent) was a close second.
- The gems of the school district, Northwest and Northeast, saw their grad rates plummet from the 70s to 53 and 60 percent respectively. The schools are very small, however, and results can be skewed if only a few students fall behind.
- East High’s graduation rate was 43 percent. What does that mean for popular principal Anibal Soler, credited with changing the culture of the school? No Child Left Behind mandates changes at schools with three years of graduation rates of less than 60 percent. That often includes removing the principal, which is what happened to Freddie Thomas’ Sandra Jordan. The state recently got a waiver from some NCLB requirements, so it’s possible Soler will get a reprieve.