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The Rochester City School District cannot move the needle on its graduation rate.

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.

The district’s 2012 graduation rate may be even worse.

9 Responses to Not Moving the Needle

  1. June 11, 2012 at 7:57 pm Nicholas Livadas responds:

    Non union schools such as the Harlem Villeage Academies have the right idea: Hold teachers accountable, this attracts the best.

  2. June 11, 2012 at 9:15 pm Todd Scheske responds:

    so the good news is that 2011 was an average year. The bad news is that it isn’t improving.
    Is there a compliation of statewide rates to make comparisons and see where we stand overall?

  3. June 11, 2012 at 9:55 pm tony mittiga responds:

    why should anyone even care anymore? the grad rates are very bad, and then we hear that of those who do graduate, only 5% are ready to move on to work, or additional studies!
    That means that, for most, the diploma itself is of little value.

  4. June 12, 2012 at 7:25 am lynn e responds:

    As long as the poverty rate is so high in Rochester schools won’t flourish. Dismantling schools and having school laws based on punishment will continue to allow a deteriorating environment. The students are provided with a curriculum crested by corporations who have no interest in them and make money when they fail. The purpose of the current laws is the destruction of public education.

  5. June 12, 2012 at 11:12 am theodore kumlander responds:

    why doesn’t anyone ever hold the students accountable. I will tell you why because that is where the money comes from. each one of the students is worth hundreds of dollars to any school district.

  6. I am a retiree who knows how capable competent,and caring the teachers at RCSD are. The issue has nothing to do with money or resources. It has everything to do with parent responsibility and buy in. A little old fashioned morality of waiting to have children until you can support and nurture them, and be a good role model for them is what is needed. Clearly if parents are not sending their kindergarten children to school, there is a huge societal problem.

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  8. Pingback: What should a 21st Century school look like? A proposal for a public charter makerspace in Rochester, NY. | Fearlessly Flipping the Educational Paradigm

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