WXXI AM News

Rochester high school graduation rates increase, but still lowest among Big 5 districts

Feb 7, 2018

Among the Big 5 districts in New York State, Rochester still comes in last in terms of high school graduation rates.

The State Education Department released graduation rates for the 2013 freshman class, and Rochester still falls behind the other Big 5 schools with a 51.9% graduation rate.

This number grew 4.2% from the previous year.

Across the state, Education Commissioner Mary Ellen Elia says the current rate for English language learners or ELLs has decreased to just over 26%

"So I would say that we have a mixed bag there, and we have to certainly focus on making sure that these students get the necessary program that will support them as they move towards their diploma."

In Rochester, 20.5% of English language learner’s graduated on time.

Elia says equity also continues to be a problem.

"We're concerned, and remain concerned over the achievement gaps we see between our black and Hispanic students and their white peers. So we have focused our attention and the regions attention on equity. We think that really is the agenda that is most important.”

This gap has narrowed in recent years, but still remains around 20 percentage points.

Overall, graduation rates across the state increased to 80.2%, up from 79.7% the previous year.

The Rochester City School District released a statement saying that it has achieved its highest graduation rate in more than a decade. Superintendent Barbara Deane-Williams said that, "These modest increases offer positive signs, but still too few of our children are crossing the stage. Rochester graduation rates have remained unacceptably low for entirely too long. Equity demands we continue to take appropriate action to provide our children the necessary resources to accelerate progress."