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88 percent of Potsdam’s 2007 freshmen graduated in four years

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POTSDAM - With a four-year graduation rate of 88 percent for students who entered the ninth grade in 2007, the Potsdam Central School District finds itself near the top of the 33-school north country region.

Potsdam had the fifth highest graduation rate after four years in a region that includes schools from St. Lawrence, Lewis and Jefferson counties.

While the district was ranked fifth in the region, Superintendent Patrick H. Brady said numbers for the 2007 cohort were down from the 2006 group, which had an impressive 95 percent graduation rate.

“Our overall graduation rate did go down, but we’re still well above the state average,” Mr. Brady said, noting the state average was 76 percent.

While Potsdam’s numbers are impressive, high school Principal Joann M. Chambers said she’s not satisfied.

“A 100 percent graduation is my aspiration and goal,” she said. “We should be looking at zero dropouts.”

Of the 125 students enrolled as ninth graders in 2007, four ere listed as dropouts.

“These are students to me and people with names,” Mrs. Chambers said, adding she personally tries to keep track of each student entering the halls of Potsdam High School.

That task though is easier said than done, due to students moving away and transferring to other districts.

“I’ve never been able to completely reconcile my list with that report,” she said.

That being said, based on what she knows about this year’s graduating class, she’s expecting next year’s report, which will detail the 2008 freshmen class, to be an improvement over the class of 2011.

“The 2008 cohort looks better than this one,” she said.

The report also details what percentage of students have earned Advanced Regents Diplomas and with a rate of 59 percent the district is ranked first in the region in that category.

Board of education member Frederick C. Stone Jr. congratulated Mrs. Chambers on the report.

“Congratulations on a great performance,” he said.

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