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Graduation rates at all St. Lawrence County schools above state average

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CANTON - New York State Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl H. Tisch and New York State Education Commissioner John B. King, Jr. today released high school graduation rates for the 2008 cohort - students who entered 9th grade in 2008, and those statistics showed that all high schools in St. Lawrence County had graduation rates higher than the state average.

Overall statewide graduation rates remained stable at 74 percent despite increased rigor required for graduation phased-in over the past four years. The graduates of 2012 were the first cohort for which a local diploma was not available for general education students

Eight St. Lawrence County schoiols reported that 90 percent or more of the freshmen who entered high school in 2008 had earned their degrees by August 2013. Heuvelton, who had 93 percent of its 43 students graduate on time, set the pace. They were followed by Potsdam, Parishville-Hopkinton and Clifton-Fine at 92 percent, Hermon-Dekalb and Lisbon at 91 percent and St. Lawrence Central and Norwood-Norfolk at 90 percent.

Three schools - Massena, 76.5 percent; Edwards-Knox, 77 percent; and Hammond, 79 percent - had graduation rates closest to the statewide average. Massena reported that 11 percent of its 217 students in the 2008 cohort had dropped out of school before August 2013. Other schools reporting double digit dropout rates were Edwards-Knox, 11.8 percent of the 34 students in the 2008 cohort, and Ogdensburg Free Academy, 11.7 percent, 128 students in the 2008 cohort.

The graduation rates for the other schools in the county were Canton, 86 percent; Colton-Pierrepont, 86 percent; Gouverneur, 84 percent; Madrid-Waddington, 85 percent; and Ogdensburg Free Academy, 80.5 percent.

Tisch noted that the Board of Regents recognizes there is still more work to do to ensure every student in the state graduates ready for college and careers. She said the Common Core standards, implemented in kindergarten through eighth grade in 2012-13, will begin to be phased-in for high school in 2013-14, when the Algebra Regents will be aligned with the Common Core. The ninth graders who enter high school in September 2013 will be the first cohort required to receive Common Core instruction throughout high school and the first required to take Regents exams that reflect the Common Core.

“We’re just finishing the first full year of implementation of the Regents’ reforms,” King said. “The graduation rates, the achievement gaps, and the painfully low rate of college and career readiness statewide are just more evidence of the need to act decisively to fully implement those reforms. In Rochester, Buffalo and Syracuse, less than 10 percent of the students graduate ready for the challenges of college or today’s high skilled jobs. Those are more than just numbers; those numbers represent thousands of students whose futures are diminished. We have to keep pushing forward with the Regents’ reforms and the shift to the Common Core standards. Our state has some of the highest performing districts and schools in the country, but far too many children in New York are being denied the educational opportunity they need and deserve.”

Tisch noted that the Regents are exploring a Career and Technical Education (CTE) graduation pathway to engage students with rigorous courses that meet the Common Core standards while developing skills needed to succeed in careers after high school.

The statewide graduation rate for the cohort of students entering high school in 2008 remained at 74 percent, the same rate as the 2007 cohort. Graduation rates for four of the Big 5 school districts remained relatively stable; however, Buffalo’s graduation rate dropped by more than seven percentage points. The graduation rates for the Big 5 are: New York City 60.9 percent in 2011; 60.4 percent in 2012; Buffalo – 54%, 46.8%; Rochester – 45.5%, 43.4%; Syracuse – 48.4%, 48%; Yonkers – 66.2%, 66%.

A full report of the data is available at this web address: http://www.p12.nysed.gov/irs/pressRelease/20130617/home.html.

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