NYS high school graduation rate continues upward trend; SCSD sees big jump

Local News

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — State high school graduation rates continue to rise, with an even bigger increase for the Syracuse City School District.

The State Education Department Thursday released graduation rates for the 2015 cohort, those students who first entered 9th grade in New York’s public schools in 2015.

The overall August graduation rate increased slightly to 83.4%, up 0.8 percentage points from 82.6% for the 2014 cohort a year ahead.

Graduation rates for all but one of the Big 5 City School Districts increased this year by more than the overall rate of growth statewide.

SCSD had a 2.0% increase for the 2015 cohort compared to 2014, with the graduation rate now at 64.5%. It translates to about 120 more students getting their high school diplomas.

The district was struggling with graduation rates below 50% just a decade ago.

Corcoran High School saw the greatest jump in their graduation rate among the individual high schools, increasing 8.4% to a four-year high of 71%. The Institute of Technology at Syracuse Central (ITC) once again led all district high schools with a 95.2% graduation rate, with 1 out of 5 of their graduates earning a Regents Diploma with advanced designation.

SCSD Superintendent Jaime Alicea tells NewsChannel 9, “We’re excited about the work that our teachers are doing, that our administrators are doing and that the parents and community are doing to support our kids. We have more kids staying in school, more kids graduating from high school, so we’re excited about the increase in the graduation rates.”

Alicea says the newer career and technical education in all the city’s high schools is helping getting kids engaged from ninth grade on.

He says they’re following these pathways right through to graduation, but adds there’s still plenty of work to do.

“We need to continue to increase the graduation rate for all of our kids in the city. 64.5% is good, but we still have more to work on to make sure we reach at least 90% graduation rate in the City of Syracuse,” he says.

Alicea says there are still students from the 2015 cohort in school on track to graduate this month and this June.

The district also saw an increase of over 6% from last year in the graduation rate among English Language Learners, while the district has closed the gap between the number of African American and white students graduating.

The number of English Language Learners and students with disabilities who dropped out of school after four years also saw a significant decline, dropping to 26.1% for English Language Learners (from 31.2%) and to 13.4% for students with disabilities (from 22.9%).

The 2015 cohort graduation rate for New York State is 7.3 percentage points higher than it was a decade earlier, when the 2006 cohort graduation rate was 76.1%.

Click here for graduation rates for districts statewide and other school data.

For more local news, follow Jeff Kulikowsky on Twitter @JeffNC9

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