The graduation rate for the Rochester City School District inched up to 45.5 percent in June 2015 from 43.4 percent the year before, but the data released today by the New York State Education Department again shows that Rochester still lags behind the other Big Five school districts: New York City, Buffalo, Syracuse, and Yonkers.
The Rochester City School District's central office on West Broad Street
(The graduation rate increases to 50.9 percent when students who graduated in August are included. That's essentially the same as the 2014 number for August grads.)
The numbers are clearly frustrating for school officials, since they’ve been stuck in the mid 40’s — when you look at the June numbers — for several years. They say that you can see progress when you look at data beyond the graduation rates.
For instance, students who graduated in 2010 were required to only pass two Regents exams. But students have been required since 2014 to pass all five Regents exams to graduate, and they haven’t lost ground. But more important, officials say, is the district’s five-year graduation rate, which increased to 58 percent in 2015, a jump of over 3 percent from a year ago.
What’s most important is that more Rochester students graduate and not whether they graduate in June or August, or whether it takes four years or five, Deputy Superintendent Christiana Otuwa said in an interview today.
Also, the district's dropout rate declined from 28 percent in 2014 to 25 percent in 2015.
Still, Otuwa struggled with the multiple messages, ultimately saying that school officials are not satisfied with the numbers.
New York State’s overall graduation rate is 78.1 percent for 2015, a slight increase from a year ago.