Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

Local News

June 30, 2013

Graduation gains

Local districts surpass state average

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Local schools have graduation rates higher than the rest of the state, according to figures released by the state education department.

The department reported that 74 percent of all students across the state who entered high school in 2008 graduated with a Regents or local diploma in June 2012. That was relatively the same from the previous year’s graduation rate.

That was in spite of increased rigor in graduation requirements, state education officials said. But there is still work to be done, New York State Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl H. Tisch said.

The state is trying to implement the Common Core standards, which officials claim will improve the number of students who are ready for college or the workforce. The ninth graders who enter high school in September 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.

“Despite all the naysayers, raising standards was the right thing to do. Our teachers and students rose to the challenge. Now it’s time to rise to the next challenge,” Tisch said. “The rates may be stable even with the increased rigor, but stable doesn’t equal success. This is an on-going tragedy. Tens of thousands of students are still leaving high school with no diploma and fewer options for the future.”

Locally, each of the six public high schools in Eastern Niagara County surpassed the state average with its 2012 graduation rate. Lockport High School saw 83.4 percent of its 422 students who entered the school in the fall of 2008, which the state calls the cohort of 2008, graduate in June 2012. About 39.1 percent earned an advanced Regents diploma.

Only 2.6 percent dropped out, which has been an area targeted for improvement by the district in recent years. Principal Frank Movalli said in order to catch the dropouts, a philosophical change had to take place.

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