Half of the public high schools across the Buffalo region saw their graduation rates rise or remain steady with the Class of 2018.
That’s according to new data from the state Education Department, which showed 82.6 percent statewide graduated high school on time last year, including those who earned a diploma in August.
“New York’s graduation rate continues its steady, upward trend,” State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia said in a statement. “We would, of course, like to see the pace of improvement accelerated, especially in our gap-closing efforts.”
The commissioner noted that last year’s class totaled 210,602 students statewide – up 3,400 from the year prior. That’s the first increase in cohort size since 2005.
She pointed to signs of progress in narrowing the achievement gap although the problem is still troubling – not only in differences between the graduation rate of white students compared to their black and Hispanic peers, but also students learning English as a new language and those with disabilities.
And while the state has long used four-year graduation rates as a measuring stick for high schools, under a new federal policy the state Education Department will, for the first time, monitor more closely five- and six-year graduation rates as well.
“The data shows persistence pays off for those students willing to go the extra mile,” Elia said.
A few other items of note:
• Of the 65 public high schools that graduated students last year across the Buffalo Niagara region, all but 16 had graduation rates above the state average.
• Graduation rates ranged from as high as 99 percent at City Honors School to as low as 7 percent at Academy School 4, an alternative high school in Buffalo.
• Twenty schools saw their graduation rates improve from one year to the next. Those included Performing Arts, Wilson, South Park, West Seneca West and Depew.
• Thirty-two schools saw a decrease in their graduation rate from the prior year. Some of the larger declines were at Maryvale, Buffalo Academy of Science Charter School, Health Sciences Charter School, McKinley and West Seneca East, the data shows.
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