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RCSD Sees Rise in Four-Year Graduation Rate

Staff reports

The four-year graduation rate for the Rochester City School District improved over the previous year, according to the New York state Education Department.

The August 2020 graduation rate was 68.2% for the group of students – or cohort – who entered ninth grade in 2016.

The Education Department released the data in mid-January.

The graduation number reflects a 5.2 percentage point increase from 2019. According to a statement from the district, the improvement shows the district is “continuing on the right trajectory to help more students graduate, even during a senior year complicated by learning in a remote learning environment while also dealing with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

According to the district, more than 80% of RCSD high schools showed increased graduation rates compared to August 2019. The district reported the following data:

  • 8.1 percentage point increase for English language learners, from 42.6% to 50.7%;
  • 7.1 percentage point increase for Black students, from 62.6% to 69.7%;
  • 5.8 percentage point increase for economically disadvantaged students, from 59.8% to 65.6%;
  • 4 percentage point increase for Hispanic students, from 62.6% to 66.6%;
  • 0.9 percentage point increase for students with disabilities, from 47.0% to 47.9%; and
  • 3.9 percentage point decrease in dropouts, from 16.8% to 12.9%.

“The data points us toward key information, highlighting areas that require attention and focus to better educate our scholars and ensure their programmatic needs are being met,” Superintendent Lesli Myers-Small, Ed.D, wrote in the news release announcing the graduation rate. “Increasing the graduation rate remains our focus, with a strategic plan that prioritizes the purposeful use of data to help improve academic success through student-centered learning while closing the achievement gap of our students with disabilities, economically disadvantaged students, and English language learners.”

The increase statewide from 2019 to 2020 was 1.4 percentage points. Rochester is among the Big 5 City School Districts in the state, along with New York City, Buffalo, Syracuse and Yonkers. All saw increases greater than the statewide growth. Buffalo had the highest increase at 11.6 percentage points.

Details on the statewide graduation rates, including racial and ethnic data, are at