Rochester City School District Superintendent Bolgen Vargas said 2014-15 graduation rates are projected to have risen slightly, to 45.5 percent, in a State of Our Schools address, Aug. 25, at Edison Tech High School.
According to Vargas, RCSD graduation rates were at 43.4 percent the prior year, in June of 2014. However, official numbers from the state education department have not yet been released for the latest school year.
The superintendent cited an increase in student instruction time; a focus on early learning for younger students; and increased support for classroom teachers as reasons for the upswing.
He also mentioned the district’s new East High Educational Partnership Organization, and said, hopefully, RCSD can learn from the new model.
Vargas also said the district’s rate of chronic absences in elementary schools declined by 18 percent during the last school year, and he would like to see the attendance rate reach 95 percent in the 2015-16 school year.
“We are not going to close the achievement gap unless we get our children to come to school each and every day,” he stated.
However, the superintendent said the only way the district will meet its goals is by working together, and collaborating with RSCD school board members, parents, and families in the district.
Vargas and school board members had a particularly contentious relationship during the last school year, in which the superintendent planned to file a lawsuit against the RCSD Board of Education, claiming breach of contract.
The board will decide whether to renew the superintendent’s contract at the end of the upcoming school year.
School starts for city students Sept. 2.