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June 18, 2013

Most area schools beat N.Y. grad rate


The results were above the state average at Delaware Academy Central School, where the four-year graduation rate was 83.6 percent for the 2008 cohort of 73 students. It was 87.3 percent for the similar group in 2007.

“We haven’t dived into the data,” Superintendent Jason Thomson said about the decline in the latest results, but noted it was still above the state average.

The reason could be as simple as a change in enrollment, he said. Staff and administrators will be examining the data to see what improvements are needed to increase the rate.

“We always look for ways to do a good job,” Thomson said. In interpreting the numbers, it’s important to remember that students who achieve a GED diploma are considered dropouts in this data, he said.

For the 2008 group, that was 2.7 percent. But for students with a disability, getting that diploma “may be their Everest.” It’s a big accomplishment there has to be a better way to recognize, he said.

Students are responding well to local testing that is being developed around the new state curriculum. This should continue to translate into graduation rates that are above the state average, Thomson said.

The graduation rate at Oneonta City School District for the 2008 group, totaling 162 students, was 75.9 percent. For the 2007 cohort, it was 74.4 percent. High school Principal Nancy Osborn said the district has seen a steady improvement in the last few years.

It’s trying better ways to help students from economically disadvantaged families to graduate, she said. Only 39 percent of those who are on free and reduced lunch currently are doing that, she said.

Osborn said steps to help that group and others include a mentor program for incoming freshman. Seniors who have graduated and other guest speakers have also talked with students about the importance of getting their diploma. Other steps being taken include more academic intervention services, she said.

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