Rochester, N.Y. – Only one-third of Rochester City School District’s 2,071 seniors are on track to graduate on time in June. This is the group of students who entered high school as freshman in 2008.
The district looked at how many Regents exams students have passed. They have to pass one English, math, U.S. history, Global Studies and science to graduate. This is the first year the state is requiring students to pass five Regents exams to get a diploma.
The district found:
• Thirty-three percent of seniors have passed the necessary five Regents tests.
• Twenty-one percent of seniors have passed three or four Regents exams.
• Twenty percent of seniors have passed one or two Regents exams.
• Twenty-one percent have passed no Regents exams.
The district’s June four-year graduation rate in 2010 was 46 percent.
Interim superintendent Bolgen Vargas is aiming for at least half of seniors to be on track to graduate come January. He is making students take January Regents exams to increase their odds of passing. Students have another chance in June.
“They need to study harder than ever, because the challenges now are greater than they used to be,” said Vargas.
Vargas says tutors are working with seniors. All of the high schools offer online classes. The district is evaluating the need for a central Saturday school. He is also pushing a statewide website that offers test preparation.
He is trying to impress on students and parents the importance of the Regent exams. There’s no option for a local diploma anymore.
“The community should know in June when we get the results, we shouldn’t be surprised,” Vargas said. “Because we know what’s going to happen if we don’t prepare our students.”