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Another increase in city’s graduation rate

WBFO News file photo by Eileen Buckley

The Buffalo Public School District has experienced another gain in its graduation rate.   The New York State Education Department issued new rates from across the state. 

State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia said students in the Big Five School Districts -- including Buffalo made gains in their rates..

“Buffalo went up 3.3-points,” stated Elia.

That increase means 64-percent of Buffalo Public school students graduated in 2016. That’s from 61-percent in the previous year.

Elia also noted that the dropout rate has remained “essentially flat”, but it remains “too high”.  There are also significant difference among various groups of students, particularly for English Language Learners.  They saw a 5.1-percent point increase in their dropout rate.

“Buffalo is the only big city school district to experience a decline in dropout rates among English Language Learners, which went down two percentage to 37.2 percent,” stated Elia.

This is the second straight year the district has experienced a gain.  Boosting Buffalo's graduation rate has been a major focus for the city district. The goal is to reach 70-percent by 2019. 

The Buffalo Public School District issued the following statement Friday night in response to the new graduation rates:

"The District’s 2016 growth in graduation rates can be largely attributed to the new culture and climate of the Buffalo Public Schools that the Buffalo Board of Education and the Superintendent have written into the New Education Bargain(NEB).  The innovation, adaptation, and heightened focus and supports that we continue to put into place for student successenables our dedicated principals and teachers to build student achievement toward graduation and post-secondary readiness.   


Beginning with rigorous elementary education we have smaller classrooms with increased staff and literacy coaches to advance early learning.  Our objective is to develop early “learning to read” so that later “reading to learn” will enhance academic success leading up to and through graduation.  Additionally, in order to cater to the learning needs of elementary students, we have made a commitment to offer Extended Learning Time Programs and Summer School options through a strong partnership with Say Yes Buffalo.


High school students are also seeing unprecedented support through the District’s Virtual Academies, with online credit accrual, and the promise of a college scholarship through our Say Yes partnership.  Our six New Innovative High Schools are another way of engaging and keeping students on a path to graduation, as our criteria schools and vast Career and Technical Education pathways have historically done.  Lafayette International, encompassing students from many countries with up to 70 languages, will help to transition students who have had interrupted formal education, or are entering school for the first time. 


The District will continue to implement the NEB.  We will continue to work strategically with parents, teachers, pastors, our consortium of higher education leaders, and business partners, to engage students and promote higher aspirations thatmake the District graduation rate of 70 percent in 2019 a foreseeable goal."


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