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Syracuse City School District Graduation Rate Continues to Rise, Reaching New Historic High

According to new data just released by the New York State Department of Education, the Syracuse City School District saw an increase in its graduation rate for the third straight year, reaching a new historic high.
Among the 2017 cohort of Syracuse City School District students, 77.2% earned a high school diploma after four years – compared to 70.7% of students in the 2016 cohort and 64.5% of students in the 2015 cohort. For the second consecutive year, the District also saw an improvement in the graduation rates of English Language Learners (rising from 58.1% for the 2016 cohort to 69.2% for the 2017 cohort) and students with disabilities (rising from 49.5% for the 2016 cohort to 63.7% for the 2017 cohort).Students of color also graduated at a higher rate, with the graduation rate of Black students rising from 71% for the 2016 cohort to 80% for the 2017 cohort. 
“Despite the challenges of learning during a pandemic, Syracuse City School District students have continued to persevere,” Superintendent Jaime Alicea shared. “Their hard work and dedication have paid off, and I am so proud that their efforts and those of our staff and families are reflected in this latest data from the Department of Education. We will continue to strive for improvement so that all of our students have the skills and supports needed to help them earn a high school diploma.”
The dropout rate for both English language learners and students with disabilities also significantly dropped among the 2017 cohort. While 2016 cohort graduation data showed great success in Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs with more than 94% of students enrolled in CTE programs earning a diploma in four years, 2017 cohort data showed that 99% of CTE students completed the requirements for graduation and earned a diploma.
In an effort to help support students through the pandemic, the District implemented several changes, including implementing semesters in the schedule, allowing students to focus on fewer classes at a time while allowing for a higher number of total credits to be earned. High school students were offered a summer opportunity for credit recovery, as well as the option of attending an on-campus summer program at Onondaga Community College.
Students were also provided with Student Ownership and Reflection (SOAR) weeks each semester, in lieu of Regents exams. These SOAR weeks provided flexible opportunities for students to catch up on assignments, complete projects and focus on their learning.
Other changes to support student achievement included utilizing virtual science labs and at-home kits for students; streamlined digital content which focused on fewer learning platforms and programs to provide instruction and support; and a hybrid schedule which allowed students to engage at nontraditional times such as evenings and weekends.
Anthony Q. Davis, Superintendent
725 Harrison Street
Syracuse, NY 13210
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