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St. Lawrence Central focusing on graduation rates

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BRASHER FALLS - It’s still early in the school year, but St. Lawrence Central School officials say they’re already tracking student progress to determine who will need help in meeting graduation requirements.

High school Principal Tracy A. Davison told board of education members this week that of the 94 seniors who are scheduled to graduate in June, 69 are on target for graduation. She said 15 students are at risk of not graduating at this point.

Ms. Davison said they’re being proactive not just for seniors who are at risk of not graduating, but also the 71 juniors, 67 sophomores and 91 freshmen, who they are also watching to ensure they stay on track.

Their goal, she said, is to catch students early so they can work with them on the necessary requirements for graduation.

Among their initiatives, according to Ms. Davison, is having guidance counselors working with the students and their parents to develop an academic improvement plan.

“We’re trying to build a relationship with parents to try and give them advice and resources,” she said.

The district also offers a credit recovery program for students who are lacking the necessary credits to graduate, Ms. Davison said, and teachers are available from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. to assist students with after-school work.

“We have several staff members who are serving as mentors,” she said.

Ms. Davison said some older students who aren’t faring well academically have lost their driving privileges until their grades improve.

She said at the freshmen level they’re trying to keep students interested in school by offering them opportunities to take part in career and technical programming at the St. Lewis-Lewis Board of Cooperative Educational Services. They had previously focused on sophomore students, but she said they wanted to bring it down a grade to develop the interest earlier.

Among the program’s offerings are Allied Health, Automotive Technology, Cosmetology, Culinary Arts and Early Childhood Education.

Superintendent Stephan J. Vigliotti Sr. said that when he took over as superintendent in July he met with Ms. Davison and asked her to work with the counselors to identify students in need of assistance early in the process and provide those students with individual education plans that would address their needs.

St. Lawrence Central was among a handful of local schools that had been identified by the state Education Department this year as a Local Assistance Plan School.

Schools are identified as LAPs either for failing to make adequate yearly progress for a subgroup for multiple years; having increasing gaps in performance between the subgroup and students not in the subgroup; or having a subgroup performance at or below a cut point.

St. Lawrence Central School was identified because of their graduation rates from 2010 to 2012.

According to the district’s 2011-12 report card, they had 70 graduates, 61 of whom received a Regents diploma. Four received an Individualized Education Program (IEP) diploma and five students dropped out.

Their 2012-2013 graduating class had 101 seniors cross the stage to receive their diplomas.

The designation requires them to go through a shared decision-making process to see where they currently stand and identify how they will address the graduation rate issue. That process is already on-going, according to Ms. Davison.

She said they had five areas of focus and had to rate themselves in each area before developing an action plan on how to address each of those categories. She said BOCES representatives worked with them as they split up into teams to come up with an action plan.

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