WROC-TV (Channel 8) reports on attempts to improve the graduation rate among Rochester city school student and a partnership with Rochester Institute of Technology designed to help more of these students achieve a college education.
It's a troubling statistic. Half of Rochester's high school students don't graduate on time. As for those that do...
"Many of the kids that are graduating our high schools are not ready for what comes after," said superintendent Jean-Claude Brizard.
Brizard admits the district isn't preparing its kids for college. Part of the problem is poverty. "Kids who are often sick and don't have access to health care tend to come to school distracted," said Brizard.
In response, the Rochester City School District is slowly changing it's curriculum. Next year, eight schools will be closed or phased out. They'll be replaced with college prep schools, like Northwest Prep and the Early College High School.
"When kids graduate that school in four years, they'll be finishing with 20 college credits," said Brizard.
While the city school district revamps its curriculum, local colleges are doing their part to ensure that their current and future students make the grade. "We probably average about 25 students from the Rochester City Schools as freshmen here every year. This year we'll have 40," said Bill Destler, RIT President.
RIT recently agreed to cover tuition for any admitted city school district graduate . Meantime, the University of Rochester is helping students affected by poverty through its HEOP program. The school receives nearly a half of million dollars of state aid to ensure students are prepared for college. The U of R said its money well spent.
"These are students who are technically the most at risk students given their financial situation and academic profile and they are graduating higher than the overall rate," said Norman Burnett at the U of R.
Meantime, Brizard says he's starting to see some success with students being better prepared for college. At Northeast and Northwest Preparatory High Schools, nearly all of the students graduating this year were admitted to at least one college.
Good news, but Brizard said it's too soon to celebrate. "Once you provide the access, you gotta make sure they are well prepared academically to succeed otherwise, it's meaningless," said Brizard.
Date Added: June 29th, 2010