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Saturday, August 23, 2014

American Studies celebrates 100-percent graduation rate

By Maya Rajamani
Posted

One Bronx high school’s graduation rate soared past citywide statistics.  

Every student in the High School of American Studies at Lehman College’s class of 2013 graduated last June, according to data released by the Department of Education (DOE) last week. 

“Our smallness permits a sense of community in which young people thrive,” said American Studies principal Alessandro Weiss as he explained the school’s success. “It’s much harder to achieve in a large high school.”

At the Bronx High School of Science, 99.6 percent of the 2013 class received diplomas.

The two schools far surpassed the citywide graduation rate of 61.3 percent in the 2012-2013 school year — the highest since the city switched from using its traditional method of calculating rates to the New York State method, which tallies both June and August graduation rates, in 2005.

A bit more success

The 2013 citywide average increased slightly from 2012, when the four-year graduation rate for high school seniors was 60.4 percent.

While many schools in the northwest Bronx hovered around the citywide rate, a few schools dipped lower than the average. DeWitt Clinton High School had a graduation rate of 48.1 percent for its 2013 class. Meanwhile John F. Kennedy High School, which closes after this year, saw a mere 29.7 percent of its class of 273 students graduate by June, with 30.4 percent of those students dropping out. 

“We have a lot of work to do to ensure that all our students are graduating—and fully prepared with the skills they need to thrive personally, professionally and as lifelong learners,” said Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña in a statement.

Both American Studies and Bronx Science are specialized high schools; their students must take the Specialized High Schools Admission Test (SHSAT) in order to gain entry. 

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