RCSD Superintendent reacts to graduation rates

Posted at: 06/18/2013 11:40 PM | Updated at: 06/19/2013 12:12 AM
By: Lynette Adams | WHEC.com

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Rochester's City School Superintendent called them "painful" and "unacceptable."

You probably remember the New York State Education Department released the "on-time" graduation rates Monday for districts across New York State.

Through August of 2012, 48.6-percent of Rochester City School District seniors graduated on time.

Superintendent Doctor Bolgen Vargas sat down with parents Tuesday night as part of his "Coffee and Conversations" sessions.

News10NBC caught up with him afterward and asked him some questions about these graduation rates.

News10NBC's Lynette Adams said, “You talked a lot about the truancy problem and that's a big part of it. What are you doing to address that specifically?”

Bolgen Vargas, RCSD Superintendent said, “We cannot look the other way. You probably did the story (on) Tyjaun Rivera, the kid that shot a police officer in the middle of the day when he was 14 years-old. That child wasn't in school for two years. We want to make sure that story doesn't repeat itself in our community.”

Adams asked, “How?”

Vargas said, “How we're tracking our children by attendance, as you mentioned by calling families, by sending letters, we are knocking on doors. We're doing everything possible to solve this problem.”

Adams asked, “Does it concern you that people aren't outraged about this graduation rate, that more people aren't beating your door down, piling in this room saying we have to do more, we have to do more?”

Vargas said, “I think we have to realize, as you just mentioned it, you just said it so eloquently, more than I can, that this has been happening for awhile. To me, it's unacceptable and painful and I do believe we are going to get to a point where we have more people coming around and helping us with this problem.”

Vargas says there is something for everyone to do, the district, parents and the community.

Vargas said, “We need to make sure that all our children are in school everyday. We need to make sure our children are reading at an early age. We have to make sure that we provide the social and emotional support and the physical support that our students need.”

The district said Monday it is vowing to work with families and the community to improve those numbers and help students achieve success.

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