GESD graduation rates fall short

GLOVERSVILLE — The Gloversville Enlarged School District class of 2017 saw a 67 percent graduation rate for its June commencement.

High School Principal Richard DeMallie told the Board of Education on Wednesday that the goal was a three percent increase from the 65 percent in June 2016, failing just one percent short of the goal.

“That is 145 students out of the 217 in the cohort,” DeMallie said.

The district saw an influx of 11 seniors in January and lost three students around the same time.

“We had a 14 person swing not in our favor mid-year. We have about 10 students that we’re looking at for the senior summer seminar that basically just stopped attending. They just did not attend probably after January or February,” DeMallie said. “The combination of those things was a very big hurdle to overcome and not get 70 percent we were shooting for.”

DeMallie said the school implemented quarterly academies and tiered study halls to get students caught up. The science department also offered an incomplete for students who were showing effort that gave them a two week extension that saw them and their parents sign a contract to try and get them to complete their course work and get their necessary credits.

“I would say we had limited results. We are still working on trying to do some recovery efforts throughout the school year,” DeMallie said.

When asked by the board, DeMallie said the biggest factor in those who did not graduate was not coming to school.

“We can’t pull grades out of the air. They have to attend and do some work,” DeMallie said.

Associate Principal Dennis Bye said economics and participation in government courses are the ones with the most students enrolled in summer school.

“Those seem to be the toughest for the students,” Bye said.

Bye said for some students, their life circumstances played a large part in not graduating.

DeMallie said the goal for August is 72 percent. He said this would be 10 more students graduating. DeMallie said he will begin discussions about the 2018 graduation rate in August.

This summer, the high school will be offering the senior summer seminar again. The seminar allows seniors to get the credits they need and prepare for regents exams. The seminar can offer a more flexible schedule than regular summer school for students, whether they have jobs, child care issues or need multiple credits to pass.

Some teachers are using the outdoors as classrooms for the seminar, including one who will be using a hike to teach students to calculate gradients.

Interim Superintendent Robert DeLilli said this method of getting students engaged could help with those who don’t want to come into the building to learn. He said the hiking lesson includes a number of aspects of education including physical fitness, math and physics.

DeLilli said this idea could translate into regular school year education as well, stating there are a number of opportunities in Gloversville to get creative with education.

“It there is instruction going on then why not? That’s hands on that is real world experience, it sounds like it will be for the students benefit,” DeLilli said.

Bye said that even though there are currently 11 students in the “A” bucket who only need one course to graduate, the school is going to work hard to help them get their diplomas.

“The 11 won’t be a cake walk, but we’ll do it,” Bye said. “It may have to be driving up to Bleecker Mountain to get a kid because he doesn’t have any other transportation, but we’ll get it done.”

Kerry Minor can be reached at [email protected]

By Patricia Older

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