ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- School districts across the state got their report cards Monday, as the New York State Education Department released 2015 graduation rates. While the Rochester City School District saw an increase in graduation rates overall, not everyone is clapping.
"We're never happy, we want all students to be successful, and we are working towards that," Dr. Christiana Otuwa, Deputy Superintendent for Teaching and Learning said. "We're not pleased with the numbers."
As of June, the four-year graduation rate was 46 percent. That's up 3 percent from 2014. By August, after summer school, the graduation rate rose to 50.9 percent, just barely down from 2014's 51 percent. The rates are well below the state average of 78 percent.
Though the uphill battle continues, district leaders said not all hope should be lost. They point to the 2015 five-year graduation rate as the highest it’s been in six years, at 58 percent. It's a 3.5 percent increase from 2014.
Rochester Teachers Association President Adam Urbanski said it could be even higher, but the district is not solely to blame.
"If parents and families' kids actually get to school, because you can't learn if you're not there," Urbanski said.
Urbanski said the fact of the matter is education is a two-way street.
"Kids spend 19 percent of their time in school and 81 percent someplace else," Urbanski said. "So, whatever happens before and after school has a huge impact."
Monday, district leaders highlighted they've begun providing social workers and counselors to support families. With a handful of other extra tools for success available to students, all are optimistic next year's report card will be even better.
"I want us to understand that the trajectory of success is happening," Otuwa said. "We aren't where we used to be."
The full report can be viewed on the NYSED’s website.