images of parents with their children
Dear Parents,

This week, the New York State Education Department (NYSED) released high school graduation rates for the 2013 cohort, students who entered 9th grade in 2013. The overall graduation rate increased to 80.2 percent, up 0.5 percentage points from 79.7 percent for the 2012 cohort. The 2013 cohort graduation rate is more than 11 percentage points higher than it was a decade earlier, when the 2003 cohort graduation rate was 68.6 percent.

When August graduates are included, the 2013 cohort graduation rate increased to 82.1 percent, which exceeds the goal established for federal accountability in 2010 to have 80 percent of students graduate by August of their fourth year in high school. The state's graduation rate is on track to meet its first Every Student Succeeds Act plan long-term goal for a graduation rate of 83.9 percent in 2021-22. Despite this, significant achievement gaps exist.

This year's graduation rate improved for black and Hispanic students, for students with disabilities, and in four of the state's Big 5 city school districts. While the graduation rate declined slightly for current English language learners (ELLs), it improved again for former ELL students, or "Ever ELLs."

New York's graduation rate continues its steady, upward trend. We see incremental improvements across the State, holding onto last year's gains and slowly building upon them. And that's good news. At the same time, however, troubling gaps in achievement persist, and we must accelerate the pace of improvement. With its focus on equity, the State's newly approved ESSA plan will help drive the changes we need to ensure all children have the same opportunities for success.

You can find much more information in our news release on high school graduation rates . Individual school district data may be found on our interactive data website .

Watch the video below for my remarks on the June 2017 (2013 cohort) high school graduation rates.

New York State June 2017 Graduation Rates_ State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia

I want to congratulate the  155 high achieving and high progress schools that NYSED identified last week as Reward Schools. Reward Schools are schools with high academic achievement or those with the most progress in the state and do not have significant gaps in student achievement between subgroups. Each Reward School will receive a certificate of recognition.

It's truly impressive that so many of this year's Reward Schools were able to maintain the designation for three years in a row. All of these schools serve as models to others in the state to inspire them to achieve a high level of accomplishment and improvement.

In the spirit of providing a high-quality and equitable education for all of our students in New York State, Board of Regents Chancellor Rosa and I issued a statement this week applauding Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and the members of the New York State Assembly for their leadership in once again voting to pass the DREAM Act - legislation that will allow undocumented college students to participate in the state's Tuition Assistance Program. Dreamers, brought to America as children, want nothing more than to continue giving back and contributing as productive, hard-working, tax-paying members of our communities. A college education will help them do just that.

Finally, I'd like to encourage you to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Not only can you find information on our social media pages related to the items above, but we participate actively in many social media awareness campaigns that could be of interest or helpful to you. This month, some our campaigns include:
  • Take Your Family to School Week
    Next week (February 11-17) is the National PTA's Take Your Family to School Week, complete with daily themes to encourage family engagement. Find out if your child's school is planning an event and get involved! Throughout the week, we will share posts from schools across the state with details about their events.
  • Black History Month
    Today's students will write the next chapter of Black history. This month, we teamed up with The Education Trust-NY to highlight New York State My Brother's Keeper schools and gather inspiring quotes from their students. We asked the students what they want the future to look like. Follow the hashtag #MyHistoryMyFuture throughout the month to find out what they had to say.
  • Career and Technical Education Month
    Career and Technical Education Month, or CTE Month, celebrates the value of CTE. Throughout the month, NYSED will highlight the successes of the wonderful CTE programs across the state.
  • Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month
    The Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention website from the New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence provides helpful resources and information for parents, advocates, and schools to raise awareness and help prevent teen dating violence.
  • National Children's Dental Health Month
    During this campaign, dental professionals, healthcare providers, and educators promote the benefits of good oral health to children and their caregivers.
As always, thank you for reading and for your continued involvement in your children's education.


MaryEllen Elia