WATERTOWN — About two-thirds of the schools across Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties bested statewide graduate rates this past year, with one district graduating all of its students.

Statewide, 207,826 high school students made up the 2015 cohort — students that entered ninth grade in 2015 and were seniors in 2019. Of those students, 83.4 percent graduated last year, up 0.8 percentage points from the 82.6 percent of the 2014 cohort.

In St. Lawrence County, five schools exceeded the state graduation rate of 83.4 percent for the cohort class of 2015 and five fell short.

At Lisbon Central School, 100 percent of the 38 students in the cohort class graduated on time last year, with 13 of them obtaining advanced regents designations.

This was the only school in the tri-county area with a perfect graduation rate for 2019.

From superintendent to janitorial staff, it’s clear not only that students at Lisbon Central know everyone is there rooting for them, but that knowledge makes a difference.

“If somebody believes in a kid, they’re going to excel,” Patrick Farrand, superintendent of Lisbon Central, said. “What we try to do here is make sure we have a connection, and we use that goal to make sure we have an understanding of what the students need and what they’re looking for.”

Massena Central School fell just shy of the state average with 83 percent of the 199 eligible students graduating in 2019.

Other schools that fell under the state average were Edwards-Knox at 78 percent, Gouverneur with 79 percent, Morristown with 77 percent and Ogdensburg at 80 percent.

In addition to Lisbon, St. Lawrence County schools that surpassed the state graduation rate include Hermon-DeKalb with 84 percent, Canton at 92 percent, Potsdam with 86 percent and St. Lawrence at 90 percent.

In Massena, 57 students graduated with advanced Regents designations and 99 with Regents diplomas. Nine students received local diplomas, five received non-diploma credits, eight were still enrolled and 19 dropped out.

At Edwards-Knox, 12 students graduated with advanced Regents designations and 15 received Regents diplomas. One student received a local diploma, two received non-diploma credit, two were still enrolled and four dropped out before graduation.

Gouverneur had 23 students graduate with advanced Regents designation and 52 receive Regents diplomas. Eight students received local diplomas, three received non-diploma credits, seven were still enrolled and 12 dropped out. At Hermon-DeKalb, six students received advanced Regents designations and eight received Regents diplomas. Two students received local diplomas and two dropped out before graduation.

Lisbon Central had 13 students graduate with advanced Regents designations and 24 with Regents diplomas.

“We pay attention to what each student needs and we are making sure to be aware of what coursework fits each student best in what they want to do later on,” Mr. Farrand said. “We also look to provide programming that students can connect to personally.”

In Morristown, eight students received advanced Regents designations and eight received Regents diplomas. One student received a local diploma, one was still enrolled and four dropped out.

Ogdensburg had 45 students graduate with advanced Regents designations and 53 with Regents diplomas. Seven students received local diplomas, three received non-diploma credits, five were still enrolled and 16 dropped out before graduation.

In Canton, 52 students graduated with advanced Regents designations and 35 with Regents diplomas. One student received a local diploma, five received non-diploma credits and one was still enrolled.

Potsdam had 41 students graduate with advanced Regents designations and 36 with Regents diplomas. Six students received local diplomas, three received non-diploma credits, five were still enrolled and five dropped out before graduation.

In St. Lawrence, 32 students graduated with advanced Regents designations and 46 received Regents diplomas. Eight students received local diplomas, four received non-diploma credits and four dropped out.

According to Mr. Farrand, class sizes range from in the 30s to the 60s at Lisbon Central, which factors into the ability to provide for and connect with each student, but even in a class of 60-plus students, he is confident the staff at the school will do its best for each one.

“We have a great community here and great kids; I like to say we have no bad kids at Lisbon Central,” he said. “Students know there’s not necessarily an exit option — no one is going to fall through the cracks.”

In Lewis County, most schools exceeded the state graduation rate of 83.4 percent for the cohort class of 2015, with just one falling short.

Lewis County’s highest graduation rate was a tie between Copenhagen and Harrisville at 97 percent, followed by Beaver River at 93 percent.

The only school in Lewis County below the state’s graduation rate was South Lewis with 80 percent.

At Beaver River, 36 students graduated with an advanced Regents diploma and 34 graduated with a Regents diploma. One student graduated with a local diploma and two received non-diploma credit. One student was still enrolled at the school and two dropped out before the 2019 graduation.

In Copenhagen, 13 students graduated with an advanced Regents designation and 16 graduated with a Regents diploma. Two students received local diplomas and one student was still enrolled.

Harrisville had 13 students graduate with advanced Regents designations and 19 with Regents diplomas. Five students received local diplomas and one received non-diploma credit.

In Lowville, 63 students received advanced Regents designations and 30 graduated with Regents diplomas. Two students received non-diploma credit, three were still enrolled and three dropped out before graduation.

Twenty-four students at South Lewis graduated with advanced Regents designations and 23 with Regents diplomas. Five students received local diplomas, five received non-diploma credit, three were still enrolled and five dropped out before graduation.

In Jefferson County, eight schools surpassed the state’s graduation rate of 83.4 percent for the cohort class of 2015, while three did not make the cut.

Watertown came in with the lowest graduation rate not only in Jefferson County, but also in the tri-county area, with 73 percent of the students receiving diplomas.

“Historically our district, since Common Core has come around, has hovered around a 67 to 74 percent graduation rate,” Stacey Eger, Watertown’s assistant superintendent for instruction, said. “We’re slowly on an upward trend and we’re trying to make sure the programs we offer are meaningful and conducive to achieving success.”

The school’s strategic plan for the next few years includes offering diversified courses to allow for lots of different pathways to success. The plan also entails looking at the best way to deliver programs with a district of Watertown’s size and looking at why the graduation rate is what it is.

Other schools that fell short of the 83.4 percent were Belleville Henderson at 81 percent and South Jefferson with 83 percent.

The highest graduation rate in Jefferson County went to Alexandria with 98 percent of its 50 students graduating.

Other schools that passed the state rate are Carthage at 90 percent, General Brown with 93 percent, Indian River at 95 percent, LaFargeville with 89 percent, Lyme at 90 percent, Sackets Harbor with 91 percent and Thousand Islands at 92 percent.

In Alexandria, 17 students graduated with advanced Regents designations and 31 received Regents diplomas. One student received a local diploma and one student was still enrolled at the school.

Belleville Henderson had 13 students graduate with advanced Regents designations and six with Regents diplomas. Two students received local diplomas, one received non-diploma credit, one was still enrolled and three dropped out before graduation. In Carthage, 78 students graduated with advanced Regents designations and 86 with Regents diplomas. Twenty-four received local diplomas, four received non-diploma credits, eight were still enrolled and nine dropped out before graduation.

General Brown had 47 students graduate with advanced Regents designations and 49 with Regents diplomas. Three received local diplomas, one received non-diploma credit, three were still enrolled and four dropped out before graduation.

At Indian River, 55 students graduated with advanced Regents designations and 110 with Regents diplomas. Six students received local diplomas, one received non-diploma credit, three were still enrolled and five dropped out before graduation.

In LaFargeville, 15 students graduated with advanced Regents designations and 26 with Regents diplomas. Two students received non-diploma credits, one was still enrolled at the school and two dropped out before graduation.

Lyme had seven students graduate with advanced Regents designations and 16 with Regents diplomas. Three students received local diplomas, two were still enrolled and one dropped out before graduation.

In Sackets Harbor, 12 students graduated with advanced Regents designations and 14 with Regents diplomas. Four students received local diplomas, two were still enrolled and one dropped out before graduation.

South Jefferson had 63 students graduate with advanced Regents designations and 49 with Regents diplomas. Nine students received local diplomas, three received non-diploma credits, seven were still enrolled and 15 dropped out before graduation.

At Thousand Islands, 21 students graduated with advanced Regents designations and 41 received Regents diplomas. Four students received local diplomas, one received non-diploma credit, two were still enrolled and one dropped out before graduation.

In Watertown, 86 students graduated with advanced Regents designations and 92 received Regents diplomas. Ten students received local diplomas, seven received non-diploma credits, 19 were still enrolled and 40 dropped out before graduation.

“Right now, three out of 10 students don’t graduate, that’s not where we want to be,” Mrs. Eger said. “This isn’t a (grade) 9 to 12 issue; it’s a pre-K to 12 issue.”

According to Mrs. Eger, this year the school added full-time counselors in all buildings and additional case workers to address the needs of students who, for various reasons, may not feel comfortable in a school environment. The school is now focusing on helping students transition into the school day in an effort to make them feel comfortable in school settings.

“We’re trying to do the best job we can every day for every student,” Mrs. Eger said.

NUMBER BOXES:

St. Lawrence County:

School Total Graduated Still Enrolled Dropouts

Lisbon 37 37 0 0

Massena 199 165 8 19

Edwards-Knox 36 28 2 4

Gouverneur 105 83 7 12

Hermon-DeKalb 19 16 0 2

Morristown 22 17 1 4

Ogdensburg 131 105 5 16

Canton 96 88 1 0

Potsdam 96 83 5 5

St. Lawrence 96 86 2 4

Jefferson County:

School Total Graduated Still Enrolled Dropouts

Alexandria 50 49 1 0

Belleville Henderson 26 21 1 3

Carthage 209 188 8 9

General Brown 107 99 3 4

Indian River 180 171 3 5

La Fargeville 46 41 1 2

Lyme 29 26 2 1

Sackets Harbor 33 30 2 1

South Jefferson 146 121 7 15

Thousand Islands 72 66 2 1

Watertown 259 188 19 40

Lewis County:

School Total Graduated Still Enrolled Dropouts

Beaver River 76 71 1 2

Copenhagen 32 31 1 0

Harrisville 38 37 0 0

Lowville 101 93 3 3

South Lewis 65 52 3 5

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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(1) comment

hoyaman

Watertown has a total lack of leadership and that makes a tough situation worse. Anyone know what the ramifications of the “slave auction” were or how about when bullets were found at school. LaBarr is a waste of space and obviously over her head. Add her to a do nothing over matched school board and you have the worst school in the tri county area.

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