High school graduation rate rises in Queens

By Howard Koplowitz

Four of Queens' seven school districts had higher four-year high school graduation rates in 2007 than the city average of 52.2 percent, while the other three had fewer than half of its students receive diplomas, the state Department of Education said Monday.

District 26 in northeast Queens, regarded as the highest-performing school district in the city, had the best four-year graduation rate in Queens for 2007 at 73 percent, according to figures released the DOE.

The district was one of four in Queens to have graduation rates higher than the city average, which rose for the fifth consecutive year to 52.2 percent.

The others were District 25 (55 percent), which covers Flushing, Whitestone and College Point; District 28 (65 percent), which includes Jamaica, Richmond Hill and Forest Hills; and District 30 (54 percent), which covers Astoria, Long Island City and Elmhurst.

District 27 — which covers the Rockaways, Howard Beach, Ozone Park and Richmond Hill — recorded the lowest four-year graduation rate in 2007 with 44 percent. It was one of three Queens districts to have less than half of its students receive diplomas.

While District 27 had the lowest rate, it showed a 4 percent improvement over its rate — 40 percent — in 2005, the earliest year the state report gave for comparison. That marked the most improvement in Queens between those dates.

District 29 in southeast Queens, which includes Queens Village, Laurelton and Springfield Gardens, had a 45 percent graduation rate, while 49 percent of District 24 students in Ridgewood, Middle Village and Maspeth graduated in four years.

Six of the seven Queens districts improved their graduation rates from June 2005, while District 24 had no change.

The report marked the first time that separate statistics were included that reflected students who graduated after completing summer school, which gave a slight boost to the numbers.

Taking August graduations into account, District 26's rate rose to 78 percent, District 28 to 69 percent, District 25 to 59 percent, District 30 to 58 percent, District 24 to 55 percent, District 29 to 52 percent and District 27 to 45 percent.

The report also broke down the numbers by individual high schools.

Townsend Harris High School in Flushing was tops in Queens with a 99 percent four-year graduation rate in 2007.

Not far behind was the Queens High School of Science at York College, which had 96 percent of its students graduate.

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 173.

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