Syracuse high schools seem to have right formula for graduation success, expert says

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SAY YES to Education Syracuse

A local education expert saw significant takeaways from the Syracuse City School District’s historic increase in graduation rates. The district recently revealed a 77% increase in graduation rates for high school students. Syracuse University’s professor of mathematics education Joanna Masingila, also a former dean at SU, said the school district’s focus on professional development and student problem solving is likely the right formula to lasting academic benefits.

“I think this kind of sustained effort than I’ve seen in mathematics and I’m sure that has been happening in other areas too. I mean, for example, the information about the graduation rate among English language learners, that was phenomenal that it rose nearly 20% from the previous year. So, that shows to me that there is a systematic and sustained effort in really providing support to teachers and professional development and with everybody working for student success.”

Masingila explains it's really a total team effort for the district to have this significant of an increase in grads. As a mathematics professor, she said statistics show higher graduation rates in cities like Syracuse have also proven to be a positive indicator of what’s to come for a city.

“The high school graduation rate is one of the indicators used in predicting the economic stability of cities or towns. To see the district continually improve, it just speaks well to the work that the district is doing, the families, the students but also for the potential and what it can be for the city of Syracuse.”

Masingila said the Say Yes to Education program also allows students in the city school district to see their peers graduate before them and - at the same time - causes them to think more about their own futures. She thinks it also demonstrates to students there will be affordable opportunities to attend college, if they perform well academically, and successfully graduate from high school.

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