Jumps 3 percent over previous year

Statistics released this month by the state Education Department show Beacon High School students graduating at a higher rate than average in nearly all major demographic groups.

Overall, the numbers, which were released on Jan. 16, show an 87 percent Beacon graduation rate for 2019, an increase of 3 percent over the previous year. The statistics are measured over four-year “cohorts,” which show, using last year as an example, how many students who entered the high school in 2015 had graduated by August 2019.

Statewide, 83 percent of the students in the 2015 cohort had graduated by August.

Beacon High School (File photo by J. Simms)

Beacon High School Principal Elisa Soto credited the school’s teachers.

“I quickly learned that our teachers care and want to connect and engage our students,” said Soto, who was hired by the district in June 2018. “They want to increase curiosity, and they do this by meeting as teams to discuss how to improve course material, which improves academic success and achievement. Each department has a chair that serves as an academic leader and mentor for teachers.”

Ninety-one percent of both black and white students in Beacon graduated in 2019 — significantly higher than the state average for black students, which was 75 percent, and about the same for white students, which was 90 percent.

Soto said the district has focused on creating “equitable” curriculum plans to address the needs of its diverse student body, which is 55 percent non-white.

In Beacon, 80 percent of Hispanic students, 82 percent of economically disadvantaged students, and 73 percent of students with disabilities graduated — all higher rates than the state average.

Although Beacon High School is split almost exactly between male and female students, it saw 92 percent of its female seniors graduate in 2019, compared to 83 percent for males. New York State showed a similar disparity, with 87 percent of females graduating versus 80 percent of male students.

Behind The Story

Type: News

News: Based on facts, either observed and verified directly by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Simms has covered Beacon for The Current since 2015. He studied journalism at Appalachian State University and has reported for newspapers in North Carolina and Maryland. Location: Beacon. Languages: English. Area of expertise: Beacon politics