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The Depew School District is celebrating a milestone: For the first time, more than 90 percent of students are graduating on time.

Superintendent Jeffrey Rabey this week reported to the Board of Education that the graduation rate at Depew High School hit 90.4 percent for the 2012-13 academic year. In June 2011, the rate stood at 77 percent.

“As I always tell our faculty, graduation is not a high school issue, but a K-12 mission and a school-community promise,” Rabey said. “As a district, with our world-class teachers and dedicated staff and administrators, we are moving toward achieving that promise.”

The news comes at a time when recently released state assessment scores seem lower than in past years, but Rabey said this was expected because it is the first year that the tests incorporated the tougher standards of the Common Core Curriculum.

According to engageNY.org, an initiative of the state Education Department, Common Core standards are guidelines that are aligned from grade to grade in order to link lessons from preschool to senior year. The aim is to better prepare students to enter college and the workforce.

During a presentation in June, Assistant Superintendent Susan Frey said that the new curriculum will require students to perform two years beyond their grade level.

Rabey said that this year’s math and English scores will serve as a baseline by which to measure future student and teacher performance. “The scores might be lower than before since this is truly a new beginning, so it won’t be fair to compare these scores to last year,” Rabey said. “The results on the New York tests do not reveal a failure to learn or a failure to teach.”

According to results released earlier this month, the majority of Depew’s third- through eighth-graders scored a 2 – or below standard level – in both math and English. Rabey stressed that this isn’t a reflection of the current teachings, but rather of the district completing its conversion to the Common Core curriculum. He’s confident that future test scores will show that the district is on track.