HWS Research Used for Geneva Schools – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
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HWS Research Used for Geneva Schools

An article in the Finger Lakes Times recently focused on Success for Geneva’s Children’s 12th annual leadership breakfast, at which the graduation rate of Geneva High School was discussed, as well as plans to improve it. The article also mentioned how data collected by HWS students played a key role in the City’s strategic planning for its four-year plan.

“Mayor Stu Einstein, Success’ executive director, went over this year’s data about Geneva’s children and their families. Hobart and William Smith Colleges’ students researched and compiled the data, using the community as their laboratory,” notes the article.

The data Einstein used was the result of research conducted by Christina Kinnevey ’09 and Emma Daley ’10, “The Success for Geneva’s Children Data Report,” with Project Adviser Wes Perkins, professor of sociology at the Colleges.

Community Based Research (CBR) projects entail a semester long commitment devoted to the exploration of a vital community issue. Students with exceptional initiative work collaboratively with a community partner and faculty sponsor. Responsibilities vary based upon the specific details within the proposal and will likely include independent research, weekly check-ins with community partner and faculty sponsor, and a concluding presentation or project. CBR projects can count towards a student’s major (see course requirements) or as Geneva Collaborative Internship (GCIP 401). More information about Service-learning and Community Based Research is online.

The complete text of the article from the Finger Lakes Times follows.

Finger Lakes Times
GHS graduation rates focus of leadership event

Amanda Folts • June 14, 2009

GENEVA – Graduation rates at the high school were a focus Friday at Success for Geneva’s Children’s 12th annual leadership breakfast.

The rate was down to 66 percent last year from 75 percent the year before. But high school Principal Bill Rotenberg said the rate is based on the original freshman class.

“There’s a million things that can happen in the course of the years,” he said.

Rotenberg gave a presentation called “Working toward a Success Story: Get That Diploma!”

He said the high school has a four-year plan, mapped out when students are in eighth grade. The school makes sure students meet state graduation requirements and tracks some “red flags,” including academic progress, social and personal crises and attendance.

The response to problems in those areas includes five-week report cards, contact with parents or guardians, conferences and attendance letters, Rotenberg said.

This year’s graduating class consists of 165 seniors, although Rotenberg said there may be fewer next week.

Some students take five years to graduate and some have to turn to a GED when their life circumstances change, he said.

The graduation rate doesn’t currently include students who take five years. If it did, Rotenberg said, Geneva’s graduation rate would have been 71 percent.
The state plans to begin counting five-year graduations, Rotenberg said.

“We know now that our continued success with those students is going to pay off,” he said.

The school’s efforts include looking at how poverty impacts students and abandoning the “wait to fail” approach to education.

“Let’s start to plan early,” Rotenberg said. “Let’s look for ways for these kids to be successful before they fail.”
Rotenberg brought with him one student from this year’s graduating class, Yadira Colon. Colon, who transferred to Geneva from Connecticut in her sophomore year, said she plans to pursue a degree in criminal justice from Keuka College.

In acclimating herself to her new school, Colon, who is originally from Puerto Rico, said she joined the chorus and worked with her English as a Second Language teacher.

Asked what advice she’d give struggling freshmen, Colon said she’d tell them what she tells herself.

“I’ll tell them that if they want to see a change in this world, I guess they should start with themselves,” she said.

Mayor Stu Einstein, Success’ executive director, went over this year’s data about Geneva’s children and their families. Hobart and William Smith Colleges’ students researched and compiled the data, using the community as their laboratory.

Einstein tried to pick out some of the key statistics collected for the presentation.

“That can be really difficult because every indicator that we track is important to somebody for some reason: That’s why it’s here,” he said.

Einstein asked for suggestions on topics to study next year.

“Our goal is to be responsive to the needs of the community,” Einstein said.

Success for Geneva’s Children aims to involve the community in an effort to improve the health and well being of its children and families.