When the bell rings, the main hallways at Schenectady High fill with noisy students walking through the congestion.
Some of the students here are excelling — in the classroom, in sports and in the school’s prestigious arts program. But a substantial number are failing and dropping out, a continuing problem that has prompted the state to require the school district to dramatically change its educational approach.
The statistics are sobering. Only half of the students that started Schenectady High School in the fall of 2004 graduated four years later. One-fifth of the student body is absent on an average day. A total of 147 of last year’s freshmen are repeating the grade this year. On an annual basis, about 20 percent of freshmen fail, Superintendent Eric Ely said. “That’s way, way too high.”