Columbia High School in East Greenbush had a special guest this week, New York State Education Commissioner John King.
King said, "The district has a team in approaching and ensuring that all students graduate ready for college and career. They're very focused on those students who are at risk at getting off track, helping those students get back on track."
The commissioner visited with the administration and talked about a school program which combines the importance of academics while focusing on family and personal issues.
Student Kathleen Kittell said, "We showed him the CAT program which is the alternative program here in our school and Operation Graduation for students who may be having problems graduating."
Since everyone is different, students also stressed the importance of student diversity.
Student Tammy Coffey said, "So we showed him on the students who really need more help individually, but also in our distant learning courses the students who really can excel and do better as individuals so they're given those new opportunities and resources to use in our school."
In addition to his visit to Columbia High School, the commissioner also talked about some familiar subjects in education, including one that President Obama is expected to focus on in the next four years - the competitive grant program known as Race to the Top.
King said, "Helping teachers thing about how the get students to read more challenging text, how to write more effectively with evidence, how to tackle multi-step math problems."
On another positive note, students who are showing promise in science and math are allowed to continue to rise above.
King said, "One of the things I saw today was a science research program where high school students here who are excelling in science have the opportunity to develop independent research projects advised by faculty members of higher education institutions.
Which you could say is above the grade
King said, "They're really doing top notch college level work while in high school, which is very impressive and very promising."
Another way of racing to the top.