Saying it has experienced an “upward climb for four years now,” the Lincoln County School District’s (LCSD) overall graduation rate rose by more than 4 percent to nearly 82 percent in 2017-18 — double that of the increase in the state average.
“We are showing improvement in graduation rates that pretty much correlate with the state percentages and population growth,” LCSD Superintendent Dr. Karen Gray said,
According to Oregon Department of Education data, LCSD students in a four-year cohort (those who started together as freshmen in the fall of 2014-15) saw their graduation rate rise from 77.5 to 81.99 percent, an increase of 4.24 percent.
Lincoln City’s Taft High 7-12’s graduation rate increased by 1.76 percent to just under 80 percent, lowest among Lincoln County high schools, and the only one that performed below the state’s average increase of 2.03 percent.
Lincoln City Career Tech was the only school to record a decrease in graduating students, tumbling 14.29 percent to 52.38.
LCSD four-year cohort rates:
Taft — 78.90 percent, increase of 1.76 percent
Toledo — 79.25 percent, increase of 7.25 percent
Newport — 83.83 percent, increase of 4.17 percent
Waldport — 93.88 percent, increase of 16.38 percent
Siletz Valley Early College Academy — 84.62 percent, increase of 3.67 percent
Eddyville Charter School — 100 percent, increase of 5.88 percent
Lincoln City Career Tech — 52.38 percent, decrease of 14.29 percent
“We attribute the rises in rates to a large focus of creating a caring school culture last year, along with other supports we’ve put in place district-wide such as graduation coaches, increased career and technical learning opportunities and implementation of AVID (advancement via individual determination) in all our schools.” Gray said.
Gray, who is in her first year as LCSD superintendent, said she sees room for growth in local student graduation.
“We need to improve support systems for our homeless students and our English Learners (those students who are not proficient in English during high school),” she said. “I want to make sure that all of our students are able to read, write, do math and have career or college choices upon graduation.”
LCSD dropout rates are at 2 percent, which means of 1,700 students in the 2014-15 four-year cohort, 34 did not graduate. The state average is 3.55 percent.
The LCSD said its largest number of dropouts are homeless and not proficient in English. LCSD identified 280 as homeless and 14 (5 percent) dropped out. Of the 58 identified as “English Learners,” four (6.9 percent) dropped out.
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown’s Comments:
First, while we’ve just invested nearly $100 million in early childhood education and made a double-digit increase in state support for public schools, this comes after decades of underinvestment.
Second, while stable and adequate resources are critical moving forward, so too is our serious commitment to closing persistent gaps in opportunity and achievement among students of color, those in poverty, and those in rural communities. My focus on early learning investments, especially in providing wraparound services and supports for children and families, will help close these gaps. So, too will our investments in high-quality teaching and learning for every child focused on supporting effective school leaders and teachers in our schools and classrooms.
Third, we also need to provide more students with multiple pathways of learning that engage and inspire them; keep them motivated and believing in their future; and prepare them for success in life and career. Every student ought to have access to a well-rounded curriculum with the opportunity to explore his or her academic interests.
As an example, we’ve just doubled our investment in career technical and STEM education, opportunities that still don’t exist for most students across the state. And if you are a student in a traditionally undeserved or rural community, there are far fewer opportunities for college-level coursework in high school. We are doing more to invest in expanding these accelerated learning opportunities.
Students who have the opportunity to engage in career technical education or get a taste of college in high school are far more likely to graduate from high school. And better yet, go on to complete college or have skills to pursue a career. This not only benefits our students and helping every Oregonian thrive, it is good for Oregon and our sustained economic development in our communities.
Lastly, we cannot forget about young people who become disconnected from our schools based on family or life circumstances. We are looking at how to tackle chronic absenteeism and we’ve expanded youth and community grants across the state to support underserved youth through innovative, community-based and culturally specific programs. This in tandem with providing expanded support for students who drop out to complete their high-school equivalency – what we’ve traditionally called the GED – we will provide more students the opportunity to complete high school and have greater opportunities to thrive.
This post will be updated