As Oregon’s high school four-year cohort graduation rate continues a steady climb, the graduation rate for many historically underserved student groups is rising faster than the state average.
Gov. Kate Brown and the Oregon Department of Education have explicitly focused on narrowing the opportunity gap to improve graduation rates by working directly with stakeholders and school districts to develop success plans for historically underserved students.
The four-year graduation rate for students who began high school in the 2013-14 school year is 77 percent, 2 percentage points higher than last year’s rate.
The statewide average four-year graduation rate has increased 4.7 points over three years.
In the same period, the rate has increased by more than 7 percentage points for Hispanic/Latino students, Black/African American students, multiracial students, special education students, ever English learners and migrant students.
It is important to note that not all those who do not graduate in four years drop out of school. Many go on to a fifth year or earn GED credentials.
“We are encouraged by the work underway to make our schools welcoming and effective for all students, which has contributed to better performance for those who have been historically underserved,” said Acting Deputy Superintendent Colt Gill. “However, there is much more to be done to make sure all students have the tools and support necessary to reach graduation.”
The department will begin implementation this year of a comprehensive plan to address chronic absenteeism, backed by a $7.4 million investment by the 2017 Legislature.
The Department of Education will also expand access to career and technical education (CTE) and other hands-on learning experiences, put best practices in place system wide, and help districts implement counseling programs and early indicator and intervention systems.
“Hands-on learning awakens students to the power of their own potential, and connects classroom with career,” said Gov. Kate Brown. “That kind of engagement helps students cross the stage at graduation and equips them for next steps, whether that’s college or a job. I am dedicated to ensuring that students, communities and districts have what they need for all students to graduate with a plan for their future.”