MSD touts online and CTE programs for record graduation rates in 2022

MEDFORD, Ore. – New numbers released from the Oregon Department of Education shows graduation rates at the Medford School District are up.

“The Medford School District now has the highest graduate rate in its history,” MSD superintendent Dr. Bret Champion said.

The district saw 87.2% of students graduate in 2022, up 5% from 2021.

Dr. Champion said there are multiple reasons why more students are graduating.

“There is no magic sauce,” he said. “It was all about our individual adults appealing themselves and looking at individual student needs and meeting those needs in a variety of ways.”

One of those is the ‘Medford Online Academy’, which started three years ago during the pandemic.

Currently, there are around 450 students enrolled in the free program.

Its principal, Wendy Ross, said the flexibility to have classes online when a student has a job or is an another program creates a quicker way to gain credits for graduation.

“It’s important in the school district to have these amazing options for students that didn’t exist in the past,” she said. “That now they have pathways that are now open to them and interests that are open to them.”

The district’s ‘Career and Technical Education Pathway’ program has played a key role in improving grad numbers as well, according to Dr. Champion.

That program focuses on hands-on learning.

Allowing students the option to take dual credits for college too.

At North Medford High School for example, the astronomy program features a planetarium, there’s a full sized woodwork shop and a welding class that produces items used at the school.

All to help kids learn to love learning.

“Students that engaged in those CTE classes are graduating at over 90%, I believe its 93%, and the reason makes perfect sense,” Dr. Champion said. “Because they’re engaged in work they’re interested in and they want to apply moving forward.”

Of the 10 largest school districts in the state, MSD had the third highest graduation rate.

Dr. Champion said it’s hoping to meet the districts goal of 100 percent, one day.

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NBC5 News reporter Zachary Larsen grew up in Surprise, Arizona. He graduated from Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism. At ASU, Zack interned at Arizona Sports 98.7FM and Softball America. During his Junior year, Zack joined the ASU Sports Bureau. He covered the Fiesta Bowl, the Phoenix Open and major basketball tournaments. Zack enjoys working out, creative writing, music, and rooting for his ASU Sun Devils.
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