SOUTHERN OREGON,—The Oregon Department of Education says 80.6% of students graduated on time last school year. But despite a 2% drop, this is still the second-highest graduation rate since 2014, when the state changed how it reported the data. This is also the first time the graduation rate has dropped, since then.
“This year although it was a minor setback from last year’s record high it’s still the second-highest rate ever in the history of Oregon so there’s a lot of students celebrating, schools celebrating and we just want to continue this progress,” said ODE Spokesperson, Marc Siegel.
Locally, the graduation rate at Phoenix High School was even higher than predicted. Last fall, early numbers put the high school at a 93% graduation rate, but final numbers show 95.24%. The district says that’s the best four-year graduation rate, in the Rogue Valley.
“Amongst all the pandemic, the fire, the distractions it just really exciting to see the resiliency of kids and families,” said Phoenix-Talent Superintendent, Brent Barry.
The school also had a 90.41% for homeless students. That’s an increase of nearly 20% points, from the previous year. Statewide, the graduate rate for homeless students dropped to 55.4%
“Just problem solving I think we have some amazing creative minds to break down the barrier, and not letting things get in the way of success and trying to convince kids and families as well,” said Superintendent Barry.
Three Rivers School District has its own challenges, catering to students in rural Josephine County. The district says they had to get creative, making education easily accessible to students.
“We took wifi hot spots to remote areas of Josephine County to make sure students had access to education when we were forced into distance learning, and I think our graduation rates speak to that,” said Three Rivers Deputy Superintendent, Casey Alderson.
It says all three of its high schools scored higher than the state average. Illinois Valley High School’s class of 2021 had a 93.33% graduation rate. This is followed by Hidden Valley High School with 89% and North Valley High School with just over 87%. The district is happy with its numbers but says there’s always room for improvement.
“We want 100% graduation rates at all our schools across the district, across the county and we’re going to keep working to make that happen,” said Alderson.
The ODE says there still is work to be done for the other 20% of students who didn’t graduate on time. It says it continues to give every student the opportunities to learn, grow, and graduate.