Oregon high school graduation rate reaches record high; 7 local high schools see rates higher than 90%

Oregon’s high school graduation rate reached 80% in 2018-19, the highest rate ever recorded in the state, according to a Department of Education report released Thursday. The four-year graduation rate is up 1.3% from last year and has increased eight percentage points over five years.

Locally, graduation rates were up and down district to district:

Bend-La Pine: 80.6% – down 1.3%
Redmond: 84.3% – up 1.4%
Sisters: 91.2% – up 1.4%
Crook County –  72.9% – down 5.25%
Jefferson County – 79.9% – up 5.8%

Seven local high schools saw graduation rates higher than 90% – Bend High (91.1%), Summit High (92.2%), Redmond Proficiency Academy (94.2%), Sisters High (91.2%), Madras High (92%), Culver High (91.8%) and Crook County High (94.7%).

Bend-La Pine Schools recorded its second highest graduation rate on record, 80.6 percent.

In addition, Bend-La Pine Schools saw graduation rates increase among many student groups including: Hispanic/Latino students, student with disabilities, students learning English in high school and underserved races/ethnicities, according to the district.

School highlights:

  • Bend Senior High School recorded its highest graduation rate in history (91.1 percent) and the grad rate among students of underserved races and ethnicities soared more than 5 percentage points.
  • Marshall High School recorded a graduation rate of 46.2 percent, up from 21.3 percent just four years ago. The school’s completer rate (which includes students earning GEDs, among others) also jumped to 63.4 percent, up from 30.9 percent four years ago.
  • Both Mountain View and Summit high schools recorded strong graduation rates among students with disabilities (81.8 percent for both schools, compared with 63 percent graduation rate for students with disabilities at the state level).

“We are proud to see our graduation rate holding steady at record levels for our high schools, knowing that we will not be fully satisfied until all of our students graduate ready for the future they choose,” said Superintendent Shay Mikalson. “We owe our success in large part to the numerous dedicated staff members who build positive relationships with our students.”

In Crook County, officials were pleased with the Crook County High School graduation rate of nearly 95%

“As long as I’ve been here, the graduation rate has never been as high as 94%,” said Crook County School District Curriculum and Special Programs Director Stacy Smith, noting that this is an increase from 92.44% for the CCHS class of 2018.

Of the 152 students in the CCHS class of 2019 cohort, 144 graduated.

Administrators believe relationships and a hard-working staff have contributed to the increased graduation rate that CCHS has achieved in recent years.

“We have good systems in place to make sure kids don’t fall through the cracks,” pointed out CCHS Assistant Principal Jake Huffman.

ODE also reported that CCHS students in the underserved races and ethnicities subgroup had a 96.15% graduation rate, which CCSD Director of School Improvement Joel Hoff said was very high.

There are some areas, however, that administrators say need improvement.

ODE reported the district graduation rate for the class of 2019 at 72.85%, down from 78% for the class of 2018. The district rate includes students who graduated from CCHS, Pioneer Alternative High School, Rimrock Adolescent Drug and Alcohol Treatment Facility, Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council and the online option FuelEd.

“We still have room to grow for those student populations, and our job isn’t done,” Smith said of the alternative education graduation rates. “We are working hard to improve the graduation rate of our community students from vulnerable student populations.”

Overall, administrators are pleased with the ODE graduation rate report.

“The five-year trajectory has been fantastic, and we’ll continue to make small refinements until all students graduate,” Hoff said.

Redmond School District officials said they were proud of the upward trend of student graduation rates with an increase of more than 14 percentage points since 2013-2014. The district also reported a steady increase in the district’s five year completer rate at 86.4% which includes graduates, plus students who earned a GED or other form of high school diploma.

The district also reports an increase in four year graduation rates in students of underserved populations such as students with disabilities, migrant students, homeless students, and english learners. 

“Redmond School District is proud of the work our schools and team members are doing to serve our families,” shared Mike McIntosh, Redmond School District Superintendent. “In an ever changing world we’re taking steps to adapt to the needs of our community, our students and the future workforce.”

The gap in Oregon high school graduation rates between historically underserved student groups and the state average is smaller than in previous years. The year-to-year increase in graduation rates was greater for every underserved student group than the increase in the state average, bringing underserved student groups closer to the statewide average than ever before.

“This year’s graduation rate increase means nearly 600 additional students earned a diploma,” ODE Director Colt Gill said. “We are seeing even faster growth for students of color, students with disabilities and students navigating poverty than the state as a whole. Student Success Act funding will build on this promising foundation to foster equity and excellence for all Oregon students.”

The table below shows how some student groups fared since the 2010-2011 cohort graduated in 2014:

Student group

Class of 2014[1]

Class of 2019[2]

Difference

All

72.0

80.0

8.0

Asian

85.9

92.3

6.4

Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander

68.8

77.6

8.8

American Indian/Alaska Native

53.5

67.7

14.2

Black/African American

60.2

70.4

10.2

Hispanic/Latino

64.9

76.2

11.3

English Learners in High School

51.7

60.2

8.5

Special Education

51.1

63.4

12.3

Gov. Kate Brown applauded the the rising numbers.

“Every student in Oregon deserves to graduate prepared for lifelong success and with a plan for their future,” said Governor Kate Brown. “Working together over the last five years, through a commitment to closing opportunity gaps for students in all our communities, we have made steady progress increasing the number of Oregon students completing high school. With the historic reinvestment in education made possible by the Student Success Act, our schools will be further empowered to engage and support Oregon’s students in reaching new levels of learning and achievement.”

Other highlights from the data:

  • Students who have successfully completed English Learner programs in Oregon graduate at a rate of 84.3 percent, higher than the statewide average. Speaking multiple languages improves education outcomes no matter which language a student learns first.
  • Students taking a Career and Technical Education (CTE) course graduated at a rate of 88.9 percent in four years and those enrolled in a CTE program of study had a 93.5 percent graduation rate in four years.
  • The graduation rate for students experiencing homelessness is up from 50.7 percent from the class of 2017, to 55.4 percent for the class of 2019. The class of 2017 was the first class for which this data was collected.
  • Students in the Migrant Education Program saw a 4.4 percentage point increase in graduation rates over last year to 79.4 percent, less than a percentage point below the statewide average.
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