Commencement diplomas

Tillamook High School diplomas at the 2019 graduation ceremony.

Following an 8-point leap from last year, graduation rate gains continued to grow for Tillamook School District, where the four-year graduation rate grew to 86.6 percent from 84.1 percent. At 82, 84, 88 and 87 percent, respectively, Clatsop, Columbia, Tillamook and Washington counties outperformed the state average.

The statewide graduation rate for the class of 2018-19 is 80 percent, up 1.3 percentage points over the previous year and the highest graduation rate ever recorded in Oregon, according to data released by the Oregon Department of Education (ODE). The four-year graduation rate has increased eight percentage points over five years.

The gap in 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 groupClass of 2014Class of 2019Difference
All72.080.08.0
Asian85.992.36.4
Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander68.877.68.8
American Indian/Alaska Native53.567.714.2
Black/African American60.270.410.2
Hispanic/Latino64.976.211.3
English Learners in High School51.760.28.5
Special Education51.163.412.3

“Every student in Oregon deserves to graduate prepared for lifelong success and with a plan for their future,” Gov. Kate Brown said. “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,” Brown said.

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.

At 80 percent, Oregon’s four-year graduation rate has never been higher. Even so, the school districts in the four counties making up the Northwest Regional Education Service District (ESD) collectively outperformed the state graduation rate in 2018-19 by 6 points.

“The educators in our region work so hard to support each student’s success,” said Dan Goldman, superintendent of Northwest Regional ESD. “It really is an exciting opportunity to celebrate their dedication and conviction.”

Goldman said by digging into these results a little deeper, it can be seen that the most significant growth is in schools that protect time for teachers to collaborate, those that regularly monitor student progress and adjust instruction accordingly, and in those that build culturally sustaining and welcoming school climates where children and families from all backgrounds feel they belong

High school success highlights from the four-county region include:

• The four-year graduation rate for Astoria School District jumped to 85.8 percent from 77.7 percent.

• Rainier School District helped an additional 8 percent of its students from the class of 2018 cross the finish line by the end of their fifth year.

Through the Northwest Regional ESD’s “9th Grade Success Professional Learning Network,” teams from 31 area high schools convene regularly to dig into research, share successful practices, and collaboratively solve challenges, ultimately multiplying positive student outcomes. Over the four years of the network’s existence, participating high schools have shown growth across nearly all student groups in the number of ninth graders on track to graduate.

“We’re particularly grateful for the many school district leaders and role models in our region who are unwavering in their commitment to disrupting racial inequities in our school systems and communities,” said Sarah Pope, deputy superintendent at Northwest Regional ESD.

Several districts across the region saw significant gains for specific student populations over the last 6 years:

• Beaverton School District saw an increase of 16 points in Latinx students graduating on time. Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander students in Beaverton increased to 79.4 percent from 52.4 percent in 2013-14.

• Astoria, Knappa and Warrenton-Hammond school districts all saw increases in excess of 27 points for economically disadvantaged students.

“Incoming investments made possible by the Oregon Legislature’s Student Success Act will provide unprecedented opportunities to achieve educational equity,” Goldman said. “Districts in the region are well-positioned to capitalize on the progress they’re making in accelerating important outcomes, especially for students of color and those from historically marginalized backgrounds.”

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