The graduation rate for the Pendleton School District increased by more than nine percentage points from the 2014-15 school year to the 2015-16 school year, according to rates released on January 26 by the Oregon Department of Education.
The district’s 2015-16 four-year cohort rate for all students was 83.93%, compared to the previous year’s rate of 74.52%. This rate is for all students at Pendleton High School, Hawthorne High School and Nixya’awii Community School. The district’s rate is significantly higher than the Oregon state graduation rate of 74.83%.
“This is the direction in which we are striving – to have more and more of our students graduate from high school in four years,” said Andy Kovach, district superintendent. “While we celebrate this accomplishment, we realize there is much more work to be done.”
Figures are based on a 4-year cohort graduation rate, which includes all students who entered high school for the first time in 2012-2013 and earned their regular or modified high school diplomas by the end of August 2016 – essentially students who earned their diplomas within four years of high school.
Hawthorne and Nixya’awii schools had significant gains in their individual rates, while Pendleton High School’s rate increased a bit:
Hawthorne High School 27.59% (2014-15 was 9.76%)
Nixya’awii Community School 88.24% (2014-15 was 56.25%)
Pendleton High School 91.38% (2014-15 was 90.45%)
There was good news regarding the graduation rate for Native American students – the district rate for this group increased from 55.56% to 78.05%. The rate for economically disadvantaged students also increased: from 63.57% to 75.66%, as did the rate for students with disabilities, which went from 50.00% to 72.97%.
The Pendleton School District said its work focusing on improved attendance contributed to higher graduation rates. “We have focused diligently on communicating to our students and parents the importance of attendance over the past few years. These improved graduations rates support and validate our efforts in seeing every student in the Pendleton School District earn a high school diploma,” said Matt Yoshioka, director of curriculum, instruction and assessment.
Another student population that has not been measured by ODE in the past, but has a positive graduation rates is that of students who have earned credits in Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses. In the Pendleton School District, CTE Participants had a graduation rate of 91.20%. A CTE Participant is any secondary student who has earned one half (.5) or more credits in any technical skill course part of an Oregon state-approved CTE program. For students who are CTE Concentrators, meaning any secondary student who has earned one (1) or more credits in technical skill-based courses as part of an Oregon state-approved CTE program, of which at least one-half (.5) credit must be designated as a required course, the district rate is even higher at 95.31%. The state graduation rate for CTE Participants is 87.4% and for CTE Concentrators is 91.8%.
According to Curt Thompson, the district’s CTE Coordinator, these figures support the CTE community’s long-held belief that students who may not be engaged in more traditional high school courses really find their niche in CTE courses and are more apt to graduate on time.
Debbie McBee, chair of the Pendleton School Board, said that improving graduation rates in Pendleton can be a community effort. “As a school board member, I strongly support any educational approaches that keep our youth in school learning and reaching the point of high school graduation. It's important to remember, however, that every member of our community can help improve graduation rates by encouraging our youth to go to school every day, to stay in school and keep trying even when it's difficult--life is difficult-- and to not give up on their education or their dreams for their own futures. Every young person needs adults helping them to succeed,” McBee said.
More detailed information on the district’s graduation rates and rates for all school districts in Oregon can be found at: http://www.oregon.gov/ode/reports-and-data/students/Pages/Cohort-Graduation-Rate.aspx.