District Responds to Graduation Rates Released by Oregon
Department of Education
La Grande, Ore — On Thursday, January 26th, the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) released graduation rates for school districts in Oregon. Helping all students secure a diploma or certificate has long been a goal of the state – the Class of 2022 is no exception. Today, ODE was proud to announce that the state graduation rate continued to improve to 81.3% and has improved 9.9% since 2014 for all students and up to 15% for identified focal group populations.
La Grande School District’s graduation rate for 21-22 is 68.94%, a decrease from the 20-21 rate of 85.99%. Superintendent George Mendoza said that while the rate for the Class of 2022 is lower, the district looks at more than the four-year cohort rate (students who earn their diploma in four years).
The district’s four-year cohort completer rate, which includes students who earn a diploma type (Oregon regular and modified diplomas, extended diplomas, or Adult High School diplomas) as well as students who earn a General Equivalency Degree (GED), is 74.53%. Over the last five years, La Grande School District has regularly had a higher five-year average graduation rate than the state rate, with a five-year average graduation rate of 84.42% and a 91% completion rate (including extended diplomas and GED certificates). Mendoza said, “In 2021 we celebrated a remarkable accomplishment of all major student focal groups achieving graduation rates at or above 85%. Through the pandemic, La Grande High School staff continued to work hard to support students and families towards graduation and completion.”
Superintendent Mendoza said that the pandemic years did affect student learning and achievement, but students and staff showed tremendous resilience and grit as they navigated unbelievable global events and changing economics that pushed some into the world of work earlier than previous classes. “We celebrate the Class of 2022 and all they accomplished, having completed much of high school during a global pandemic,” Mendoza said.
Mendoza said LGSD administration, school board, and staff knew the 21-22 graduation rate was lower and have redoubled efforts and opportunities to work collaboratively to expand programs for students including:
- Reopening The Options Center
- Expanding dual credit opportunities to include an AAOT degree
- Receiving state and federal grants to update CTE classes and start a home construction course
- Training staff in Positive Behavior Intervention Support (PBIS)
- Implementing a new at-risk student management system and protocol with Oregon Data Suite (ODS) tools
- Implementing a new cell phone policy to improve student interactions, focus, and learning in classrooms.
La Grande High School Principal Brett Baxter stated, “As we exit the pandemic, improving attendance will be a key element in improving graduation outcomes. Our team will continue to develop incentives and programs that encourage student attendance above 90%.” Mendoza said administration and staff will continue to seek opportunities to innovate K-12 learning at LGSD to improve graduation rates. “Our primary focus now must be to support the recovery of students’ mental and social emotional health while ensuring we address academic achievement, consistent attendance, 9-12 on time credit tracking, increased credit recovery opportunities, and ensuring we know each student’s name, situation, and circumstance so that they will graduate high school.”