North Clackamas School District sets new record graduation rate
For the third time in the past four years, the North Clackamas School District set a new record for its graduation rate, as 88.2% of the NCSD class of 2021 earned a diploma in four years, according to statewide data released on Thursday.
NCSD's four-year 87% graduation rate in 2019-20 was slightly lower than its 2018-19 rate of 87.2%, and the latest statistics show a 22.3% increase since 2011 for NCSD.
District officials said the steady improvement reflects NCSD's commitment to educating the whole child, fostering an inclusive learning environment and providing a wide range of career-technical education opportunities.
"We are proud of the consistent progress the district has made with the overall graduation rate, but the class of 2021 deserves special recognition for reaching this achievement amid a global pandemic," said NCSD Superintendent Dr. Shay James. "The challenges they faced toward the end of their journey were hardly imaginable just a few years ago, but they rose to the occasion. This is the result of the hard work of students and the dedication of staff."
Despite falling by 6 percentage points, Gladstone School District's 86% four-year graduation rate for the class of 2021 remains 5% above the 80.6% statewide graduation rate. The district graduation rate reflects every student in the cohort, including those in special programs, not just Gladstone High School.
Statewide the rate dipped from its previous high of 82.6% in 2020. So, now it's closer to its 80% rate in 2019. State officials said the data shows that COVID-19 not only had a disproportionate impact on the health of Oregon's communities of color, but it also had a far greater impact on educational attainment for students of color.
"I'm proud of my team for their innovation and persistence in finding ways to meet each student's unique needs," said GHS Principal Kevin Taylor. "Summer school programs, online credit recovery, after school credit recovery, fifth-year studies and adult diploma options provide each student with support and a pathway to graduation."
Statewide, Black/African American students' graduation rate of 73.5% was down from 76.3% the year before, but still higher than the 70.4% graduation rate for the Class of 2019. Hispanic/Latino students' 77% graduation rate fell from 79.5% the previous year, but still higher than the 76.2% for the Class of 2019. The Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander student group saw the largest decrease, down from 76.6% two years ago to 69.8% last year. The graduation rate for students experiencing homelessness dropped five percentage points to 55.4% , the same rate as the Class of 2019.
Both Gladstone and North Clackamas showed strong performance by some historically underserved groups in their graduation rates in 2020-21.
NCSD students with disabilities' rate was 78% (up 6.4%), homeless students 71.4% (up 8.4%), English Language Learners at any time in high school 86.2% (up 12.9%). Shay thanked students, staff, parents/guardians, and community organizations for making these achievements possible.
In Gladstone, more than 86% of Hispanic/Latino students graduated in four years, beating the state average by over 4%. That's an improvement of 12% in just four years. One of Gladstone's strategies to better support students was hiring a bilingual family liaison to improve communication with Spanish-speaking families.
Nearly 82% of Gladstone's economically disadvantaged students graduated on time, a rate nearly 5% better than the state average. The district improved the graduation rate for this group by 18.5% in the past seven years through academic and emotional support programs.
In Gladstone, over 78% of students with disabilities graduated on time, almost 7% more than the previous year and 12% above the state average. The district's strong focus on early intervention strategies helped build this success.
"There has never been a more difficult time to be a student," said Gladstone Superintendent Bob Stewart. "We know that some individuals need extra time, academic help and social-emotional support to achieve graduation, and we remain committed to helping each and every student find a way to get there."
NCSD's five-year graduation rate also rose slightly from a year ago, climbing from 87.3 to 88.1%. Its 2018-19 five-year rate of 87%, so its five-year rate rose for the second straight year.
"Over the summer, districts spent $24 million in funds allocated by Governor Brown and the Legislature to help more than 18,000 high school students earn credits towards graduation," said Oregon Department of Education Director Colt Gill. "Districts are also using funds from the Student Success Act to improve access and opportunities for students who have been historically underserved in the education system."
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.