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Lakeridge High graduates about 96% of students, Lake Oswego High School close behind

COURTESY PHOTO: LAKE OSWEGO SCHOOL DISTRICT - Graduation rates in the district have continued to increase over the years.Lake Oswego School District graduation rates continue to rise, outpacing the rest of the state with 94.64 % of LOSD students graduating with their four-year cohort in 2018-19, according to the Oregon Department of Education.

Much like last year, LOSD graduation rates are significantly higher than the overall state graduation rate of 80%.

Graduation rates in the district have seen a steady increase over the years.

LOSD rates rose from about 93% in the 2017-2018 school year. Four years ago the LOSD's graduation rate was just above 91%. Assistant Superintendent Jennifer Schiele said the district is excited to see that they're headed in an upward trajectory.

"94.6 is a lot to be proud of, but we recognize that we are not where we want to be. There's still room for improvement," she said. "We're really proud of our SPED (special education) rate at 86.2. State average is 63.4 so that's significantly higher, but — at the same time — it's not where we want to be either."

Schiele said improved academic support has contributed to the increased graduation rates.

"We have put a lot of additional teachers and funding going toward our academic support center at both high schools," Schiele said.

Academic support centers — where struggling students can receive tutoring and support — are located in each high school's library. "It's a very active library now which is very different than we had just five years ago," she said. "Students can get support now when they're struggling."

But the district didn't always have the resources for additional support.

"We're just trying to figure out how we want to implement more supports for students of color, our special education students, as well as our economically disadvantaged," Schiele said.

Overall graduation rates at both high schools increased by more than one percentage point compared with the previous year.

Lakeridge High School's graduation rate for the 2018-19 school year was 95.9%.

"I can't say enough how much this is about the students and the staff and the parents and the community really all coming together and looking at how to educate each student in the best way," Lakeridge Principal Desiree Fisher said.

Like Schiele, Fisher said increased academic support contributed to the rise in graduation rates. Lakeridge's academic support center hosts full-time math, English, Spanish and science teachers who are available to students not only during their scheduled academic support time, but any time during the school day as well.

"They're available to all students all day long," Fisher said.

Lake Oswego High School's graduation rate for the 2018-19 school year came in just below Lakeridge at 93.9%.

"This is the highest grad rate that we've ever had. That's true overall but also for a lot of the different groups," Lake Oswego High School Principal Rollin Dickinson said.

He added that the increased rate of graduation reflects the work they've done to not only challenge the students but to support them as well.

"We're seeing that pay off in so many different ways," he said.

He said the academic support center in the library, support classes and time in the schedule for intervention and enrichment all account for the successful graduation rate.

"It's pretty inspiring to be part of that kind of growth. It's the reason a lot of us became educators," Dickinson said. "We really want to educate and serve all of our students really well and it's fun to see all of that really working."

LOSD has made strides in equipping underserved populations for academic success.

"We've seen big jumps over the last couple years with our economically disadvantaged students, our students on IEPs (Individualized Education Plans), our English learners, our traditionally underserved students, our hispanic students, as well as our white students," Dickinson said of LOHS.

During last school year, the four-year grad rate for underserved races and ethnicities was 92.5%, roughly five percentage points higher than the previous year. Likewise, graduation rates for economically disadvantaged students increased by about nine percentage points and students with disabilities by about eight percentage points from 2017-18 to last school year. A similar improvement — graduation rates for students with disabilities increased by roughly eight percentage points.

"I think that as a district we've really tried to work towards more culturally-responsive teaching and really looking at how individual students learn best," Fisher said. "It really is (an) individualized education plan for everybody. We're really trying to look at how we can best support every student."

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