In 2019, a whopping 96.08 percent of Colton High School students graduated on time, according to recently released graduation data from the Oregon Department of Education.
In Clackamas County, that rate is second only to West Linn High School, where a near-perfect 98.65 percent of students graduated on time in 2019.
"We are so proud of all our students, staff and families," said Koreen Barreras-Brown, Colton superintendent. "We set the bar high with 100 percent district graduation rate, and we expect excellence along the way. Graduation rate is a district journey, K-12."
Colton's 2019 rate is 9 percent higher than the 2018 rate and 16 percent higher than the statewide average, which now sits at an all-time high of 80.01 percent.
To add to the positives, students who are labeled as "disadvantaged" made a 3 percent improvement over the previous year.
And how did Colton achieve this? According to Barreras-Brown, the number one thing that plays into the success of the students is quality instruction.
"Our educational staff are top-notch," Barreras-Brown said. "As a district, we adopted our district core believes of Champion for Kids, Expect Excellence, Carry the Banner and Merchant of Hope. Together, we also developed a district purpose of 'All students K-12 are on track and graduate college and career ready.' "
Barreras-Brown added, "It is definitely a team effort K-12 along with a partnership with families and community. We carry the banner by lifting together. This collective effort has enabled us to create successful inclusive learning environments where all students and teachers thrive."
To keep the momentum going, Barreras-Brown said the district's focus is on students in all grades.
"We know that graduation rate begins as a student enters school," she said. "We have been investing in college and career readiness and social and emotional learning K-12."
Funding from the Student Success Act, a 2019 bill that allocated $1 billion per year toward education reform, should also help keep the momentum going in Colton. Barreras-Brown noted that the district is using data from the last five years and community feedback to build its application for the funds.
"While collecting feedback from shareholders, we found that everyone is aligned in their thinking from students, parents, community members, leaders, classified (staff), to licensed staff," Barreras-Brown said. "I believe this is because of the hard work our community has done to develop relationships and engage in a collaborative effort for the success of our students."
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