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Newberg and St. Paul schools have higher graduation rates than the state average

GRAPHIC FILE PHOTO - Newberg High School saw its graduation rate increase from 83.99 percent to 85.26 percent over a two-year period.

More students are graduating high school in Oregon than ever before and that's particularly evident in Newberg and St. Paul.

New data released this week by the Oregon Department of Education shows the statewide graduation rate for 2018-2019 was 80 percent – the highest rate ever recorded and an increase of 8 percentage points over five years.

Historically, Oregon has struggled with one of the lowest high school graduation rates in the country. Schools have also struggled with achievement gaps and disparities in rates of graduation between white students and students of color. The latest numbers indicate the state is doing a better job overall at serving kids from historically underserved groups.

"This year's graduation rate increase means nearly 600 additional students earned a diploma," ODE Director Colt Gill said. "We are seeing even faster growth for students of color, students with disabilities and students navigating poverty than the state as a whole."

Gill said funding from the Student Success Act – a corporate activities tax bill passed in 2019 – will "build on this promising foundation to foster equity and excellence for all Oregon students."

While the increases show promise for students from historically underserved groups, Oregon still has real work to do. The latest data indicate that only 70.4 percent of black students in the state graduate on time. That number drops to 68 percent for American Indian/Alaska Native students, just over 63 percent for students with disabilities and 60 percent for students who didn't learn English until high school.

Newberg, St. Paul ahead of the pack

The Newberg and St. Paul school districts both boast higher overall graduation rates than the rest of the state, with St. Paul continuing its trend of graduating 100 percent of its students.

Newberg graduated 85.26 percent of its students in the 2018-2019 school year, up from 83.99 percent the year prior.

Female students in Newberg graduated at a higher rate than male students, 88.44 to 81.77 percent. Hispanic and Latino students graduated at an 84.21 percent rate – up from 80.46 percent the previous year – and white students graduated 85.61 percent of the time.

No data was available for Newberg students of American Indian, Asian, Pacific Islander or Black/African American descent. Migrant students, however, graduated at a higher rate than the average Newberg student, achieving an 88.24 percent graduation rate last year.

Twenty-two of the 53 eligible students with disabilities in Newberg graduated last year, a rate of about 41 percent – roughly 9 percentage points lower than the state average. Nineteen of the 34 homeless students in Newberg graduated, a rate of 56 percent that lands above the state average of 55.41 percent.

An encouraging subgroup for the Newberg School District is the number of graduates who participated in Career and Technical Education programs: 90.51 percent of students involved in CTE programs graduated in four years and those with concentrated CTE experiences graduated 93.33 percent of the time.

St. Paul has nothing to worry about in terms of its graduation numbers. All 23 members of its senior class graduated last year and nearly all of them participated in CTE programs. Even with a small population of students, the number remains impressive for the Buckaroos.

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