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School district staff invites community members to tour school, attend homecoming game

PMG FILE PHOTO: BRITTANY ALLEN - The Bell Street Sandy High campus was completed 10 years ago. Members of Oregon Trail School District staff invite all to come celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Sandy High School campus at 37400 Bell St., from 5-6:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 23. The event will take place at the school and include student entertainment, a school tour and classroom demonstrations. If you've never had the chance to see the circa 2012 building firsthand, this is your chance. Visitors are asked to enter through the main front doors, which face out onto Bell Street.

Besides the anniversary of the physical building, the Sandy High staff also are celebrating the improvements to student success that they've seen since the campus opened.

According to district records, the graduation rate for 2011-12 was 76%. That was the last year at the old building. The first graduating class at the new school was 2012-13.

The 2020-21 graduation rate was 91.46% (after nine years in the new school).

The staff attributes much of this improvement to the career and technical education (CTE) programs that were made possible by the new facilities, since students involved in CTE classes have historically graduated at a higher rate.

The school currently offers eight different programs, including areas of study, such as engineering, health sciences, manufacturing, agriculture, art production, automotive, business and computer science.

Principal Sarah Dorn said the programs with newer course offerings, such as health sciences and engineering have been very popular. The health sciences program had 400 requests to enroll in courses this fall, and engineering had more than 220. PMG FILE PHOTO: BRITTANY ALLEN - Sandy High currently offers eight different CTE programs, including engineering, health sciences, manufacturing, agriculture, art production, automotive, business and computer science.

"The increased grad rate is in big part because of CTE," said Julia Monteith, district communications director.

"I think we've been looking to and serving our students in a different way," Dorn said.

Included in the tours of the campus on Sept. 23, will be demonstrations of skills and equipment used in the different programs.

At the beginning of the celebration, the student choir and bands will perform before heading to the football stadium for the homecoming game. The homecoming football game will follow the event at 7 p.m.

"It's a casual event," Monteith said. "There will be slideshows up on the screens showing breaking ground on the school and photos of it being built. People can drop in anytime."

Masking is no longer required in the school but permitted if preferred. This celebration, Dorn explained, also in part feels like a celebration of the return of some normalcy.

"It's amazing to be able to have this event now," Dorn said. "What I'm really excited about (now as COVID is less of a concern this school year) is serving our students with great instruction. I feel like the focus is back on the teaching and learning part — not that that's not always the focus — but in the past few years we've had to split our focus between making sure everyone's wearing masks and COVID tracing, and it's great to be able just to really focus on quality teaching and learning and what are our teachers doing to ensure the best outcome for our students."

"We're happy to be able to show off a bit and demonstrate what students are doing in classes," Monteith added. "They're engaged, and that's why they're graduating and successful."

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