The West Linn-Wilsonville School District graduation rate remained significantly higher than the state average in 2019-20, though it did drop about 1 percentage point compared to 2018-19.
According to data released last week by the Oregon Department of Education, the WL-WV graduation rate last year was 93.3% — down from 94.7% in 2018-19. The overall state graduation rate was 82.6%.
Director of Communications Andrew Kilstrom said the district is proud of the class of 2020. "Our goal at each of our three high schools is always to see every student walk across the graduation stage, and while there remains room for improvement, we are so impressed with our students, families, and of course our teachers," he said.
As far as individual high schools, West Linn High School led the way in the district with a rate of 98% in 2019-20, down just slightly from the rate of 99% in 2018-19.
"To me it really comes down to relationships," WLHS principal Gregory Neuman said.
He said with a big school like WLHS, it can be easy for students to fall through the cracks if you're not intentional.
He attributes the high graduation rates to the care and relationship that the teachers and counselors have for all students.
He said by this time every year, staff is taking stock of each student's credits to ensure they're on track. If they're not, the school staff members will do what they can to remedy that.
And in the case of the 2019-2020 school year, Neuman said the majority of the 2% of students who didn't graduate in the spring ended up graduating later that summer.
"We know our kids by name, we know their story and we know their family circumstances," Neuman said.
Wilsonville High School came in at 96.8%, an increase from the 95% rate that was reported in 2018-19.
Wilsonville High School Principal Kelly Schmidt said the school has worked on improving academic outcomes for all students, and specifically those who are from traditionally underserved populations.
She mentioned that WHS has seen increased graduation rates for various student groups.
Graduation rates for Hispanic/Latinx students increased by close to 10%, underserved races/ethnicities increased by 11%, economically disadvantaged increased by 8% and
students with disabilities increased by 3%.
She said increasing outreach to Hispanic/Latinx parents and evaluating data of student passing and failing classes likely contributed to the increase.
"When we grade for equity and engage curious learners, we eliminate barriers, focus and therefore increase the likelihood that students pass classes and stay on track for graduation," she said.
Finally, Arts & Technology High School — an option school in Wilsonville — reported a rate of 42.6% in 2019-20 after graduating 53.5% of its seniors in 2018-19.
Overall, the district also saw a marked increase in overall graduation rate for students with disabilities, which jumped from 80.3% in 2018-19 to 88.1% in 2019-20.
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