Ashland High School's graduation rate rose to 95 percent last academic year, one of the highest in Oregon.

Ashland High School's graduation rate rose to 95 percent last academic year, one of the highest in Oregon.

"Overall I think there's a tremendous amount to feel good about when it comes to the number of kids who did graduate and the very small number who didn't," said Samuel Bogdanove, the district's director of student services.

Statewide, the graduation rate was 85 percent in the 2009-10 academic year.

The district's graduation rate rose about two percentage points last year, up from about 93 percent in 2008-09.

The rate counts only those students who graduate without a modified diploma or a general equivalency diploma. Last year, 261 students graduated from the high school, while six received a modified diploma and 14 earned their GED.

The district's drop-out rate, which counts only those students who completely leave school, was 1.2 percent last year, compared with 3.4 percent statewide.

Of the 13 students who dropped out of the high school last year, 10 were male and three female, Bogdanove said.

"We did see a discrepancy in gender and we're looking at that," he said.

District officials also checked to see whether students who were limited English speakers, disabled or economically disadvantaged faced higher dropout rates and found that they did not, Bogdanove said.

The high school gives extra help to students who are in danger of dropping out and tries to encourage them to finish school, Assistant Principal Don Valentini told the School Board Monday.

"They don't get away easily," he said. "We actually are very aggressive at going after kids and trying to find the right program for them to be successful again."

Superintendent Juli Di Chiro said she's concerned the state's new graduation requirements, which are being implemented over the next three years and require more math and science courses, could cause the district's graduation rate to fall.

"We're concerned about the impact that might have on the graduation rate and dropout rate," she said. "Sustaining it at this level may be very, very challenging, but I feel we need to celebrate that we're here at least."

Contact reporter Hannah Guzik at 541-708-1158 or hguzik@dailytidings.com.