Oregon’s Graduation Rates are the Second Highest in the State’s History
MEDFORD, Ore. — The Oregon Department of Education reported today that the graduation rate of the class of 2023 is 81.3%. It is the second-highest in the state’s history.
Bret Champion, the superintendent of the Medford school district, stated: “These students have demonstrated resilience to reach this point. It is truly amazing.”
Last year, in 2023, 86% of North Medford High’s students did the class walk. Presently, their goal is to increase that number for the 2024 class.
Champion told NBC5. “Every time our graduation rates are released, we are excited to see their continued growth. It is the most important thing for us to see our students graduating and continuing on with their plan to do their next thing.”
In 2023, Grants Pass High School saw its highest graduation rate ever of 88.3%. Trisha Evens, Grants Pass School District’s Director of Secondary Education, said that they are trying to look at the bigger picture for students.
She said, “We address issues such as their post-secondary plan, that is, what they intend to do after graduation. Evens also said, “By holding this carrot in front of them, the key motivator is seeing how graduation relates to their future plans.”
The entire class of 2023 has seen high graduation rates, but specific groups within the graduates have also seen higher rates. For example, in Oregon, learners in Special Education, migrant students, and English students have seen an all-time high.
School districts noted that a one-to-one connection with students is the best way to prepare them. Evens said,” We use a combination of methods, not just one thing. We use our counselors to identify what will help students achieve their goals.”
Champion said, “The principal of North Medford High School has a list of students in need of extra credits posted right next to his door. The goal is to reach those individual students, as that is where it really matters.”
Even so, it is not an easy task to get these students to wear their caps and gowns. There were some major challenges for the class of 2023.
North Medford High School Senior Cooper Cox told NBC5, “My counselors made sure that I attended the right classes and had the right credits, but Covid also kind of spoiled things. They really made sure that I had what I needed to graduate. I am grateful for that.”
Evens said, “Our youth is more affected by health issues today. Even so, we are educators, not mental health professionals.”
As Champion says, an important thing for students is to have opportunities available that are engaging. For this purpose, CTE programs are very helpful. “When students are connected with this program, it is amazing how successful they become. An example is that 95% of students that were a part of the CTE program are included in the graduation data for 2023.
As Cox said, “My feeling is that I am more connected than ever. I just enjoy being at school. It makes my day worth it.”
Both Grants Pass High School and North Medford High School districts expressed their need to be on the constant lookout for innovative ways to get connected with their students. They wish to find the right motivation to get their students to graduate high school and become adults.