On Thursday, January 23rd, the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) released graduation rates for school districts in Oregon. These are 2018-19 graduation rates.
La Grande School District’s graduation rate is 79.87%. Last year’s rate was 86.42%. This is the 4-year cohort graduation rate, the percentage of students who earn a standard diploma within four years of entering high school.
George Mendoza, district superintendent, said that district administration did a careful analysis of the Class of 2019 graduates to break down the numbers and track students. Seven of those students are in continuing enrollment, meaning they are staying in school at LHS. 12 students from 18-19 earned their GEDs and are included in the 4-year cohort completer rate, which is 87.42%. 13 students from the Class of 2019 out of 150 students are true non-completers.
Mendoza said the district has established several systems to support students in various ways, not only academically. These include adding a high school success counselor, more Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses, an in-school health center and more robust mental health and behavioral supports for students. “We have a lot of important systems in place to help students succeed, and we will continue to utilize those systems. The goal in our strategic plan is to exceed state averages in all areas and we continue to work hard toward that,” Mendoza said.
According to Scott Carpenter, the district’s director of education programs, La Grande’s graduation rate has remained steady around 80% for several years, but the 5-year cohort completer rate has hovered around 88% to 90% and this year’s was 93.9%. This rate includes students who earned a GED, an extended or adult high school diploma within five years of entering high school.
“As a district, we focus on completers and on any good outcome for kids, even if that takes longer than four years and may not mean a standard diploma. Every story is different and sometimes includes something other than a standard diploma. We work with students and families to help make these decisions,” Carpenter said.
Carpenter pointed out several programs such as: The REACH Program, Tiger Ambassadors (student mentorship program), ASPIRE Program, CTE Pathways Program and exploration into becoming an AVID school as ways La Grande High School continues to engage students and work towards graduation. “We will continue to use Measure 98 funds and our upcoming Student Investment Account (SIA) funds to continue to develop strategies to engage our students,” Carpenter said.