District, as a whole, has low graduation rate

The Oregon Department of Education recently released its 2012-13 graduation rates for high schools across the state.

Statewide, four-year graduation rates grew only slightly, up to 68.7 percent from 68.4 percent. About 3.98 percent of students dropped out of high school last year, according to the state.

Results were released amid Oregon’s ambitious goal of 40-40-20 that calls for a 100 percent high school completion rate by 2025, with all students completing a high school diploma or its equivalent within five years of starting school.

In turn, the state has a goal for 40 percent to enter four-year colleges and universities and receive a bachelor’s degree, 40 percent to attend community college or trade school and receive associate degrees, and 20 percent to enter the work place upon graduation.

When viewed as a district, Estacada has a 38.2 percent four-year graduation rate.

Estacada High School Principal Scott Sullivan said that the low rate has a lot to do with the district’s make-up.

In the 2012-13 school year there were nearly three times as many charter students as district high school students that counted toward the district’s graduation rate.

Students of Estacada High School, Estacada Web Academy, Estacada Early College and the now discontinued Estacada Alternative High School counted toward the 2012-13 district graduation rate.

Estacada High School alone had a 76.7 percent four-year graduation rate, which is well above the state average.

“This building — still we’re not satisfied — is beating the state and beating our neighbor schools,” Sullivan said.

The Web Academy’s four-year graduation rate was 27.2 percent and the Early College’s was 20.9 percent.

Sean Gallagher, associate principal of the Web Academy and Early College, said that many charter students do not finish high school in the time-frame incorporated in four- or five-year graduation statistics.

“Our institutions accept all learners, and at all levels, even if they have not been successful in previous settings,” Gallagher wrote in an email. “Regardless of previous success, the charter schools in Estacada believe in the educational opportunity for all children. This position, which is the foundation of our mission, will always create a misunderstanding in the state report card results. I encourage every parent to rate our schools based on their child’s individual success and happiness.”

“The graduation rates for the Estacada Web Academy and Estacada Early College have been incorporated with our comprehensive school improvement plan,” he added. “We have established goals and timelines, and dedicated a lot of resources to improve these figures. This year, we have placed a huge priority on improvements in curriculum and instructional technology.”

The Estacada Alternative High School’s four-year graduation rate was 90.5 percent.

The Estacada School Board voted to discontinue its partnership with Timberlake Job Corps for the Alternative High School program in August.

The decision went into affect Sept. 30.

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