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High school grad rate jumps statewide; 90% earn diplomas in LOSD

Despite gains, minorities struggle to make the grade in most areas, but not in Lake Oswego

All Portland-area districts are graduating more high school students than last year and Lake Oswego schools remain at the top of the charts, according to 2013-14 data released by the Oregon Department of Education Thursday.

The trend holds statewide with the standard four-year diploma rate at 72 percent, up from 68.7 percent the year before. Lake Oswego High School’s graduation rate rose from 89.9 percent in 2012-13 to 92.6 percent in the latest report. Lakeridge High School’s grad rate dropped from 90 percent in 2012-13 to 88.5 percent in 2013-14, the report showed.

The Oregon Education Investment Board said the overall trend exemplifies steady growth in graduation rates for the last five years and credits the governor’s 40-40-20 plan.

“That commitment is beginning to close the opportunity gap and gets us closer to reaching 40-40-20,” said Chief Education Officer Nancy Golden in a news release. “With a sustained focus on meeting the needs of each of our students, the number graduating will continue to climb.”

The plan calls for 40 percent of Oregon students to graduate with a four-year college degree, 40 percent to graduate with a trade degree, and 20 percent to graduate, at minimum, from high school. This would mean a 100 percent high school graduation rate statewide.

In the Portland area, only Riverdale School District in Southwest Portland comes close at 95.3 percent, up from 84.9 percent the year before. Lake Oswego School District wasn’t far behind with a 90 percent graduation rate, up from 87.5 percent in 2012-13.

Portland Public Schools, the largest of the state’s districts, comes near the bottom of the pack at 70.4 percent but showed significant progress over its 2012-13 figure of 66.9 percent. Only Reynolds School District is lower with 58.3 percent, up from 54.75 percent.

When comparing counties in the Portland metro region, Washington comes out on top with an 81.1 percent graduation rate, followed by Clackamas at 75.6 percent and finally Multnomah at 70.6 percent.

Minority rates

When focusing on black and Hispanic student achievement, the picture is grimmer in most places, though Lake Oswego School District’s percentages for Hispanics are much higher than the statewide average and in Portland. Some 87 percent of Hispanic students graduated in 2013-14 in the school district, 92 percent earning a diploma at LOHS and 83 percent at Lakeridge.

The grad rate was 80 percent in 2013-14 for black students, up from 77.8 percent in 2012-13.

Statewide, just 60.2 percent of black students graduated in four years, though that was up from 57.1 percent. In the Portland Public Schools, that figure is 60.5 percent this year, a significant jump from 53.1 percent in 2012-13. In PPS, Franklin High School can boast of the highest black student graduation rate at 92 percent, though that consists of just 25 students.

Hispanic students also are struggling in Portland. Just 55.9 percent graduated in PPS last year. Among the major PPS high schools, Grant High School’s Hispanic graduation rate was nearly 92 percent, though that consisted of 12 students.

Perhaps the most depressing figure of all included in the state’s data release was the number of children who began as freshmen with their cohort in 2009-10 but who never saw and never will see their graduation day. Fifty-two students statewide were deceased, including 25 from the tri-county area.

Staff writer Jillian Daley contributed to this story. Contact her at 503-636-1281 ext. 109 or jdaley@lakeoswegoreview.com.

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