Featured Stories


Dropout rates fluctuate in St. Helens, decline in Scappoose schools

Graduation rates decline in both districts, state data show


SPOTLIGHT FILE PHOTO - Graduation rates in the Scappoose and St. Helens school districts declined in the 2014-15 school year, according to state data released this week. Data about each high school can be found in the Oregon Department of Education report cards online.Graduation rates in the Scappoose School District remain well above state averages, while the St. Helens School District is trending 10 percent below, according to state data released this week.

Dropout rates at St. Helens High School have also more than doubled from the 2013-14 school year to the 2014-15 school year, the data show.

The Oregon Department of Education released district report cards Thursday, Oct. 13, which highlight information about student demographics and the performance results of standardized tests taken in schools across the state.

For the first time, the report cards do not assess overall scores for each district due to implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act in December 2015.

    The state average graduation rate is 73.8 percent. Scappoose is tracking higher than the state average at 87 percent, while St. Helens reports a graduation rate of 64.5 percent.

Breaking down data by high school reveals fluctuating trends in both districts.

St. Helens High experienced intense fluctuations in drop out rates since 2012, the report cards show. In the 2013-14 school year, the high school dropout rate decreased to 0.7 percent, low compared to the 1.4 percent rate reported the prior year. That rate more than doubled, however, in the 2014-15 school year, with 1.9 percent of students dropping out of high school. That equates to roughly 16 students out of nearly 900 enrolled. The average state drop out rate is 4.3 percent.

Principal BG Aguirre said the high school has implemented multiple programs and tools to encourage students to stay in school and work toward completing high school degree requirements.

“Last year we started a College and Career Readiness Program to better help students navigate the system, exploring options after high school and to help them see the benefits and opportunities to stay in school, graduate and pursue college and career opportunities after graduation,” Aguirre stated in an email to the Spotlight.

Four-year graduation rates at St. Helens High also declined from 85.3 percent in 2013-14 to 73.2 percent in the 2014-15 school year. The state average is 73.8 percent.

In contrast, dropout rates at the district’s alternative high school, Columbia County Education Campus, remain well above the state average at 13.4 percent, but significantly under the 48 percent dropout rate reported for similar schools. Graduation rates were reported at 17.1 percent in 2014-15, a drop from 28.2 percent in 2013-14.

The dropout rate at Scappoose High decreased from 1.5 percent in the 2013-14 school year to 1.1 percent in 2014-15, which equates to roughly eight out of the roughly 750 students that attend.

Four-year graduation rates at the high school decreased from 88.9 percent in 2013-14 to 88.1 percent in 2014-15, but still remain well above the state average of 73.8 percent for the academic year.

Math, science scores show higher than state averages

Other data on the report cards includes results of the statewide performance exams in math and science during the 2015-16 school year. Smarter Balanced testing results

were made public earlier this year.

In the St. Helens School District, most grades tested above state averages on math and science, with an exception at the high school, which had a 48 percent pass rate in science, a figure below the state average of 60 percent.

CCEC had less than 5 percent of students pass the math exam and 23 percent of students pass the science exam. Those fall well below the state averages of 34.2 percent and 60 percent, respectively.

In the Scappoose School District, most grade levels reported results exceeding state averages, except Grant Watts Elementary School in math scores and the South Columbia County School in science scores.

At Grant Watts, 45.6 percent of students passed in math, while the state average was 48.7. At the South Columbia County School, 46 percent of students passed in science, while the state average for similar K-12 schools was 63.7 percent.