Oregon’s graduation rate nudged upward in 2016, with some of the strongest improvements coming from among students of color, according to figures released by the state Thursday.
The bump, from about 73.8 to 74.8 percent, was driven in part by student groups that have historically graduated at lower rates.
Black students improved by more than 3 1/2 percentage points, though the rate — just over 66 percent — is still below the state average. For a second year in a row, Portland’s Jefferson High School stands out. Its grad rate for African-American students jumped again last year to more than 88 percent.
Oregon leaders have promised to ensure that every child graduates on time by 2025. OPB has followed a group of students from kindergarten as they start their educational journey toward high school. Sixth grade is underway for the Class of 2025. These are some of their stories.
The statewide Latino graduation rate went up 2 percent to 69 percent. Forest Grove High School saw its Latino grad rate jump double digits to 81 percent last year.
But rates are not rising everywhere: Just 21 percent of Estacada’s Latino students graduated on time. At Reynolds High School in Gresham — one of Oregon’s largest high schools — less than half of African-American students earned diplomas in four years.
Some of the school districts with the lowest graduation rates have alternative schools or charter schools, dragging down the rate. The grad rate for Estacada is 44 percent. But students who attend Estacada High School graduated on time at a 70 percent rate. However, the Estacada-based charter school, Summit Community College High School, had a 2016 graduation rate of just 20.5 percent.
In the small Elkton School District in Douglas County, the overall graduation rate was 27 percent in 2016. That’s because many students leave the local high school (with a 76 percent grad rate) to enroll at a private alternative school, the Insight School of Oregon, is not required by the state to publish a graduation rate.
Oregon regularly has one of the nation’s lowest graduation rates, and the uptick still leaves it below the national average of 83 percent. The state has set an ambitious goal of attaining a 100 percent graduation rate by 2025.
Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated Summit Community College High School’s status. It is one of two charter schools based in Estacada.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.
This story was updated at 4:11 p.m. to include additional statistics.