Ashland graduation rates hold firm

Ashland’s four-year graduation rate remained stable at 88.2 percent for the 2015-16 school year, down slightly from 89.1 percent for the class of 2015, according to figures released Thursday by the Oregon Department of Education.

Oregon graduate rates continued to climb statewide, hitting 74.8 percent for the class of 2016, up more than a percentage point from 73.8 percent for the class of 2015 and 72 percent for the class of 2014.

“My goal is that students graduate high school with a plan for their futures, and we should celebrate 1,300 more Oregon students charting promising paths,” Governor Kate Brown said in a statement, referring to the increase in the total number of graduates from 2015. “I remain committed to improving Oregon’s graduation rates, and will prioritize investments in the upcoming legislative session that empower communities and educators to improve graduation rates, particularly for historically underserved and rural communities.”

In Ashland, 226 diplomas, six modified diplomas and 15 GED’s were awarded in 2016 for a four-year completion rate of 93.9 percent (it was 96.64 percent for five years).

The report broke down each school’s performance by a host of subgroups, and the state touted “significant gains” among the student groups in which the largest graduation gaps exist, including:

• African American students up 3.6 points to 66.1 percent (53.3 percent in 2011).

• American Indian/Alaska Native students up 1.4 points to 56.4 percent (50.8 percent in 2011).

• Hispanic/Latino students up 2.0 points to 69.4 percent (59.5 percent in 2011).

• Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander students up 6.9 points to 70.1 percent (66.2 percent in 2011).

• Ever English learners (students who are now or ever have been classified as English language learners) up 4.2 points to 71.1 percent (58.0 percent in 2012, the first year of data collection for that group).

• Limited English proficient students up 1.7 points to 52.9 percent (49.2 percent in 2011).

• Students with disabilities up 2.8 points to 55.5 percent (38.2 percent in 2011).

“Closing the achievement gap is crucial to ensuring education equity in Oregon,” deputy superintendent Salam Noor said. “Although many of the gaps remain large, it is good news for all Oregonians when the disparity in graduation rates decreases. It is critical that we continue to work together to help Oregon students achieve at their highest potential.”

Similar results were seen in Ashland, where the graduation rate among Hispanic/Latino students, the city’s largest minority group, went up slightly to 82.1 percent from 81.8 percent. Also getting slight bumps were Ashland’s multiracial students (83.3 percent, from 82.4) and underserved races/ethnicity students (81.6 from 81). Overall, 84.9 percent of Ashland’s combined disadvantaged students (139 students last school year) graduated in 2016, up from 83.9 percent the previous year.

Joe Zavala is a reporter for the Ashland Daily Tidings. Reach him at 541-821-0829 or jzavala@dailytidings.com. Follow him on Twitter at @Joe_Zavala99.

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