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LOSD receives high marks for grad rates, low dropout numbers and sending students on to college

BECKLake Oswego schools continue to do a better job of preparing students for graduation than other districts in the state, according to the Oregon Department of Education's annual Report Card.

The 2017 report, which was released to the public Thursday, shows the Lake Oswego School District outperforming the rest of Oregon in most categories and almost always scoring higher when compared to schools or districts with a similar student makeup.

"Our numbers are trending in the right direction," LOSD Superintendent Heather Beck told The Review this week. "We've worked hard to ensure every student receives the needed support that stretches them intellectually and prepares them for the next chapter in their lives."

In particular, the LOSD recorded higher-than average graduation rates and lower dropout rates. The district also did well in terms of keeping freshmen on track for graduation and in sending a higher percentage of graduates on to community colleges or four-year universities.

And it did all of that while receiving about $600 less per pupil from Salem than the state average.

According to the ODE, about 64 percent of the district's funding is generated locally — the highest percentage in the state by far and a nod to local-option levies approved by Lake Oswego voters. Thirty-four percent of the LOSD's revenue comes from the state and about 2 percent from the federal government, the ODE says.

By comparison, the David Douglas School District receives almost $2,000 more per pupil from the state than the LOSD, or about 72 percent of its funding. Only 15 percent of David Douglas' revenue is generated locally, the ODE says.

All other districts fall somewhere in between those extremes. Portland Public Schools generates 55 percent of its funding locally, for example, with 36 percent coming from the state and 8 percent from federal programs.

The 2017 Report Card does not include an overall rating for individual schools. ODE leaders removed those rankings last year, in part because of the state's transition to a different accountability system under the new Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), a federal law intended to support underserved children.

Still, the latest Report Cards do include a wealth of information, including immunization rates and enrollment counts, class sizes and the percentage of students who met standards in state tests for English/language arts, science and math. In most categories, districts are compared not only to the state average but also to scores at similar districts.

Ready to graduate

The 2017 Report Card contains several examples of LOSD's strong performance, even when the measures are broken into subgroups. For example, more than 95 percent of the district's freshmen are on track to graduate in every category except students with disabilities (93.6 percent) and Hispanic/Latino students (94.9 percent). And even in those categories, the LOSD outpaced the rest of the state (83.4 percent) and similar districts (87.7 percent).

Four-year graduation rates continue the steady increase they've shown over the past four years, with 91.7 percent of students earning diplomas on time. That compares to 74.8 percent in the state and 82.3 percent at similar districts. The drop-out rate increased slightly from 1.1 percent last year to 1.3 percent in the current Report Card, but it still outperformed the state (3.9 percent) and similar districts (2.3 percent).

The LOSD also did a better job than most in terms of sending students on to community colleges or four-year universities, with 80.2 percent of local students moving on to a post-secondary education. That's a drop from 84.9 percent last year, but it compares to 57.4 percent of students across the state and 62.4 percent at similar districts.

"Excellence is our target," Beck said. "In order to achieve that mark, we still have work to do to graduate 100 percent of our students career and college ready. Student outcomes have improved over the past three years, and I am proud of our staff who continue to focus on the interventions that make a difference in our students' lives."

Attendance and demographics

Day-to-day attendance in the LOSD was higher than the state average, with 93.8 percent of students regularly attending class in grades K-3, 93.3 percent in grades 4-5, 92.8 percent in grades 6-8 and 87.7 percent in grades 9-12. A few school districts recorded attendance figures above the 90th percentile, but most were far lower. Only Riverdale School District middle-schoolers, at 94.5 percent, attended class more regularly.

There were few demographic surprises on the Report Card. For example, the number of students classified as economically disadvantaged was between 7-10 percent in the LOSD, depending on grade level. That's dramatically lower than other districts in the state; for example, the range in West Linn-Wilsonville was 15-20 percent, 35-37 percent in Beaverton and 74-77 percent in David Douglas.

Also of note: While the number of LOSD students identified as white hovered between 72-76 percent depending on grade level, the number of staff who identified as white ranged from 92 percent in high school to 95 percent in grades K-3.

The ODE doesn't email report cards to schools or parents, but they're accessible online, and many school districts also mail a copy to parents. For more details on the 2017 Report Card, visit http://www.Oregon.gov/ode.

Contact Lake Oswego Review Editor Gary M. Stein at 503-636-1281 ext. 102 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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