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Local schools' graduation rates hold steady

Tigard-Tualatin schools all saw slight improvements, while Beaverton's schools are mixed and Sherwood's likely remained even.

Oregon's graduation rate continues to climb, according to data released today. Meanwhile, area schools in Washington County saw mixed results, year-over-year — Tigard-Tualatin schools all saw slight improvements, while Beaverton's schools are mixed and Sherwood's likely remained even.

"We are making progress, while recognizing there is still more work to do," said state Deputy Superintendent Salam Noor. "We are pleased with our state's focus on improving graduation outcomes for all students is making a difference."

Statewide, the four-year graduation rate for all students in the Class of 2016 is 74.8 percent, up from 73.8 percent for the Class of 2015 and 72.0 percent for the Class of 2014. More importantly, the graduation rate for almost all historically underserved student populations grew at a faster rate than the overall graduation rate.

The news was good in Beaverton. "Amid the graduation rate, we note that our dropout rate, 1.6 percent, is the lowest in the last 12 years," said Maureen Wheeler, spokeswoman for the Beaverton School District.

She attributes that to intervention at the middle and high school level for students who are struggling, with a particular focus on special education students and English language learners.

In the Tigard-Tualatin School District, Tualatin's graduation numbers are slightly higher than that of Tigard. Spokeswoman Susan Stark Haydon said Tualatin has an aggressive program to assist whose attendance or grades put them at-risk of not graduating.

"They do a great job of being on top of who-needs-what in order to graduate," Stark Haydon said.

Sherwood's numbers are strong but actually better than noted in the release, according to the district. The 89.8 percent graduation rate listed by the state is the result of a clerical error is actually closer to 94 percent.

"We are thrilled at our continued progress in improving graduation rates. Our teachers and staff, from Kindergarten through high school, should feel a great a sense of pride. Their tireless efforts are noticed and appreciated," Assistant Superintendent Gary Bennett said.

In Portland, most high schools mirrored a statewide trend in slow, steady improvements to their graduation rates. Data released today show four-year graduation rates during the 2015-16 school year increased by 1 percentage point to 74.8 percent.

Oregon is known for having some of the worst graduation rates in the nation. The last reported statistics, from the 2014-15 school year, showed a fifth year of record-breaking rates at 83 percent.

By Dana Haynes
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