Philomath High School
PHILOMATH EXPRESS, FILE

On-time graduation rates for Benton County high schools climbed to nearly 85 percent in the 2016-17 school year, according to data released Thursday by the Oregon Department of Education.

The rates are up from just over 82 percent in the previous school year.

The state’s four-year graduation rate, the third worst of any state in the nation in 2015-16, according to federal figures, also saw improvements in the same time frame, reaching just under 77 percent in 2016-17, up from just under 75 percent in the previous year.

Philomath High School’s graduation rate of just under 87 percent in 2016-17 was a dip of less than a percent from the preceding year.

"This performance, coupled with the highest five-year graduation and completion rates in Benton County, reflect the collective district and community focus on the 'vision to graduate every student and transition each into a job, training, or college,'" Goff said. "As our graduation rate far outpaces the state of Oregon average rate, our dropout percentage is approximately one-third the state average."

In a statement, Goff attributed the consistent high rate to continued focus on students through their senior years, an outstanding classified and teaching staff, and the high level of support from the Philomath community.

“Keeping our graduation rate above 85 percent is an achievement for our schools, but we acknowledge there is still work to be done,” Goff said. “Our vision includes the word ‘every’ for a reason, and our team will not be satisfied until we successfully transition each of our students into their next step after high school.”

However, she did point to gaps for certain student populations as areas that need work, including students dealing with poverty and students with special needs.

“As we universally design our teaching strategies to meet the needs of diverse learners, we anticipate seeing our gaps diminish and our graduation and completion rates continuing to grow,” she said.

Much of the county’s improved rate is due to an improved graduation rate in the Corvallis School District, which had more than 75 percent of the county's cohort of fourth-year high school students in 2016-17.

Kings Valley Charter School, with a graduating class of nine students, had an on-time graduation rate of just over 69 percent in 2016-17, down from 88 percent the previous year.

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