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Fewer students on track to graduate after pandemic setbacks

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Nate Neuschwander picks up papers while teaching a South Albany AP Government class for seniors. The state has seen a drop of 12% in those on track for graduation after ninth grade.

The Oregon Department of Education released its annual At-A-Glance School and District Profiles Thursday morning, which showed a 12% decline in ninth-graders who are on-track to graduate.

School districts in the mid-Willamette Valley mostly reflected this statewide trend, but figures for on-time graduations — students who received diplomas in four years — did not seem to be affected. 

Central Linn and Alsea school districts were the only two districts in Linn and Benton counties to have a higher ninth grade on-track to graduation rate this year than in 2018-19.

Students are on-track to graduate when they have completed a quarter of their graduation credits by the end of ninth grade. The Oregon average for on-track to graduation was 74%. The Oregon average for on-time graduation was 83%. 

A decline in on-track graduation rates was expected as students are returning to full-time, in-person learning. 

Another key takeaway from the statewide release are a 9.5% increase in the numbers of employed counselors and psychologists.

Some data is presented separately this year compared to how it was in years prior, such as participation and attendance rates. Attendance, and thus participation, were at a much lower rate than usual while students were learning virtually during the pandemic.

Statewide assessments were suspended in 2019-20 due to the pandemic, so comparisons to last year are unavailable. Some pre-COVID comparisons will be provided instead, to the 2018-19 school year. 

Here is a summary of the data for twelve school districts in the mid-Willamette Valley. 

Greater Albany Public Schools

  • 67% of ninth grade students were track to graduate. In 2018-19, that number was 79%.

  • 87% of students earned a high school diploma in four years.

  • Of 8,943 students enrolled and 466 teachers, 68% of students and 92% of teachers were white. The next largest demographic in the district was Hispanic/Latino, with 22% of students and 6% of teachers identifying as such.

  • At South Albany High School, 64% of ninth graders were on track to graduate, and 89% of students will graduated on time. Fifty-nine percent of students went to college.

  • At West Albany High School, 74% of ninth graders were on track to graduate, and 96% of students graduated on time. Sixty-nine percent of students went to college.

Corvallis School District

  • 79% of ninth grade students were on track to graduate. In 2018-19, that number was 93%.

  • 90% of students earned a high school diploma in four years.

  • Of 6,378 students enrolled and 347 teachers, 66% of students and 85% of teachers were white. The next largest demographic in the district was Hispanic/Latino, with 18% of students and 11% of teachers identifying as such.

  • At Corvallis High School, 83% of ninth graders were on track to graduate, and 93% of students graduated on time. Seventy-six percent of students went to college.

  • At Crescent Valley High School, 75% of ninth graders were on track to graduate, and 88% of students graduated on time. Eighty-one percent of students went to college.

Lebanon School District

  • 53% of ninth grade students were on track to graduate. In 2018-19, that number was 76%.

  • 76% of students earned a high school diploma in four years.

  • Of 3,792 students enrolled and 219 teachers, 80% of students and 95% of teachers were white. The next largest demographic in the district was Hispanic/Latino, with 11% of students and 2% of teachers identifying as such.

Sweet Home School District

  • 68% of ninth grade students were on track to graduate. In 2018-19, that number was 88%.

  • 88% of students earned a high school diploma in four years.

  • Of 2,170 students enrolled and 123 teachers, 84% of students and 94% of teachers were white. The next largest demographic in the district was Hispanic/Latino, with 7% of students and 5% of teachers identifying as such. Seven percent of students identify as multiracial. 

Philomath School District

  • 74% of ninth grade students were on track to graduate. In 2018-19, that number was 92%.

  • 90% of students earned a high school diploma in four years.

  • Of 1,508 students enrolled and 96 teachers, 83% of students and 98% of teachers were white. The next largest demographic in the district was Hispanic/Latino, with 10% of students and 1% of teachers identifying as such.

Alsea School District

  • 49% of ninth graders were on track to graduate. This is an improvement from 2018-19, when that number was 33%.

  • 39% of students earned a high school diploma in four years.

  • Of 858 students enrolled and 26 teachers, 73% of students and 91% of teachers were white. The next largest demographic in the district was Hispanic/Latino, with 14% of students identifying as such. Ten percent of students and 6% of teachers identify as multiracial. 

Monroe School District

  • 77% of ninth graders were on track to graduate. In 2018-19, that number was 93%.

  • 90% of students earned a high school diploma in four years.

  • Of 357 students enrolled and 24 teachers, 69% of students and 90% of teachers were white. The next largest demographic in the district was Hispanic/Latino, with 27% of students and 7% of teachers identifying as such. 

Harrisburg School District

  • 70% of ninth graders were on track to graduate. In 2018-19, that number was 95%.

  • 90% of students earned a high school diploma in four years.

  • Of 715 students enrolled and 49 teachers, 81% of students and 86% of teachers were white. The next largest demographic was Hispanic/Latino, with 13% of students and 6% of teachers identifying as such. 

Central Linn School District

  • 79% of ninth graders were on track to graduate. This is an improvement from 2018-19, when that number was 60%.

  • 63% of students earned a high school diploma in four years.

  • Of 570 students enrolled and 37 teachers, 80% of students and 93% of teachers were white. The next largest demographic was Hispanic/Latino, with 14% of students and 5% of teachers identifying as such.

Scio School District

  • 81% of ninth graders were on track to graduate. In 2018-19, that number was 89%.

  • 79% of students earned a high school diploma in four years.

  • Of 2,547 students enrolled and 96 teachers, 78% of students and 87% of teachers were white. The next largest demographic was Hispanic/Latino, with 11% of students and 3% of teachers identifying as such.

Santiam Canyon School District

  • 59% of ninth graders were on track to graduate. In 2018-19, that number was 61%.

  • 63% of students earned a high school diploma in four years.

  • Of 4,754 students enrolled and 213 teachers, 74% of students and 91% of teachers were white. The next largest demographic was Hispanic/Latino, with 14% of students and 4% of teachers identifying as such. 

Jefferson School District

  • 74% of ninth graders were on track to graduate. In 2018-19, that number was 91%.

  • 93% of students earned a high school diploma in four years.

  • Of 794 students enrolled and 45 teachers, 67% of students and 93% of teachers were white. The next largest demographic in the district was Hispanic/Latino, with 27% of students identifying as such. 

Visit the ODE website for a more detailed breakdown of the data at https://district.ode.state.or.us/home/

Joanna Mann covers education for Mid-Valley Media. She can be contacted at 541-812-6076 or Joanna.Mann@lee.net. Follow her on Twitter via @joanna_mann_. 

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