On Thursday, January 24, the Oregon Department of Education released graduation rates for school districts in Oregon. These are 2017-18 graduation rates.
The Pendleton School District’s graduation rate for 2017-2018 was 81%, compared to 83% the year before. This number includes Pendleton High School, Hawthorne High School and Nixya’awii Community School, a charter school. The statewide graduation rate for 2017-18 was 78.1%. Chris Fritsch, district superintendent, said that although PSD’s numbers for 2017-2018 are short of district goals and expectations, the number exceeds the state average and is 10 points above the graduation rate five years ago (71.6% in 2013-2014).
The rate for Pendleton High School (PHS) alone for 2017-18 was 89.7%, also significantly above the state average of 78.1%, although well below the 94.7% in 2016-2017. Fritsch said many factors occurred last year that could have affected the rate, including staffing reductions due to budget constraints that impacted the operation of Hawthorne High School and PHS. “In short, we were trying to maintain the same program delivery system with fewer staff,” Fritsch said.
In response to some of the obstacles encountered last year, the Pendleton School District used Measure 98 funds, or “high school success” funds, to compensate for some impacts from reductions. Fritsch said these corrections in 2018-2019 and the administration’s continued focus on the district strategic plan will have a positive impact moving forward.
Although the PHS graduation rate was down, the 5-year completer rate was up from the prior year to 94.8%. A 5-year completer is a student who did not graduate in four years, but earned either a diploma or GED by the end of their fifth year of high school. The state average for this category was 80%, so PHS’ rate exceeds the state average by almost 15 percentage points.
Lastly, the 9th grade on-track rate was up 8.6 points from the prior year to 87.1%.
“Although our graduation rate is lower, one year is not a trend. We don’t want our community to think something is wrong. We are working to improve and grow at all levels in our schools and remain committed to every student, every day,” Fritsch said.