• Graduation rates in PPS rise to 80.5% for 2018-19 school year

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     Graduation collage

    (Photos by Beth Conyers)

    Graduation rates in Portland Public Schools rose to 80.5% for the 2018-19 school year, reaching the district's highest percentage since the state of Oregon adopted a four-year cohort model in 2010.

    Statewide graduation numbers were released Thursday by the Oregon Department of Education, and PPS’s overall rate increased for the 10th year in a row. The rate continued a dramatic upward trend from 2009-10, when the district’s rate was 53.5%.

    “I believe these improved outcomes are a testament to the collective effort of our students, educators and community partners,” Superintendent Guadalupe Guerrero said. “We have been intentional about our commitment to better support all of our students, while placing a special emphasis on our historically underserved students.”

    African American, Multi-racial and Latinx students all had graduation rates between 72.3 and 72.6%, continuing an upward trend in the last three years. Among the trends:

    • Latinx students have had a 7.1 percentage point increase.
    • Multi-racial students have had a 5.8 percentage point gain.
    • African American students have posted a 4.9 percentage point increase.
    • Native American/Alaska Native students had a 23.7 percentage point gain.
    • White students have had a 4.6 percentage point gain.

    In 2010, Oregon switched to a four-year cohort model that considers students to be on-time graduates if they earn a regular or modified diploma within four years of entering high school. PPS has used several programs to help graduation rates continue to increase.

    In 2017-18, PPS deployed a high school strategic plan that emphasized supporting freshmen, including a focus on credit acquisition, which serves as a key building block in overall high school success. The district also established Student Success Teams at all high schools, consisting of three to four teachers and counselors who collaborate with a set group of ninth-graders during the school year.

    “This type of student support has changed the game,” said Joe LaFountaine, Regional Superintendent who oversees high schools. “It is an example of how targeted resources and strategic work can help us reduce disparities among student groups.”

    Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs also play an important role in PPS student success. Data shows that students taking more than two courses in CTE programs have a much higher rate of graduation.

    “We have had a huge increase in Career and Technical Education programs and have exceeded our goals for students who complete two or more CTE courses,” said Dr. Russell Brown, Chief of System Performance. “And PPS has more students taking Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and dual language classes than most other schools nationally.”

    Portland Public Schools’ graduation rate was ahead of the overall rate for the state for the fourth year in a row.

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