It’s only two months into the 2018-2019 school year but South Lane School District already has its report card.
The Oregon Department of Education released the annual report on Wednesday, which details everything from teacher turnover to state test scores for every school in the state.
South Lane School District’s 10 schools fell below state standards and averages in several categories across the board but the shortcomings adhered closely to trends found across the state and the district managed to buck trends that have plagued the Oregon school system in recent years.
Chronic absenteeism—defined as missing more than 10 percent of school days--has been a source of concern for districts around the state. However, according to the 2018 state school report card, South Lane Schools have improved their attendance rate. Regular attenders, meaning students who attend more than 90 percent of the days they’re enrolled in school, increased or remained the same across South Lane including Al Kennedy High School, the district’s alternative high school that has experienced high rates of absenteeism in the past. This year’s rate places regular attenders at Kennedy at 44 percent, up 13 percent from last year. Cottage Grove High School’s regular attenders rate was 84 percent, up 10 percent from last year. The state average is 80 percent.
During a previous conversation surrounding the successes at Cottage Grove High School, principal Mike Ingman said the school had strived to improve attendance by increasing opportunity for school spirit, saying kids who wanted to be in school, came to school. Cottage Grove High School has increased the number of clubs it offers and has altered its schedule to allow for more undisturbed instruction time.
And, it seems to be working. Cottage Grove High School, according to the state report card, shows an increase of 2 percent in on-time graduations, placing the overall rate at 96 percent. The rate is well above the state’s rate of 77 percent. The school’s on-track to graduate rate (students earning one-quarter of graduation credits as freshman) is also up this year—by 2 percent—to 87 percent, beating out the state average of 85 percent.
Kennedy, which underwent a move in 2017 and received updated classrooms this year, also saw an increase in its on-time graduation rate which sits at 20 percent. That rate is up 3 percent from the previous year. The school's five-year graduation rate is also up, coming in at 51 percent. And while both on-time and the five-year graduation rate fall well below the 77 percent statewide average, students at Kennedy often enroll in the school already behind in their credits. Something Kennedy administration has indicated can explain the jump in rates between on-time and five-year graduates.
The district's elementary schools fell into the state trend of below than average scores. Harrison, Bohemia, Dorena, Latham and Child's way all fell below the state average in math while London managed a score that was either at or above the state level but was not on track for grade level.
English levels also fell below state levels for all South Lane School District school except for Cottage Grove High School which met the state target. London also did not fall below the state average but did not score as on track in English.
South Lane School District has undergone several changes and challenges since 2016 including the undertaking of a $35 million bond to construct the new Harrison Elementary School, the remodel of the community pool and a new superintendent, Dr. Sullivan, who recently extended his year-long stay to another year.
To view the individual reports cards of each school in the South Lane School District, go to: https://www.ode.state.or.us/data/reportcard/reports.aspx.