Clark County’s two largest school districts say their graduation rates are on the rise, with 90 percent of the class of 2020 graduating on time at Vancouver Public Schools and 94 percent at Evergreen Public Schools.
Within Evergreen’s six high schools (Evergreen, Henrietta Lacks, Heritage, Legacy, Mountain View and Union) 1,861 students graduated on time in June 2020. The 94 -percent graduation rate is a marked increase from the 83.7-percent graduation rate in 2015. Legacy, an alternative high school, improved its on-time graduation rate from 69.3 percent to 82.9 percent in one year. At Evergreen High School, 94 percent of seniors graduated on time last June compared with 86.7 percent in 2019.
“As the state has allowed students to demonstrate mastery of a subject in a variety of different assessment options rather than just taking one type of test, more students are finding a path to graduation,” Evergreen High School Principal Daniel Orrantia said in a news release. “We continue to work and support students to ensure we provide the best way for them to succeed.”
District spokeswoman Gail Spolar said schools are rolling out interventions, supports and programs as students enter high school to track their progress toward graduation. Some work starts even earlier in elementary school where educators understand they need to watch for students who struggle early on.
“If we don’t catch it now it’s going to compound,” Spolar said.
Vancouver Public Schools’ on-time graduation rate is estimated at nearly 90 percent, compared with 85.4 percent in 2019 and 80 percent in 2015. More than 1,300 students in the class of 2020 received diplomas.
Fort Vancouver High School’s Center for International Studies, which has about 1,400 total students, showed the biggest year-over-year gain from 75 percent in 2019 to 83 percent in 2020.
The district attributed improved graduation rates to a decade of work focusing on:
- High-quality, standards-based curriculum, instruction and assessment practices.
- Early learning programs and collaboration with early learning providers.
- Upgraded facilities and new technology tools to allow students anytime, anyplace learning.
- Programs of choice providing students with options that allow them to develop their abilities, talents and interests.
- Family engagement and Family-Community Resource Centers that build assets and remove barriers to learning.
- Safe and supportive schools creating cultures of respect and trust.
“The continued increase in on-time graduation is a point of pride for our students, their families, the entire VPS staff and the Vancouver community,” Superintendent Steve Webb said in a news release. “Although senior year for the class of 2020 ended in an unexpected manner, this class came together in ways that are a testament to the graduates’ tenacity and unity. I am proud of them for their grace and courage in this unprecedented time, and I’m grateful to the many families and educators who provided support and guidance along the way.”
Official graduation rates will be certified by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction in 2021.