4J Graduation Rates Decline

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EUGENE, Ore. — A local school district didn’t fare so well when it comes to graduation rates. Numbers in a new report are disappointing to 4J administrators, parents and students.

While Oregon’s high school graduation rate has improved just slightly from last year, 4J actually saw a 5-percent drop in its numbers. Everyone KEZI 9 News spoke to, from administrators to students to parents, said they were disappointed by the news.

“I’m just surprised that we’re in a lower percentile than I thought we would have been in,” said Sheldon freshman Collin Cruz.

Cruz wasn’t alone in this. Even parents with kids in the private sector were taken aback.

“If you look at some of the public schools around here where I live–Gilham, Sheldon–those are good schools. They have good reputations. They had good dedicated teachers. It surprises me a little that we would have ranked that low,” said parent Jim Menzezes.

Demographically, the district mirrored the state in demographics, such as gender and even economic background, with males and the economically disadvantaged doing poorer than their counterparts. But while the state saw a slight improvement, 4J’s graduation rate dropped five points, sitting at 66.13 percent.

“I’m disappointed and surprised. We’re doing a great deal of work, and clearly we have a lot more work to do,” said Laurie Moses, 4J Director of Secondary Education.

Though their grad rates were low, the district said its cohort graduation rates, as well as their five-year rates, are both higher than the state. But while many are quick to point at funding and school systems as the culprit, even students admit it’s a collaborative effort.

“Students could care more. We need to go actually do our homework, study for tests and do it and not just kind of, ‘Eh, I don’t really want to do this.’ Just kind of get on top of it,” Cruz said.

But folks didn’t let their disappointment keep them down.

“It makes me feel like I should represent the boys and get A’s in every class,” said freshman Caid O’Connor.

If anything, everyone seemed motivated to work even harder.

“These numbers, while they’re uncomfortable to look at, provide more impetus for us to become increasingly more focused on this work, and we’re determined to do so,” said Laurie Moses, 4J Director of Secondary Education.

The data also looked at how ethnic groups did separately. Both at the district level and statewide, white students graduated at a higher percentage than others, beat out only by Asian subgroups.

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