Words by Tess Becker
The pandemic affected all facets of life, and one of the hardest hit was education. Since many kids were forced out of classrooms and into online learning, a lot of their progress slipped and we’re starting to see those effects.
To address kids falling behind, schools have put concerted efforts into improving the quality of their education and their graduation rates. This is happening especially in some regions of Oregon.
Following a decline in 2021, graduation rates in Oregon were up across the board in 2022, and some regions did even better.
In Salem-Keizer, Lincoln County, and Portland Public Schools there were efforts to improve graduation for students who are Black, Native American, experiencing homelessness, or part of a migrant education program.
In Salem-Keizer, for example, there was a 10-point jump in the graduation rate for migrant students from the previous year. This has been attributed to officials working on building meaningful connections with the students.
“I didn’t get much contact with my own migrant specialist,” the administrative assistant for the district’s Migrant Education program, Griselda Hernandez said.
“So when I started working with the migrant program, I wanted to make sure that every single student was met. We need to talk to and reach out to every single migrant student to make sure that all their needs are met.”
This is a blueprint for how graduation efforts have improved for other communities. People in positions of authority are taking the time and making the effort to understand the needs of students, especially the students already slipping into the margins. What ends up happening is the students feel heard and respected and succeed in school.