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Traditionally students and families have had to fit into existing school systems. There has been a shift to having our education systems fit our students. Building strong equitable systems that support individual learning and growth will lead to improved graduation rates. If you would like to tell us about your school's experience using any of these elements or strategies, click on the Your Story button!
Building a system for collecting and analyzing a variety of data –beyond test scores--- to identify students before they fall behind and discover root causes of emerging problems is a critical element to improving graduation outcomes. Quality data systems can be used to engage each student and his or her support system as partners in ensuring the student graduates ready for college and career. This occurs by providing real time information about the student’s attendance as well as showing whether the student has received disciplinary action for poor behavior and how the student is doing in his or her courses. It is essential to build and time and training to effectively use data within the school.
Students are more engaged when they see the relevance of their time in school. Students need to have time to explore their strengths and interests and career opportunities. In Oregon, it is our goal that every student will graduate with a plan. Our diploma requires a student to build an education plan and profile each year starting in 7th grade with the support of an adult. This plan should highlight a student's strengths, help the student set goals and outline a path they can take to meet those goals. Strong career exploration and guidance and clear pathways that provide career training are critical to improving graduation.
Students are most at risk during the transition points in education. Successful transition experiences include nurturing relationships, high-quality learning programs and developmentally appropriate supports. These serve as the foundational building blocks for later educational and life outcomes. Oregon continues to work on creating our seamless education system by encouraging and investing in partnerships. The most successful programs approach transition support from a variety of stakeholders, students, teachers, families, and community organizations. Structures that support a student’s sense of belonging in the new school and give them the social, academic and emotional supports will be the most effective.
Strong visionary leadership is necessary to improve outcomes for students. Successful school leaders work with community members to create a strategic vision for graduating students and then focus policies and supports to create a plan targeted to ensuring all students have what they need to achieve that vision. Leaders in the schools, districts, tribes, and communities can foster a safe and nurturing climate conducive to learning. Leaders at all levels can ensure that students have the relationships, engagement and supports necessary to succeed. It is important to grow leadership capacity across the state to support this critical work.
The Oregon State Library has compiled the studies presented in each of the strategy papers in a special page on their website.
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