High School Success is a fund initiated by ballot Measure 98 in November 2016. The measure passed with 65% voter support, and allowed the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) to disperse $170 million total, per biennium, among districts and charter schools that serve students in grade 9 through grade 12.
During the first year of implementation (2017-2018), 255 school districts and charter schools throughout the state of Oregon received the first allocation from the High School Success fund.
The spirit of the measure was to provide funding to establish or expand programs in three specific areas:
• Dropout Prevention
• Career & Technical Education
• College Level Education Opportunities
Additionally, it is important to recognize that written inside the measure is how ODE is to evaluate the program. The intent of High School Success is to:
• Improve student progress toward graduation beginning with grade 9
• Increase the graduation rates of high schools
• Improve high school graduates’ readiness for college and career
In order to meet the high expectations of the measure, certain eligibility requirements were established. The eligibility requirements are:
• Teacher Collaboration Time around Data
• Practices to Reduce Chronic Absenteeism
• Equitable Assignment to Advanced Courses
• Systems Ensuring On-time Graduation
Research suggests that having these structures in place will aid in increasing graduation rates, and ensuring high school graduates are ready for their next step. Furthermore, providing time for teachers to look at specific student data, and use that data to inform decisions, will increase the chances that a student has to be on-track to graduate in four years by the end of grade 9.
All areas of eligibility must be fully in place by the end of the 2020-2021 school year.
Equity & High School Success
Creating a culture of equity requires monitoring, encouragement, resources, data, and opportunity. The equity lens will confirm the importance of recognizing institutional and systemic barriers and discriminatory practices that have limited access for many students in the Oregon education system. The equity lens emphasizes underserved students, such as out of school youth, English Language Learners, and students in some communities of color and some rural geographical locations, with a particular focus on racial equity. The result of creating a culture of equity will focus on the outcomes of academic proficiency, civic awareness, workplace literacy, and personal integrity. The system outcomes will focus on resource allocations, overall investments, hiring and professional learning.
Districts utilized an equity lens as they drafted a plan for High School Success. The purpose of the equity lens is to clearly articulate the shared goals we have for our state, the intentional investments we will make to reach our goals of an equitable educational system, and to create clear accountability structures to ensure that we are actively making progress and correcting where there is not progress. High School Success is no exception. Some questions that they asked during the planning process were:
• Who are the racial/ethnic and underserved groups affected? What is the potential impact of the resource allocation and strategic investment to these groups?
• Does the decision being made ignore or worsen existing disparities or produce other unintended consequences? What is the impact on eliminating the opportunity gap?
• How does the investment or resource allocation advance the 40/40/20 goal?
• What are the barriers to more equitable outcomes? (e.g. mandated, political, emotional, financial, programmatic or managerial)
• How have you intentionally involved stakeholders who are also members of the communities affected by the strategic investment or resource allocation?
• How will you modify or enhance your strategies to ensure each learner and communities’ individual and cultural needs are met?
• How are you collecting data on race, ethnicity, and native language?
• What resources are you allocating for training in cultural responsive instruction?
For more information on equity in Oregon's education system, please see the Education Equity Webpage.