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SILVERTONAPPEAL.COM ❚ WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 31, 2018 ❚ 3A
Oregon graduation rates increase
Salem Statesman Journal
USA TODAY NETWORK
Whether students are graduating in
four or five years, or completing high
school by earning a modified diploma or
GED, the goal is to finish.
And more than 83 percent of Oregon
students are doing that.
But typically, the four-year gradua-
tion rate — students who earn a tradi-
tional diploma in the preferred amount
of time — is used to gauge the success of
a state's education system.
And in that regard, Oregon is still do-
ing poorly — third lowest in the country.
About one in four Oregon high schoolers
will fail to graduate in four years.
But there has been improvement.
The latest numbers from the Oregon
Department of Education, released
Thursday, show a 2-percentage-point
increase from 74.8 percent in 2015-16 to
76.7 percent in 2016-17. This is a marked
improvement from 2008-09 when the
rate was 66.2 percent.
Perhaps the most impressive gains
were made by Hispanic/Latino stu-
dents, who have increased their gradua-
tion rate by 7.6 percentage points in
three years and are graduating at a rate
higher than the statewide average was
three years ago.
Dropout rates, not to be confused
with "non-completers" who may con-
tinue their enrollment, have remained
practically stagnant statewide. At 3.86
percent, this is the lowest dropout rate
the state has seen in five years.
Additionally, this is the first year the
department issued data on the four-
year graduation rate for homeless stu-
dents statewide, coming in at 50.7 per-
State lawmakers and education offi-
cials see graduation rates as one of the
most important issues facing K-12 edu-
cation in the state.
Research shows as long as gradua-
tion rates are below 100 percent, non-
graduates earn less and require more
The latest numbers from the Oregon Department of Education show a 2-percentage-point increase from 74.8 percent in
2015-16 to 76.7 percent in 2016-17. ANNA REED/STATESMAN JOURNAL
social services, costing Oregonians
hundreds of millions of dollars in Medi-
caid, lost tax revenue and incarceration
expenses every year.
The Legislature has instructed the
state education department to reach a
100 percent graduation rate by 2025.
Latino students lead progress
Hispanic/Latino students' four-year
graduation rate reached a high of 72.5
percent in 2016-17.
This is a substantial improvement
from 2011-12 when these students were
graduating at a rate of 59.5 percent.
Other student subgroups, including
Black/African American students, have
seen similar increases, though they
have smaller enrollments.
Roughly 20 percent of the students
calculated in this year's graduation rate
identify as Hispanic/Latino.
This progress is being made at a time
when the state's achievement gap is no-
The gap in four-year graduation rates
between students of historically under-
served races/ethnicities — Black, His-
panic, American Indian/Alaska Native
and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander —
and other students — White, Asian and
multiracial — has been notably wide.
But it has been cut in half over the
last seven years, from more than 18 per-
centage points to less than 9 percentage
Colt Gill, acting superintendent for
the state, said the education depart-
ment has done a better job providing in-
formation to schools on things like
chronic absenteeism that can show ear-
lier when students are getting off track.
Rather than a 'one-size-fits-all' ap-
proach, Gill said the state is looking for
strategies that can address individual
Reaching the finish line
By law, Oregon public schools must
provide schooling for students until
they are 21 years old.
And for some, a little extra time is all
they need to reach the finish line.
Statewide, the graduation rate in-
creases to 78.9 percent for the five-year
cohort. It increases even further if you
include students considered "complet-
Four-year completers had a rate of
80.2 percent in 2016-17 and five-year
completers had a rate of 83.2 percent.
Some students are included in the
five-year rate for simply needing one
additional class to complete their diplo-
ma. Others may need to take another
year or two.
In some states, six- and seven-year
graduation rates are published for this
Students who transfer schools and
students living in poverty are at espe-
cially high risk of dropping out. Gill said
schools are working to bring back stu-
dents who haven't finished and keep
"Our primary hope is (for students to)
graduate in four years of high school,"
Gill said. "But we don't give up on them
if they don't."
399-6745, or follow her on Twitter
@Nataliempate or on Facebook at
Wurstfest comes to
Mt. Angel Feb. 9-10
Special to Salem Statesman Journal
USA TODAY NETWORK
Everyone’s invited to come celebrate
Mt. Angel's German heritage at Wurst-
fest, where attendees will find hand-
crafted German sausages and local and
Wurstfest runs from 10 a.m. to 10
p.m., Feb. 9 and 10. The annual event
features other great food, live German
music, dancing, games and demonstra-
Continued from Page 1A
“It’s clear that we have some signifi-
cant concerns about this project,” Salem
City spokesman Kenny Larson said.
Corps officials stressed they’re in the
early planning phases and will study the
project’s impact on Salem’s water sup-
ply, among other factors, in the coming
A draft decision on the project and
plans are expected around fall 2018 or
winter 2019, while construction would
begin around 2021.
“The Corps values input from the
community and is looking forward to re-
viewing the comments, including from
the city of Salem,” Corps spokesman
Tom Conning said. “All comments will
be used to shape the scope of our analy-
The primary concern expressed by
Salem officials centers on the project’s
impact to water quality and quantity.
Here’s a breakdown of their con-
Foul drinking water
Salem officials worry that warmer-
than-normal water temperatures, and
contaminants from the bottom of De-
troit Lake, could impact Salem’s water
quality during construction.
They pointed to “DDT bound sedi-
ment” being released into the McKenzie
River during construction of a similar
project, at Cougar Reservoir, 10 years
“The city is concerned about the pos-
sible release of contaminants in the silt
at the bottom of the reservoir,” city offi-
In addition, city officials said, low
water in Detroit Lake and Big Cliff Res-
ervoir may lead to high water temper-
atures in the North Santiam. That, in
turn, could lead to water impacted by
toxic algae blooms in city drinking water
Special events include Senior Day for
65 and over, with special giveaways on
Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
So dust off your lederhosen, starch
up your Bavarian dirndl, and join the
happy folk of Mt. Angel for a fun-filled,
two-day celebration of the wurst at the
Admission for guests 21-and-over is
$5, or $10 with specialty stein or glass.
Guests under 21 are free if accompanied
by an adult.
For more information, go to
“Algal blooms can negatively impact
water treatment by clogging filters, pro-
duction of algal toxins and taste and
odor issues …” officials wrote.
City officials are worried construc-
tion also will lead to muddy or “turbid”
water in the North Santiam, impacting
the city’s water filtration process.
They pointed out that construction of
a similar project, at Cougar Reservoir,
created high turbidity on the McKenzie
River for four months.
“The turbid water will dramatically
affect the city’s ability to utilize slow
sand filtration operations … and will
create significant operations chal-
lenges,” the city’s comments said.
Mt. Angel Wurstfest is a celebration of sausages, beer and wine and food with
live music and kids area, plus Feb. 9 senior day lasting until 3 p.m. with specials
for ages 65 and older and a 5K and 10K road race at 9:30 a.m. Feb. 10, 10 a.m. to
10 p.m. Feb. 9-10, Mt. Angel Festhalle. $5 entry or $10 with special mug or glass;
ages 21 and younger free with an adult. ANNA REED/STATESMAN JOURNAL
er flows with increased turbidity in Mill
and Pringle creeks will likely have a neg-
ative effect on water quality by causing
increased steam temperatures, algal
blooms and offensive odors. The city
also is concerned about harmful algal
blooms extending into the various wa-
terbodies within the city parks, which
are fed by North Santiam River source
Shorter construction timeline
Salem officials said they would like
the Corps to consider “alternative con-
struction practices” that minimize ef-
fects on the North Santiam River.
The federal agency said the cheapest
and safest plan is keeping Detroit Lake
almost empty for two full years, fol-
lowed by alternative plans that keep the
lake dry for closer to one year.
But Salem officials suggested a type
of construction that “could reduce the
time period of impact and minimize the
reservoir drawdown level.”
Zach Urness has been an outdoors
writer, photographer and videographer
in Oregon for 10 years. He is the author of
the book “Hiking Southern Oregon” and
can be reached at zurness@Statesman-
Journal.com or (503) 399-6801. Find
him on Twitter at @ZachsORoutdoors.
In order to supply Salem with enough
water to meet normal demands, the
North Santiam River needs to be run-
ning at around 700 to 800 cubic feet per
But with Detroit Lake close to empty
during construction, city officials are
worried there won’t be enough water in
the river, especially in late summer,
leading to potential shortages.
“If this occurs, the city will be unable
to produce enough drinking water to
meet the needs of its community,” offi-
cials wrote. “Salem water customers
may face some level of water curtail-
ment for potentially long periods of
Algae and ‘offensive odors’
Water from the North Santiam is di-
verted into both Mill and Pringle creeks,
which run through Salem.
City officials said lower and more tur-
bid flows from the North Santiam,
passed into the two creeks, could im-
pact Salem’s parks and homes along
Mill and Pringle creeks.
“Many homes and businesses are lo-
cated streamside,” the city wrote. “Low-
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