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About East Oregonian : E.O. (Pendleton, OR) 1888-current | View Entire Issue (Jan. 25, 2018)
OFF PAGE ONE
Thursday, January 25, 2018
PENDLETON: Nixyaawii’s four-year
graduation rate fell to 42.1 percent last year
MAKAD: Hasn’t started
work on the land yet
Continued from 1A
Continued from 1A
Yoshioka expanded the scope
further, saying district staff as far
back as kindergarten and first grade
deserve credit for a strong class of
The district’s other two high
schools — Hawthorne Alternative
High School and Nixyaawii Commu-
nity School — weren’t nearly as
After graduating 88.2 percent of
their students in 2015-2016, Nixy-
aawii’s rate fell to 42.11 last year,
although its five-year completer rate,
a metric that includes students who
received a diploma or GED within
a year after their targeted graduation
date, was a much more respectable
Hawthorne, a school for students
who have trouble learning in a tradi-
tional setting, saw a modest rise from
27.6 percent in 2015-2016 to 30.8
percent in 2016-2017.
Yoshioka acknowledged the gap
between schools and said district offi-
cials will have to focus on Hawthorne
to raise the district-wide rate above
the low 80s.
Greenough, who also serves as
the principal of Hawthorne, said
counselors will need to hone in on
Hawthorne students and their needs.
District administrators will have
less direct influence over Nixy-
aawii, a charter school with its own
governing board — a “district within
a district” — as Yoshioka called it.
How Nixyaawii performs is
important to the district’s overall
graduate rate for American Indian
the lease, which was supposed
to start Aug. 31, 2016. In
November 2016, the city and
Makad announced that the lease
start date would be pushed back
to Dec. 31, 2017.
Corbett declined to talk about
the status of the data center
project, referring questions to
When an email inquiring
about the project was sent to
Tawni Camarillo, Makad vice
president of operations, Allan
Fulsher, general counsel and vice
president for Makad, responded.
“Progress continues to be
made on the proposed data
center,” he wrote. “When CyDat
is prepared to announce any
significant milestones in the
development, you will receive
a press release making that
Corbett said Makad hasn’t
EO file photo
Graduates of the Pendleton High School class of 2015 toss their
hats into the air at the conclusion of their graduation ceremony at
the Pendleton Round-Up Grounds.
students, which was 53.6 percent,
more than 5.5 points below the state
While Pendleton High School
graduated nine out of 10 tribal
students, Hawthorne only graduated
one out of four and Nixyaawii five
out of 14.
Nixyaawii Principal Ryan Hein-
rich said the class of 2016 mostly
stuck together and graduated while
the class of 2017 was more transient.
Students would enroll for a few weeks
or months before dropping out.
Those students would go on to
leave the state, become parents or
join the workforce, but they wouldn’t
re-enroll at Nixyaawii or another
Heinrich said this year is already
different because an enrollment surge
means Nixyaawii isn’t able to accept
any middle-of-the-year enrollees.
In response to the poor graduation
rate and the increase in students,
Heinrich said the school made two
support staff full-time and added a
part-time certified position.
Other measures Nixyaawii took
to improve graduation include
extending summer school, adding
a study hall period and issuing a
student survey to see what they want
to see improved.
Contact Antonio Sierra at
HERMISTON: 14 students in this year’s dropout
data had been with the district since kindergarten
Continued from 1A
rates between the two years were
roughly the same — with a 65.82
percent rate for 2016-2017, and
65.68 percent for the previous year.
Those rates include students who
take classes online.
Interim superintendent Tricia
Mooney said many students from
surrounding areas come to Herm-
iston to earn a GED, which counts as
a completion but not a graduation.
“We know that counts against our
graduation rate, but we feel it’s the
right thing to do,” she said.
Mooney and Spoo both said they
are trying to focus on improving the
graduation rate over the long term.
“It takes several years to see the
results of what we are doing,” Spoo
said. He pointed to the newly-hired
graduation coach, Omar Medina,
who works with students, mostly
freshmen and sophomores, to help
them get back on track.
Spoo said he and assistant
principal Scott Depew also meet
one-on-one with struggling juniors
and seniors, checking in with them
regularly to help them get back on
“Research shows that once you
bring an administrator in, there’s a
little more of an impact, a sense of
urgency,” he said.
Hermiston’s dropout rate is also
nearly two points higher than the
state average — 5.6 percent to the
state’s 3.8 percent. Spoo said the
district hopes to study those numbers
further, but said there were some
challenges with dropouts.
“The district will make phone
calls and try to get those kids to come
back in,” he said. “We don’t have a
lot of control over that. Those habits
have already been created — and
that’s a frustration for us.”
But he said if they can get strug-
gling students to complete a GED or a
five-year diploma, they’ll attempt to.
“I think that’s one of the things [Principal] Bob
Lorence provides really well at the high school.
He follows through, and makes sure students are
meeting those expectations.”
— Heidi Sipe, Umatilla School District Superintendent
“Walking out the door with
nothing shouldn’t be an option,” he
Mooney said she examined the
dropout data to figure out where
those students were going. Many of
the students included in the dropout
data were those who had moved, or
students who came to Hermiston
late in their educational careers. But,
she said, 14 students in this year’s
dropout data had been with the
district since kindergarten.
“We need to figure out how to do
a better job with them,” she said.
Other schools in the area attributed
their rates to continued efforts at all
levels of schooling.
Umatilla School District saw a
jump of nearly 10 points in the rate
of its four-year cohort, with a gradu-
ation rate of 81.7 percent. Last year’s
rate was 72.2 percent.
Superintendent Heidi Sipe cred-
ited staff members’ commitment to
following through with students.
“I think that’s one of the things
[Principal] Bob Lorence provides
really well at the high school,”
Sipe said. “He follows through, and
makes sure students are meeting
those expectations. When he first
started, the kids weren’t very thrilled
about the level of expectation
and accountability. But kids need
She said Umatilla High School
staff have been diligent about
checking in with struggling students.
They also have benefited from
resources from the InterMountain
Educational Service District.
“There are a host of services
through the ESD at the K-12 level,
which are essential to our collective
success as a region,” she said.
She cited monthly meetings
between all the superintendents in
the ESD, where they share ideas and
discuss things that are successful for
their respective schools.
Another opportunity, she said, is
the ESD’s migrant summer school
program, which she said Umatilla
has expanded to all students.
IMESD Superintendent Mark
Mulvihill also praised the collabo-
ration between the ESD and specific
He said he was especially happy
with the growth in Milton-Freewater
and Umatilla school districts.
“Those are both high-poverty
areas,” he said. “One thing we’ve
done well to help kids get to the finish
line is to have an adult advocate for
He said having adults work with
kids to develop a plan, and identi-
fying groups of students vulnerable
to dropping out, have been some
“We’ve gotten better at under-
standing how vulnerable high school
freshmen are, and boys especially,”
Mulvihill said the success was the
result of years of work.
He said in order to raise gradua-
tion rates even further, he wanted to
see increased mental health services
to students and families.
“I believe if we’re going to go
from the mid-80s to a 90 percent
graduation rate, that’s the area we
need to focus on,” he said.
started work on the land yet, but
he’s still confident the project
will move forward. Although the
city has already made infrastruc-
ture investments at the property,
Corbett said they can serve
future industrial projects even if
the data center falls through.
Makad has a spotty project
development record in Eastern
Although Makad developed
the River Lodge and Grill in
Boardman, its plans to build
an ethanol plant and a fertilizer
plant at the Port of Morrow in
the early 2000s never got off the
ground. Another port project — a
31-megawatt power plant —
operated for a short time before it
got wrapped up in a lawsuit with
a partnering company. It was
eventually shuttered and sold.
Contact Antonio Sierra at
HART: Fewer people
using the city-subsidized
taxi tickets for seniors
Continued from 1A
manager Mark Morgan had told
the East Oregonian in March
2017 he expected ridership to
grow to 600 people per month
Morgan said Wednesday that
routing was “a challenge” during
the first nine months of the year
but he expects to see the ridership
curve hit its stride now that the
faster route is in place.
“We hope more people will
realize it is a good, usable system
that they can utilize,” he said.
When the HART first began in
January 2017, it made four loops
per day through town, stopping
about 30 times each loop. In
October a new schedule was
adopted that pruned the number
of stops to 20 with six passes per
day. Following feedback from
riders who complained having
to wait too long for the bus to
pick them up, the route was
also changed from a continuous
loop in one direction to one
that reversed direction after
every stop at Hermiston Plaza.
Johnson said before there was
about an hour and fifteen minute
wait between each time the
bus stopped at a location. Now
there are some waits that are as
short as 20 minutes and others
that stretch almost two hours,
allowing people to plan short or
long errands and appointments
“We try and have a little bit of
time in the schedule for every-
body,” she said.
The city started an online
October, and has given printed
advertising and bus schedules
to the Umatilla County Housing
Authority, which has agreed to
disseminate the information to
residents of their properties. The
hospital’s Healthy Communities
Coalition has also been helping
spread the word. Johnson said
bus dispatcher Katherine Palmer
participated in the Third Annual
Special Education Linkage Fair
put on by Hermiston School
District and will be attending
similar events in the future to
help explain the HART to poten-
stops have been at Hermiston
Plaza, Walmart, and Southeast
Columbia Drive located near the
Stafford Hansell Government
Center, Eastern Oregon Higher
Education Center and Depart-
ment of Human Services. Other
frequently-used stops include the
corner of Southwest Third Street
and Orchard Avenue across from
the post office, Southwest 10th
Street and Orchard near Victory
Square Park, and Fiesta Foods.
“It’s nice that we’re able to go
to three grocery stores,” Johnson
Near the end of 2017 the
city purchased some surplus
Plexiglas bus shelters and this
week installed one at the Third
and Orchard stop, which is also
where Kayak Public Transit’s
Hermiston Hopper picks up
riders to transport them to
Stanfield and Pendleton. Morgan
said other possible future loca-
tions for permanent shelters
include Victory Square Park and
Johnson said the CTUIR
has also applied for a grant to
purchase a larger bus, in antici-
pation that ridership will grow in
Morgan said the city’s contract
with the CTUIR is for $150,000
per year no matter the ridership,
so ridership patterns for 2017
didn’t affect the city’s costs. One
way the city might save money is
if the free bus service results in
fewer people using the city-sub-
sidized taxi tickets for senior and
disabled riders. Morgan said taxi
tickets were down from 17,730 in
2016 to 17,502 in 2017 — a rela-
tively small drop, but at a level he
had expected because many bus
riders wouldn’t have qualified for
the taxi tickets. He said, however,
that since the HART started he
had stopped getting complaints
from taxi ticket users who said no
taxis were available when they
called for one.
A schedule for the HART
can be found online at ctuir.org/
hermiston-hart and a dispatcher
is available from 4 a.m. to 8:30
p.m. Monday through Friday at
541-429-7519 to answer ques-
Contact Jade McDowell at
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