School Budget, Graduation Rates: School Board Meeting, 01/28/13 (by Guest Blogger Nicole Lipton)

Note 1: In UNST 421: Enhancing Youth Literacy, students are required to independently seek out and attend/participate in one other civic engagement opportunity beyond their assigned volunteer positions in the course.  They will be reporting out on the community meetings, discussions, and rallies they attend here in the “Civic Engagement Chronicles.”

Note 2: Do a little pre-reading about the recent report on PPS high school graduation rates.  

Nicole1For my Independent Act of Civic Engagement I went to a PPS school board meeting. It was on Monday January 28 from 6 to 9:30pm. First they introduced everyone on the board and then went right into it. After the student testimony and student representative’s report they went into the first reading which talked about uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance coverage and personal injury protection coverage policy. Then the board went on to capital bond overview, the compact report.  Next, they talked about the budget for this school year as well as the Jefferson PK-8 Enrollment Balancing Discussion. This was particularly interesting.  They talked about the graduation rates and which schools need to be focused on to get the rates back up.

This is what the school board said: “As a state and a district we have put our stake in the ground around three key targets. This team proposes the following ambitious goals for these three key metrics:

  1. PPS is fully committed to Oregon’s goal that 100% of students have completed high school by 2025. This committee recommends that we accelerate that target and have 100% of this year’s 8th graders completing high school or the equivalent in 5 years. The State’s 40/40/20 goal is that:
  • 40% of adult Oregonians have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher
  • 40% of adult Oregonians have earned an associate’s degree or postsecondary credential as their highest level of educational attainment; and
  • 20 percent of all adult Oregonians have earned at least a high school diploma, an extended or modified high school diploma, or the equivalent of a high school diploma as their highest level of educational attainment.

2.  9th Grade Credits Earned: previously the PPS “10th Grade on Track to Graduate” milestone. As the Connected by 25 research demonstrated, students who were able to earn a quarter of their grades by the time they entered 10th grade were more likely to graduate. This important metric has been a key milestone focus for the last four years. This committee recommends that we continue emphasizing this important target with a 5% point increase and 5% point narrowing of the achievement/opportunity gap.

3.  Third grade reading to learn. This committee recommends aligning with the current district goal of having 100% this year’s Kindergartners (the class of 2025) reading to learn by third grade, the 2015‐16 school year.”

“Our graduation rate has increased by 9 percentage points in 3 years (from 53% to 62%) and the largest gap between white students and students of color decreased by 11% points. Last year in reading, we increased from 71% to 77% of all third graders reading to learn and the gap decreased by 4% points.”
Nicole2Then they talked about the recommendations for achievement compact targets. They talked about college and readiness outcomes, about the 3rd grade reading proficiency and that their goal for 2015 is to have 100% of all third graders reading to learn.  They also mentioned 5th and 8th grade math proficiency and the methods to go about helping to decrease the students who aren’t proficient.

Here is a site that has a great amount of information on the Portland Public Schools Multilingual & Multicultural Center

After attending the school board meeting I was really excited and enthusiastic about the changes and predictions that were being talked about. I felt like, as a past student, that a lot of the ideas they were coming up with were on track. They didn’t talk about budgets in this meeting but I wish they had because I always have an opinion on that. 🙂 However, I always feel a little apprehensive when it comes to “goals” set out by the school board. Goals are always a good idea at the start but things always seem to fall by the wayside… especially when it comes to graduation rates. That is a very hard thing to manage and it isn’t always a problem with attending school/many absences. A lot of times there are problems at home, etc. I don’t want to be negative, but I wouldn’t want people to get over-excited for something that doesn’t happen.
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One thought on “School Budget, Graduation Rates: School Board Meeting, 01/28/13 (by Guest Blogger Nicole Lipton)

  1. FYI – You have two number 1’s. But a good read and the supporting stats make for a positive future outlook. But how did they turn it around? What are they doing different now to have such a good impact on results?

    I would love to forward innovative ideas to our school board.

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