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North Medford High School achieves highest grad rate in Southern Oregon

NMHS (KTVL)

The Medford School District is focusing on "one student at a time", and it seems to be working.

The MSD held a press conference Thursday at North Medford High School, where district directors and principals discussed the district's 78% high school graduation rate, which is a one percent increase from last year.

North Medford High School's graduation rate has risen to 90%, an unprecedented achievement for the school, placing them at the very top of the list of schools in the Rogue Valley with the highest graduation rates.

"This gain of 6.5 percentage points is something that we did on purpose," says NMHS principal Dan Smith. "It's not by accident."

The district points their achievement to a number of factors, including:

  • The expansion of the 'Pathway' program
  • More college and mental health counselors
  • Providing a successful career technical education (CTE) path.
  • Freshman tracking
  • Robust mentoring program for at-risk learners; Co-teaching
  • The district is also paying for students to take classes at community colleges.

"Instead of going to college and studying one thing for four years, we have to start training kids to learn a lot of things over the next 40 years," says Kevin Campbell, the Director of Secondary Achievement at the Medford School District.

Lourdes Lomedico, a senior at NMHS, was low on credits. The school set her up with online classes to help her get ahead while in the child development pathways program.

"It was a big challenge for me to step out of my comfort zone," Lomedico says.

Lomedico says working online and participating in the program has been a good challenge, but she would still like an actual hands-on-instructor for her online classes. She also says although the school has suitable counselors, she wishes there were more support.

"We need more counselors, so I think that if we had more, [they would] be able to help more children individually instead of holding off on one student and going to another," Lomedico says.

The process to achieve high success rates in schools is not easy, but MSD emphasizes that the practices currently in place are working.

"Now we have to get really fine-tuned," Donnie Fraizer, principal of South Medford High School says. "We're going to try to increase the level of connection to what you're doing after high school to what you're doing in high school."

South Medford High School's graduation rate is at 83%, which Fraizer says is slightly lower but consistent with the school's annual rates.

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