The school board has set an ambitious goal: By 2020–21, 100 percent of Eugene students will earn a diploma within five years. 4J’s success on this measure already is above average for Oregon, but we’re committed to helping all students succeed.
After years of budget cuts, reaching that goal will be a challenge. Our schools have fewer teachers, fewer course sections and larger class sizes, making it harder for students to get the attention they need. At the same time, Oregon’s graduation requirements are increasing, so it takes more for students to earn a diploma.
4J is rising to the challenge. Our strategies include:
- Providing more instructional time for high school students. Students who are in class more are learning more, earning more credits and are more likely to graduate on time. To help students get off to a strong start in high school, we’ve targeted funding to provide a full class schedule for all freshmen. More students in grades 10–12 are also enrolled in a full day of classes. High school schedules have been aligned, and the new common schedule provides students the same or more instructional time than schools’ previous schedules.
- Expanding opportunities for students to stay on track for graduation. Students who fail a class can quickly repeat the class or get remediation so they don’t fall behind in earning credits. Students are given extra assistance, when needed, to meet the new essential skills graduation requirements. AVID, a college readiness program that helps students build skills for high school and college success, has expanded to all four comprehensive high schools and most of our middle schools.
- Strengthening opportunities for students to earn a diploma over five years. We recognize that some students need more time to reach graduation requirements while remaining in their home high school. Other programs, such as ECCO (Early College and Career Options) High School and the 4J ACTS career technical education program, are specifically designed to be fifth-year programs.
- Investing in quality teaching at all school levels. Professional development is focused on building skillful teaching practices districtwide. A new teacher effectiveness and growth system is aimed at helping teachers and principals set annual goals for continually building their teaching skills and effectiveness in the classroom.