The school board has set an ambitious goal: By 2020–21, 100 percent of Eugene School District 4J students will complete high school within five years. 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 than in earlier years, making it harder for students to get the individual attention they need. At the same time, Oregon’s graduation requirements have increased, 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. The trimester common schedule implemented in comprehensive high schools in 2012–13 and 2013–14 provides students the same or more instructional time and fuller schedules than high 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. We’ve expanded the AVID college readiness program to all 4J high schools and middle schools to help students build skills for high school and college success.
- Strengthening opportunities for students to earn a diploma over more than four years. We recognize that some students need more time to reach graduation requirements while remaining in their home high school. Other programs, such as the ECCO (Early College and Career Options) Pathways program 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. The district’s 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.