Umatilla High School not only raised its graduation rate from a year ago, but it also exceeded the state average by nearly 10 percentage points.
Data released by the Oregon Department of Education shows the UHS graduation rate for 2021-22 at 90.53 percent compared to last year’s rate of 81.1 percent. The 2021-22 state average is 81.3 percent.
Umatilla School District Superintendent Heidi Sipe said the class of 2022 had a challenging high school experience with multiple coronavirus pandemic-related “learning interruptions,” but credited her staff and the community for helping the class of 2022 persevere and exceed the state four-year graduation average in every student category.
Sipe said the strength of bilingual education, and strong English Language Learning programs helped yield results of over 12 percent higher than the state average for Migrant, Hispanic/Latino and Underserved Races/Ethnicities.
Sipe credited UHS Principal Bob Lorence and his staff for maintaining high standards and increasing support systems.
Students attended the STEAM Academy After-School program for tutoring and summer school opportunities to make up for lost learning time. Sipe said the staff also worked with students and families on alternative schedules to assist students with employment needs during their high school years, so families were not forced to choose between income and education.
“Umatilla has high expectations for students but believes in providing a strong network of support for students,” said Sipe. “It is exciting to see these results as they highlight the intense amount of work that has gone on over the past few years to locate students who had disengaged from school during the pandemic, re-enroll, and get back on track.”