Goals of the High School Success Plan
The law creating the High School Success fund states moneys from the High School Success fund should “improve students’ progress toward graduation beginning with grade 9, increase the graduation rates of high schools and improve high school graduates’ readiness for college or career.”
The law calls out specific eligibility requirements and includes three programmatic areas where services should be provided: 1) career and technical education, 2) college-level opportunities, and 3) dropout prevention. It is important to note that implementation of programs in these areas is not the goal of the bill but are means to the end of improving high school completion rates and college and career readiness.
Districts and charter schools receiving High School Success Fund moneys are required to submit plans for approval by the Oregon Department of Education (ODE). The first of these plans is due to ODE by January 31, 2018. Subsequent plans are due by January 31st of each odd numbered year beginning on January 31, 2019 and continuing for the life of the program. The plan must address the four-year vision to improve high school engagement and completion and college and career readiness. The initial plan can be limited to just 3 years if that is more accommodating to the needs of the grant recipient.
The Equity Lens
Oregon's Chief Education Office has developed and propagated the concept of the Equity Lens described in a document available on the ODE website. This will be at the forefront of reviewer’s minds as they evaluate plans. As indicated by the Goals of High School Success above, the plan should target improvement of freshman on-track rates, graduation rates, and college and career readiness among other outcomes for students.
The work of improving outcomes for students cannot be limited to those students who are currently succeeding but must be extended to include those who are more challenged in our systems. This work is about a reform or revision of our current system. It may require reenvisioning these systems significantly. Plans that do not include a clear intent to address the needs of students who may be marginalized by current practices within the education system and who are identified either in your local self-assessment or through data available to reviewers will not be approved without revision.
High School Success is intended to include everyone in your schools and to create and maintain a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere. This will not be enough to make real change, however. The needed change will demand a review of and changes to services for students who have traditionally been underserved by Oregon’s education systems. This should be identified through your self-assessment and should be clearly called out or observable in your planned outcomes and activities.