David Douglas High School, the largest high school in the state, where 75 percent of students are on free/reduced lunch, continues to impress.
Last month, David Douglas won a national award for its music program. And now they've won an award for graduating way more kids than demographics would predict.
In the recently released Diploma Counts 2010, David Douglas is credited with a graduation rate of 83 percent. Using national averages and demographic data, Education Week calculated that a large, urban school similar to David Douglas would have a graduation rate of about 63 percent.
That means David Douglas graduates students at a 20 percent higher rate than demographics and other statistical data would predict. As a result, Education Week named David Douglas one of only 21 schools in the nation as an “overachiever” school.
In contrast, Portland Public Schools' graduation rates dropped to 53 percent this year. Portland Public Schools have 45 percent of students on free and reduced lunch.
What is it that makes David Douglas so successful? Is it the personal connections? The proximity to the yuppies in downtown Portland? The school board members that have been there since the schools had a wealthier, less diverse population?
Whatever it is, congrats, David Douglas—I'm glad to see a program that works.