News for those who live, work and play in the Santiam Canyon

SCSD sees attendance decline in state report

The Santiam Canyon School District (SCSD) is hoping to bring up regular attendance after seeing a decrease for grade schoolers during the last school year.

According to the state’s At-A-Glance reports, published in October, 57 percent of students at Santiam Elementary School attended 90 percent or more of enrolled school days during the 22-23 school year.

This was down from 68 percent the year before, and below the state average of 62 percent.

Regular attendance at Santiam Junior/Senior High School for 22-23 increased one percentage point from the prior year to 53 percent, which was still below the state average.

Superintendent Todd Miller said this trend in attendance is a carryover from the COVID-19 pandemic and distance learning, and is a trend seen across Oregon and nationally. He said it should be a cause for concern as the students not counted as regular attenders are missing more than 16 days of instruction during the school year, and some much more than that.

Santiam Canyon School District

“Since the distance learning stint, it has been difficult getting students and families back to the full routine of school on a regular basis,” said Miller.

The pandemic also resulted in a skills gap for students who have not attended regularly and the district has been working to address this challenge. 

Miller said these efforts are paying off because the elementary school saw a six-point increase in students meeting grade level expectations for English at 33 percent (44 percent statewide).

“We are starting to close the gap,” said Miller, who called the increase “wonderful news.”

Elementary math and science scores each lost one percentage point from the previous year with math at 30% (37% statewide) and science at 20% (31% statewide).  

At the high school, the rate of 9th graders on track to graduate was unchanged from ‘21-’22 at 85% (84% statewide). The number of 12th graders graduating on time increased 8 points from the last year to 81%, same as the state average.

There was a significant decrease in the number of students earning a diploma within five years of high school, which fell 13 points to 79% (87% statewide). The number of graduates who enrolled in college within 16 months of graduating also fell by 11 points to 32% (56% statewide).

Miller noted these graduation statistics were for the class of 2022, and the graduation rate for the class of 2023 was nearly 100%.

Enrollment between the two schools rose to 564 students, up from 530 students the year before. This was still slightly less than pre-pandemic enrollment of 578 students during the ‘18-’19 school year.

Despite some disappointments in the data, Miller said improvements in academics, credit attainment and graduation rates were reasons to feel encouraged.

“We have a lot to be thankful for and our staff are doing amazing work to support our students in these difficult times,” said Miller.

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