Staying the Course

Posted by Site Master on 2/4/2020

"Staying the Course"

Deer Creek Teachers with Dr. Sue

Jan/Feb 2020

In his book “Good to Great,” author Jim Collins says, “Greatness is not a function of circumstance. Greatness, it turns out, is largely a matter of conscious choice, and discipline.” This month I touch briefly on TTSD’s recently released graduation data for 2018-19, which is a true testament to our educators’ dedication to our students.  And there is much to celebrate! A few observations:

  • TTSD's district 4-year cohort graduation rate of 87.6% demonstrates continued improvement, celebrating a 4% gain over the last two years.  Tigard HS broke the 90% barrier with a 4-year cohort rate of 91%.  Tualatin HS posted a 94% 4-year cohort rate, exceeding outcomes of higher SES districts in our area.


  • TTSD's overall graduation rate is 7.7% higher than the Oregon state average of 80%.  This was accomplished not by solely raising the rates for our white student population, but in simultaneously closing the equity gap by 7% over the past two years for underserved student populations, action that is aligned to our district equity of outcome for all student focus.  Certainly, Golden Hedgehog Award worthy!


  • 91% of TTSD 9th graders are on-track to graduate marking a 5% increase over the past two years.

The data also provides challenges and opportunities concerning our most impacted students.  While trending in the right direction overall, the graduation and drop out data specific to our Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, American Indian/Native American and Homeless students require focused effort. The three-year data trend for what is now Creekside Community High School is trending in a negative direction, reinforcing the importance of our board’s decision to allocate bond resources to create a state-of-the-art facility where wrap-around services and supports are readily available to our most impacted high school student population.  Principal Romas and staff’s approach to creating a community of care lays the foundation for strategic work that will reverse the dropout and graduation trends as it addresses each student by name and need.

The district successes are the direct result of the board’s vision for and commitment to equity of student outcomes; to Superintendent Brown’s vision and collaborative planning with TTSD central office, school-level leadership, and staff. Most importantly, these successes are due to the incredibly hard work and dedication of our high school classroom teachers over the past three years.  The data is also a testament that staying the course and sustaining effective strategies over time while monitoring data through an equity lens and our district Smarter School Spending process matters.  

As a result of the careful stewardship of general fund resources, TTSD has a solid foundation for applying the Student Success Act funds to strategically intensify our response to our underserved student population most impacted by trauma – those navigating poverty and homelessness.  We are grateful to all who engaged in providing feedback via our district survey, association survey and affinity group meetings. In excess of over 2,000 comments and insights were collected from September through January.

Now the writing of the plan begins. A writing team comprised of a smaller set of stakeholders from the Student Success Act (SSA) workgroup and district staff are engaged in drafting the district plan that will guide the use of these funds.  Information regarding the SSA workgroup process and now the Student Investment Account (SIA) plan are posted on the main page of our district website.  I have provided a link to the working draft of the plan HERE where you may review the thinking and writing in real-time as well as over time as we progress to a final draft for submission to Oregon Department of Education (ODE). Please mark your calendars and join us for the February School Board meetings (February 10th and February 24th).  The plan will be presented for Board consideration on the 10th and for final approval on the 24th.  Both meetings will hold space for public comment specific to the plan.  These comments are critical to ensuring that all potential gaps in the plan that can be addressed are addressed prior to submission to ODE the week of March 9th

TTSD is clearly on the march from good to great.  I could not be more proud of our staff who understand that our work is not done until all cross the line each and every year.  I have every confidence that day will arrive sooner than later.