Battle Ground school district’s on-time graduation rate increases


On-time graduation rates for Battle Ground Public Schools reached its highest levels in nearly a decade.

A news release stated 89.5% of seniors at Prairie High School graduated on time last year, up seven percentage points from 2020, which was the highest four-year graduation rate since 2014. Battle Ground High School’s rate also rose up to 88.1% in 2021 compared to 86.5% the year before.

CAM Academy, an alternative learning program in the district for grades three-12, retained a rate of 93%, while River HomeLink rose to 81.6% in 2021 from 76.2% the prior year, the release stated.

Angela Allen, the director of instructional leadership, attributes the increase to a change in programs and policies partially set by the pandemic.

“I would say we’re super excited about the success students are having getting across that stage,” said Allen. “The components and pieces we developed over the years are having more success getting more students to reach that accomplishment. It just goes to show the work of all our staff in the process and the systems we’re using.”

Over the last two years, Allen said the district created systems to help students make up and recover credits, with “lots of options for students to prove their competency with different courses and standards for those courses.” There’s also been a greater number of online classes, allowing students to take them at their own pace. Students at the schools are also given “support time,” which she said allows students to check in with teachers twice a week for 30 minutes when they’re struggling.

The district has also changed staffing too. Allen said each grade level has a graduation success coach who tracks students that are behind in credits. The coach provides tutoring services and support to increase the students' chance to graduate from high school. For students in dire circumstances that would impede their progress, Allen explained that with proof, those students are able to waive up to two electives or core credits when they have at least 20 credits. Students need 24 credits to graduate. 

“Since COVID, we’ve had to be very creative and people stepped up to help kids do what it took to meet their needs,” she said. “I think the pandemic allowed us to get better at developing the systems that we have in place in serving the students, so I just feel like these pieces that contribute to supporting students is what has increased our rates.” 

Allen said the graduation rates could continue to climb as the district evaluates the data and determines what is effective. 

She added that one strategy to further the success is to work with freshmen and “catch them as soon as they enter school.

The schools work with the underclassman through a detailed freshman transition program. 

“I think the graduation rates have not inflated,” Allen said. “We’re just using what we have in place to build on and create a better way for kids to get there.”