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Oregon School Success Story: How Oregon City High Got 94 Percent of Students to Graduation

In August 2014, just before the school year launched, Oregon City High School principal Tom Lovell asked the faculty gathered before him to guess how many Fs they’d collectively given the previous year.

Was it 500? he asked. Or maybe 1,000? The big suburban school was known for helping nearly all students meet state reading, writing and math standards and for its respectable graduation rate, so teachers were shocked when he revealed the correct answer: 2,033 Fs – practically one for every student.

“Is this something we want to put on our website,” Lovell asked them. “Do we want to say, ‘Come to our school and fail?’ No, this is not who we are.”

Beginning then, in ways small and large, the school rededicated itself to becoming a place where students find it very hard to fail.