UPDATED: Lincoln Posts Lowest Grad Rate for African-American Students of Any PPS High School

At one high school in Portland, only 38 percent of black kids graduate in four years, according to data released by the Oregon Department of Education on Friday.

It's Lincoln High—the worst in the district for black students graduating on time, according to data released for the 2010-11 school year.

Lincoln, meanwhile, has the highest overall graduation rate among PPS high schools (84 percent), and it's graduation rate even climbed slightly from the year before.

About 75 percent of Lincoln's students are white, but even with so little diversity, other minorities are doing well when it comes to graduation rates. About 88 percent of Latino students graduate on time. For Asian students, that number is 90 percent.

Schools where African-American students graduation rates outstripped Lincoln? Benson, Grant, Cleveland and Wilson.

Lincoln's principal, Peyton Chapman, says the class of 2011 had only 15 black students, which makes the graduation rate deceiving. She says some are completing classes over the summer, but they still don't count as graduating with their class.

Chapman says many African-American students do succeed at Lincoln. One girl, a senior, has been accepted early to Tufts University and is waiting to see what scholarships she receives from other universities.

She says the school is trying to make classes more engaging for black students and provide them more support.

In the past, Lincoln's grad rate for black students has been better—60 percent in 2009 and 78 percent in 2010.

Chapman says the school hopes 2011 was a blip, but is trying to improve. "With a cohort of 15, if one or two or three are in the group that doesn't graduate, it brings the numbers way down."

The Oregon Department of Education has more detail about graduation rates statewide here.


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