Congratulations to the new Education Innovation Officer Colt Gill. Let’s get to work!
Stand for Children Oregon congratulates Bethel School District Superintendent Colt Gill, who has been appointed to the education innovation officer position. Under his watch, the Bethel School District has seen steady improvement, but there is still a lot of work to do statewide so more students leave high school ready for college or career.
Every year, 10,000 Oregon students exit high school without a diploma, leaving Oregon with one of the worst high school graduation rates in the country. Of those who earn their diploma and go on to community college, 75 percent are unprepared for college coursework. Governor Kate Brown has elevated the political importance of addressing Oregon’s crisis-level graduation rates by developing the “education innovation officer” role.
“Unfortunately, every year we delay addressing Oregon’s graduation rates on a systemic level, we lose the opportunity to award more diplomas that are honest tickets to productive, successful futures,” says Toya Fick, executive director of Stand for Children Oregon. “We have executed extensive research and outreach to find solutions. We’ve put together a package of strategies to address graduation rates and career and college readiness on a statewide scale. We look forward to working with Superintendent Gill to efficiently implement these strategies, and seal the cracks in our public high schools before too many more students slip through.”
Much of Stand’s research has led to Initiative Petition 65, a ballot initiative slated for the November 2016 election. IP 65 establishes a fund for dropout-prevention services, career technical education and early college credit options. These programs have proven themselves across Oregon, and can be particularly effective at closing the achievement gap.
“Not all students take the same path or need to arrive at the same destination,” says Mitzi Bauer, a Stand member and parent volunteer. “There’s something in IP 65 for every kid. I encourage state leaders to support the programs that have proven their effectiveness for all kids, and I hope to see Superintendent Gill commit to oversee the successful implementation of IP 65 so more students have access to schools that prepare them for college and career.”