Graduation rate improvement sought in Medford

Students with limited English skills will be focus of committee formed by School Board

The Medford School District is looking for two volunteers to join a Student Achievement Committee to find ways to improve the low graduation rates of students with limited English proficiency.

For the 2013-14 school year, the committee will be looking closely at the achievement gap of students identified as English language learners.

According to reports by the state Department of Education, only half of students from homes where English is not the primary language are meeting standards.

The state's on-time graduation rate for these students is 45.5 percent, which is a decline from 2006-07.

"We hope this will not be the case for our 2012-13 graduates, but the results are continuing to be compiled," said Medford board member Marlene Yesquen.

She said the committee will be focused on the effectiveness of the instruction and work in the English language development classes and core content area classrooms.

This committee's work is important, she said, because the state does not have the resources to provide adequate monitoring of the district's improvement plan for English language learners.

"This committee will help provide information to the board that could deliver more effective resources to district classrooms, thus closing the gap in knowledge of core subjects and graduation," Yesquen said. "By helping these students, we will improve instruction for other students who may be in other struggling classifications such as our low-income students."

The committee will hold a public meeting at least once every three months.

The committee will include two members of the Medford School Board, as well as Director of Elementary Education Julie Evans and Director of Secondary Education Todd Bloomquist.

Adults who live in the district's attendance boundaries can apply to be on the committee at the office of the superintendent, 815 S. Oakdale Ave., Room 217 or they can download an application at

Preference will be given to people who have a child enrolled in the district, according to the application.

Applications are due by Monday, July 29. To learn more about the position, see

Reach reporter Janet Eastman at 541-776-4465 or

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