The Salem-Keizer School District’s biggest success in 2010 was an increase in the graduation rate, it went from 73 percent up to 82 percent in just one year. We still have work to do, but if we can maintain that rate of growth, we will be in good shape very soon. The district is really focused on going after kids that are at risk of dropping out, and those that have already dropped out, and bringing them back and helping them finish. Their motto is “failure is not an option.”

The Oregon Department of Education has named Claggett Creek Middle School as a 2010 Celebrating Student Success Champion.  Claggett Creek is recognized for making significant progress in closing the achievement gap and helping minority and low income students succeed. This local Salem-Keizer school was one of 15 to be recognized statewide.

The budget will be a challenge. We will still have 40,000 kids counting on us every day, but we will have to do it with about a $50 million shortfall. This will be very tough.

To be successful in 2011, our organization is going to need community buy-in to the mission. We want every student to graduate prepared for a successful life. We can do this if everyone believes and everyone is motivated to help.

Chuck Lee is the Salem-Keizer School Board representative for the Keizer area.