ROGUE RIVER, Ore. – For the first time ever in Southern Oregon — high school administrators are going door-to-door to encourage kids to go to college.
On Saturday the Rogue River High School principal, teachers, and members of the Southern Oregon Education Service District joined forces to make more than 100 house calls to students making one of the biggest choices of their young lives.
“It’s a huge decision,” said Rogue River High Junior Mackenzie Smith. “It affects what my jobs are going to be or what I want to be when I grow up.”
Each year about 65-75% of those students go off to a two year school, four year school, or military after graduation.
The school’s principal says plenty of others plan on doing so, but somewhere along the way the obstacles get too great.
“The follow through in going to college isn’t as great as we’d like to see, and also the retention into the second year of college or trade school isn’t what we’d like to see,” said Rogue River High Principal Jesse Pershin. “Our goal is that 100% of students have a plan and follow that plan.”
That’s why Rogue River High is becoming the first school in in the area to go door-to-door.
Scott Perry, the superintendent of the Education Service District, picked up the idea from a school district in Texas. He says by canvassing they were able to bring graduation rate up from 62% to 88% percent in six years.
“It created a whole culture shift in their community,” said Perry. “They have more businesses moving into the area now, the graffiti is cleaned up, the gang activity is decreased…”
The goal for Rogue River is to rally students and parents to attend a college fair in January.
Already Klamath County schools have shown an interest in doing the same. And Perry says he can imagine all of the area’s school districts following along in the next few years.
“I believe making a personal connection with folks, just a sincere, personal invitation, will make a difference,” said Perry.