Redmond High School’s graduation rate is at a record high of 93 percent due in part to the advanced diploma program.
The Advanced Diploma program—offered to Redmond High only—was designed to allow students to participate in an accelerated college credit program students can earn credits during four—or in some cases five—years of high school enrollment at no cost to the student or the district, according to Redmond’s school district website
“Students that select [the Advanced Diploma] option are eligible to attend one year (beginning fall term after high school graduation) at a community college in Oregon with tuition and books being paid by Redmond High School,” according to RHS’ graduation requirement.
It was created to increase the number of students pursuing and succeeding in higher education, and also because school administrators were concerned by the Central Oregon Community College data that showed many of its graduates were taking remedial courses at the college level.
At Redmond High, students get an entire year of community college paid for by enrolling in a fifth year.
“It gives people an opportunity to decide what they want to do while alleviating debt,” said Kimberly Honeycutt, Advanced Diploma Redmond High graduate and current first year COCC student.
“The high school pays and is later reimbursed by the state for those students’ tuition, books and fees in at least nine credits each term and to complete a minimum of 27 credit hours. At the end of the year, those students turn in their standard diploma and receive an advanced diploma,” said Panther Career Center Coordinator Gayle Kezele.
Jenny Hunter, an Advanced Diploma Redmond High graduate, and current first year COCC student looked on the program as a valuable opportunity.
“It gives students a chance to get ahead, so they can get their foot in the door,” she said.