Powell River Board of Education comments on graduation statistics

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Graduation rates in School District 47 (SD47) tend to increase.

The graduation rate in the school district has increased over the past three years, from 70 percent to 80 percent, according to statistics released by the provincial government.

“While it is important not to over-read the statistics for small population sizes, the trend of increasing graduation rates for Indigenous, Diverse, and English Language Learning (ELL) students in the SD47 is encouraging, ”said Director of Education Allison Burt. “We know that getting a high school diploma is a key indicator of success beyond high school, but we also know that there are various personal reasons and life circumstances that make it more difficult for some. students.

“We continue to support all students beyond their cohort’s graduation year to achieve their education and transition goals, often enrolling students in dual credit and training opportunities. continues so that they obtain both their high school diploma and credits at various post-secondary institutions. “

Burt said increasing graduation rates and improving students’ readiness for life after high school is at the heart of the Powell River Board of Education / SD47 strategic plan.

The graduation rates for Indigenous students and residents of British Columbia have increased from the previous 2018-19 school year provincially and locally, according to Burt. In the 2019 to 2020 school year, the most recent for which statistics are available, the graduation rate for resident students of British Columbia reached 80% in SD47, the highest in five years.

From 2019 to 2020, the graduation rate for Indigenous students was 65% in SD47 (out of 26 students), compared to 58% in the previous school year from 2018 to 2019.

Burt said SD47 also saw a substantial increase in graduation rates for students with disabilities and diverse abilities and ELL students from 2019 to 2020. The graduation rate for diverse students reached 70% (out of 40 students) and 77% (out of 14). for ELL students, an increase of more than 10 percent for both cohorts over the previous year.

Commits to making improvements

Burt said SD47 is committed to improving student achievement and equity in learning outcomes for every student in the district.

“The graduation rate increases are promising, but we know we have a lot of work to do to achieve parity in learning outcomes, especially for Indigenous students,” Burt added.

According to the six-year completion rates posted on the BC Ministry of Education website, the typical graduation rate for Indigenous students in BC was 65-80% per year. last year.

“To close these parity gaps, we have embarked on an equity in action project with the Ministry of Education and launched an equity analysis to identify practices and policies that may create barriers for children. Indigenous learners in our district, ”said Burt.

COVID-19 restrictions this year have precluded some face-to-face dialogues, but SD47 representatives were able to begin group discussions and preliminary information gathering with indigenous rights holders, students, community partners and others. other stakeholders, as well as SD47 staff. .

“We hope to be able to gather more voices next year as we continue a self-assessment on the education experience for Indigenous students,” said Burt. “Working collaboratively will help us respond strategically to create the conditions for success for Indigenous students. Other BC districts more advanced in the Equity in Action project have seen positive changes in student achievement and well-being as a result of the collaborative project.

“We have also improved the way we monitor student success across the district. This includes regularly bringing together staff and leadership teams to analyze the learning goals and records of each Indigenous student in order to support their development.

Investing in Indigenous learning

Burt said SD47 is also investing in a District Director of Indigenous Education for the 2021-2022 school year. The District Director will provide leadership regarding Indigenous learner success and learning.

“Our goal is to see the trend of improving graduation rates and other data on student achievement continue and achieve parity for Aboriginal students over the next five years,” said Burt. “All students deserve to graduate and walk the stage with dignity, purpose and options.”

Graduation rates for the current 2020 to 2021 school year will not be available until this fall, once the Department of Education finishes collating the numbers across the province.

According to Indigenous Success Coordinator Jessica Johnson, the school district is committed to improving the success of Indigenous students.

“The Equity in Action project has given the district the time and tools to help us assess our successes and critically assess where we need to improve,” Johnson said. “The recommendations from this project will help steer the district leadership on a clear path that supports and enriches the educational experiences of Indigenous learners. We look forward to greater community engagement that will be possible over the next school year as COVID-19 restrictions continue to ease. “


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