Graduation rates increase in School District 53

By on January 16, 2018

Proud graduates (front from left) Bailey Toepfer, Navjeet Toor and Harleen Sekhon were happy to be finishing their grad year last June at Osoyoos Secondary School. (Richard McGuire file photo)

Graduation rates increased in the past year, according to new data presented to School District 53 on Wednesday.

The district saw 168 students, 79.2 per cent of possible graduates, complete their diplomas last year compared to 166, 75.9 per cent, in 2016.

Completion rates for aboriginal students also increased over the past year from 54.7 per cent to 64.8 per cent.

“We know there’s room for improvement but we’re going in the right direction and want to keep going in that direction,” said Marcus Toneatto, director of learning and inquiry, who presented the data to the school board at their Wednesday meeting.

The difference in completion rates between aboriginal and non-aboriginal students also lessened from 24.7 per cent to 20.3 per cent.

“This is really where we have some work to do,” Toneatto said. “We know that we have to pay attention and we’re starting to do that. We have to shrink that gap.”

Toneatto also explained that with the province’s new Foundation Skills Assessment (FSA), an annual assessment of all B.C. student’s academic skills, it will be easier to predict which students are at risk of not graduating, and preventing that from happening.

“We can look at what these guys are missing that they’re supposed to have,” he said. “So a Grade 11 student that doesn’t have English 10, I can have that conversation at the school level and we can go back and make sure they get that.”

Often, students that don’t graduate only have one course left until completion, according Toneatto, who is aiming for staff to prevent that.

“These students, some of them have one course to graduate and in the past we may not have caught that and then they end up as a non-grad,” he said.

“I think that we have a commitment to making this happen and we can absolutely see a change in aboriginal and non-aboriginal graduation rates.”


Special to the Times


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