District grad rates up

Graduation rates continue to climb in School District No. 83 (North Okanagan-Shuswap), including a very positive result for SD83’s Indigenous students.Superintendent Peter Jory reported to the School District No. 83 (North Okanagan-Shuswap) Board of Education at its meeting on Tuesday that there was really good news on the achievement front with the release of the Ministry of Education’s data on six-year graduation rates.

“We made a step forward with our district six-year grad rates. I’m pleased to report we have again closed the gap between ourselves and the rest of province in the all-resident students category.” Jory added the provincial six-year grad rate moved to 90 percent. SD83 once again showed steady improvement and went from 84 percent to 88 percent, just two percent behind the provincial average at this time.

“I’m especially pleased to report that we made another significant gain in our Indigenous student category, as we are now sitting at 14 percent above the rest of the province.” SD83 had a nice gain last year (from 67 to 76 percent) and another nice gain this year (from 76 to 85 percent). The provincial average is at 71.

“This is a major step towards equity of outcome which in my opinion is the core purpose of Truth and Reconciliation. The more students that graduate, the more students that will achieve meaningful grad, and will then be ready for post-secondary and the workforce.” He added the work is not over. “We aren’t done yet, but we are very, very pleased to report on this progress.”

Jory added that in the data for all resident students including those with diverse needs, SD83 had fallen behind the provincial average in previous years, but last year moved slightly above the provincial average and stayed that way again this year. “Full credit to everyone in the system for additional focus and efforts over the past three years as we’ve utilized new strategies to support our most vulnerable learners.”

Jory particularly wanted to recognize the work done by teachers and certified education assistants (CEAs) during the last three months of the 2019-20 school year. “The work (to improve graduation rates) has been going on for some time, of course. For the last three years we’ve been toiling away at this. In the last three months of last year we did especially good work supporting students online and during the hybrid model. Our teachers and CEAs did a great job reaching out to students and making sure they had all the credits they needed moving towards graduation.”