The number of Aboriginal students completing high school in Quesnel School District 28 increased in 2017/18, according to a recent report from the B.C. Ministry of Education.
In SD28, the six-year completion rate for Aboriginal students increased from 67.8 per cent to 71.5 per cent. This is compared to the provincial rate of 70 per cent.
SD28 superintendent of schools Sue-Ellen Miller said work done by local staff has helped to boost this rate.
“As a district we are committed to reconciliation and find ways to improve the school experience of Aboriginal students and their families. We believe that the work our staff has done to increase educator knowledge and support that has been provided by our Aboriginal Education staff is the reason for the increases in the completion rates of Aboriginal students,” she told the Observer via email.
Overall, the completion rate in Quesnel for 2017/18 sits at 80 per cent, which was a drop from the 82.4 per cent rate seen in 2016/17.
In a memo to the Board of Education dated Dec. 19, Miller noted male students’ graduation rates had increased, from 77.4 per cent in 2016/17 to 81.7 per cent.
The rate for female students, however, dropped from 88.5 per cent in 2016/17 to 78 per cent in 2017/18.
Miller said there are no specific reasons for these fluctuations.
“Each cohort is made up of students with varying needs and abilities; this is what causes the fluctuation of completion rates. There are no specific issues that are evident in this years data that explains why the females have a lower completion rate – when we review the students, we know who they are and their challenges. A few students have only a couple of courses remaining and will finish by the end of first semester,” she explained via email.
The six-year completion rate is a measure of the proportion of students who graduate, with a B.C. Certificate of Graduation or B.C. Adult Graduation Diploma, within six years from the time they enroll in Grade 8, adjusted for migration in and out of B.C. It is not adjusted for students who move to other districts in the province, according to the memo.
Superintendent Miller said District staff, including the principals of Correlieu Secondary and McNaughton Centre, work to identify struggling students in order to support them in completing their courses, by working with counsellors, teachers and support staff.
The 2017-18 six-year completion is based on the students who would have been eligible to graduate two years ago.