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School District graduation rates increase

Tim Bennett is seeking re-election to the School District Board of Education October 20.
Tim Bennett is seeking re-election to the School District Board of Education October 20.

More students in School District 57 are making it all the way through Grade 12.

The six-year graduation rates for all School District No. 57 students increased from 73.2 per cent in 2016/17 to 79.7 per cent in 2017-18. This represents an increase of 6.5 per cent.

“Over the past few years school district staff have worked to improve the educational experience for our students and ensure our students are successful,” said board chair Tim Bennett, in a news release. “The board is excited by these results but also recognize that the work is not done. We need to keep striving for not only parity with the provincial average but for 100 per cent completion. We also need to ensure that this is not a blip on our chart but the new baseline.”

The aboriginal student six-year graduation rate increased from 57.3 per cent in 2016/17 to 65.8 per cent in 2017/18, representing a one-year percentage point increase of 8.5.

English language learners enjoyed a one-year percentage increase in six-year graduation rates from 56.4 per cent in 2016-17 to 64.3 per cent in 2017-18, an increase of 7.9 per cent.

The greatest gain was for students identified with special needs. Here, SD57 students climbed from 44.5 per cent graduation with a Dogwood Certificate in 2016-17 to 57.8 per cent in 2017-18.

School District No. 57 has been actively pursuing the goal of increased student success through the implementation of School District No. 57 (Prince George) Strategic Plan 2016-2021, INSPIRING LEARNING ANYWHERE. The plan is structured around four main goals: Learning, Engagement of the Community, Opportunity and Sustainability. The plan, approved by the Board of Education, outlines overall and specific goals, including Graduation rates will meet or exceed those of the province of BC. The 2017-18 results indicate that SD57 is well on its way to achieving this goal.

Superintendent Marilyn Marquis-Forster believes the improvement represents the work of every SD57 staff member, the corporate Board of Education, parents/guardians and the larger community.

“Each person has a role to play toward improving learning outcomes for students,” she said. “The School District has been diligently refocusing attention to success for each learner. Fully implementing the new BC Curriculum, infusing Indigenous knowledge and creating safe and caring environments are central to our work. These results seem to indicate that implementing the goals and strategies outlined in the Strategic Plan are beginning to have a positive effect.”