Aboriginal success climbs

Report on student achievement shows the aboriginal graduation rate has climbed from 61 to 67 per cent

More First Nations students are receiving their diplomas.

The Vernon School District’s 2013/14 report on student achievement shows the aboriginal graduation rate has climbed from 61 to 67 per cent.

“It’s the highest rate we’ve ever had,” said Joe Rogers, superintendent. “A number of years ago, we started at 50 per cent.”

Rogers gives credit to the students, families, educators and the community.

To support aboriginal students, the district has tutoring programs, cultural awareness, professional development for teachers, the Elders Project and aboriginal academies.

While pleased with the upward trend, Rogers insists that more must be done to ensure First Nations students don’t leave school before graduating.

“We need to find out what their stories are and how we can support them,” he said.

The number of aboriginal students who went from Grade 9 to 10 has stayed consistent at 92 per cent from 2010/11 to 2011/12 while it was 84 per cent both years for students going from Grade 10 to 11. For those going from Grade 11 to 12, it was 88 per cent.

The district’s graduation rate for all students completing 13 years was 88 per cent in 2012/13 compared to 85 per cent in 2011/12. For students who have left school or repeated a grade and have up to six years to complete their graduation requirements, the rate was 80.7 per cent, down from 81.9 per cent.

The FSA Grade 4 reading rate climbed from 68 to 72 per cent in 2013/14 while the rate for FSA Grade 7 reading went from 66 to 71 per cent.

“We still have concerns around elementary math results,” said Rogers. The FSA Grade 7 math results showed an increase from 59 to 62 per cent.

There was a 100 per cent pass rate for the 18 students in the English 12 First Peoples course.

“That is the same as taking English 12, and the universities accept it,” said Rogers. “The only difference is the resources and the projects. Instead of Shakespeare, you study First Nations writers.”