Students in School District 8 are graduating at about the same success rate as the provincial average.
Annual data released earlier this month shows 87 per cent of SD8 students who began Grade 12 in September 2021 graduated within the same academic year. That represents a five-year high for the district, and equals the provincial average.
The Ministry of Education also tracks what it calls the six-year completion rate, or how many students earn a certificate of graduation or adult diploma within six years of the first time they enrol in Grade 8.
School District 8’s six-year completion rate average is 88.9 per cent, an improvement of 19 per cent since the 2016-17 school year and only slightly under the provincial mark of 91.6 per cent.
Superintendent Trish Smillie said the data isn’t the only marker the district uses to measure student success, but the upward trend of graduation numbers is worth celebrating.
“It’s really the culmination of what we try over the years to have students graduate with dignity, purpose and options for their future.”
The district also continues to have success with its Aboriginal Education program.
Seventy-six per cent of eligible Indigenous students graduated in the spring, a jump of 21 per cent since the 2017-18 school year that also beats the provincial average of 64.7 per cent.
A further 80.3 per cent of Indigenous students in the district are graduating within six years of Grade 8, compared to the B.C. average of 75.1 per cent.
Smillie credited the statistics to what she described as an effort to make Indigenous students feel connected with their schools through programming based on culture building, reconciliation and events such as the district powwow.
“We have a lot of district-level coordination around Aboriginal Education. So all schools have the same high quality level of access to programming and services across the board.”
Graduation data for students with diverse needs was also provided, with the district recording a five-year high among students completing Grade 12 the same year they entered at 72.6 per cent and a six-year completion rate of 75.6 per cent.
Data for diverse needs students tends to fluctuate with cohort sizes, but the district’s first-time grad rate was still well above the provincial mark of just 46.1 per cent.
Smillie couldn’t say why the provincial average was so low. Her focus is on SD8, which she said still has plenty of improvements to make.
“I think we’re doing a number of things that are great. But again, we want to see those numbers up.”