School District 8 students are struggling to graduate within six years of enrolling in Grade 8, according to a Ministry of Education report. Photo: Tyler Harper

Number of students graduating from Grade 12 on the decline

A ministry report shows School District 8 students continuing to struggle

Graduating from high school continues to be difficult for School District 8 students, even though success rates are on the rise provincially.

Statistics released by the Ministry of Education last week showed just 69 per cent of students in the Kootenay Lake district either earned their certificate of graduation or an adult graduation diploma for the 2016-17 school year.

The district includes Nelson’s L.V. Rogers Secondary, Creston’s Prince Charles Secondary, Kaslo’s J.V. Humphries Secondary and Slocan Valley’s Mount Sentinel Secondary. Students who completed their graduation within six years of enrolling in Grade 8 are considered in the report.

Overall, the district’s graduation rate dropped three per cent from last year, nine per cent from 2014-15 and is the lowest it has been since 84 per cent of students graduated in 2005-06. Provincially, the graduation success rate increased from 83 to 84 per cent.

Superintendent Christine Perkins said Tuesday she was aware graduation success rates have been trending down in the district, but was still shocked by the report.

“We’re not happy with that,” she said. “We don’t like being average or in the middle of the pack so to speak in the province. All of our admin team and our senior staff have said yes, we want to go from average to amazing. So we’ve set a plan in place to deal with that step by step that includes new learning strategies that we’ll bring in next year.”

There were also big drops in aboriginal and special needs student grads.

Just 58 per cent of aboriginal students graduated last year, which is a 10 per cent decrease from the previous school year and the first time the percentage has been below 60 per cent since 2008-09. Meanwhile, just 49 per cent of special needs students graded, down nine per cent from the previous year.

Small cohorts — 40 aboriginal and 21 special needs students, respectively — should also be considered, although provincial numbers are trending upward for both aboriginal grads (66 per cent) and special needs (69 per cent).

SD8 numbers are in stark contrast to those in SD20, which includes Trail and Castlegar and boasts a 93 per cent graduation rate.

Perkins said the district has already consulted with the ministry about the report, and said there’s no one reason for the declining numbers. Right now the plan, according to Perkins, is to take a close look at each student individually to make sure they are on track to graduate.

Perkins added the district is starting to think out of the box for solutions that don’t require a typical classroom setting. One example is a reinstated carpentry program in Creston that provides college credits as well as credit for graduation.

“That motivates some of those kids who aren’t academically bound or not going to go onto UVic or McGill,” said Perkins. “We have lots of programs in the district that challenge those students. What we need to do is really wrap around the students who are right there in the middle. They might be at 47, 48, 49 per cent. How do we get them over the hump?”

She said work experience is also being reviewed as a possible way for students to earn credits.

“They might be doing something up at the ski hill we aren’t even aware about. I know there’s some kids involved very much right now in the Nelson Tech Club. Why can’t we put a course together that gives them credit around coding and technology? So we’re working with our principals to put some of that stuff together so the kids get other options.”



tyler.harper@nelsonstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Two fires of note burning in Southeast Fire Centre

As of Saturday afternoon there were more than 20 fires burning in the Southeast Fire Centre.

LKB members fight heli-skiing proposal

Robert Louie Sr., have joined with band members who are opposed to a Retallack/Lower Kootenay Band Agreement.

Second fire hall referendum confirmed

Creston residents will have another chance to vote on the borrowing for a new fire hall.

Michelle Mungall on maternity leave

The Nelson-Creston MLA will return by the end of September

Valley Mudders invites new members

While the stereotypical image of a potter is someone sitting at a wheel spinning pots, a look at the displays of various members’ work shows that most of the output is hand-built.

BC Games: Day 3 wrap and closing ceremonies

The torch in the Cowichan Valley has been extinguished as Fort St. John gets ready to host the 2020 BC Winter Games

Police confirm girl, 8 others injured in Toronto shooting; shooter dead

Paramedics said many of the victims in Danforth, including a child, were rushed to trauma centres

Why do they do it? Coaches guide kids to wins, personal bests at the BC Games

Behind the 2,300 B.C. athletes are the 450 coaches who dedicate time to help train, compete

Government sets full-time salary range for Justin Trudeau’s nanny

At its top range, the order works out to a rate of $21.79 per hour, assuming a 40-hour work week

Lower Mainland teams battle for baseball gold at BC Games

Vancouver Coastal squeaked out a 3-2 win against Fraser Valley

The Northern Secwepemc te Qelmucw people signed an agreement-in-principle with the B.C. government

The signing ceremony, at the Eliza Archie Memorial School, was 25 years in the making

Canada to resettle dozens of White Helmets and their families from Syria

There are fears the volunteers would become a target for government troops

Francesco Molinari wins British Open at Carnoustie

It is his first win at a major and the first by an Italian

ZONE 1: Hannah Tracey looks to mom as role model while at BC Games

‘She has believed in me when I couldn’t believe in myself,’ Tracey said at BC Summer Games in Cowichan

Most Read