Graduation rate better, but still too low

  • Nov. 27, 2009 3:00 p.m.

The percentage of islands high school students who end up graduating continues to rise, district superintendent Angus Wilson told trustees when they met at Sk’aadgaa Naay school Nov. 24, but is still well below what it should be. In particular, the graduation rate of aboriginal students is now double what it was two years and is above the provincial average, Mr. Wilson said. However, he warned that because the total number of students here is so small, data can fluctuate and the improving trend may not hold. Last year, 55 percent of all students who started high school here within the past six years ended up graduating, and 58 percent of the aboriginal students who started high school graduated. Mr. Wilson said having the aboriginal completion rate higher than the non-aboriginal completion rate is unusual, but the same trend was apparent in the grade 4 Foundation Skills Assessment results. One of the district’s school goals has been to reduce the disparity between Haida and non-Haida student achievement. But although the graduation rate has improved, Mr. Wilson told trustees that there is still much to be accomplished. “Any way you look at it, a graduation rate hovering below 60 percent is not acceptable,” he said. Analysis shows that the district is succeeding at keeping students in school until grade 12, but many drop out at that point, he said. The data on graduation rates is contained in the superintendent’s annual report on student achievement, which trustees voted to approve and send on to the Ministry of Education.