School district accountability contract available

  • Dec. 1, 2003 11:00 a.m.

The school district last week made public its accountability contract for 2003-2004, a 28-page document which can be found at the board’s website,
The contract is required by the Ministry of Education, and is “..the school board’s public commitment to improving student achievement,” according to the ministry.
The document is divided up into several sections, which outline district goals and strategies for achieving them. Some of the highlights are as follows;

Improving academic and social success for Haida students

The contract lists as objective 1 to collaborate and design an educational structure with the Haida community to support the success of Haida students. A couple of agreements aim at improving aboriginal students’ results and to narrow their performance gap with other students.
The document notes that a Haida Education Council has been established since 2001 and that the district has a Haida Education Director to liaise with the band councils and the school board.

Improving student reading and writing

One objective here is to improve the reading ability in the kindergarten to grade 3 classes with an emphasis on at-risk students. The district has had a literacy support teacher on staff since 2001, working to improve district performance in reading and writing, which is low compared to the province.
The district plans to include aboriginal books and mentoring by elders, to reduce the gap between boys and girls, among other goals.
Another objective is to improve high school English results and reduce the difference between aboriginal and non-aboriginal students.

Promoting levels of social responsibility

A district-wide social responsibility program is now being implemented, aiming to improve school cultures, grade-to-grade transition in high school, student behaviour and overall satisfaction.

Improving student achievement in math skills

A numeracy support teacher is new this year in the district. Grades 4-7 are targeted, as is reducing the difference in aboriginal and non-aboriginal students’ results. Another objective is to improve math results in high school and improve both student and parent satisfaction with math.

Some other interesting points noted in the document:

The school board predicts that enrolment in schools on the islands will drop to less than 800 by 2011. Right now, there are about 850 students; back in 1995 there were well over 1,000.
While there were fluctuations between 1995 and 1999, since 2000 there has been a steady decline.

The population of the islands is 5,335, with over 77-percent rural. About 1/3 are Haida and just over 4-percent of the homes are non-English speaking. More than half the students are First Nations.

There are currently just over 54 teachers and 36 support staff as well as 9 on-school administrators. The district’s budget this school year is $9,119,950.