Some of the Stanley Humphries Secondary School 2020 grads. Photo: Jennifer Small

Some of the Stanley Humphries Secondary School 2020 grads. Photo: Jennifer Small

Kootenay Columbia School District grad rates above provincial average for 2020

The district’s Indigenous student graduation rate matched its non-Indigenous rate

Graduation rates in Kootenay Columbia School District 20 continued their upward trajectory in 2020.

Recent data from the B.C. Ministry of Education shows the district is above provincial averages when it comes to graduating students.

“It is definitely something we are proud of,” says SD20 superintendent Bill Ford.

“We continue to be a high-performance school district well above the provincial average.”

The overall six completion rate for SD20 last year was 89 per cent for students. Over the last five years, the district’s completion rate has ranged from 87 to 93 per cent.

The six-year completion rate measures the success of students who graduate within six years of starting Grade 8.

The average provincial range was from 77 to 88 per cent. In Kootenay Lake SD8 (Nelson) the five-year range was 69 to 78 per cent.

For the 2019-2020 school year, the graduation rate for both non-Indigenous and Indigenous students in SD20 was 91 per cent.

“That is significant,” says Ford. “In this province, it is more typical for districts to have a significant gap between the two.”

The Indigenous graduation rate for 2017-2018 was 81 per cent and for 2018-2019 it was 85 per cent. Over the last five years the rate in the district has ranged from 73 to 91 per cent.

During the same time period, the provincial graduation rate for Indigenous students ranged from 64 to 71 per cent. In SD8 the five-year range was 58 to 75 per cent.

Ford says it should be noted, however, that the district does have a smaller Indigenous population compared to some other districts and that just a few students can make a statistical difference. The same holds true for the special needs category within the district.

There was a bit of a dip in graduation rates for special needs students last year to 73 per cent. But Ford is not too concerned as the overall graduation rate for special needs students in recent years has been climbing. The 2017/2018 rate was 73 per cent and the 2018/2019 rate was 83 per cent.

Provincially the five-year graduation range for special needs students was 67 to 74 per cent. In SD8 the five-year range was 49 to 71 per cent.

“The trend line is still up,” explained Ford. “A decade ago, the rate was in the 50 per cent range.”

He says the district will be monitoring special needs data and looking at its processes to see if there is anything they could be doing to improve the rate.

“We want to make sure that every kid that can graduate, does graduate,” said Ford.

“From our perspective, graduation rates are the penultimate indicator of success. Graduating students is the ultimate goal.”

Ford says holding a graduation rate in the 90-per-cent range is something that has taken a lot of hard work over the last 13 years since he joined the district.

At that time, graduation rates were much lower. But Ford credits several bold moves from the administration, the school board and teachers alike for making a difference.

“It took a lot of brave and hard work to accept the fact (that we needed to change things),” said Ford.

The board then shifted funding to look at how the district could increase its graduation rates, bringing in experts and investing in teacher training.

The district also made a shift from having each school working in silos to a district-centric approach, which moves away from what Ford describes as a lack of synergy to a unified vision for the district as a whole.

“We are now reaping the benefits of all that work,” said Ford.

READ MORE: Castlegar homeless shelter moving to Flamingo Hotel

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

EducationSchool District No. 20 Kootenay-Columbia

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Castlegar doctor Megan Taylor contracted COVID-19 in November. This photo was taken before the pandemic. Photo: Submitted
MY COVID STORY: From doctor to patient

Castlegar doctor shares her COVID experience

Shayna Jones. Photo: Louis Bockner
Kaslo performer collects stories of Black rural experience

Shayna Jones will create a performance piece about Black people ‘tucked away in the countryside’

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson)
30 new COVID-19 cases, five more deaths in Interior Health

This brings the total number of cases to 7,271 since testing began

Winlaw artist Lou Lynn is one of eight Canadians to win a Governor General's award this year. Photo: Janet Dwyer
Winlaw artist Lou Lynn wins Governor General’s award

Lynn is among eight artists honoured throughout Canada

The winged floater mussel can be spotted at Arrow Lake. Photo: Bill Chapman
LETTER: Native mussels visible at Arrow Lakes near Castlegar

Low water levels revealing native mussels

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deaths, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Fraser Health region

A 50-year-old man was stabbed in an altercation that started with a disagreement about physical distancing. (File photo)
Argument about physical distancing escalates to stabbing in Nanaimo

Victim, struck with coffee cup and then stabbed, suffers minor injuries; suspect arrested

One recipient of a $500 donation from Kootenay Savings was Kimberley’s Spark Youth Centre. Above, Cher Berge KSCU & Bev Middlebrooks Spark. Photo submitted
Kootenay Savings hands out donations to non-profits

Employees at each branch picked a non-profit for a $500 gift

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
NDP will not trigger election as long as pandemic continues: Singh

‘“We will vote to keep the government going’

BC Emergency Health Services Advanced Care Paramedic Practice Educator Trevor Campbell. (Vernon Jubilee Hospital Foundation - Contributed)
ECG machines onboard Okanagan ambulances for quickest response to heart attacks

Donations from Lake Country, Predator Ridge, Vernon and Armstrong behind purchase of 8 live-saving machines

“Support your city” reads a piece of graffiti outside the Ministry of Finance office. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
Slew of anti-bylaw graffiti ‘unacceptable’ says Victoria mayor, police

Downtown businesses, bylaw office and Ministry of Finance vandalized Wednesday morning

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
Vaccinating essential workers before seniors in B.C. could save lives: experts

A new study says the switch could also save up to $230 million in provincial health-care costs

Most Read