The Kamloops-Thompson School District continues to see improved graduation rates for Indigenous students.
For more than 15 years, First Nations students in SD73 have been graduating at higher rates than the majority of provincial districts, the SD73 board was told at its meeting on Jan. 23.
“Which is good,” said Assistant Superintendent Bill Hamblett. “It’s not good enough — but we’re continuing.”
SD73's Indigenous students still graduate at lower rates than non-aboriginal students. The 5 year Indigenous completion rate in 2020-21 was 72.4 per cent, while the rate for non-aboriginal students was 91.8 per cent.
Similar data was seen in six-year rates — which measure how many students graduate within one year of completing Grade 12 — with 80.8 per cent of First Nations students graduating and 94.4% of non-aboriginal students graduating.
While this gap persists, the completion rates for Indigenous and diverse learners have plateaued over the past five years as the rates have remained relatively similar.
“The strength of the graduation rates is that SD73 still does better than the provincial rate of a five year completion rate, over the last four years. Aboriginal learners outperformed their provincial peers over the last four years and students with diverse needs graduated at the same or better rate than their provincial peers,” said Hamblett.
Rick Kienlein, SD73's director of instruction for secondary schools, said the district is in good shape but looking to improve.
“And again, while we're doing very well provincially, we continue to measure ourselves against ourselves and we have a high standard," he said.
"So we'll continue to work on that the completion rates for Aboriginal and diverse learners."
Similar data was seen in the grade-to-grade transition results.
While secondary students statistically transitioned at generally the same rate as their provincial peers in SD73, Indigenous students outperform from grade 10 to 11 at +1 per cent over four years and from grade 11 to 12 at +2 per cent in 2020-21.
However, Aboriginal students transitioned at lower rates than non-aboriginal students in SD73 in 2020-21.
“I really appreciate the data that's being put forth today. And I really appreciate how Aboriginal and diverse students are looked at in regards to the provincial model, but also looking at us within our own scope," said Trustee Diane Jules.
“I do appreciate all the work that has gone into this report. And I look forward to to the next update that we have."