Graduating above BC's average

The Central Okanagan school district has reached new, unprecedented heights in terms of graduation rates.

It is anticipated 89 per cent of students will graduate from School District 23 this year, the highest rate ever in the district and a far cry from a stagnant graduation rate of 74 to 75 per cent throughout the early part of the century.

"The improving trend-line exhibited is unprecedented in the history of our school district," says SD23 Superintendent, Hugh Gloster.

"These results speak to the combined efforts of those who work in support of our students and how powerful it can be when everyone is committed to the same goal."

Gloster says improvement in the graduation rate began to show in 2005 when the district set the lofty goal of achieving an 89 per cent graduating rate by June, 2013.

In 2005, the graduation rate rose from 74 per cent to 79 per cent.

(table below shows graduation rates of SD23 compared to the provincial average)

  06-06 07-08 08-09 09-10 10-11 11-12
SD23 83.9% 84.2% 84.7% 86.1% 87.4% **89%
Province 80% 78% 78% 79% 80% unknown

**anticipated 2012 graduation rate

Gloster says the district took a number of steps to try and improve the rate.

They started tracking graduation data and tried to determine why those that were unable to graduate or dropped out, did so.

He says many of those who fell behind became overwhelmed, were unable to keep up, failed courses and eventually dropped out.

Gloster says the district began tracking students progress more closely and, when students began falling behind, got on it right away.

"We would involve the students, parents and staff to get the individual back on track," adds Gloster.

While the goal is always to achieve a 100 per cent graduation rate Gloster says a realistic number is closer to the low to mid 90's.

He says the focus is to not only sustain those numbers over time but also to strive to prepare students for the future.

"We want to go beyond just having kids graduate. That's not good enough anymore," says Gloster.

"Our goal now is to prepare these students for a rapidly changing world."



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