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10 per cent jump in Indigenous graduation excites Cowichan officials

Board of Education ‘incredibly encouraged’
Indigenous graduation rates jumped to 64 per cent from 54 per cent within the Cowichan Valley School District over the last year. (Submitted by Mike Russell)

The graduation rate among Indigenous students in the Cowichan Valley has jumped 10 per cent in the last year, according to the Cowichan Valley School District’s Board of Education.

The district has prioritized working on increasing the high school completion rates of Indigenous students through directed and specific interventions guided by the Strategic Plan ‘Beyond Education’.

“We are incredibly encouraged to see Indigenous graduation rates increasing. We are taking targeted action to ensure equity in our schools in hopes of bringing our Indigenous learners to parity with our non-Indigenous learners,” said Board Chair Candace Spilsbury. “It is vitally important that we continue to examine our practices and work towards an education system that works for all.”

The six-year graduation rate for non-Indigenous students in the Cowichan Valley stayed steady at 85 per cent for the 2020/21 school year, while Indigenous graduation rates jumped to 64 per cent from 54 per cent.

There’s still work to be done.

“Staff across the district have been focusing their professional development on reconciliation and equity and have worked hard to integrate this knowledge throughout their practice,” said a press release issued by Cowichan Valley School District spokesperson Mike Russell.

“In addition, the district hired a dedicated coordinator of Indigenous Student Success and Ts’uwtun’s who are supporting cohorts of students as they transition grade to grade throughout their schooling journey. These efforts, combined with district-wide Hul’q’umi’num’ lessons taught by our district elder and Indigenous Knowledge Sessions taught by our knowledge keepers bring these teachings into every classroom.”

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Sarah Simpson

About the Author: Sarah Simpson

I started my time with Black Press Media as an intern, before joining the Citizen in the summer of 2004.
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