Gains in Aboriginal education being made by the Prince Rupert School District are gaining the attention of the government officials in Victoria.
Roberta Edzerza, district principal of Aboriginal Education, and Tina Demings, an aboriginal elementary program resource teacher, presented a draft version of the 2013/2014 Aboriginal Education Partnership Agreement Annual Report to the board of education earlier this month, which highlighted improvements in Aboriginal student achievement last school year. The report shows the district reached a number of milestones in the last school year.
The number of Aboriginal students completing their schooling within six years of enrolling in Grade 8 was the highest-ever last school year. In June 2014, 63 per cent of Aboriginal students successfully completed school within six years of entering Grade 8, a one per cent higher than the provincial average, and that caught the attention of B.C. Minister of Education Peter Fassbender who sent a letter of congratulations to the board of education and its educational partners.
“Your ongoing commitment to Aboriginal student success is evident in the achievement you have attained,” reads the letter from Fassbender.
As well as the bigger picture of the six year completion rate, the report shows that in June 2014, 92 per cent of Aboriginal students who entered Grade 12 in September 2013 eligible to graduate actually did. That figure is only one percentage point below the percentage of all students.
But the draft report shows it wasn’t just high school where aboriginal learners are improving.
The Grade 4 writing FSA results of Aboriginal learners was the highest its been in five years, with 63 per cent of Aboriginal students meeting or exceeding expectations, a 10 per cent increase over 2013. In 2014, 51 per cent of Aboriginal learners met or exceeded expectations in their Grade 7 reading FSA, up from 37 per cent in 2013 while 69 per cent of Aboriginal students met or exceeded expectations in the Grade 7 writing FSA – a five-year high and increase of 14 per cent over the previous year.
“We still have more work to do and goals to accomplish but it’s important to take the time to recognize our achievements,” said Edzerza.