Transition rates are on the rise and School District No. 46 (SD46) is excited to see the improvement, superintendent of schools Patrick Bocking reported at the May 13 school board meeting.
The transition rates show what percentage of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal learners transition into the next grade starting at Grade 10.
Up until Grade 10, the district boasts a nearly 100 per cent retention rate.
Of students moving from Grade 10 to 11 in 2013, the district saw a 94 per cent transition rate.
“So in five years we’ve gone up about eight per cent for all students,” Bocking said.
He noted there has “always been a gap” between the numbers of Aboriginal learners transitioning compared to non-Aboriginal learners.
“Now statistically, basically there is no gap,” Bocking said. “We’ve gone from 62 per cent in 2009 to 92 per cent last year of our Aboriginal students transitioning from Grade 10 to 11, which is absolutely incredible. That’s a 30 per cent increase in five years.”
The transition rates for students moving from Grade 11 to 12 are also on the rise.
“So for all of our students it’s gone from 81 per cent up to 85 per cent,” Bocking said.
For Aboriginal learners that number has risen from 69 per cent in 2009 to 84 per cent now.
“So again there is no gap. I’m really excited about these numbers,” Bocking said. “Our schools are meeting the needs of our students. Parents count on us doing it, they expect it, our community expects it, and our schools delivered.”
Schools in SD46 are now equipped with electronic defibrillators as part of the safe schools initiative.
The new portable devices are easy to use and have step-by-step picture instructions to follow in the event someone goes into cardiac arrest.
Once the patient is hooked up to the machine the user pushes a green button, “and the machine does absolutely everything. It talks to you and tells you what to do,” said assistant superintendent of schools Greg Kitchen. “And you can not hurt the person because if they do not need to be shocked it will not shock them.”
District student leadership team member Sophie Garmulewicz reported on the recent meeting between trustees and students.
“It was a fantastic opportunity to talk with trustees,” Garmulewicz said. “It made us feel at ease and know that we could approach you guys.”
She said topics covered during the roundtable discussions between trustees and students ranged from technology to social and emotional well-being.
“We shared and debated issues and worked on ways to solve problems,” Garmulewicz said.
She noted that she has enjoyed her time with the student leadership team, which was established this year to help support new student trustee Maya Treuheit.
“It was a fantastic way for me to finish off my high school career. I’m so glad I got to be a part of this,” Garmulewicz said. “I’m proud of what we accomplished with the forum and at all our meetings, and I can’t wait to see where this team goes.”
School board chair Betty Baxter thanked her for her involvement.
“We’re thrilled with the success of the district student leadership team,” Baxter said.
“Hopefully we can figure out how the transition happens and keep it going and even better next year.”
The school board released a timeline for consultation around changing the school calendar. It calls for more consultation with students, staff and parents in September and October, when example calendars will be available.
The findings from the consultation are expected to come to the board in November for discussion, and in March of next year the new calendar for the 2015/2016 school year must be submitted.
The school board is looking at possibly extending spring break to include two weeks as well as other options like creating more four-day weekends.
Baxter said the issue came up when “some partner groups” asked for a two-week spring break.
“There is some pressure for us to try to make a change,” Baxter said. “We’re certainly not willing to look at [just one] change but we’re willing to look at the entire calendar. So there’s not an agenda.”
© Coast Reporter