by Owen Munro, Abbotsford News
Aboriginal students are making a marked improvement in literacy and graduation rates, according to the Abbotsford school district.
School district staff presented the Aboriginal Education Progress Report at its meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 29, which shows that numbers are up in the percentage of students meeting or exceeding reading expectations going up for all grades.
The amount of Aboriginal students has also increased to 2,033 – a six per cent improvement in the last five school years.
In 2014, the board of education created an Aboriginal schooling enhancement agreement. The agreement, which will be reviewed again in 2019, set four goals to be reached over five years: increase in school completion, cultural pride, a sense of belonging and the amount of students meeting or exceeding reading expectations.
In all, 22 school districts in B.C. have an agreement in place, which they update the provincial government on annually.
The provincial government has previously released research into initial findings of how the agreements are helping Aboriginal students, finding a need for more feedback from Aboriginal students themselves to “further support the work of the AEEA’s … to ensure they are truly relevant and meaningful to Aboriginal peoples.”
Although slight, there have been consistent increases in completion rates, but Aboriginal students are still not staying in school year to year. Last year, 16 students didn’t return to school for their graduation year.
How performance standards are calculated will be revisited in 2017 by the board of education.