Dale Bass – Kamloops This Week
A recent Ministry of Education announcement addressing what it called a disproportionately high number of aboriginal students receiving modified Evergreen certificates has little bearing on the Kamloops-Thompson board of education.
Supt. Karl deBruijn said the district years ago stopped putting children on modified programs that would lead to the certificate at the conclusion of secondary education.
The certificates were created for students classified as special needs and who are learning based on an individual education plan (IEP). The announcement, something deBruijn said had been expected “for a long time,” came at the request of the First Nations Education Steering Committee, the B.C. School Trustees’ Association and the B.C. Teachers’ Federation. It was also recommended by the province’s auditor general last November.
The ministry announced the certificates cannot be issued to students who don’t meet the two criteria of needs and an IEP.
DeBruijn said School District 73 teachers and administrators noticed years ago when he worked in the student-services department that there were more aboriginal students being placed in modified programs.
Each case was reviewed and changed so those who were capable of studying the regular curriculum were moved into that educational stream.
If they needed some assistance, it was provided, deBruijn said.
A report given to trustees last week showed the six-year completion rate for aboriginal students has steadily increased in the district, reaching 73 per cent for the 2014-2015 school year, which is higher than the provincial rate of 63 per cent.
The percentage was composed of 176 aboriginal students graduating with a regular Dogwood certificate.
The 2014-2015 school year cohort in the district was composed of 242 aboriginal students — 123 males and 119 females. Off-reserve students numbered 207 (71.5 per cent graduated) and on-reserve students totalled 35 (80 per cent graduated.
Graduation rates were 76.4 per cent for the male students and 79 per cent for the female students.