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7-year high for diverse needs grad rate in SD42

Overall grad rates for all students in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows have been steadily increasing
In 2020, T’s, with the help of UPlan, the Youth Planning Table subcommittee, decorated their front window to celebrate community graduates. (The News files)

Graduation rates for students with diverse needs in the Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows school district have hit a seven-year high.

The 2014/15 school year saw 69 per cent of diverse needs students graduate from high school in six years. That number dipped slightly in 2015/16 to 66.8 per cent, but has been steadily climbing ever since to 85.3 per cent in 2020/21.

And the number of diverse needs honours student graduates has also been steadily climbing from 38 per cent in the 2016/17 school year to 59 per cent last school year.

Overall six-year grad rates for all students in the district have been increasing steadily. In 2014/15, 89 per cent of students across the district graduated in six years. By last year that rate was 95.6 per cent. The honours rate increased steadily from 56 per cent in 2016/17 to 71 per cent last year.

“The focus on improved levels of student engagement and graduation is a key strategic goal in the school district. We have been putting intentional effort into improving graduation rates and are pleased to see these continued positive results,” said SD42 superintendent Harry Dhillon, including students of Indigenous ancestry.

The Indigenous six-year grad rate was 72 per cent in 2014/15, it slipped to 69.9 per cent the following school year, then jumped to 83.5 per cent in 2016/17 and 84.9 per cent in 2017/18. The grad rate slipped again before reaching a seven-year high of 86.2 per cent in 2019/20 and dropped slightly to 84.1 per cent last year.

Dhillon noted that although there was a slight decrease (in the six-year graduation rate) in the category of resident students of Indigenous ancestry, that it’s important to remember that the cohort of students in this category is quite small.

“So minor fluctuations are not uncommon,” remarked Dhillon, adding that results in this area are still well above the provincial average of 72 per cent.

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However, the honours rates for Indigenous students have doubled from 30 per cent in 2016/17 to 60 per cent of students last year.

Overall grad rates, noted Dhillon, are “comfortably” above the provincial average of 90 per cent.

“What the results show us is not only that our students are graduating at higher rates in all categories, but that they are also doing it with distinction,” added Dhillon.

“The rise in honours graduates is a product of hard work and focus, and everyone in the district should be proud of these results,” he said.

School board chair Korleen Carreras is proud of the students’ accomplishments.

“The results are phenomenal,” she said.

“The year-over-year increase shows the hard work and commitment of our dedicated teachers and staff.”

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Colleen Flanagan

About the Author: Colleen Flanagan

I got my start with Black Press Media in 2003 as a photojournalist.
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