The graduation rate in the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows School District shot up to almost 91 per cent last year.
That was a last-minute addition to Wednesday’s night’s school board meeting, and a jubilant superintendent Jan Unwin noted that although the provincial average for last year has not yet been officially calculated, it was 83.6 per cent.
It was a point of pride for the educators, because in the 2008-2009 school year the rate was a substandard 77 per cent locally. It rose to 78 and 79 per cent in each of the following years, shot up to 83 per cent the next, then hit it’s lofty 90.7 per cent last year.
“Those are some good results, based on a lot of hard work by a whole lot of people,” Unwin told the board.
The school completion rate by aboriginal students has been targeted as a concern for years, and that was at 74 per cent.
That is well ahead of the last calculated provincial average (2011-2012) of 57 per cent.
For female students it rose marginally, from 74 to 74 per cent. But the male aboriginal student completion rate jumped from 62 to 71 per cent in a year.
“One of the differences has been a strategy to focus on individual kids who are struggling,” noted school board chairman Mike Murray.
“If someone is struggling, it’s noticed, and someone tries to do something about it.”
Unwin agreed that case management approach is one of the big reasons.
“We need to know every kid, and what’s their story, and then you help them.”
And, she said the many choices that kids get to make about their high school programs, including academies and cyber school, help the graduation rate.
Still, the sudden jump of some seven per cent in the completion rate is a surprise.
“You get small increases when you put systems in place, and then you refine them, and then you get really good at it,” explained Unwin.
Murray gives Unwin credit too, saying the steady rise in grad rates corresponds to her getting the top job at the district office.
“It can’t be entirely coincidence.”