February 26, 2014 - 10:29 AM
KAMLOOPS - More and more First Nations students in School District 73 no longer believe failure is the only option, as the graduation rate soars to new heights.
A recent report has shown that 90 per cent of First Nations students eligible for a Dogwood are successfully graduating in the area - the highest the district has ever seen.
Renee Spence, Administrator of the First Nations Education Council said she has noticed the rising rate causing significant change in the attitudes of not only First Nations students in the area, but their parents as well.
The parents are putting more emphases and importance on education, she said, and students are setting higher goals for themselves. Spence noted more and more First Nation students are continuing on into a post-secondary education. “I think they are much more confident and self-assured,” Spence said. “They are thinking, yeah, this is our world too.”
These changes are significant to where the school system is headed in the future. Spence believes the new rates show a big move in the right direction. “I think it moves the district closer to ensuring that no matter what child enters the classroom in the fall, they have an equal chance of academic and personal success,” she said. “They aren’t disadvantaged in any way and that is the purpose of public education.”
Spence believes the rising rates are a result of many different factors, including the parental support given. She also notes the school system has made more resources supports for First Nations student’s not only academically but also social and emotional supports as well. The schools have also made an effort to have their environment reflect on their culture and history, so they see themselves in what they are learning.
The school district noticed a drop in suspensions among First Nations students from elementary school and up, which came as a pleasant surprise to Spence. She believes changes stem from focus throughout the schools in the area, being put on behavior. The schools are also issuing less long-term out of school suspensions and instead, replacing them with in-school suspensions. This keeps the students in school and gives them the option of completing course work outside of the classroom, instead of kicking them out.
Spence believes there are some significant milestones coming for the First Nations rates in the near future and she looks forward to the day that every student, no matter their background, can look at their future and know they can accomplish anything.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014