Wednesday, December 08, 2010

High school completion rates for Prince Rupert students drop again

The results of some provincial number crunching have once again painted a worrisome trend for Prince Rupert's high schools, with the city's completion rate among the lowest levels in the province.

The numbers from this Ministry of Education report show that in the most recent review, Prince Rupert's rate of completion was 57.7%, down from the 2008 report when the city's rate was listed as 63.9%.

For First Nations students in the city the levels are also lower and also quite worrisome, this years totals provide for a 35.1 per cent completion rate, down from numbers released in 2008 when the number was 39%.

The further breakdown of the numbers for this year shows that the completion rate for girls in the district is 63.8%, 52.2 percent for Boys and 29.5% for those with English as a second language.

The latest statistics provide a stark comparison between provincial rates of completion and those in the local  district, overall in British Columbia there is a 79.7 per cent completion rate, some twenty percent higher than that of Prince Rupert's.

For First Nation's students the provincial rate of completion is 50.4 percent, 15 per cent higher than the current numbers coming out of School District 52.

Among neighbouring School Districts, the completion rate was highest in the Bulkley Valley District at 74.5 %, followed by the Coast Mountain District in Terrace/Kitimat at 70.6% both close to the provincial numbers.

Haida Gwaii had a completion rate  similar to that of Prince Rupert at 57.9%, while the Stikine Distrtict had a completion rate of 33.4 %, and the Nisga'a District's rate was 35.9%.

The Northern View provided some background on the reaction from School District 52 to the numbers released last week, relying mainly on the thoughts of Debbie Leighton-Stevens, the regional District Principal for Aboriginal Education who said the causes of the low completion rates are complex with no one reason to point towards as the main problem area.

Though she did offer up the hope that the move to a middle school in September 2011 may improve the situation over the next number of years.

In the same Northern View article, Superintendent Lynn Hauptman declined to offer up a comment on the situation, advising that she wished to provide a more complete report to the Board on the issue.

That report will be presented at the next board meeting and should be something that will be of interest to Prince Rupert parents, seeking to find out what may be the contributing factors at the moment that accounts for such a low completion rate.

As we outlined on the blog in January of 2009, the completion rate and its trend downwards is but one of a number of issues on the horizon for school officials when it comes to education in Prince Rupert.

But the ongoing trend outlined by the release of numbers from the Ministry last week should raise a number of questions among parents in the district.

Curious we hope to find out if this continuing problem is a funding issue, an allocation of resources issue or if there are larger problems in place that seem to be contributing to the dis-connect between many students and the education system in Prince Rupert.

There is a need to outline in clear terms where the School District is on the issue and what approach they hope to take to begin to turn the numbers around.

With many changes yet to come within School District 52, it might be of some help to understand how we arrived at this place, at this time and if the moves to come in the School District will improve, or make the situation worse than it is.

The Ministry of Education News Release on the release of the statistics can be found here, a further breakdown of information beyond that of the link above,  can be examined here.

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