Module 4 – Post # 5 ~ Graduation Rates Increasing; Still a Long Way to Go

High School Aboriginal Student Graduation rates are on the rise throughout western Canada British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan all report higher graduation rates. However, the graduation rates are still significantly lower (18% in BC) for Indigenous students when compared to non-indigenous peers, and the graduation rate of on-reserve schools is still lower.

Mainstream schools that have seen and increase in Aboriginal student graduation have worked to cultivated school climates that are culturally-responsive, that recognize the richness of Indigenous culture, offer specific courses with Aboriginal content and encourage teachers to use diverse teaching methods that Indigenous students are found to be more successful with.

Indeed, Tyron McNeil, President of the First Nations Education Steer Committee acknowledges that Indigenous students respond to more inclusive learning environments; and students like high school graduate Cauy Kealy note that affirmation of his cultural roots, and his teachers’ belief in him motivated him to graduate. Schools like Dryden High School in Ontario and Chetwynd Secondary School in BC have found the importance of not only reinforcing positive self-and-cultural-image, but also having an academic and life “coach” working with each individual student and their teachers had increase success rates.

Unfortunately, on reserve schools have even less graduates due to poor funding, teacher retention and teacher training, and many reserves do not have secondary schools at all. Students choose to remain home with family instead of moving away for high school.

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