SD 19 releases plan for student success

“People want to know what’s going on in our schools, read this,” says trustee

The Revelstoke Board of Education’s District Plan for Student Success in 2017/18 has been released.

The plan, which can be viewed online, gives a brief overview of the district – 987 students, 74 teachers and 60 support staff in four schools – before delving into some of the district’s goals for the year.

“This plan has been prepared to celebrate the success of our students and to provide direction for our continued efforts to enhance learning. It outlines our district’s plans to sustain and enhance student achievement, our focus on student health and well-being, and reflects directions and efforts undertaken by staff and students at each of our schools,” the report says.

Bill MacFarlane, chair of the Revelstoke Board of Education Trustees, encouraged anyone looking for information about the school district to look at the report.

“People want to know what’s going on in our schools,” he says. “Read this.”

The report covers student health and well-being, student reading achievements, student graduation and Aboriginal education.

We’ll take a look at a few of the targets highlighted in the report.

Relationships between Revelstoke students and their teachers remain strong

According to the Student Learning Survey results for the 2016/17 academic year, at least 80 per cent of students in Grades 4, 7, 10 and 12 reported that “two or more adults at school care about me.”

“A huge strength continues to be the relationships that exist in the schools,” says superintendent Mike Hooker.

Grade 12 students had the highest results, with 90 per cent saying two or more adults at school care about them.

Alan Chell, Revelstoke Board of Education Trustees vice-chair, thinks that the higher percentage in Grade 12 has to do with students exploring options for post-secondary.

“What the Grade 12 students are feeling is that staff are very concerned with – so what are you doing next – in terms of helping them get the information if they want to go to trade school or college,” he says.

Grade 10 was the next highest at 87 per cent, followed by Grade 4 at 86 per cent and Grade 7 at 82 per cent.

A target for the school district is to “increase the number of adults that intermediate and secondary students who report being ‘connected’ with adults at school.”

In most cases, the numbers have gone down. In Grade 4 in the previous academic year (2015/16), 94 per cent of students reported that two or more adults cared about them at school. Grade 7 also went down from 87 per cent. Grade 10 went up from 84 per cent, while Grade 12 remained the same at 90 per cent.

“The results from our Grade 4 and 7 students are providing guidance for programs and services related to our students in and out of school time,” the report says.

The percentages in the Revelstoke school district remain higher than the provincial average in Grade 7 and in Grade 4.

Hooker says the question may be changing in the future to reflect the percentage of students who report that two or more adults believe they can be a success.

Health education continues to be a priority

In 2016/17 the percentage of students saying they were learning to care for their physical health went up in all grades.

In Grade 4, the percentage rose to 77 for 70 in the previous year. In Grade 6, it rose 10 per cent from 65 to 75. It rose the most in Grade 10, going from 29 per cent to 72 per cent and in Grade 12, it rose from 24 per cent to 50 per cent.

“Work in this area continues at all schools,” the report says. “Personal health is being addressed to a higher degree in redesigned curriculum.”

In 2016/17, it was the first year the question was posed as: “At school I am learning how to care for my physical health.” Previously, the question was: “At school I am learning about staying healthy.”

Vulnerability rates in early development best in class

Hooker says that Revelstoke has some of the lowest vulnerability rates in the province. A target for the district this year is to keep the vulnerability index below 15 per cent.

Between the 2014/2015 school year and the 2015/16 school year, the index was at nine per cent. It’s the lowest rate since the 2007/08-2008-09 data.

“Our partnerships with the Early Learning Community in Revelstoke continue to be a major area of strength,” the report says. “Kindergarten students are entering school with high levels of readiness for learning. This is a credit to the effective community programs to support the early years.”

New question focuses on sexual orientation and gender identity

A new question posed to students in Grades 7, 10 and 12 asked: “Do you see diverse sexual orientations and gender identities represented in your school acitivies?”

In Grade 7, half the respondents said they didn’t know, while 30 per cent said yes and 20 per cent said no.

Once in Grade 10 and in the high school, 76 per cent of respondents said yes, while 15 per cent said they didn’t know and nine per cent said no.

In Grade 12, 77 per cent said yes, 19 per cent said they didn’t know and 4 per cent said no.

Revelstoke School Board to ask Ministry of Education to change way six-year graduation rates are published

While compiling the data for the report, Hooker noticed there was a much lower percentage in the 2013/14 academic year than the others. When he asked the Ministry of Education for the cohort group from that year, he discovered that 12 international students were being counted against the district’s graduation rate.

“When the province publishes six-year completion rates and says Revelstoke has an 81 per cent graduation rate, they don’t say by the way, 15 of those students were international students,” says Hooker. “There’s a problem with the province publishing the data that way.”

Revelstoke’s six-year completion rate was 88 per cent in 2011/12, 90 per cent in 2012/13 and 86 per cent in 2013/14. For the 2014/15 and 2015/16 years, Hooker adjusted the rates from the Ministry of Education, reflecting the rates without four international students in 2014/15 and 11 international students in 2015/16.

The adjusted rates in 2014/15 were 95 per cent and 92 per cent in 2015/16.

“Our international program has become stronger and stronger,” said Hooker. “So when we had four or five international students in a group and 110 students in a cohort, it didn’t really affect our graduation rate.

Also not reflected in the rates from the ministry are students who relocate.

“They are counted as non-graduates, but we don’t know if they graduated or not,” said Hooker. “They are counted to us as non-grads.”

Chell put forward a motion at the school board meeting on Nov. 8 to send a letter to the ministry requesting that “they reflect the transfer of students in the graduation data.”

“What are we supposed to do? Stop the kids from leaving?” he said. “You want your data to be meaningful.”

The motion was approved unanimously.

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