Mount Baker Secondary School Principal Viveka Johnson and Graduate Chloe Bannink are pictured at Mt. Baker’s Drive-Thru convocation ceremony Thursday, June 25, 2020. All members of the graduating class of 2020 drove past the school, one at a time, over the course of the late afternoon to receive their certificates and congratulations. (Barry Coulter photo)

Mount Baker Secondary School Principal Viveka Johnson and Graduate Chloe Bannink are pictured at Mt. Baker’s Drive-Thru convocation ceremony Thursday, June 25, 2020. All members of the graduating class of 2020 drove past the school, one at a time, over the course of the late afternoon to receive their certificates and congratulations. (Barry Coulter photo)

School District 5 graduation rate well above B.C. average

Board said high rate attained during pandemic year is a shared achievement among the community

School District 5 is celebrating a high graduation rate, which at 91 per cent is well above the provincial average.

Frank Lento, School District 5 board chair, said the rate is even more remarkable given that it was achieved in the 2019/2020 school year, which was of course was affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“This hasn’t been an easy year for anyone”, says Lento, “but thanks to the hard work of the SD5 Board, administration, both teaching and non-teaching staff, students and parents, it has been a successful one for SD5.”

The rate is one of the highest rates achieved by SD5 in recent years, as well as the SD5 Indigenous completion rate for the 2019/2020 year, which is 80 per cent — one of the highest in the province. In comparison, over the past five years, the provincial graduation rates averaged 62 per cent for Aboriginal and 80 per cent for non-Aboriginal students.

Lento added that the high graduation rate was very much a shared achievement.

“This hasn’t been an easy year for anyone”, says Lento, “but thanks to the hard work of the SD5 Board, administration, both teaching and non-teaching staff, students and parents, it has been a successful one for SD5.

“The SD5 Board of Education wishes to thank the entire school community for

this success.It was the hard work of all teaching and non-teaching staff, the cooperation of the teaching (CFTA) and non-teaching (CUPE) Union partners and the perseverance of students and parents collectively that enabled the SD5 school community to overcome the challenges to education posed by the pandemic.

“We couldn’t have achieved this level of student success without you!”

It was just after Spring Break one year ago that the worldwide, Covid-19 Pandemic changed how people live, work and interact with one another. SD5 said in a press release that for the BC Public Education System, it meant finding a new way to continue to provide quality education to students .

Lento said that while government set new social distancing and health and safety parameters, it was left largely up to individual school districts to plan and implement “on-line” and eventually, “in-person” learning opportunities for students. These plans were modified again and again as a steady stream of directives, outlining new regulations and protocols, began flowing from government.

For educators and support staff, this meant adapting lesson plans and support systems. It also meant contacting each of their students by phone every week, to ensure “every child had a personal learning connection” and to identify those students in need of additional supports.

For students and parents it meant taking ownership of their or their children’s learning, adapting quickly to the “on-line” format and creating unique formats of their own to demonstrate and self-report on their individual learning. It also meant reimagining the traditional “graduation ceremony” and “prom” in order to comply with Covid-19 safety protocols without lessening the significance of this momentous occasion.

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