School systems hoping recent changes will continue to improve graduation rates

As Central Alberta students graduate this month, school jurisdictions continue to look at how to improve the rate of students who finish Grade 12.

As Central Alberta students graduate this month, school jurisdictions continue to look at how to improve the rate of students who finish Grade 12.

The number of 2016 graduates is not yet available, but in June 2015 the rate of students who graduated three years after entering Grade 10 ranged from 69.5 per cent at Red Deer Public Schools to 84.5 per cent at Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools.

The provincial graduation average was 76.5 per cent.

Red Deer Public had a drop in its graduation rate from 74.0 per cent in 2014, while its three-year average was 73.5 per cent.

Superintendent Stu Henry said there had been an upward trend for about four years in a row and the district was encouraged about where results would head in the future.

Several years ago public schools on Red Deer’s north side were reconfigured as kindergarten to Grade 8 to build connections and stability.

“We’re hearing rave reviews from parents and staff about that model so we do think long term that will really pay off for our high school completion,” Henry said.

Attendance tracking and supports are also in place starting in elementary school. Another program links high school students with an assigned staff member to help them with any issues they may encounter. And students who don’t complete Grade 12 in three years are contacted by staff to help them earn their final credits.

Red Deer Catholic had a slight decline in its graduation rate from 88.1 per cent in 2014. Its three-year average was 88.2.

“Compared to the province, we’re well above the provincial average. We’re quite proud of the success story and quite proud of contributing to the overall provincial success,” said superintendent Paul Mason.

To help students earn their diploma, Catholic high school staff are assigned to work with students to make sure they have enough and the right credits to graduate.

“It is a team effort, not only with the Grade 12 teachers, but throughout a students’ education career,” Mason said.

^

Superintendent Kurt Sacher with Chinook’s Edge School Division said his jurisdiction was proud of the continued increase in its graduation rate that rose to 81.2 in 2015 from 80.1 per cent in 2014. Its three-year average is 79.3 per cent.

“We still have lots of work to do. We want to do better every year. But overall, it’s a real tribute to our staff and how much work they put into helping students from pre-kindergarten to Grade 12,” said Sacher.

He said Chinook’s Edge had a plan for a number of years and was sticking to that plan to increase its graduation rate. Recently it included learning support teams in every school for teachers and more time for teachers to share their ideas and best practices.

The graduation rate at Wild Rose School Division dipped slightly to 74.1 per cent in 2015 from 76.0 per cent in 2014. But superintendent Brad Volkman said it was not a concern.

“It probably doesn’t represent very many kids when you look at a school division our size. We’re just not very, very large,” Volkman said.

Its three-year graduation average was 74.2 per cent.

But he was worried about having less students around to graduate in communities like Rocky Mountain House.

“We’ve got lots of families who have had to move over the year because they’ve lost their job,” said Volkman who estimated about 200 fewer Wild Rose students in the fall.

He said less students means less teachers while trying to offer the same range of programs, and less maintenance and cleaning staff while the number of buildings stays the same.

“(Homes) will fill up again once the economy rebounds then we’ll be on the upswing again. That’s just Alberta and the oil based province that we are. We’ll manage,” Volkman said.

Wolf Creek Public Schools saw graduation rates increase to 73.6 per cent in 2015 from 71.4 in 2014, with a three-year average of 71.8.

Jayson Lovell, acting superintendent at Wolf Creek, said while the majority of students graduate three years after entering high school, more students are choosing to graduate in four or five years to have more time or flexibility.

“It’s a trend that’s happening across the province,” Lovell said.

szielinski@bprda.wpengine.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(Image from Facebook)
Central Alberta Soroptimists celebrate International Women’s Day

Soroptimist International of Central Alberta will host its first virtual International Women’s… Continue reading

Samantha Sharpe, 25, was stabbed to death at Sunchild First Nation on Dec. 12, 2018. Chelsey Lagrelle was sentenced to 4.5 years in prison for manslaughter in a Red Deer courtroom on Tuesday. (Contributed photo)
Central Alberta woman sentenced to 4 1/2 years for stabbing friend to death in 2018

Chelsey Lagrelle earlier pleaded guilty to stabbing Samantha Sharpe during argument

Alberta's chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw says Albertans need to keep making safe choices to start bending the curve back down. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
One new COVID-19 death in Red Deer, 257 additional cases province-wide

Red Deer sits at 459 active cases of the virus

Olds College logo
Olds College to host free, online agriculture celebration next month

Olds College will host a free live-streamed agriculture event next month. The… Continue reading

Alberta Health Services Logo
AHS upgrading online immunization booking tool

Alberta Health Services’ online booking tool for COVID-19 immunizations will be temporarily… Continue reading

Red Deer dogs Bunsen and Beaker helped save a missing pet recently. The two dogs have more than 80,000 followers on Twitter. (Contributed photo)
WATCH: Red Deer science dogs help save lost pet

Red Deer science-communicating dogs Bunsen and Beaker helped rescue a missing pet… Continue reading

The Dawe family home in the Michener Hill subdivision in Red Deer. This house was designed and built by Robert G. Dawe, a local engineer, in 1911 and has remained in the family ever since. (Contributed photo)
Michael Dawe: 65 years of Red Deer history

As a major milestone birthday looms, I thought that it might be… Continue reading

Dallas Stars' Mark Pysyk (13) and Tampa Bay Lightning's Ondrej Palat (18) compete for control of a loose puck in the first period of an NHL hockey game in Dallas, Tuesday, March 2, 2021. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Vasilevskiy 3rd straight shutout as Lightning top Stars 2-0

Vasilevskiy 3rd straight shutout as Lightning top Stars 2-0

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) grabs a loose puck as Canadiens defenceman Ben Chiarot (8) and Ottawa Senators left wing Brady Tkachuk (7) battle for the rebound during first-period NHL hockey action Tuesday, March 2, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Hab down Sens 3-1 to snap 5-game winless streak; Ducharme earns 1st NHL coaching win

Hab down Sens 3-1 to snap 5-game winless streak; Ducharme earns 1st NHL coaching win

FILE - In this Jan. 16, 2021, file photo, Creighton coach Greg McDermott watches the team during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Butler in Indianapolis. McDermott apologized publicly Tuesday, March 2, for using insensitive language in his postgame locker room talk with players and staff following a loss over the weekend. In a tweet, McDermott said he used a “terribly inappropriate analogy in making a point about staying together as a team despite the loss.” (AP Photo/Darron Cummings, File)
Creighton coach McDermott apologizes for ‘plantation’ remark

Creighton coach McDermott apologizes for ‘plantation’ remark

WHL’s B.C. Division clubs cleared to play in Kamloops and Kelowna bubble environments

WHL’s B.C. Division clubs cleared to play in Kamloops and Kelowna bubble environments

World Rugby recommends postponing 2021 women’s World Cup to next year

World Rugby recommends postponing 2021 women’s World Cup to next year

Sean Burke speaks at a news conference in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, July 25, 2017. The Montreal Canadiens have made another change to their coaching staff, appointing Burke to take over as the director of goaltending. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Montreal Canadiens appoint Sean Burke as director of goaltending

Montreal Canadiens appoint Sean Burke as director of goaltending

The Toronto Arrows line up ahead of their Major League Rugby game in Toronto on April 7, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Neil Davidson
Toronto Arrows train under the bubble before heading south of the border

Toronto Arrows train under the bubble before heading south of the border

Most Read