The graduation rate for School District 5 (SD5) Southeast Kootenay was 91% for the 2019/20 school year, which includes an 80% graduation rate for Indigenous students and 72% for students with special needs.

With the COVID-19 pandemic dramatically affecting school processes one year ago, SD5 believes student learning still hasn’t missed a beat, given the statistics.

“This hasn’t been an easy year for anyone,” said Frank Lento, SD5 Board Chair. “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”.

According to data from the B.C. Government, SD5’s 91% graduation rate was down from their record 94% rate in 2017/18. However, it is significantly higher than SD5’s 84% average completion rate from 2006/07 to 2016/17, prior to their record year.

Lento said over the past five years, the provincial graduation rate was 62% for aboriginal students and 80% for all non-aboriginal students. With an indigenous graduation rate of 80% in 2019/20 for SD5, it’s significantly higher than the provincial average.

MORE: School District 5 Completion Rates (B.C. Government)

Handling the COVID-19 pandemic, Lento said the Board was closely working alongside Superintendent Silke Yardley and Secretary-Treasurer Alan Rice to adapt the budget for the school district, as well as policy, protocols and resources. As a result, Lento said all of the changes led to additional pressure on district administration, school-based administrators, as well as all other employees not directly involved with student learning.

The Board Chair views the graduation rates as a shared achievement across the entire district as they navigated both online and in-person learning opportunities, modified schedules, adapted lesson plans, new regulations, and more.

“The SD5 Board of Education wishes to thank the entire school community for this success,” said Lento. “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.”