Indigenous educators celebrated Rock Your Mox Day at Courtenay Elementary School Nov. 15. The day focused on cultural teachings and dance. Enhancing education with Indigenous ways and knowing is a key strategic priority and recognized as a contributing factor to the increasing Indigenous graduation rates experienced in the Valley. Image, Comox Valley Schools

Indigenous educators celebrated Rock Your Mox Day at Courtenay Elementary School Nov. 15. The day focused on cultural teachings and dance. Enhancing education with Indigenous ways and knowing is a key strategic priority and recognized as a contributing factor to the increasing Indigenous graduation rates experienced in the Valley. Image, Comox Valley Schools

Comox Valley’s Indigenous grad rates continue to climb

The Ministry of Education released 2018-2019 graduation data Nov. 29

The upward trend in the six-year graduation rates for Indigenous students in the Comox Valley reaches a new level higher than in previous years.

Results for the 2018-2019 school year topped last year’s results with an 83 per cent completion rate, significantly higher than the provincial average of 69.4 per cent.

In the 2017-2018 school year, the rate for Comox Valley Schools reached 77 per cent while the provincial average was reported at 70 per cent.

The Ministry of Education released the 2018-2019 graduation rates Nov. 29 reporting that over the past two years, the six-year school completion rate is at historically high levels for Indigenous students – up 8 per cent overall since 2013-14.

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One of the contributing factors leading to this success in Comox Valley Schools is the fact that the school district embraces Indigenous ways and knowing in the curriculum and has identified it as a key priority in the board of education’s strategic plan.

“Our Indigenous education staff are instrumental in enhancing school programs, events and activities that encourages teachers and students to celebrate our rich cultural heritage and history,” said superintendent Tom Demeo. “We are always seeking out more opportunities to embed Indigenous ways and knowing into the classrooms and this is also due in large part to the strong partnership we share with the Indigenous Education Council and our school Elder-in-Residence program.

Demeo explains that ultimately the goal is to set all students up for success with an education system that focus on inclusivity, diversity, equity and empowerment.

“We aim to deliver an educational program that is entrenched in a value system based on respect and acceptance of all learners, which is fundamental to the success of all students,” Demeo said. “Investing in the holistic needs and well-being of the student first and foremost is our goal, and this is probably a leading reason why we are seeing completion rates steadily climb each year.”