Ted Cadwallader, Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools’ principal of aboriginal education, left, and Scott Saywell, superintendent, present to the school board about completion rates at the Dec. 18 regular board meeting. (KARL YU/News Bulletin)

Ted Cadwallader, Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools’ principal of aboriginal education, left, and Scott Saywell, superintendent, present to the school board about completion rates at the Dec. 18 regular board meeting. (KARL YU/News Bulletin)

Nanaimo Ladysmith aboriginal grad rate reaches all-time high

According to education ministry numbers, 69 per cent of indigenous students graduated in 2018-19

Completion rates for indigenous students in the Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district continue trending up as an all-time high 69.2 per cent graduated in 2018-19.

The previous record saw 63.9 per cent of aboriginal students receiving Dogwood diplomas in 2013-14 and while 52.1 per cent graduated in 2016-17, that rose to 62.5 per cent in 2017-18, according to a staff presentation to trustees at a school board meeting Wednesday. Ted Cadwallader, Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools district principal of aboriginal education, said indigenous grad rates have been measured since mid-1990 and the focus has been on early learning, early literacy skills and bringing indigenous content and culture into classrooms over the last 10 years. It has been a team effort, he said.

“It’s also the heavy lifting that’s gone on in indigenous communities as well, to focus on improving educational results,” said Cadwallader. “So it’s not been the school district alone. It’s been the result of some of the strategies that we’ve put together over the last decade. Some of the hard work that many people have done to improve life chances for kids, but also across our community. There’s just a lot more attention, I think, to how we can contribute to improving results for indigenous students in particular.”

According to the B.C. Ministry of Education, the non-indigenous student grad rate in the school district was 76 per cent. With the district partnering with Snuneymuxw First Nation on the Qwam Qwum Stuwixwulh indigenous language immersion school, Cadwallader said it could lead to eventual parity.

RELATED: New school in Nanaimo features indigenous language immersion

RELATED: Nanaimo’s aboriginal grad rate goes up

“Specific to indigenous student success, we think that partially by paying attention to where they’re at in their learning, at every single grade – knowing who each individual student is, asking questions about what it is that we’re doing for them and then trying to do better for them at every single stage along the way – is what’s going to lead us to increased success,” Cadwallader said.

The relationship between Snuneymuxw and the school district, of which Qwam Qwum is a part, in and of itself is going to help the district be more successful, said Cadwallader.

“I think that our attempts and our successes in building relationships with indigenous peoples … is going to serve us well because the more adults that you have wrapped around students, the better likelihood is that they’re going to be successful and that’s what were trying to do as a system, but also as individuals,” said Cadwallader.

Chris Beaton, Nanaimo Aboriginal Centre executive director, said achieving a record graduation is “amazing” and he lauded the district and teachers for their work. However, more needs to be done to achieve parity, as there was still a third who didn’t graduate, he said.

New B.C. curriculum, which incorporates aboriginal perspectives, is being implemented and in Beaton’s opinion, the district needs to continue pushing the curriculum and the flexibility it provides. In addition, more resources should be provided to teachers to fully deliver the curriculum, he said.

“I think those are some of the rewards that we’re seeing, is when the new B.C. curriculum is being implemented and our indigenous students see themselves in that curriculum in the way it’s delivered, we see success rates going up,” said Beaton. “I think we just need to continue doing the same.”

A total of 112 indigenous students graduated in the Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district in 2018-19, according to the ministry, and overall, there were 2,587 indigenous students.



reporter@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow Karl on Twitter and Instagram

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

Just Posted

News Bulletin file photo
Wrong set of golf clubs given away outside Nanaimo thrift store

Family spreading word about mistake in hopes clubs might be returned to them

The Regional District of Nanaimo faces challenges with garbage bin replacement requests. (Michael Briones photo)
Regional District of Nanaimo faces challenges to meet requests for garbage bin replacements

Waste manager says RDN will have a surplus of 100-litre carts

Nanaimo RCMP are investigating after a hit-and-run incident outside the 7-Eleven store at University Village Mall Feb. 3. (Photo submitted)
UPDATE: Nanaimo RCMP speak to people of interest in hit-and-run investigation

Police continuing to investigate Feb. 3 incident in Harewood

(News Bulletin file)
Wellington, Ladysmith secondary schools latest with COVID-19 cases

NDSS and Bayview Elementary also experienced exposures, says SD68

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C. on the COVID-19 situation. (B.C. government)
Dr. Bonnie Henry predicts a ‘post-pandemic world’ for B.C. this summer

‘Extending this second dose provides very high real-world protection to more people, sooner’

The Regional District of Nanaimo’s board is forwarding a motion on illegal dumping to the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities’ upcoming annual general meeting. (Kane Blake photo)
Regional District of Nanaimo motion seeks to ask province for help to combat illegal dumping

RDN resolution to be forwarded to Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities

FILE - In this Jan. 18, 2014, file photo, endangered orcas from the J pod swim in Puget Sound west of Seattle, as seen from a federal research vessel that has been tracking the whales. A new study from federal researchers provides the most detailed look yet at what the Pacific Northwest's endangered orcas eat. Scientists with the NOAA Fisheries Northwest Fisheries Science Center spent years collecting fecal samples from the whales as well as scales from the fish they devoured. They say their data reaffirm the central importance of Chinook salmon to the whales. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)
Study reinforces importance of Chinook to Pacific Northwest orcas

Data confirms how central the big salmon are to the orca’s diet year-round

Malawian police guard AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines after the shipment arrived in Lilongwe, Malawi, Friday March 5, 2021. Canada is expecting its first shipments of AstraZeneca vaccine next week. (Associated Press/Thoko Chikondi)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 cases climb to 634 Friday, four more deaths

Currently 255 people in hospital, 66 in intensive care

A crashed helicopter is seen near Mt. Gardner on Bowen Island on Friday March 5, 2021. Two people were taken to hospital in serious but stable condition after the crash. (Irene Paulus/contributed)
2 people in serious condition after helicopter goes down on Bowen Island

Unclear how many passengers aboard and unclear where the helicopter was going

Surrey Pretrial in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. transgender inmate to get human rights hearing after being held in mostly male jail

B.C. Human Rights Tribunal member Amber Prince on March 3 dismissed the pretrial’s application to have Makayla Sandve’s complaint dismissed

Supporters rally outside court as Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church is in court to appeal bail conditions, after he was arrested for holding day services in violation of COVID-19 rules, in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
‘Law remains valid:’ Pastor accused of violating health orders to remain in jail

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is representing the pastor

The Netflix logo on an iPhone. B.C. delayed imposing sales tax on digital services and sweetened carbonated beverages as part of its response to COVID-19. Those taxes take effect April 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Matt Rourke
B.C. applies 7% sales tax on streaming, vaping, sweet drinks April 1

Measures from 2020 budget were delayed due to COVID-19

Chief Don Tom of the Tsartlip First Nation was outraged after Green MLA Adam Olsen revealed on social media that the community had been experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak – a fact the First Nation had chosen to keep private to avoid racist backlash as experienced by the Cowichan Tribes when an outbreak was declared there in January. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. First Nation ‘outraged’ after Green MLA reveals COVID-19 outbreak

Tsartlip First Nation chief shares concerns about racist backlash, MLA apologizes

Most Read