Nanaimo school district’s graduation rate for aboriginal students declined for the third straight year. (NEWS BULLETIN file)

Survey started up to gauge Nanaimo’s views on aboriginal grad rates

Nanaimo Aboriginal Centre survey closes March 5

Nanaimo Aboriginal Centre is searching for suggestions on how to bolster student success, after statistics showed fewer aboriginal students graduated last year.

The non-profit has created a survey on social media to gauge public opinion on the importance of graduation rates, views on the necessity of Dogwood diplomas and suggestions to help support greater student success in the school system.

Ninety-seven aboriginal students were handed diplomas last year, a graduation rate of 52 per cent, according to the B.C. Ministry of Education’s latest completion rates.

It’s the third year in a row the district’s aboriginal graduation rates have slipped and a five-year low.

RELATED: Nanaimo school district looks to improve aboriginal graduation rates

Chris Beaton, executive director of the Nanaimo Aboriginal Centre, said his organization believes graduation rates are important and is concerned to see declining rates, and this survey was an easy way to check in and ask if its opinion represents the community.

“I hope our concerns for the grad rates represents concern from the community and that we’re not speaking out of turn and I hope this provides us as an organization and a community further direction to say yes, this is an important topic and an important issue and we’d like to see some focused effort to address it,” he said.

Ideas for helping students, so far, include night school, implementing truth and reconciliation recommendations and creating a culturally supportive system that includes family at all levels, according to Beaton.

The survey, through the Nanaimo Aboriginal Centre Facebook page, closes Monday, March 5. The centre hopes to host a community conversation about graduation rates this month.

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