Six Nations secondary school students showed a notable increase in credit achievement in the 2021-2022 school year.
Credit accumulation increased for all grades but the jumps were particularly noticeable for grades nine and 11. Only nine per cent of grade 11 students achieved eight full credits in the 2020-2021 school year. Last year, that jumped to 22 per cent.
About 31 per cent of grade nine students obtained eight credits in the 2020-2021 school year, which jumped to 47 per cent last year.
Grade 10 saw a jump from 29 per cent to 32 per cent, and grade 12 saw a jump from 38 per cent to 45 per cent.
The dip in credit achievement was directly correlated with the Covid-19 pandemic, said GEDSB Board Chair Kevin Graham.
“We know that these values will continue to go up,” said Graham.
The 2021-2022 school year continued to be one of responding to change, as the pandemic forced transitions between in-person and online learning, said Claudine VanEvery-Albert. “Despite these challenges, I am very pleased to see the progress toward students. It pleases me as an educator and a mother and a grandmother that things are really happening in Grand Erie.”
Many years ago, when she first got involved in education, there were only two staff members in the GEDSB assisting Indigenous students.
Now, there are close to 20.
“Things are really happening and I’m pleased with that,” said VanEvery-Albert.
The majority of Six Nations students attending secondary school off-reserve go to McKinnon Park in Caledonia, with 200 students on the roll in 2021-2022, followed by Hagersville Secondary, Brantford Collegiate Institute, Tollgate Technological Skills Centre, and Pauline Johnson Collegiate.
In terms of overall credit accumulation, about 65 per cent of Six Nations students achieved all credits required to graduate in grade 12 or 13 by June 2022.
The provincial graduation rate hovers around 80 per cent. The GEDSB graduation rate is in the mid to high 60s.
Despite the increase in credit success over the previous year, Coun. Audrey Powless-Bomberry expressed concern that the numbers were still low for credit accumulation.
“Our kids are taking that fifth year to get their credits,” she said, adding that work should be done to encourage students to achieve all their credits within four years as opposed to five.
Graham said he believes the growth in credit accumulation will continue as more supports are put in place for Indigenous students.