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Central Okanagan Public Schools recognized for drastically reducing Indigenous student dropout rates

Mount Boucherie Secondary School in West Kelowna is being recognized for having risen their high school graduation rate for Indigenous students from 55% in 2011 to 78% in 2017.

This is the highest six-year Indigenous completion rate in the province, and the program is expanding rapidly to reach the district’s 2,200 Indigenous learners.

<who>Photo Credit: Mount Boucherie Secondary School</who>

The school will now be the subject of an EdCan Network research program on dropout prevention. A researcher from EdCan Network will visit West Kelowna in order to explore how educators at Mount Boucherie have successfully built a learning community that encourages cultural pride.

“Our Academy connects educators interested in decolonizing our educational system for all students,” says Kyla Winacott, teacher of Indigenous Leadership at Mount Boucherie Secondary School. “If we are able to come together and allow our students to feel valued, hopeful and worthy, we can help them see graduation as a meaningful pathway to a confident future.”

<who>Photo Credit: Mount Boucherie Secondary School</who>

Classes are offered to students in grades 10-12 in Indigenous history, literature, leadership, culture, art and Okanagan language, which incorporate the knowledge of Elders and community members of Westbank First Nation.

Similar courses already exist within many provinces curricula and could be readily offered by schools across Canada.

This learning community convenes regularly to discuss student progress, proactively address behavioural challenges, and plan land-based outings to engage students in traditional Okanagan ceremonies.

Central Okanagan Public Schools received a $5,000 contribution on Monday, October 30th courtesy of initiative sponsor State Farm Canada to grow its activities and extend its impact.

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