Chilliwack school trustees must keep eye on what really matters

Chilliwack school district needs to build on its success improving student achievement

Amid the accusations, acrimony and animosity that’s becoming the norm at Chilliwack school board meetings, there is good news coming out of the school district.

This week the district released numbers showing that high school completion rates continue to climb.

Over the past two decades, the number of students who have graduated has climbed 13 per cent.

True, 18 per cent are still leaving school without their Dogwood diploma, but the gap continues to close.

Significantly, an area showing the best improvement is the success of Indigenous students in the district, where completion rates are now 10 per cent higher than the provincial average.

The improvement comes at a challenging time for the district. Growing enrolment and crowded classrooms have put strains on our education system.

But here, too, we are seeing promise.

Construction of a new school in the city’s south end will help ease overcrowding and the use of portables.

And news that the former UFV property off Airport Road will become a new arts-orientated school for students in the upper grades shows what innovation and collaboration can accomplish.

(Particularly gratifying is the fact the UFV theatre has avoided a final curtain call and will continue to support student learning.)

Success doesn’t happen by chance, and acting superintendent Rohan Arul-pragasam was quick to point to a “culture of collaboration” aimed at student success. “…Our district is full of unsung heroes who do the work day in and day out (to help these kids),” Arul-pragasam told The Progress.

That passion was evident during a presentation at the last school board meeting about the level of effort staff go to to support students, particularly those at risk of falling through the cracks.

These stories are a reminder of what the school board’s primary focus must be: Student achievement.

READ MORE: Chilliwack School District graduating more students than ever before

READ MORE: Chilliwack school board plans for an integrated arts school for grades 8-12 at old UFV location

READ More: Province pledges nearly $49 million for new Chilliwack school

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