Graduation rates low for Indigenous students, despite $13-million funding injection

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Lori Pritchard, education director and lead with the CBE’s Indigenous Education Strategy, said the gap between higher provincial graduation rates and the declining rates at the CBE may be attributed to the diverse and vast nature of Calgary’s Indigenous population.

“The Indigenous community in the urban centre of Calgary is very diverse and very spread out,” said Pritchard, who herself is Métis.

“We have 250 schools and in each one of those schools we may have one, or five, or even 100 Indigenous students in any of them. We don’t necessarily have a concentration.”

Despite the diversity, there are still success stories, which need to be better tracked and noted, she added.

“We know that as an organization we need to improve our work, and in most cases this will require a significant shift from what we’ve always done.

“Our rates have not improved so the work we’ve been doing needs to be tracked, and we need to better track and capture progress.”

Moving forward, Pritchard said the CBE will focus its resources on specific high school populations, particularly those at Forest Lawn, Jack James, Henry Wise Wood, James Fowler and John Diefenbaker high schools.

“It’s just a matter of distributing our resources better, and building up our Indigenous knowledge within those school communities.”

Pritchard explained that means ensuring all staff and non-Indigenous students in a school community have a stronger foundation of Indigenous history, ways of life and learning.

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