Local Boards, Province Improve High School Grad Rate

Ursuline College Chatham. (Photo by Dave Richie)

Chatham-Kent’s Catholic school board is seeing a big spike in its high school graduation rate.

The St. Clair Catholic District School Board saw 79.5% of its secondary school students graduate in four years last year, up from 68% in 2014. The provincial rate is the highest it’s ever been, with 78.3% of students graduating in four years. The Ontario government compares its numbers to ten years prior, where only 56% of students graduated in the standard time frame.

Director of Education Dan Parr says students at their two secondary schools are starting to understand having a high school diploma is the new standard across the country.

“When students leave our schools without that graduation diploma, they’re not really very well equipped to be successful in life, that’s obvious,” says Parr. “But sometimes it’s helpful to point that out.”

Parr adds spending more time developing one-on-one learning opportunities has led to positive results for students.

“It might require a bit more time, and a bit more of an individualized program, but that’s what high schools do well now in this province. I think high schools in the SCCDSB do an excellent job in that area,” says Parr.

Meanwhile, the Lambton-Kent District School Board’s four-year high school grad rate sits at 71.3%, up from 67% in 2014.