Sask. school division sees increase in indigenous student graduation rates

Education Minister Don Morgan joined students in North Battleford, Sask., to recognize impact of Gateways to Success program. Saskatchewan Ministry of Education / Supplied

Saskatchewan Education Minister Don Morgan joined North Battleford students and staff on Wednesday to recognize the importance of the Gateways to Success program.

“Since the program’s inception, we are seeing increases in our First Nations and Métis graduation rates, as well as a sizeable increase in credit attainment,” said Jim Shevchuk, Living Sky School Division superintendent.

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In April 2013, an 82-page Joint Task Force (JTF) report was released to the public by the provincial government and the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN).

The school division developed a partnership through the Invitational Shared Services Initiative (ISSI) in response to concerns raised by the report about the graduation and attendance rates of indigenous students.

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“We recognize that there is a disparity between graduation rates of First Nations and Métis students and non-aboriginal students in Saskatchewan, and this program is working to change that,” Morgan said.

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The ISSI partnership with the Treaty 6 education council aimed to develop strategies to address those concerns with a focus on keeping kids in class with student supports.

“The Gateways to Success team has sincerely tried to personalize their programming to make a real connection with each student,” Shevchuk said.

Living Sky School Division’s 30 public schools in northwest and central Saskatchewan have a student population of around 5,700.

Ministry officials said it has allocated $6.4 million to 11 school divisions in support of 16 ISSI partnerships since 2014.

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