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Graduation rate among aboriginal students rising thanks to Okanagan school program

Click to play video 'Graduation rates among aboriginal students at one Okanagan high school climbing to record numbers thanks to unique program' Graduation rates among aboriginal students at one Okanagan high school climbing to record numbers thanks to unique program

Students and staff at Mount Boucherie Secondary in West Kelowna celebrated a big accomplishment this week.

The graduation rate among the school’s indigenous students has jumped from 55 per cent in 2011 to 78 per cent in 2017.

The increase in the number of graduating students is being attributed to a unique program offered at the school.

Called the Academy of Indigenous studies, the program offers classes in indigenous history, literature, leadership, culture, art and Okanagan language.

“Our academy started six years ago as an idea from a couple of teachers who decided there had to be another way to motivate and encourage our indigenous students,” indigenous studies teacher Kyla Winacott said. “When kids are struggling with something that might be in their personal life or academically, we have people on our team here at the school who are will directly address that and we are very proud of that.”

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The graduation rate among aboriginal students within the central Okanagan school district is 74 per cent, compared to 96 per cent for the entire student population.