Thames Valley graduation rates hit historical high

Thames Valley District School Board (TVDSB) reported a record high graduation rate of 84 per cent for 2020-2021. Amy Simon / Global News London

Despite unforeseen setbacks caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Thames Valley District School Board (TVDSB) is reporting a record-high graduation rate of 84 per cent for 2020-2021.

The school board’s graduation rate has increased a total of five percentage points over the last five years and was up slightly from the previous record of 83 per cent set in 2019-2020.

Read more: Learning Lessons: How repeating grades could help students make up for learning gaps during the pandemic

“Our core business is making sure students can read, write, solve problems, and eventually graduate so that can lead them to college, university, trades or into the world of work,” said Mark Fisher, director of education for TVDSB. “If you don’t have a high school diploma, you’re virtually unemployable.”

Fisher praised the historically high graduation rate, expressing his gratitude towards their student success teams.

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“School teams have remained focused on the core of our business: preparing students to graduate and start their post-secondary journey,” said Fisher.

He highlighted a factor in the recent report being that educational markers, such as exams, were cancelled for the last two years due to the pandemic. Instead, students are largely being evaluated through various tests, projects and presentations over the course of the school year.

Fisher said that one of the reasons why graduation rates have gone up is due to the school boards’ implemented credit recovery program.

Read more: Ontario school boards required to offer remote learning option for 2022-2023

“It’s available for kids that are struggling and are close to getting the credits required to graduate, but need some extra work,” said Fisher.

“We recognize that for many students, their experience over the last couple of years has been highly variable,” Fisher added. “So, we’re offering a lot of in-person and virtual summer school learning opportunities. This may be for students that want to reach ahead and be better prepared for new academic learning or filling in some of those gaps. For others, it’s just an opportunity to be around friends and colleagues for their own well-being and mental health.”

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