Preparing Students to Succeed in Life


Only 74.8% of Alberta high school students complete high school within three years. However, there are other numbers behind that story.

While 77.4% of girls graduate, only 72.3% of boys graduate.

Only 59.6% of English Language Learners graduate.

Only 43.9% of FNMI students graduate.

While 65.7% of students with a learning disability graduate, only 37.3% of students with an emotional/behavioural disability graduate.

While the Calgary Board of Education (CBE) has not provided such a detailed breakdown, we know that the high school completion rate of CBE students is about 1% lower than the provincial average.

The Calgary United Way has recognized the importance that high school graduation has on the future of our city and has estimated that the annual cost to society per high school dropout is $15,850. They have launched a campaign to reduce the drop out rate by 50% over the next five years.

In Ontario, they have succeeded in increasing the high school graduation rate by 15 percentage points over the past ten years, and are well on their way to reaching their goal of an 85% graduation rate.

In order to improve the chances of success for our students, the CBE needs to be working closely with outside organizations that wish to provide additional supports for high school students. The CBE also needs to be continually looking towards other jurisdictions who are achieving success in improving graduation rates to determine whether similar strategies could work here. A bright future depends on a well-educated society, and we must work together to ensure that everything possible is done to prepare students to succeed in life.

2 thoughts on “Preparing Students to Succeed in Life

  1. RosedaleMom

    High school completion is a complex issue and an interesting one for you to blog about. I am wondering if you could enlighten me as to what you believe are successful strategies to improve high school completion. Since high school completion really begins the first day a child walks into the school system…what do you believe would be the fundamental shifts that need to occur in CBE’s focus. The post mentions that the United Way has a plan and that Ontario has also implemented a strategy yet you have not mentioned what you believe would be be fundamental strategies to improving CBE’s completion results. So do you believe CBE needs to focus on academic achievement through improved literacy strategies, inclusion, student health and wellness, etc…. I also have a master’s in educational technology and am a longtime educator but would not say that increased access to technology would have an impact on this issue. I appreciated looking through your website yet I personally would like more information on what you stand for in the coming weeks.

  2. Trina Hurdman Post author

    Thank you for taking the time to comment! I agree that high school completion is a complex issue, and one that has no simple solution. I would also say that strong relationships are more effective at keeping students in school than access to technology. However, I want to be clear that my role as a potential future trustee is not to impose what I believe to be successful strategies. Trustees are elected to represent citizens and to provide oversight to the system. Currently, only one trustee has any background in education at all. It is not the place of the board to dictate specific strategies, but to ensure that the administration is aware of issues and has a plan, with specific strategies, in place to address these issues. The board then determines whether the process used to develop the plan was adequate, whether or not to approve the plan, and what indicators should be used to monitor the ensuing implementation and results. As a trustee, I want to see a plan that shows that the administration has looked at the successes of other jurisdictions. I also want to see a plan which has a basis in credible research, and one that has gained the support of school staff, parents and community members because they were part of the process of developing it.

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