Province Celebrates Impressive Number of Students Graduating from High School



    Graduation Rate Increases to 75 per cent

    QUEEN'S PARK, Feb. 28 /CNW/ - Seventy-five per cent of students in
Ontario graduated with a high school diploma in 2006-07 - a two percentage
point increase over 2005-06 and a seven percentage point increase over
2003-04. This represents 10,500 more students graduating each year.
    "This news is really something to celebrate. More students now have a
brighter future, and their success will mean more success for Ontario," said
Education Minister Kathleen Wynne.
    A total of 22,500 additional students have achieved their high school
diploma in Ontario since 2003-04. In 2003-04, the graduation rate was 68 per
cent. The government's target for Ontario's graduation rate is 85 per cent by
2010-11.
    Today's students can better match their high school experience with their
individual strengths, interests and career goals.
    "The staff in my high school's learning support centre made all the
difference. They allowed me to do my work on my own but were not condescending
when I asked for help. They were there for me. They helped me graduate," said
recent high school graduate Andrea Hayes, 19, Fort Frances.
    Changes to Ontario's high schools mean more innovative programs that take
learning beyond the traditional classroom. These programs are part of
Ontario's $1.5 billion Student Success Strategy, which tailors a student's
education to his or her individual strengths, goals and interests.
    "We are well on our way to meeting our ambitious target of having 85 per
cent of students graduating, but recognize that there is still more to be
done," said Wynne. "We will continue investing to support students, teachers,
educators, and parents - to ensure students continue to get what they need to
be successful in school and in life."

    
    Some quick facts about secondary school education in Ontario include:

    -   There are approximately 707,000 secondary school students in Ontario.
    -   There are approximately 880 secondary schools in Ontario.

    To learn more about secondary school education in Ontario:

    -   Find out what programs are available in your local high school
    -   Learn the graduation requirements in Ontario
    -   Read the government's vision for education.

    Disponible en français

                              www.edu.gov.on.ca
                           www.ontario.ca/progress


    Backgrounder
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

         INNOVATIVE HIGH SCHOOL PROGRAMS HELP MORE STUDENTS GRADUATE
    

    Transforming high school for all students is the focus of the
government's Student Success Strategy. It gives Ontario students a greater
opportunity to customize their high school experience to match their
strengths, interests and career goals.
    The government has been providing support and resources for students who
struggle, and providing all high school students with more learning
opportunities that match their aspirations for the future.
    A direct result of these supports and resources has been a gradual
increase in the number of students graduating from high school each year.

    
    -------------------------
      Year    Graduation Rate
    -------------------------
    2003-04     68 per cent
    -------------------------
    2004-05     71 per cent
    -------------------------
    2005-06     73 per cent
    -------------------------
    2006-07     75 per cent
    -------------------------
    

    Since 2003, the government's $1.5 billion Student Success Strategy has
provided additional resources to all students and helped 22,500 more graduate.

    Target
    ------
    The government has set an 85 per cent graduation rate target by 2010-11 -
a significant increase from 2003-04. This means that more than 90,000
additional students will have graduated when the target is met.

    Student Success Programs
    ------------------------
    The following high school programs create a more engaging learning
environment for students and better prepares them to pursue the career that
they want.
    Specialist High Skills Majors allow students to focus on career paths
that match their individual goals and interests.

    
    There are twelve Specialist High Skills Majors being offered during the
2007-08 school year:

    -  Construction
    -  Manufacturing
    -  Arts and Culture
    -  Tourism and Hospitality
    -  Horticulture and Landscaping
    -  Mining
    -  Agriculture
    -  Forestry
    -  Health and Wellness
    -  Environment
    -  Transportation
    -  Business.
    

    There are a total of 153 Specialist High Skills Major programs in Ontario
with most school boards (67) offering at least one of these majors.
    Dual Credit Programs allow high school students to earn credits toward
their Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) by participating in
apprenticeship training or college courses that count towards their high
school diploma, as well as towards their postsecondary diploma or
apprenticeship certification.
    An estimated 4,300 students are enrolled in 150 dual credit programs this
year.
    Lighthouse Pilot Projects help students who need extra support and
attention to stay in school. Locally-developed projects may include a
combination of mentoring and intervention programs that improve student
achievement.
    There are 92 new or expanded Lighthouse pilot projects in 2007-08 to
increase credit accumulation, reduce drop-out rates, link more programs with
postsecondary institutions and encourage students who left school to return
and complete their diploma.
    Expanded Cooperative Education allows students to earn secondary school
credits while completing a work placement in the community. Up to two credits
may count towards the 18 compulsory credits required for the diploma. Any
additional cooperative credits can count as optional credits.
    Expansion of cooperative education is a key goal of the Student Success
Strategy. There were more than 57,000 students enrolled in cooperative
education in 2005-06 and the number of credits earned through cooperative
education increased by 10% from 109,047 in 2004-05 to 119,900 in 2005-06.
    Student Success Culture includes training for principals and teachers on
new ideas and innovative approaches to helping kids graduate from high school.
It builds upon a culture of high expectations and individualized attention and
caring.
    Student Success Teams include a Student Success Teacher, the principal,
the guidance department head and the special education department head and/or
other appointed staff. Together, they identify and support students who need
extra help to succeed, provide more options for learning and monitor student
progress.
    Grades 7,8,9 Transition helps students as they move from elementary
school to secondary school with increased individualized attention and
programming tailored to fit their situation. Orientation programs, strategies
and interventions are put in place to support the transition.

    
    Disponible en français

                              www.edu.gov.on.ca
                           www.ontario.ca/progress
    





For further information:

For further information: Michelle Despault, Minister's Office, (416)
212-3747; Patricia MacNeil, Communications Branch, (416) 325-2676; Public
Inquiries: (416) 325-2929 or 1-800-387-5514, TTY: 1-800-263-2892

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Ontario Ministry of Education

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