Besides having the fastest declining enrolment in BC, School District 74 also has the dubious title of the most vulnerable district in the province.
The district’s Early Learning co-ordinator, Stephanie Johnson, told the district’s Education Committee on Feb. 8 that the percentage of vulnerable children had decreased by a fraction since last year, but it was still well over 40 per cent.
Johnson said the province uses an Early Development Index (EDI) which measures five different areas: Physical Health and Well Being; Social Competence; Emotional Maturity; Language and Cognitive Development; and Communication Skills and General Knowledge.
The EDI is measured every February with Kindergarten students across BC and is used to determine the needs of the various districts. The same basic EDI is used in other provinces also.
“We’re improving in small ways,” Johnson told trustees and other committee members, “but when looked at across the province, we’re still very vulnerable.”
She said part of the reason for the high percentage is the small number of children interviewed in Gold Trail, which is less than 100 so far. The more children interviewed, the more that percentage rate is likely to fall.
Johnson said they’ve asked the people compiling the data for more detailed information on the specific communities.
Many of the children had more than one vulnerability, but the information collected over the past four years from Kindergarten students in the various schools throughout Gold Trail showed Cache Creek Elementary School scored high in Physical Health and Well Being vulnerability,
Ashcroft and Lillooet scored high in General Knowledge and Communication vulnerability.
Lytton Elementary School scored high in Social Competence vulnerability.
Johnson said it gives her team a better idea of which programs are better suited to specific schools. Tailoring support in this manner is expected to make it easier for the students to focus on learning.