Perceptions and practices of teachers, principals, and counsellors regarding school completion
In this study, intervention strategies for improving school completion rates were explored by researching practices and programs that would best serve students in grades seven to nine. Teachers’, counsellors’, and administrators’ perceptions regarding their role in facilitating school completion for their at-risk students at that age level were examined in order to provide a sense of school and staff culture in this researcher’s own context. A mixed-methods approach was taken using two tools, a paper based survey and personal interviews. Sixty-three educators from School District #79 (Cowichan Valley) were invited to participate. Thirty-one responded to the survey and seven were interviewed. It was thought that the participants would identify a variety of strategies currently in use to address the needs of their at- risk students and teachers, counsellors, and administrators would have distinct perceptions about their roles in facilitating school completion for at-risk learners. Barriers to implementing new and effective strategies were expected to be few but significant, and some commonalities between the three stakeholders’ answers were expected. Data collection from the study confirmed that teachers, counsellors, and administrators at the grade seven to nine level are using many of the practices and strategies that are common to successful programs for increasing graduation rates. There is a strong indication that more opportunities for meeting the needs of at-risk learners in the intermediate years are needed and that there are some critical barriers preventing their attainment and usage.