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Cranbrook schools rank well

Annual Fraser Institute finds three Cranbrook schools in the top 10 fastest improving elementary schools in the province

A B.C.-wide survey has placed three of Cranbrook's schools in the top 10 fastest improving facilities across the province.

The annual Fraser Institute school rankings, which use the results of the Foundation Skills Assessments (FSA), were released on Monday, March 4.

According to the Institute, Steeples Elementary was the second fastest improving elementary school in B.C. Highlands Elementary was the fifth fastest improving, and T.M. Roberts was the sixth fastest improving.

"What are Cranbrook teachers doing that results in such significant improvement? The results that they have achieved should be a beacon for educators across the province," said Peter Cowley, Fraser Institute director of school performance studies.

"This shows the value of the FSA. Without standardized testing, we wouldn't know about success stories like Cranbrook," said Cowley.

But School District 5 board chair Frank Lento said the FSA, which tests students in Grades 4 and 7 on reading, writing and numeracy, is not the only way to see how students are performing.

"We have all kinds of assessments. We have them at the district, we have them at the schools, we have them in the classrooms – a myriad of assessments that go into making young boys into men and young girls into women. That's the job that we do," said Lento.

He acknowledged not just the schools that ranked well according to the FSA, but all School District 5 schools.

“It’s not to detract from the Cranbrook schools. They are all doing a great job and I hate to single one out over another. That’s not our intent. It may be the intent of the Fraser Institute. They would far better be off if they started ranking municipalities in terms of the taxes people are paying,” said Lento.

A student’s experience at a school is more important than how the school ranks in the academic assessment, Lento went on.

“What’s more important is the activities, the experiences, the opportunities and the memories that kids have day in and day out in our schools,” he said.

“My favourite saying is that the Fraser Institute rankings are nothing more than a time of reflection and remembrance. Nothing more, nothing less. They come and go each year.”

The Fraser Institute ranks 853 public and independent elementary schools based on 10 academic indicators using data from the annual FSA administered for the B.C. Ministry of Education.

In this year’s report, of the 20 elementatry schools showing the fastest academic improvement over the past five years, 10 are public schools where the parental income is below average.

According to the Fraser Institute, the highest ranking elementary school in Cranbrook is St. Mary’s Catholic School (placing 93rd out of 853 schools), followed by Highlands (317th), Kootenay Christian Academy (335th), Steeples (420th), T.M. Roberts (455th), Kootenay Orchards (539th), Amy Woodland (597th) and Gordon Terrace (835th). Pinewood Elementary is not mentioned in the report.

For more detailed results, visit