Glentworth Central School in the Prairie South School Division is No. 1 in the province, according to latest report card by the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies (AIMS) and the Frontier Centre for Public Policy (FCPP) ranking high schools throughout Saskatchewan.
Last year’s third place contender was in the top spot this year, followed closely by other rural schools. Central Butte School was second, Medstead Central School was third, McClurg High School in Wilkie was fourth and Lake Lenore School rounded out the top five.
“You’ll see many of the schools are rural schools,” Rodney Clifton, senior fellow with the FCPP, said of the top-place finishers, noting a wide variety of data is analyzed to produced the report card’s rankings. “People wouldn’t think that the students in those schools are doing as well as they are doing. Perhaps some of the city superintendents, principals and teachers should be visiting some of the rural schools and seeing what they’re doing.”
Saskatchewan Education Minister Russ Marchuk said Wednesday that “no data is bad data, as long as you’re using it to improve student outcomes.”
“There are a number of things that come into play in terms of why students achieve different levels,” he said regarding the apparent split between urban and rural high schools, noting community size and composition and socioeconomic and geographic elements could be involved. “It’s difficult to pinpoint an exact thing that contributes to a particular result.”
Marchuk noted that urban and rural schools already work together.
“You know, the education community is a very healthy community and I know that is actually going on,” the minister, a former educator and school board trustee, said. “We share information across the spectrum whether it’s urban or rural or both. If there’s something to learn in terms of best practices, we’re going to use that – it doesn’t really matter where it comes from.”
At the bottom of the report card’s list, there were three schools to receive a grade of ‘F’ – Twin Lakes Community School in Buffalo Narrows, La Loche Community School and inner-city Scott Collegiate in Regina were ranked 168th, 169th and 170th, respectively. The highest placing school within Saskatoon was francophone ECF pavillon Gustave Dubois with an ‘A-‘ grade and an eighth place finish, and the lowest placing was Bishop Murray High School, with a grade of ‘D’ and a ranking of 164th.
“You know, to analyze individual circumstances isn’t a direction that we need to go,” Marchuk said when asked about the bottom of the pack. “Individual schools and school boards will deal with those issues as they see necessary. Again, there are many factors that contribute to a report card.
“I believe that the school divisions and schools will take a look at their data, they’ll make the analysis, they’ll take that information to use it to inform decisions about programming in their schools, and where to allocate resources to support the learning needs in that particular community.”
The report card can be found online (www.fcpp.org and www.aims. ca). It looks at school performance in the 2006-07, 2007-08, and 2008-09 school years.
“Both AIMS and FCPP believe that public agencies should be evaluated and citizens and particularly those people that use the agencies – parents and their children – should have an understanding of how well their institutions are working,” Clifton said about the motivation for the exercise.