Nelson’s L.V. Rogers once again leads Kootenay Lake school district high schools in this year’s Fraser Institute rankings.
According to the right-wing think tank, the school was 73rd among 279 public and private schools in BC, below its five-year average ranking of 44th, based on exam results and graduation rates.
“Overall, I’m pretty proud of the school,” says first-year principal Tim Huttemann. “If you look at this year’s provincial exam results, we had no kids fail Science 10. Almost two-thirds got an A or a B.”
Huttemann says he takes the data used to compile the rankings seriously. While he hasn’t had a chance to dissect the numbers in detail, he is interested in learning the drivers behind them.
“The tables are numbers. But there are always stories and explanations that go with those numbers. That’s what we want to dig into deeper,” he said. “I’d say the emphasis is going to be on our more vulnerable kids.”
Huttemann isn’t sure why the school’s ranking dropped this year — he says he hasn’t been at the school long enough to observe trends, although in his short time he’s impressed with the staff’s dedication to student learning.
“The thing that struck me most is teachers here talk about teaching a lot. With all this stuff about work issues, I’m pleasantly amazed at the focus: how do we get our kids to achieve?”
Huttemann adds LVR’s exam results are above provincial average in just about every area, and some results are “spectacularly above,” but they are just one measure of the school’s success.
He also notes the rankings are subject to vagaries such as the total number of schools included, and students moving out-of-province who aren’t counted as graduating.
The former vice-principal of Castlegar’s Stanley Humphries says as far as retaining students, LVR has a new tool in the Kootenay Lake learning centre, an alternate program formerly part of the Distance Education School of the Kootenays.
“Those are the strategies we work on. If we have kids falling through the tracks, we can offer them additional support.”
LVR was second among schools in West Kootenay-Boundary, behind Rossland Secondary, which was 46th. Kaslo’s J.V. Humphries was 86th, South Slocan’s Mount Sentinel was 229th, and Salmo was 272nd.