South Nelson was tops among the handful of local elementary schools included on this year's Fraser Institute rankings.

Nelson schools above average: Fraser Institute

The Fraser Institute’s annual rankings of BC elementary schools finds Nelson’s are in the first half of the pack.

The Fraser Institute’s annual rankings of BC elementary schools finds Nelson’s are in the first half of the pack.

South Nelson was listed as 295th out of 860 schools in BC, based on 2011 results from Foundation Skills Assessment tests of Grades 4 and 7 students. Hume and Rosemont tied for 380th.

South Nelson and Hume were further tied for 316th out of 725 over the last five years, while data for Rosemont was not available.

One other local school showed up on the list: Brent Kennedy Elementary in South Slocan was 482th on this year’s rankings and 521st over the last five years.

Blewett, Crawford Bay, Jewett, J.V. Humphries, Redfish, Salmo, Winlaw, and W.E. Graham did not appear on the list released last month. Nor did St. Joseph’s Catholic school, which last year topped all local schools by ranking 66th out of 875.

The Fraser Institute says those schools don’t meet its minimum enrollment requirement.

The report received a rebuke from Nelson District Teachers Association president Tom Newell, who dismissed both the rankings and the tests used to generate them.

“Most teachers feel the FSA tests are disruptive,” he says. “Then when the rankings come out, for teachers it feels like such a non-reflection of their experience of trying to build a school community.”

Newell says using a “rigid, narrow scope” of assessment “demeans the children, the community, and by definition, teachers. In that format, there’s always winners and losers.”

Newell noted he was at Salmo Secondary the year the school ranked last in BC.

“It was very demoralizing for everyone. It was such a slap in the face to the school and community. There’s a far reaching impact when you start competing over education.”

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