St. Joseph School finished just behind Nelson’s Waldorf school for the highest ranking among local schools.

St. Joseph School finished just behind Nelson’s Waldorf school for the highest ranking among local schools.

Nelson’s Waldorf tops among schools

The Fraser Institute released its annual rankings of BC’s elementary schools earlier this week.

The annual rankings of BC’s elementary schools was released earlier this week by the Fraser Institute with local schools getting a wide range of grades.

Nelson’s Waldorf School placed highest with St. Joseph close behind. Rosemont and Salmo were ranked near the bottom.

The institute calls its Report Card on BC Elementary Schools the “go-to source for measuring school performance” though it is controversial. It ranks 982 public and independent elementary schools based on 10 academic indicators using data from the annual Foundation Skills Assessments (FSAs) administered by the BC Ministry of Education.

“It helps parents and educators compare schools (in small towns like Dawson Creek or big districts like Vancouver) by showing which schools have improved and which schools have fallen behind, and demonstrates how perceived barriers to learning (language, for example) are often overcome,” said a release issued Monday by the institute.

Nelson’s Waldorf School placed 53 out of 982 and St. Joseph School placed 97th.

Redfish sits at 163rd, Hume at 280 and CHEK-ABC, Nelson’s independent Christian school ranked 474 out of 982.

South Nelson is at 502 of the 982 schools, with Blewett at 531. Rosemont and Salmo placed considerably lower at 908 and 949 respectively.

Kootenay Lake School District superintendent Jeff Jones pointed to the limiting nature of the data presented by the Fraser Institute and suggests parents take their children’s school ranking with a grain of salt.

“I encourage parents to look carefully at the data used to inform the Fraser institute in concert with many other sources of data that they can learn about at their child’s school,” he said.

St. Joseph principal Marlene Suter is pleased her school scores well according to the Fraser Institute report but despite this success, she said “they are just a small piece of what happens in a school.”

Jones concurs. He explained there is valuable information that can be gleaned from the Fraser report, however, it should be used along with other sources of data for a more accurate bigger picture.

“The Fraser Institute’s attempts to rank schools have been highly controversial for a number of years,” Jones said. “These rankings are flawed for a number of reasons, most notably due to the fact they use one set of data — data which we have all noted is limited in what it can tell us.”

The Fraser Institute is an independent Canadian public policy research and educational organization with offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal and ties to a global network of 86 think tanks. Its mission is self-described as “to measure, study, and communicate the impact of competitive markets and government intervention on the welfare of individuals.”