first_imgSecondary School ratings are set to be released on May 14, 2015. He says improvement in student success could be the result of numerous different factors, some of which may not be a direct result of the school, but Cowley argues that it “behoves every principal and every teacher to find out” the factors at play.“Improvement is possible. It can be done in any part of the province; it doesn’t matter where you start – well below average in some cases [or] well above average in other cases,” says Cowley. “The only thing that matters is the direction you’re going in, and it should be up.”“Who benefits when the direction has gone up? The kids – and that’s what public education and education in general is all about.”Other schools in the Peace River North School District with above average scores were Baldonnel at 7.6, CM Finch at 7.3, Bert Ambrose at 6.2 and Alwin Holland at 6.1.Advertisement Here in the northeast, nine schools topped that average, led by JS Clark Elementary in Fort Nelson with a 9.5.Upper Pine got the highest ranking in the Peace, and its score of 8.0 put it on a list of the 50 schools showing the most significant academic performance improvement.This year’s rankings are for the 2013-14 school year, and Peter Cowley, the Institute’s Director of School Performance Studies, has high praise for Upper Pine – arguing it is now worthy of benchmark status.- Advertisement -“Here’s the thing; you got 50 schools out of the 978 in this report card that has shown statistically significant improvement over the school year of 2009-10 until the most recent school year, 2013-14,” explains Cowley. “Every principal in this province and every teacher in this province should say, ‘Is there anything I can learn from the schools that have shown improvement?’”In the North Peace, Cowley uses Upper Pine as the prime example.“They moved from 4.9 out of 10 in 2009-10 to 8.0 out of 10 in 2013-14,” Cowley goes on to say. “This is a pathfinder school – got to find out what happened.”Advertisementcenter_img G.W. Carlson in Fort Nelson matched the Baldonnel score at 7.6 and Tumbler Ridge Elementary and Frank Ross in Dawson Creek both moved into the above average category, improving to 6.5 and 6.2, respectively.However, it should be noted again that this study is annually the subject of wide-spread criticism led by the B.C. Teacher’s Federation, a position Cowley calls “silly and self-serving.”“We’ve heard the criticism that there’s no point in ranking the schools or showing differences between individual schools because all the schools have excellent staff – they do a terrific job, and so any differences at all between the schools, the teachers union will say it’s not because of our members,” explains Cowley. “Well they won’t say what it is, but you have to infer what they’re talking about. If it’s not us, it must be something else that’s causing low performance in the low performing schools.”“That’s either the families or the kids themselves, which I think; it’s an awful thing to say.”“How do you improve?” asks Cowley. “That’s the question, because often times the teachers union is afraid of what it will do to the morale of low performing schools if they get a poor rating from the Fraser Institute.”Advertisementlast_img read more