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School District 82 on flunking grade from Fraser Institute

School district fights back after Hazelton’s flunking grade from Fraser Institute.
The Fraser Institute gave Hazelton Secondary School the lowest ranking in B.C. (File photo)

Note: Coast Mountains School District 82 responded to a news story that appeared in the May 24 edition of The Interior News. The quotes below were emailed. Coast Mountains School District told The Interior News that it is their policy to email responses instead of doing live interviews. The written responses were not sent in time to have them included in the original story, but we felt it was important to share the school district’s reaction.

Coast Mountains School District 82 administration do not care about the Fraser Institute’s report card on secondary schools. As reported in the May 24 edition of The Interior News, the Canadian think tank gave Hazelton Secondary School (HSS) a zero out of 10. That grade put the high school last of all 293 secondary schools in the province.

“As you know, the Fraser Institute uses an average exam mark, percentage of exams failed, school versus exam mark difference, English gender gap and math gender gap, graduation rates, and delayed achievement rates to determine their quantitative overall ranking. In general, it is a ranking of how schools are doing academically compared to other schools in B.C.,” said Coast Mountains School District Director of Instruction Janet Meyer in an email sent May 26.

She went on to say these rankings, as reported, reflect only a small portion of what schools do. Education must serve the whole child and be meaningful, authentic and honour the cultural heritage, she added.

Meyer said the school is working on improving and taking steps to better the students, which is not something the Institute includes in their annual rankings.

“The school’s 2016-2017 Growth Plan addresses issues of literacy and numeracy. In addition to that, however, they offer Gitxsan Language and Culture, an Introduction to the Trades Program, a ‘Back-to-the-Land’ Program and a wide array of programs in the area of Social Emotional Learning,” said Meyer.

In the previous The Interior News article, one of the authors of the report suggested HSS use the report card to improve its academic standings.

“We agree that staff, administrators, parents and students must continue to work together, not to change the Fraser Institute rankings, but rather to change results for our learners,” said Superintendent of Schools Katherine Macintosh in a separate email sent June 6.

“The Fraser Institute Report Card does not drive plans for improvement in our schools. Schools use all available information to determine school improvement plans. We believe in knowing where every single learner is on the path to graduation and knowing what interventions are necessary to address vulnerabilities that may exist.”

Marisca Bakker

About the Author: Marisca Bakker

Marisca was born and raised in Ontario and moved to Smithers almost ten years ago on a one-year contract.
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