According to the Fraser Institute, L.V. Rogers was the leading secondary school in the Kootenay Lake district last year.
In its annual rankings released this week, the right-wing think tank pegged the Nelson school as No. 36 out of 273 in the province for 2009-10. That was in keeping with its five-year average of 38th place.
LVR was second in West Kootenay only to Rossland Secondary, which placed No. 30, despite being threatened with closure.
Among other Kootenay Lake district schools, Creston’s Prince Charles placed No. 174, below its five-year average of 134; Kaslo’s J.V. Humphries came in at No. 200, compared to its average placing of 161; and South Slocan’s Mount Sentinel was No. 218, well below its average of 143.
Crawford Bay and Salmo Secondary were not included this year.
Among other West Kootenay Boundary schools, Boundary Central of Midway was No. 54, Trail’s J.L. Crowe No. 87, Grand Forks Secondary No. 164, and Castlegar’s Stanley Humphries No. 194. Nakusp Secondary tied with J.V. Humphries for No. 200.
The controversial rankings take into account provincial exam results, graduation rates, and the difference in results between male and female students on certain exams. These are combined into a single rating out of ten.
Kootenay Lake superintendent Jeff Jones says he puts little stock in the report, regardless of how the district’s schools fare.
“The problem with the Fraser Institute ranking is that it relies essentially on one data set,” he says. “What it doesn’t recognize is that every school community has a different context. Where some students from marginalized backgrounds are struggling to stay in school, others have enriched opportunities, and given every chance they’re going to do better on those data sets generally.”
Jones says there are a “broad array” of other ways to measure student success besides those employed by the Fraser Institute.
He also notes that in Calgary, where he lived prior to moving to Nelson, people would sell their homes and move to neighbourhoods with high-ranking schools.
“But the interesting thing here is the number one ranking school when the elementary rankings came out was Bountiful. What does that say? Is that where people are going to move to?”
Fraser Institute’s Report Card on Secondary Schools
2009-10 ranking out of 273 (with five-year average in parenthesis) and overall mark out of 10
Rossland Secondary 30 (44) 7.8
L.V. Rogers, Nelson 36 (38) 7.7
Boundary Central, Midway 54 (105) 7.2
J.L. Crowe, Trail 87 (74) 6.7
Grand Forks 164 (199) 5.6
Prince Charles, Creston 172 (134) 5.5
Stanley Humphries, Castlegar 194 (99) 5.2
J.V. Humphries, Kaslo 200 (161) 5.1
Nakusp 200 (207) 5.1
Mount Sentinel, South Slocan 218 (143) 4.8
Not ranked: Crawford Bay, Salmo