KAMLOOPS – The latest Fraser Institute report does not properly reflect the quality of education at the schools of the Kamloops-Thompson School District but the superintendent says an achievement contract completed by the district for the province is a realistic view of how the district is doing.
SD73 superintendent Terry Sullivan presented the achievement contract to the board Monday evening with the goals of improving literacy, numeracy, social responsibility, completion rates and overall achievement for Aboriginal students.
Sullivan says the contract is created by looking at how students are performing and having the trustees visit each school in the district to develop annual improvement plans. Each individual improvement plan must be approved before the achievement contract can be finalized.
The board will now get a chance to ask questions or make changes before they are asked to approve the contract on July 8. Once approved the contract will be submitted to the province for the July 15 deadline.
The 2011/2012 school year saw most literacy goals meeting expectations and/or showing sustained improvements. However, while many numeracy levels exceeded provincial rates, some do not meet the district targets. Many of the targets are set for 90 per cent of the students to achieve at least a C in the course or to be at or above provincial averages.
Graduation rates declined by two per cent and as a result the district continues to focus efforts on engaging students throughout their education by utilizing partnerships and trades opportunities.
The district is above the provincial average in many areas the Fraser Institute report does not properly reflect this, Sullivan says, and as a result he puts little stock in this report.
“I haven't read the Fraser Institute report quite frankly. They don't send it to us. But I've read it before and I know what it's going to say,” he says. “The top 10 are almost always independent schools.”
He explains all the indicators other than the socio-economic ones are on the district achievement contract, and that one indicator makes a big difference for the Fraser Institute. Though the group considers the report a way for parents to be better informed in making a choice which school to send their kids to, Sullivan calls the report a media event.
“They send it to the media, and then the media calls us wanting to know (more),” Sullivan explains. “Sometimes we go down a bit, sometimes we go up a bit. It's all based on socio-economic stuff.”
On the recently released report of B.C. Secondary schools, the top Kamloops school is once again St. Ann's in spot 29, while the highest ranked public schools are Sa-Hali Secondary and Beattie School of the Arts, tied at 123.
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