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Fraser Report puts Arnprior school on top 0

By Stephen Uhler, OBSERVER MULTIMEDIA JOURNALIST

Renfrew County Catholic District School Board director of education Michele Arbour

Renfrew County Catholic District School Board director of education Michele Arbour

PEMBROKE - 

Renfrew County schools are continuing to make their mark among the top schools in Ontario, according to the Fraser Institute.

This is based on their annual report card on elementary schools, released this week by the Vancouver-based think tank that supports free-market solutions to what it sees as problems in public policy.

Arnprior’s John XXIII Catholic School remains the number one elementary school in the province out of 2,714 schools listed in the report, which ranks schools based on the results of standardized testing conducted by the Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO).

Within Renfrew County itself, both Cobden Public School and Arnprior’s St. Joseph’s Catholic School were tied for second place, and both ranked 67th in Ontario.

Deep River’s Keys Public School, which is part of Mackenzie Community School, tied for third in the county with Our Lady of Fatima Catholic School in Renfrew, and both placed 124th in the province.

Rounding out the top rankings in the county, Pembroke’s Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School is fourth (142nd in Ontario), Rockwood Public School is fifth (278th), Cathedral Catholic School sixth (313th), and in a three-way tie for seventh is Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic School and Pinecrest Public School, both of Petawawa, and Jeanne-Lajoie of Pembroke, all of which sit at 956th out of 2,714 schools.

Both the Renfrew County Catholic District School Board and the Renfrew County District School Board have stated in the past the public should be cautious when approaching the data and not to take it at face value, since it is based on only one set of criteria.

Michele Arbour, the RCCDSB’s director of education, said it is important people take this information in its proper context and not to jump to any conclusions.

“The Fraser Institute collects a variety of indicators of school performance,” she said, explaining their board reviews this source of information as a snapshot or series of snapshots in the life of the school and always celebrates staff and students’ shared commitment to learning.

“It is important to note, however, that many innovative and effective programs and activities are not captured by this report card,” Arbour said. “We continue to encourage parents and our broader community to call or visit our Catholic schools to learn more about our vision for life-long learning and our journey to Christian maturity.”

While the RCDSB couldn’t be reached for comment by deadline, it has always maintained it is important for people to know the data is only a small piece of the puzzle when it comes to evaluating an entire school.

In 2012, Gail Bishop, the RCDSB’s assessment and evaluation superintendent, commented on that year’s Fraser Institute report by saying the board doesn’t rely on just one narrow set of data to determine how a school is doing in meeting the students’ needs.

“It is more helpful to us to have data focused on how we can help students improve,” the superintendent had said then, rather than just having a ranking of schools which the RCDSB feels isn’t really useful or accurate.

School board officials urge parents who are wondering about their child’s school that they can get their best information by visiting the school directly, which keeps track of their performance data over the years, or get in contact with either the principal or their local school council.

The Fraser Institute’s Elementary School Report Card 2013, released this week, rated English and French, public, and Catholic elementary schools from across Ontario based on the results derived from provincewide tests of reading, writing, and mathematics skills administered by the province’s EQAO for the 2011/2012 school year.

The exclusion of a school from the report card should in no way be construed as a judgement of the school’s effectiveness.

Some elementary schools were excluded because their populations were too small, they didn’t need to take part in the EQAO testing, the school may no longer have Grade 6 classes as part of their student population or there wasn’t enough data to calculate a rating.

The schools listed were compared and ranked among 2,714 Ontario schools which were included in the report.

A partial listing of Renfrew County schools, grouped by community, including their rating out of 10 points based on their overall academic performance, and where they stand compared to the rest of the 2,714 schools, are as follows:

Pembroke - Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School 8.6/10, ranked 142/2,714; Rockwood Public School 8.1/10, ranked 278/2,714; Cathedral Catholic School 8.0/10, ranked 313/2,714; Jeanne-Lajoie 6.7/10, ranked 956/2,714; Highview Public School 6.3/10, ranked 1,239/2,714; L’Équinoxe 5.0/10, ranked 1,968/2,714; and Champlain Discovery Public School 4.6/10, ranked 2,148/2,714.

Petawawa - Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic School 6.7/10, ranked 956/2,714; Pinecrest Public School 6.7/10, ranked 956/2,714; Herman Street Public School 6.5/10, ranked 1,107/2,714; General Lake Public School 6.4/10, 1,173/2,714; and Pine View Public School 4.4/10, ranked 2,228/2,714.

Cobden - Cobden Public School 9.1/10, ranked 67/2,714.

Eganville - St. James Catholic School 6.6/10, ranked 1,016/2,714; Eganville District Public School 5.7/10, ranked 1,584/2,714.

Deep River - Keys Public School (now part of Mackenzie Community School) 8.7/10, ranked 124/2,714.

Barry’s Bay - St. John Bosco Catholic School 5.5/10; 1,708/2,714.

Renfrew - Our Lady of Fatima Catholic School 8.7/10, ranked 124/2,714; St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic School 6.4/10, ranked 1,173/2,714; and Queen Elizabeth Public School 6.2/10, ranked 1,305/2,714.

Arnprior - John XXIII Catholic School 10/10, ranked first out of 2,714; St Joseph’s Catholic School 9.1/10, ranked 67/2,714; McNab Public School 6.5/10, ranked 1,107/2,714; A J Charbonneau Public School 6.3/10, ranked 1,283/2,714; and Walter Zadow Public School 6.0/10, ranked 1,405/2,714.

Stephen Uhler is a Daily Observer multimedia journalist

stephen.uhler@sunmedia.ca

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