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Weston Awards Honour BC Schools for Academic Performance and Improvement

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Release Date: November 8, 2006
Forty-two schools from across British Columbia were recognized Tuesday as being among the best in the province during the annual Garfield Weston Awards for Excellence in Education ceremony in Vancouver.

Awards were presented in two categories, each reflecting different aspects of academic success. The first category, Improvement in Academics (with separate awards for elementary and secondary schools), recognizes schools that are most effective in improving the academic results of their students. Schools nominated in this category have experienced the fastest, most consistent improvement in their academic rating over the past five years. The award for Academic Achievement in Excess of Expectations recognizes schools (elementary or secondary) that ensure students succeed regardless of their socio-economic backgrounds. This award challenges the notion that schools in rich neighbourhoods always do better academically than schools in lower income neighbourhoods.

The awards are based on an analysis of the historical data of each school included in the Fraser Institute's annual Report Card on BC's Elementary Schools and Report Card on BC's Secondary Schools. Out of 280 secondary schools and 1,009 elementary schools in BC, only the top 30 in each category were invited to participate in the awards.

"The teachers and administrators from these schools are to be commended for their commitment to their students and their efforts to improve education in their community," said Peter Cowley, director of school performance studies at The Fraser Institute. "Whether a school is a winner, a runner-up or received honourable mention, their accomplishments are equally impressive."

West Point Grey Academy of Vancouver won the award for Improvement in Academics - Elementary and a $3,000 prize. Runners-up were Raft River Elementary of Clearwater and Edwin S. Richards Elementary of Mission. Both schools received a $1,000 prize.

L'Ecole Secondaire Mission won the award for Improvement in Academics - Secondary and a $3,000 prize. Runners-up were Prince Charles Secondary School of Creston and Kelowna Christian School. Both schools received a $1,000 prize.

The award for Academic Achievement in Excess of Expectations went to Corpus Christi Elementary School of Vancouver along with a $3,000 prize. St. Francis Xavier School of Vancouver and St. Paul's Elementary School of Richmond were the runners-up. Both schools received a $1,000 prize.

"Teachers and support staff at these schools have shown that rapid and consistent improvement is possible regardless of the challenges and external factors that may affect the lives of their students. At the end of the day, they are building a better school for their students and this should be cause for a great deal of pride and celebration," Cowley said.