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Alberta schools honoured for academic performance and improvement at annual Weston Awards

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Release Date: November 6, 2009

CALGARY, AB-Sixty-six schools from across Alberta were recognized for ongoing academic improvement and achievement at the annual Garfield Weston Awards for Excellence in Education dinner in Calgary Thursday.

Awards were presented in two categories, each reflecting different aspects of academic success. Improvement in Academics recognizes elementary and high schools that have experienced the fastest, most consistent improvement in their academic performance over the past five years. Determination in Academic Achievement recognizes the top-performing elementary and high schools where the average parental income at the school is among the bottom 25 per cent of the province.

"The teachers, administrators, and support staff from these schools have an unparalleled dedication to teaching which is reflected in their students' triumphs," said Lisa-Diane Fortier, Fraser Institute associate director of Outreach Programs, School Performance Studies.

"Every single year, these educators are finding new ways for their students to succeed in reading, writing, and math, and it's important that they receive the accolades they so richly deserve." 

Vauxhall Junior Senior High School of Vauxhall won the award for Determination in Academic Achievement - High School along with a $3,000 prize. Vauxhall Junior Senior High School has won this category for the last two years and was a runner-up in 2006. The school was also recognized as a School of Distinction in Improvement in Academics - High School and has been since the inception of the awards in 2005. This year's first runner-up for Determination in Academic Achievement - High School was Daysland School of Daysland, which was a runner-up in both this category and the Improvement in Academics - High School category last year, and second runner-up was Picture Butte High School of Picture Butte. Each of the runners-up received a $1,000 prize.

St. Bonaventure Elementary School of Edmonton won the award for Determination in Academic Achievement - Elementary along with a $3,000 prize after earning School of Distinction recognition in this category for the past two years. This year's first runner-up for Determination in Academic Achievement - Elementary was Manning Elementary School of Manning, which has been named a School of Distinction in this category every year since 2006, and second runner-up was St. Pius X Catholic School of Edmonton, which also earned School of Distinction recognition this year for Improvement in Academics - Elementary . Each of the runners-up received a $1,000 prize.

Warner School of Warner, a community about 70 km southeast of Lethbridge, won the award for Improvement in Academics - High School along with a $3,000 prize. First runner-up Millwoods Christian School of Edmonton and second runner-up Warburg School of Warburg, a participant in the awards since 2006, each received a $1,000 prize.

Almadina Language Charter Academy - Mountain View and Franklin Campuses of Calgary won the award for Improvement in Academics - Elementary along with a $3,000 prize, a distinction it also achieved in this category in 2007. This year's first runner-up Dovercourt School of Edmonton and second runner-up École Mountain View School of Hinton each received a $1,000 prize.

All of the remaining school teams received School of Distinction recognition.

The awards are based on an analysis of Alberta Education's student results data for each school included in the Fraser Institute's 2009 editions of the annual Report Card on Alberta's Elementary Schools and Report Card on Alberta's High Schools . Out of 283 high schools and 715 elementary schools included in the Report Card, only the top 30 performers in each category were invited to participate in the awards.

One common misconception about the Weston Awards is that only the most privileged schools are honoured for outperforming the rest of the province on Alberta Education's standardized tests.

"In fact, the Weston Awards recognize schools in two areas. One category acknowledges where these schools were five years ago in terms of academics and how far they've come since then. The other recognizes schools located in environments where many would say consistent student success is not possible," Fortier said.

"These awards are about encouraging excellent educators to keep doing what they're doing to provide students a better education. Their commitment to excellence cannot be understated."

Complete list of all Weston Award-winning schools



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