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2015 Update

As I have mentioned before in this blog, I am unable to visit the schools in Ward 71 without the express invitation of principals or the Parent Advisory Council chair.  According to our current Board policies, if I were to contact the principal directly, I could be sanctioned.  Our Board is in the midst of updating these policies but at the rate we are going, they may finally be updated by the time the next election roles around in 2017!  So I may have to abide by this old, restrictive policy for the rest of my time as your school trustee.

I have however, been offered a warm welcome by some chairs and some principals and had an opportunity to share with parents in person, my 2015 Update.  Those who heard my presentation, told me they found it very informative and appreciated the effort I made to come out to their school in person.  I wish I could give this presentation to more parents as I take my role as a school trustee seriously and believe that one of my responsibilities is to communicate to constituents some of the happenings in our district. We have many wonderful things going on in our district!  I feel badly that I cannot bring you this good news in person.

Because I am limited in my abilities to communicate with parents, I made up a brochure which I have been handing out at Open Houses, being careful to remain on the public sidewalk at the front entrance of the schools.  For those of you I have not had an opportunity to connect with, I have copied the content of my brochure below.

  • We had an $8 million surplus due to the retirement of a large number of older teachers and hiring of new teachers at a lower pay scale. This surplus will be dedicated to repairing roofs and boilers.
  • NAIT Collegiate: ECSD, EPSB and NAIT are working together to build a grade 9 –12 collegiate for  students with an aptitude and passion for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM).  The high school will be located on the Blatchford Lands near NAIT.  The hope is that the school would open in September 2018.
  • The student population of our metro schools has become increasingly complex due to the fact that our cities provide access to many specialized services. The Metro Boards of Edmonton Public and Catholic and Calgary Public and Catholic have noticed however that funding for our vulnerable students has either remained stagnant or decreased. The per student funding for English Language Learners for example, has decreased from $10,077 per student to $9,806 per student.  The Metro Boards are working together to bring this issue to the attention of the provincial government.
  •  We have 8 new schools and 1 expansion which are funded and in the planning stages and will be built in areas of greatest growth.
  • During the last round of teacher negotiations, a committee was struck called the “C2 Committee” to research how best to reduce teacher work load in the areas of inclusion, supervision, teacher time, and report cards.
    • Inclusion:  In response to feedback from teachers, our district is dedicating an additional $3.5 million for inclusion and $0.5 million for English Language Learners.
    • Supervision: Each site is considering different ways that teacher supervision during lunch hours can be lightened so more teachers can have an actual lunch break.
    • Teacher Time:  Each site is finding creative ways that teacher tasks can be accomplished within the school day. One Thursday afternoon per month for example, is being   dedicated to tasks of the teacher’s choosing e.g. report cards, planning.
    • Report Cards: Efforts are being made to reduce teacher work load in regards to report cards.  The use of drop down menus for comments, using Power School for ongoing reporting for Junior and Senior High are some ways the district is addressing this concern.
  • Annual Numeracy Week: March 9-13, 2015.  This week which is the brain child of Trustee Thibert, Ward 77 (Millwoods) is similar to Read In Week but promotes and celebrates numeracy using fun and engaging activities.  The week will lead up to Pi Day which is on March 14, 2015 (Pi is 3.1415  so Pi Day is the 3rd month, 14th day, 2015)

On Providing Day Cares in our Schools

It has become evident that if we are to provide 21st century learning, our schools must provide day care services to our families.  Though our mature neighbourhood schools have the space for day cares and after school care services, our new schools in the suburbs do not.  Though we have lobbied for it, the government of Alberta will not pay the capital costs to provide this service in our new schools.  Our board therefore voted recently to use money from the sale of our older schools and properties to pay for portables which would be used for day cares in 4 new schools in our new suburbs.  The cost of providing one wet (complete with bathrooms) and one dry unit per school would have been $900,000, bringing the total cost to $3.6 million.  If we were to go ahead and supply portables for day cares, we would retrieve the full cost of them after 26 years through leases to our day care providers.  So we would eventually recover the cost of them but after many, many years.  I voted against this motion because I believed it was outside our mandate and because I felt that this money was needed for our own purposes now — especially to repair our current inventory of schools–new and old.  It has happened that even new/newer schools have had need of emergency repairs due to floods, water seepage, mold etc. Because we have been receiving fewer and fewer dollars for maintenance, I voted to keep the money from the sale of our properties for these types of emergencies.  I understand that being able to make one trip to one location to drop off the young ones at day care and the older ones to school on the way to work is a big plus for busy families.  I do get this!  But we are not a rich organization and so we are limited to looking after the students we are mandated to care for first.

After the motion passed, we sent a letter to the Minister of Education requesting that we be able to use our funds for the purpose of providing day cares, and the reply from the Minister was an unequivocal “no” due to the fact that providing this service was outside of our mandate.

We immediately established an ad hoc committee to advocate for providing a variety of wrap around services within our schools.  I am a member of this committee and am committed to advocating to all levels of government for needed wrap around services and finding ways that we can work with private day care providers to bring their services to our schools in our new suburbs.

I want my constituents to know that though I voted against using our own funds for building day cares, I do see the value in having these services available at each of our schools. If we are truly focused on providing 21st century learning, we need to address the needs of the whole child and their families.

Faith Development Day 2015

On February 3, 2015 ECSD hosted a Faith Development Day for all their staff and trustees.  I was very impressed with the talks given by Fr. Carey and wished that all my constituents could have been there to hear him.  The theme of our district this year is “Life of Grace, Journey of Shalom”.  So Fr. Carey spoke on Catholic schools as places of “shalom”.  You may know the word to be the Hebrew word for “peace” but it also means wholeness and perfection.  These concepts are all related though:  when we help one another be whole, we offer one another peace/shalom.  I highly recommend that you take a look at his presentations because they are very inspiring and really get at an important purpose for Catholic schools—to bring wholeness to all our students so that they can experience peace in their lives.

To access his talks, click on the link below and it will bring you directly to the site where you key in the password provided. The video is of the whole Faith Development Day which is at least 3 hours in length.  If you just want to hear Fr. Carey’s talks they are at 0:32:13, 2:31, and 3:26.  Here is the link: and password: fdd2015.  I hope you find his presentations as insightful and meaningful as I did!

If you are short on time, here is my brief summary of his talks:

The 4 key ways to experience Shalom:

1.  We experience shalom in the core of our being when we accept ourselves as unique persons created in God’s image.  Our teachers can bring shalom or a sense of wholeness to our students when they help our students to accept themselves as they are, point out their self worth, add to their self esteem, and help them develop a sense of “self-efficacy”.  Self-efficacy is the sense of being able to accomplish tasks.  Teachers can bring shalom to their students when they remember their students’ names, when they reverence and respect their students, when they encourage students by pointing out their abilities.  All these suggestions for teachers can be applied to everyone as we experience others — we can bring shalom to others by helping them see their wholeness.

2.  We experience shalom with our neighbour, with others.  Fr. Carey suggests that if anyone is suffering, it is everyone’s business.  We are called to offer shalom to our neighbour when we respect them, when we lead them to see their value.

3.  We experience shalom in the physical, spiritual and emotional environment we create around us. We create an atmosphere of welcome/shalom in our schools for example, when we deal with bullies, victims and bystanders, racism, and when we provide support for students struggling with a variety of personal issues.

4.  We experience shalom in our relationship with God.  When we accept God’s offer of mercy, respect and dignity, we live connected to God.  Being connected to God we experience integrity and therefore shalom.

Joy and gratitude are signs that we have shalom in our lives.  We are called to live our lives with generosity–generosity is a skill we need to develop throughout our lives.

There are 4 things that Jesus expected from his disciples and were the characteristics of his followers :

1.  Radical belief that Jesus is the Christ, that Jesus is sent by God.

2.  A personal relationship with Jesus.  No rabbi previous to Jesus expected this of their disciples.

3. Jesus required that his disciples be inclusive.  Jesus wanted his disciples to teach that everyone can be saved, everyone is welcome into the “bosom of Abraham”.  This was a very unique teaching of a rabbi.

4.  Jesus required that his disciples love without limit, have mercy without measure, love their enemies.  No other rabbi taught this.

An Addendum to the Discussion of GSAs

As many of you are aware, Alberta’s bishops have written to the Catholic parishes this weekend to let people know that they are concerned for the welfare of LGBTQ students in our Catholic schools–as they are concerned for the welfare of all students who are bullied.  How our schools minister to LGBTQ students though, is something they want left up to school boards rather than government legislation.

I had a good conversation with a spokesman from the Edmonton Archdiocese today.  He suggested that our district has been working quietly for years to help our LGBTQ students while adding more recently, workshops for teachers on pastoral care of LGBTQ students.  He wanted me to know that the archdiocese wants to work with trustees and the district to provide the best possible resources to our LGBTQ students–some of these resources may include but are not limited to offering safe groups for students to gather.  I know that for me, education of the student body, teachers, administration, support staff on LGBTQ issues is very much needed in our schools and know that this educational component has been added to Edmonton Catholic School’s Inclusive Communities policy.  Going forward, I will continue to advocate for groups especially for our LGBTQ students, working with our bishops to provide the best possible support we can give as Catholic schools.  I will remind them of the 2014 study out of the University of Victoria published in the International Journal of Child, Youth and Family Studies that showed that “LGB students had lower odds of past year discrimination, suicidal thoughts and attempts, mostly when policies and GSAs had been in place for 3+ years;  policies had a less consistent effect than GSAs” (go to: for the abstract).

I will also will discuss with them, the study published in The Lancet which states the following:

“42% of the LGBTQ group reported seeking medical help for depression and anxiety compared with 29% of heterosexual non-transgender youth. More than half of LGBTQ respondents reported self-harming now or in the past compared with 35% of heterosexual non-trans youth. And 44% of LGBTQ reported ever having thought about suicide compared with 26% of heterosexual non-trans respondents. The survey also found that schools in particular were fearful and hostile environments for LGBTQ youth and failed badly in educational, emotional, and health information and support.”

The study goes on to recommend that “Young people, however, might not seek help for mental health problems from the medical profession. Schools should be places where young people can find information and support, but they are not for LGBTQ youth. Remedying this situation requires urgent review by schools about their policies and services for this vulnerable group.” For more information go to:

In Catholic schools, our groups for LGBTQ may not be called “GSAs” but that is a matter for the bishops to decide.  I recently learned that the bishops are the ecclesiastical authority who determine whether Catholic schools are Catholic or not.   This is from Canon Law 803, #3 which states:  “No school, even if it is in fact catholic, may bear the title ‘catholic school’ except by the consent of the competent ecclesiastical authority”.  So we as Catholic trustees must work with our bishops to resolve the issues that arise within our schools in such a manner that meets the needs of our students but also preserves the Catholic nature of our schools as defined by our bishops.

Without our bishops we do not have Catholic schools and so we must follow their lead as our shepherds when we are ministering to all our vulnerable students.  As a trustee who believes in publicly funded Catholic education I will work with our bishops to address the concerns of LGBTQ students as well as those 38% of students who are bullied for their appearance and those 17% who are bullied for their marks.  We need school environments where students love and accept one another as human beings made in the image and likeness of God.

If you want to express your opinion on this issue to your MLA go to and enter your postal code to get their contact information.

What is a Gay Straight Alliance (GSA)?

I believe that there are some misconceptions about Gay Straight Alliances (GSA) that need to be discussed given Bill 202 and Bill 10. From my research and speaking to experts in the field, I learned that though the word “alliance” is in the name, they are not political groups or groups that promote a gay lifestyle.  The word “alliance” is related to the fact that these groups bring straight and LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer) students together as allies.  I also learned that they are not sex groups or dating clubs but “identity clubs” for students who identify as LGBTQ and their straight friends. To put this in language that Catholics can understand:  they are pastoral care groups for LGBTQ students.  Another misconception is that they meet during school hours.  In actual fact, they meet after school on school property.

Do our LGBTQ students need pastoral care in our Catholic schools?  Absolutely!  I have learned that though 5% of youth are LGBTQ, they make up 25-40% of homeless youth (go to homeless hub). (A reader has informed me that according to Statistics Canada 2.4% of the population identifies as LGBTQ.  There are 40,000 students at ECSD so 1,000 of our students would identify as LGBTQ).  LGBTQ youth are 4 times more likely to commit suicide than their straight peers (go to  I also know from both first-hand experience and hearing the stories of parents with gay children, that homophobia is alive and well in our schools–both Catholic and public.  A 2006 Toronto District School Board Research Report concurs (

  • Sixty-nine percent (69%) of heterosexual Grade 9-12 students indicated they feel comfortable with the overall school environment all the time or often, compared with 52% of LGBTQ students. There are also 12% more LGBTQ students indicating they rarely or never feel comfortable with school.
  • In terms of relationships with other students and with school adults, 17% more heterosexual students indicated they feel comfortable all the time or often than LGBTQ students.
  • With regard to school safety, 71% of LGBTQ students reported they feel safe at school all the time or often, which is 12% lower than heterosexual students. On the other hand, 10% more LGBTQ students indicated they do not feel safe at school (p. 46)

Some have raised the issue that there are many reasons why students feel discriminated at school and some of these reasons far outweigh being discriminated because of being LGBTQ.  This is in fact true.  The Toronto District School Board 2006 Student Census System Overview  gives the following reasons why students most often are bullied:  (go to

Reasons for Being Bullied Grade 7-8 Grade 9-12
Body image 38% 27%
Grades or marks 17% 12%
Cultural or racial background 11% 14%
Language 7% 7%
Gender 6% 4%
Religion 5% 5%
Income 5% 5%

That body image and marks are top of the list for being bullied does not surprise me — these were the same top 2 issues listed by the students attending our recent District Wide Student Council meeting.  I believe that our schools need to address these issues through groups and through the curriculum just as we need to address any reasons why students would be bullied.  And our district does try to address the listed reasons for being bullied.  In regards to body image, I was recently visiting a Catholic junior high in our district which offers an onsite after school care program just for girls ages 11-15 led by the YWCA called GirlSpace.  The flyer states the following:

“Come join YWCA Edmonton’s GirlSpace Empowerment and Leadership Program.  Activites and Discussion led by female mentors from your community.  Themes:  Healthy Relationships, physical, mental, and sexual health, body image and media analysis, decision making, budgeting, bullying, your rights, and more!”

So this is an after school care group specifically for girls offered in a Catholic school to help girls become empowered.  It addresses body image and other factors that contribute to their self esteem.

In regards to being bullied on the basis of marks, our district has a whole high school dedicated to high achieving students so that they can be with other like minded students who enjoy studying and learning.  At a recent parent council meeting at this high school, parents shared how much more comfortable their high achieving child was at the school since they no longer had to deal with discrimination and bullying due to being high achievers.

In regards to being discriminated against due to culture and racial background, our district offers a wide array of special programming and groups for our First Nations, Metis and Inuit students (FNMI).  If you go to you will see the myriad of supports we offer to these students — everything from culturally relevant counselling and support, to connections to elders, to programming that is permeated with the aboriginal culture.  Ben Calf Robe school is a whole school dedicated to supporting the FNMI student. Certainly there are students from other racial backgrounds who would be suffering from discrimination so we need to address their concerns as well–we can always do more.

So as a Catholic school district we offer specific pastoral care and programming to specifically vulnerable students.  We do this because we are followers of Jesus who in Matthew 25 tells us that when we feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, welcome the stranger, clothe the naked, visit the sick and the prisoner, we do all these things to him. He did not suggest that we give drink to the hungry and clothe the sick – he said that we needed to meet each group’s specific needs.  So I believe that we should continue as we have already been doing in providing specific support for specific students in regards to our LGBTQ students.  This in no way goes against what we are already doing for our vulnerable students.

I also have a concern that if we do not have pastoral care groups for our LGBTQ students in our schools, our Catholic students will go to public school groups.  I have learned that this is already the case. I am very concerned about what this says about our district–it shows that our students who need support are not getting it from a Christian institution whose mission it is to support vulnerable people.  I am also concerned that in going outside our schools for support, our students will miss out on learning through our Christian lens the Christian view of the human body and sexuality.

At a recent Alberta Catholic School Trustees meeting I learned of a video called “The Third Way” which features 3 adult gay Catholics describing what it was like for them to grow up Catholic and gay (go to They suffered greatly because they didn’t receive any support from their school, their parents or their parish.  In actual fact, they experienced quite the opposite — homophobia, rejection, and isolation.  The 3 people featured in the film, in the end did find their way back to the church with the help of caring Christian people. Once given support they chose to lead celibate lives as a way to live with their sexual orientation.  Whether you agree or disagree with their final decision of how they chose to live with their sexual orientation, the video is valuable in understanding better the struggles  LGBTQ students have with understanding their sexual identity and being accepted by others for who they are.  It is my view that we need to provide a pastoral response specific to their particular situation just as we provide a pastoral response to our girls, our FNMI students, our special needs students, our English Language Learners and so on.  We are Catholic schools – let’s witness to Jesus’ love for all people and be cognizant of Mother Teresa’s wise words:  “If you judge people, you have no time to love them”.

A Discussion of Bill 202

I have had many discussions with constituents and politicians of late in regards to Laurie Blakeman’s proposed Bill 202 and so wish to share with you some of my thoughts around this issue.

Prior to the introduction of this bill, the Board of Trustees and administration were working on updating our administrative policy on our commitment to inclusive communities in ECSD.    In our Superintendent’s words expressed in a recent communique to all schools, this policy which was developed “in consultation with high school principals, students, representatives from ECSD Human Resource Services, Edmonton Catholic Teachers Local #54- Alberta Teachers’ Association, religious education /theological consultants and an Elder Council member” will be in place in January 2015.  At the core of this administrative policy is that each person is made in the image and likeness of God, making us inherently sacred and thus we must treat one another with dignity and respect.  Because of this belief, we are compelled to provide schools which are in the words of the Policy “inclusive, welcoming, caring, respectful, [and]safe” and which promote “the well-being of all”.  The Policy emphasizes that this will be done in accordance with the teaching of the Catholic Church and “shall be grounded in the understanding of the person as a whole”.  The Policy then will provide a safe and inclusive community for all, not distinguishing between LGBTQ youth, youth who are depressed, overweight, etc.  There will be diversity and sensitivity training for staff and support for “the establishment of school clubs/groups/committees that focus on social justice and human rights concerns from a holistic approach”.  The ECSD Inclusive Communities Policy is very much in accordance with the Alberta Catholic Schools Trustee Association recommendations made in their document “Safe and Caring Learning Environments for Students” which again, suggests that groups be established but for no one particular group of students.  One social justice group headed up by a staff member is offered to assist all our students regardless of their particular issues.

Bill 202 states that all provincially funded schools must establish Gay Straight Alliance clubs with the name “Gay Straight Alliance” if the students wish to have these groups.  It also directs that Section 11.1 from the Alberta Human Rights Act be removed.  Section 11.1 makes it imperative that schools contact parents if there will be any discussion of religion, human sexuality or sexual orientation.  The Liberal bill suggests that the onus should be on parents to request removal of their children from classes dealing with the above listed issues.  The Bill goes on to amend Section 58 of the Education Act to include “sexual health” along with “religious and patriotic instruction” as subjects from which parents may request removal of their children without academic penalty.

It was providential that Bill 202 happened to come into the public forum at the time the Alberta Catholic School Trustees Association was holding their Fall AGM.  I had an opportunity to ask our lawyer who was in attendance, a very important question:  regardless of whether Bill 202 should succeed or fail, don’t our students already have the legal right to establish GSAs in our schools due to freedom of speech entrenched in our Canadian constitution?  His answer was “yes”.  So if any students in Catholic schools wish to establish a GSA in their school, they would have every right to do so.  We as a district could fight this in court, but we would lose.  So Bill 202 simply makes the ability for students to establish GSAs in our schools that much easier.

Premier Prentice has recently suggested that the PCs will put forward their own bill on the matter (Bill 10) which would essential change nothing.  It basically reiterates the status quo which is that if students wish to start a GSA, and the school refuses, then they have legal recourse through the courts to pursue establishing one. So even if Bill 202 does not succeed and Bill 10 passes, the results will essentially be the same.  Students have the right through freedom of speech to establish GSAs in our schools and if they were to take the school district to court for refusal to allow them, they would win.

A few weekends ago I was preparing a speech for Catholic Education Sunday for St. Charles parish and did a little extra reading about Archbishop Michael Miller of Vancouver.  I came across an interview he did with the Catholic World Report (I have underlined the quote of most importance to my discussion here):

CWR: The number of children attending Catholic schools has declined tremendously in the United States over the past 50 years. Has Canada seen similar declines?

Archbishop Miller: In most provinces, no, because the way we fund schools is different in Canada. The government pays all or part of the tuition, including for Catholics attending a Catholic school. In British Columbia, where Vancouver is located, the government has been funding schools for 30 years. There’s a greater risk that they might try to influence what is taught, so we only accept 50 percent of our funding from the government, to prevent them from interfering more.

So the Archdiocese of Vancouver purposely chooses not to be funded more than 50% by the government so that they can have more say over what they teach in their schools.  Father Stefano Penna stated something very similar to this at the recent Catholic Education Forum held November 20th at St. John Evangelist Parish.  When you receive money from the Queen, he said, you are beholden to her.  Our Catholic schools are 100% funded by the Government of Alberta — the same is true for Catholic schools in Ontario and Manitoba where GSAs are legislated for Catholic as well as public schools. The more we depend upon the government to fund our schools, the more we give away our right to freedom of religion.  Freedom of religion is also entrenched in our Canadian constitution but when we are beholden to our government to fund our Catholic schools, we are more at their beck and call.  I would suggest that this is the crux of the matter surrounding GSAs in our publicly funded Catholic schools.  If we were less beholden to the government for funding, we would not be having this discussion.

Provincial Achievement Test Results: A Detailed Discussion

Recently our district published our PAT and Diploma Exam results in the Western Catholic Reporter and the Edmonton Examiner.  Because the numbers published in these ads do not show the nuances of our results, I thought it might be of interest to the public if I published them here.  Please note that since our province is phasing out the PAT exams in favour of Student Learning Assessments (SLATs), there is no discussion of Grade 3 results since Grade 3 students in our district did not write the PAT exams in the 2013/2014 school year. The results given are for the Acceptable Standard which means students scored above 50% and Standard of Excellence which means scores above 80%.

The results are published according to different groupings such as:

  • just the students who showed up for the exam (called a partial cohort)
  • the results from students who showed up combined with those who did not (these latter would have received a 0)
  • students who wrote the exams in English
  • students who wrote the exams in French
  • all students who wrote the exams in English and French
  • the results according to each grade (3, 6, 9 and 12/diploma)
  • the results according to year so that we can see whether students are improving or not from one year to the next

This year ECSD students had a high participation rate in the exams compared to the province across all subjects (English Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies).  For example, in subjects written in English, here are the average participation rates compared to the province: ECSD Grade 6:  94.78% versus Province:  89.73%; ECSD Grade 9:  93.48% versus Province:  88.53%; ECSD Grade 9 Knowledge and Employability:  93.9% versus Province 84.10%. So how does our district compare to the province?  For ease of comparison, I will show the results for only those students who wrote the exams (partial cohort) and results for exams written in French and English (aggregate results).  It goes without saying that if our district had a higher participation rate than the province, then our students would have received fewer zeros so if we want to compare “apples with apples” then let’s compare results for just those who actually wrote the exam. Beginning with Grade 9 students, you will see that these students are awesome!  These numbers show that the ECSD Grade 9 students’ results were consistently higher than the province for both standards except Standard of Excellence in Mathematics.  Congratulations to all teachers and staff who were instrumental in providing these results for our district. These numbers are very encouraging!

ECSD % Provincial %
English Language Arts Acceptable Standard 89.5 86.4
Standard of Excellence 21.2 17
Mathematics Acceptable Standard 77.2 74.4
Standard of Excellence 17.7 19.1
Science Acceptable Standard 85.2 81.5
Standard of Excellence 28.2 24.7
Social Studies Acceptable Standard 78.1 73.6
Standard of Excellence 25.1 23.0

The Grade 9 Knowledge and Employability results however are mixed.  What is the Knowledge and Employability program?  According to Alberta Education “The Knowledge and Employability courses are designed for students who meet the criteria and learn best through experiences that integrate essential and employability skills in occupational contexts. The courses provide students opportunities to enter into employment or continue their education”.  This program applies to students in grades 8 – 12.  The following are the results for this group of students (the exams are only written in English and reflect the results of only those who wrote the exams).

ECSD % Provincial %
English Language Arts Acceptable Standard 86.0 78.4
Standard of Excellence 7 4.4
Mathematics Acceptable Standard 69.0 73.6
Standard of Excellence 12.1 16.9
Science Acceptable Standard 71.9 75.5
Standard of Excellence 8.8 17.6
Social Studies Acceptable Standard 71.2 73.3
Standard of Excellence 8.5 12.7

The 2013-2014 results show that our district surpassed the province in one subject only – English Language Arts. Looking at the results going back 5 years to the 2009/2010 school year, our K and E students were above the provincial acceptable standard 14 times throughout the past 5 years and only below it 4 times.  On the other hand, in the Standard of Excellence category, the results were below the provincial average 15 times across the 4 subjects and only above 4 times (we tied with the province one time). Is there cause for concern?  I would prefer to see that our K and E students were at least at provincial average in both standards.  I would suggest that these students may need additional resources since this year our scores were lower than the province in 3 out of 4 subject areas and in both standards.  I also believe this because our scores on the Standard of Excellence have been consistently lower than the provincial average over the last 5 years.


Here are the Grade 6 results (again only those who wrote the exam and in English and French):

Grade 6 ECSD % Province %
English Language Arts Acceptable 90.7 90.6
Excellence 19.7 19.5
French Language Arts Acceptable 95.4 90.1
Excellence 15.9 15.9
Mathematics Acceptable 82.1 81.1
Excellence 15.4 17.0
Science Acceptable 84.0 84.2
Excellence 24.2 27.6
Social Studies Acceptable 79.0 78.7
Excellence 16.5 18.6

These results show that our Grade 6 students score around the provincial average — either slightly above in some cases or slightly below.


The results for our Grade 12 Diploma students are as follows.  The results presented are the average diploma marks which combine the results from the Acceptable Standard as well as the Standard of Excellence.  The results below also reflect the full cohort (those who wrote the exams and those who did not and received zero) as well as the exams written in English and French:


Provincial %

Above/Below Provincial Average

English Language Arts 30-1




English Language Arts 30-2




Social Studies 30-1




Social Studies 30-2




French Language Arts 30-1




Mathematics 30-1




Mathematics 30-2




Science 30




Biology 30




Chemistry 30




Physics 30




So out of 11 possible subjects, ECSD grade 12 students’ diploma marks were above the provincial average in 4/11 subjects and below the provincial average in 7/11 subjects.  As you can see by the numbers, the differences are very slight in comparison to the province showing that our students are on par with the  province.

In regards to the PAT results for our students in French Immersion, again I will not comment on Grade 3 French results because the PATs are being phased out beginning with this grade.  The grade 9 French marks were mostly all above the provincial average as mentioned was the case for the combined results of English and French.  The good news story this year was the improvement in our French Grade 6 marks.  For a number of years, our Grade 6 French PAT results lagged behind the province but this year great gains can be seen:


Provincial %

French Language Arts Acceptable Standard



Standard of Excellence



Mathematics Acceptable Standard



Standard of Excellence



Science Acceptable Standard



Standard of Excellence



Social Studies Acceptable Standard



Standard of Excellence



Comparing the results from 2012/2013 school year, the percentage of Grade 6 French Immersion students increased in all subject areas for both the Acceptable Standard and the Standard of Excellence.  In the case of French Language Arts and Social Studies, these increases were over 10%.  In Science and Mathematics, these increases were over 8% so these results are very good news.

In summary, I hope that  this more in depth analysis gives a good understanding of where our district stands in comparison to the province for grades 6, 9 and 12.  I reiterate, that except for the Grade 12 results, the numbers I have mentioned in my analysis are for those students who actually wrote the exams.  Because of our higher participation rate, our marks would of course be higher due to fewer zeros being given for non attendance. By removing the attendance factor, I believe a true picture of our students can be seen and therefore we learn where we must direct additional resources.


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