Beyond numbers and letters
This week, the Fraser Institute issued its report cards for B.C.’s elementary schools based on the annual Foundation Skills Assessment (FSA) that tests reading, writing and numeracy, written by students in Grades 4 and 7 in the 2011-2012 school year. The institute’s website includes the names of the schools and their ranks.
Bowen Island Community School is looking back at five years of solid ratings. This year’s rating has gone up to 8.3 out of 10, compared to last year when BICS received 7.5 marks. The below expectations percentage went down to 4.6 from last year’s 11.9. Jennifer Pardee, BICS principal, says, “While our district does not endorse the Fraser Institute rankings because of the very limited indicators used to create their ‘report cards’, we do appreciate the opportunity to share some of the unique ways we are engaging our students in all aspects of their development.”
Pardee explained that parent engagement is an important goal at BICS. “We know that parents play an active and important role when it comes to educating the whole child,” she said.
Pardee also stressed that social and emotional learning is foundational to academic success and has been an important focus at BICS. “We frame this as our ‘heart’ goal,” she said. “Inquiry-based learning is a second major focus for us as it supports students’ intellectual development and their academic achievement. We frame this as our ‘head’ goal which also provides teachers with a rich opportunity to collaborate and work together to enhance student learning.”
Bowen Island’s diverse natural learning environment often serves as a “teacher,” according to Pardee, who added, “Place-based learning and environmental education are cornerstones of our school and are integrated across the curriculum. We also take pride in being an eco-responsible school. Outside45 is a new and innovative program designed for Grade 6 and 7 that blends learning inside and outside the school and has a strong environmental focus.”
So, while reading, writing and numeracy are integral to student learning at BICS, Pardee believes that the school provides an excellent learning experience that goes far beyond what is measured by the Fraser Institute.