Your school board is performing?

News 10 February, 2018
  • Photo Stephanie Gendron, special collaboration
    The commission scolaire du Fleuve-et-des-Lacs, which serves the areas of Trois-Pistoles and the Témiscouata in the Bas-Saint-Laurent, is one of the best of the province even if the majority of its students are from disadvantaged backgrounds. In the photo, students in a classroom, the visual arts of the école secondaire de la Vallée-des-Lacs, Saint-Michel-du-Squatec.

    Daphnée Dion-Viens

    Saturday, 10 February, 2018 00:00

    Saturday, 10 February, 2018 00:00

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    School boards the majority of whose students come from disadvantaged backgrounds arrive at the top of a new ranking developed on behalf of the Journal.

    The Fraser Institute, which already produces a List of the top secondary schools, has compiled a ranking of the 69 commissions scolaires francophones and anglophones in Quebec (see pages 6 and 7). For the first time, we can thus compare the performance of the school boards between them. This exercise is mainly based on the results of the students in the departmental reviews of the fourth and fifth side.

    Even if they receive roughly the same per-pupil funding, some school boards which welcome disadvantaged students do better than others located in areas of better-off. This finding demonstrates that they have found a recipe that leads to success, ” says Peter Cowley, the Fraser Institute.

    Their management practices can have an impact, he says. “If the leaders of the school board are dynamic, they focus on the interests of the students, they will not tolerate poor performance. They will put everything in place for it to change “, lance-t-il.

    For its part, the education consultant Marc St-Pierre, accompanying school boards in the development of their plan for success, believes that this list contains ” indicators of interest “. According to him, these may be indicative of a trend if they are presented on several years.

    The good students

    At the head of this classification, we found the commission scolaire de la Baie-James, with its two secondary schools, followed by commission scolaire des Bois-Francs is located in the Centre-du-Québec and the commission scolaire du Fleuve-et-des-Lacs, Bas-Saint-Laurent.

    This school board has managed to reach in the first steps of the winners, even if four of its five high schools are located in disadvantaged environments (see another text).

    In general, Mr. St-Pierre said that several organizations that stand out have put in place measures whose effectiveness has been demonstrated by the research, supported by the directorate-general. “It must be driven from above and that the money is invested in the right place,” says this expert.

    Mr. Saint-Pierre also stressed that it is necessary to interpret with caution the results for small school boards, as the rankings can fluctuate considerably from one year to another, due to the low number of students.

    In the back of the pack

    Among the school boards who are in the last positions of the ranking, one finds without surprise the school boards in which the majority or all of the schools are located in disadvantaged environments, such as school boards Samaras, in Lanaudière, and the Hauts-Bois-de-l’outaouais. “This is a variable which must be considered. It gives a good indication, ” says Mr. St-Pierre.

    The latter adds, however, that “there may also be something to correct in the culture of the organization” if the difficulties of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds are perceived as an inevitability over which the school has no hold. Other school boards have rather proved that they could make a difference, ” he adds.

    Commission scolaire du Fleuve-et-des-Lacs

    • Ranking of the top school boards: 3rd position
    • Overall rating: 6.6 / 10
    • Number of secondary schools in underprivileged areas: 4 on a total of 5

    Commission scolaire du Fleuve-et-des-Lacs – keep Track of students in difficulty

    If the Commission scolaire du Fleuve-et-des-Lacs has managed to become one of the best despite a large majority of students from disadvantaged backgrounds, this is because it follows the trace of its students.

    At least that is what is claimed by its director-general, Bernard D’amours. “As they say in boxing, it works in the body one by one “, lance-t-il joke.

    In this school board, which serves the areas of Trois-Pistoles and the Témiscouata in the Bas-Saint-Laurent, four of the five secondary schools are located in disadvantaged environments. The largest secondary school, located in Cabano, account 370 students, and the proximity is one of the keys to success.

    “We know our students and their parents. It is able to intervene quickly when there is a problem, ” says Mr. D’amours.

    Tutoring system

    In secondary schools, a tutoring system has proven, adds the director general. Each student is followed by a teacher, who meets with the young person and his parents several times a year if necessary.

    Students who fail the departmental exams of the end of the year are also “driven” in order to ensure that they are successful in the supplemental examinations. “You put the package “, says Mr. D’amours.

    In recent years, monitoring tools have also been developed for students at risk of dropping out, who are personally supported by a guidance counselor. “She follows one to one, in all our high schools,” says Mr. D’amours.

    Find the right course

    The process may involve several discussions with the young person or his or her parents, to find a path that leads to a degree, that it is the young industry, in vocational training or adult education.

    “We have put in place a series of initiatives based on the communication between the school personnel, but also between the stakeholders of the socio-economic background,” says the director general.

    The Bas-Saint-Laurent is already recognized as the region where the dropout rate is the lowest in the province.

    Since 2004, approximately 150 organisations are working together within the group COSMOSS (open Community and solidarity, for a world of empowered, educated and healthy), which brings together representatives of the health community, education, child care services, the community sector, employers and municipalities.

    The initiative is producing results, ” says Mr. D’amours, and demonstrates that success in school is not only the business of the school.

    James Bay in the top of the charts

    This is James Bay, which is found in the top of the list of school boards this year.

    Input of game, its director general, Michel Laplace, takes care to specify that performance in this type of classification can vary from one year to another due to the low number of students in two secondary schools.

    “There is a cohort effect, that’s for sure. Our students perform well this year because the cohort was strong, but we can not say that this trend is going to present each year “, he warns.

    No competition

    The school board operates in a context quite different from that of the big centres, ” he adds. “We have no competition to counter on our territory,” says Mr. Laplace, since there is no private school.

    All students, whether they are strong or weak, are necessarily in its secondary schools. The classes are thus “may be a little less clean” than in other regions of Quebec, stressed the director of education services, Bianca Tremblay.

    Support teachers

    The good results of the students can also be explained by the efforts made in recent years to support more teachers, ” she adds.

    Different forms of support have been put in place, including “communities of practice” which allow teachers to share expertise and develop hardware together, despite the extent of the territory “, said Ms. Tremblay.

    Mentoring of students is done by teachers and school management, has also weigh in the balance, she adds.

    “Our students are few, one can follow them individually to ensure that they perform well in the exams at the end of the year. “

    Here is the ranking of school boards

    How are classified the school boards ?

    This list, produced by the Fraser Institute, ranks the school boards in terms of the average of the “overall ratings” obtained by its secondary schools. This rating is based in large part on the results of the students in the departmental reviews of the fourth and fifth side. This indicator is in addition among other things the gap between boys and girls and the proportion of students who lag behind in their school career.

    To increase or decrease ?

    The trend for the past four years indicates whether the overall rating of the school board is on the rise (+) , decrease (-) or stable (=) from four-year s.

    Average for all school boards in the province: 5,4/10