The Fraser Institute released its report card on Quebec's secondary schools Saturday and for the first time a Muslim school is in the top 50 — it even got a perfect score.
École Jeunes Musulmans Canadiens, located in Montreal's Saint-Laurent borough, tied Cartierville's École Pasteur for first place this year.
'I think our curriculum fits the need of the students to say their religion, and learn their religion and at the same time be part of the community.' - Layla Sawaf, school director
The Institute's report ranked 459 public, private Francophone and Anglophone schools based largely on results from province-wide tests.
Layla Sawaf, director of École Jeunes Musulmans Canadiens, is a doctor by trade. When she moved to Canada, she noticed something was missing.
"I told myself, there are a lot of medical doctors in Montreal, but there were no schools for our community," Sawaf said.
So in 2000, Sawaf rented a space in a largely industrial part of Saint-Laurent and today her school has nearly 400 students from kindergarten to grade 11.
The graduation rate is 100 per cent.
Balancing religion with provincial curriculum
She says that as a religious institution, faith is part of the day and she had to find a way to make it fit in with the education ministry's curriculum.
"I think our curriculum fits the need of the students to say their religion, and learn their religion and at the same time be part of the community," she said.
Students say they like their school.
"I really like the environment, which is like, the connection between the teachers and the students," said student Sadia Waraich.
"I really like how we try to reach our goals, each student has a goal so we try to succeed."