AIMS 5th Annual Report Card on Atlantic Canadian High Schools shows that schools can achieve success (and can run into trouble) regardless of how big they are, what community they are in, or what level of formal certification their teachers have achieved.
“When we started our report card five years ago it was based on the premise that schools matter,” said Charles Cirtwill, acting president of the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies (AIMS), “the results this year again confirm that what happens in a school is more important than what a school has to start with. Small and large schools, urban and rural schools, schools serving strong communities and those serving communities facing serious challenges – you find them all intermingled throughout the rankings again this year. ”
Three of the top five schools this year earned grades of A or A+ and that earns them a gold star. The top schools in New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador all received A or A+ while those in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island each came in with a solid B+.
Demerits were earned by New Brunswick because that province eliminated provincial high school examinations in the anglophone schools and reduced the number of exams in the francophone system. That results in a significant reduction in what is known about those schools and some startling movement among the school rankings this year.
In Newfoundland and Labrador there was very little change in the grades from last year, no school had more than a one grade level jump in their final grade. The province continues to lead Atlantic Canada with the highest percentage of schools, 60%, scoring above average grades of B or higher.
In Nova Scotia, Queen Elizabeth High School moved into the first overall position, going out on top as this school will close this year merging with St. Patrick’s High to form the new Citadel High. The perennial number one, Islands Consolidated School in Freeport saw its grade slip from the only A of last year’s report card to a B+ this year due to a lower C+ grade on overall engagement.
In Prince Edward Island, Souris Regional High School maintained its number one spot and only two schools saw their grades change, unfortunately the change was not for the better. Also only 40% of schools had a B or better which pales in comparison to Newfoundland and Labrador’s performance of 61%.
The New Brunswick francophone system had the top performer in Atlantic Canada. Ecole Marie-Gaetane in Kedgwick, earned an A+ while the highest ranked school in anglophone New Brunswick, Upper Miramichi Regional High School in Boiestown, secured an A.
AIMS continues to encourage everyone to look beyond the overall rankings to explore the performance of each school across all of the categories. That message is being heard.
Last year the On-Line report card on the AIMS website received a quarter of a million hits in the first day it was available. It provides the public with all of the measures available for 316 high schools in Atlantic Canada.
“That amount of traffic to our website proves that people are interested in this report card and want to know how it can be used to improve our public schools,” says Cirtwill. “We all need to use the information to push for reform and improvements.”
“The purpose of the report card is to help all of us understand what is going on in our schools and work toward making it better for everyone,” he says. “The sustained interest in this work is proof that people genuinely care about education and it is time to turn those good intentions into action by urging accountability in education across the board.”
To access the online report card, click here.