A regional think tank has ranked Dr. John Hugh Gillis Regional High School in Antigonish as province’s No. 1 school.
The school’s success is shown by the high number of its students who go on to post-secondary education and “a strong performance in most other areas,”  the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies said in its ninth annual report card on high schools released this morning.
Cape Breton Highlands Academy,  which topped the AIMS list for the past three years, “fell only slightly to second place” in the study’s ranking of 54 English high schools in Nova Scotia.
The school, located in Terre Noire, Inverness County, “still demonstrates a great ability to keep students engaged in learning and train in essential competencies,” AIMS said on its web site.
Last year’s second-place school, Charles P. Allen High School in Bedford, plummeted to eighth place in the report. While still second in engagement and achievement, “this drop demonstrates they’re performing slightly worse considering their advantaged circumstances,” AIMS said.
Oxford Regional High School in Cumberland County was at the bottom of the list, ranking 54th of 54 schools and falling from a C+ last year to a C- this year. But there was a bright spot in dismal showing. “Despite their overall performance, they’re ranked second in the province with regard to their math provincial exam results,” AIMS said.
Another 18 English high schools were not ranked because of incomplete data. The report card looks at school performances from 2006 to 2009.
In a separate review of the province’s 10 francophone high schools, only one — Ecole NDA in Cheticamp — met all the requirements for a final grade and rank, receiving a B.
Parents and others who want to read the full report can see it online at http://aims.wpengine.com/site/media/aims/RC9.pdf
Nova Scotia’s top five schools, as ranked by AIMS:
1. Dr. John Hugh Gillis Regional High School (A-)
2. Cape Breton Highlands Academy (B+)
3. North Colchester High School (B+)
4. Auburn Drive High School (B+)
5. East Antigonish Academy (B+)
The worst of 54 English schools ranked by AIMS:
1. Oxford Regional High School (C-)
2. Pugwash District High School, 53rd (C-)
3. Pictou Academy-Dr. T. McCulloch School, 52nd (C)
4. Duncan MacMillan High School, 51st (C)
5. Cole Harbour District High School, 50th (C)
Note: 18 anglophone schools were not ranked for various reasons, and of the 10 high schools in the Conseil scolaire acadien provincial, only one — Ecole NDA in Cheticamp — met the requirements to earn ranking this year with B grade.