FREDERICTON – A new report has placed Petitcodiac Regional School as one of the top high schools in New Brunswick when it comes to student to teacher ratios, average rates for teacher certifications, test scores and student performance after graduation at post-secondary institutions.

The data is found within the 7th Annual Report Card on Atlantic Canadian High Schools, which was released in full, yesterday, by the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies (AIMS).

The think-tank’s rankings considered high schools from all across the region, and gave final overall grades for 46 English schools and 21 French schools in New Brunswick.

In the English high school category, Petitcodiac was ranked sixth overall, and was the top ranked school in District 2, which administers all English schools in southeastern New Brunswick.

As for the district’s six other high schools, consistent year-to-year letter grades were recorded at Riverview High (B), Bernice MacNaughton High (C ), Harrison Trimble High (C ) and Tantramar Regional High (C ).

Improved letter grade scores year-to-year were recorded at Caledonia Regional High (from C- to C) and Moncton High (from C to B-).

JMA Armstrong/Salisbury Middle saw its letter grade go down year-to-year (from B to B-). And while Petitcodiac School had the district’s top score, its letter grade also went down year-to-year (from B to B).

Dan Johnson, principal for Petitcodiac Regional, said he was just starting to read over the report, yesterday, but maintained that it’s important to keep the rankings in perspective.

“It’s one source of information,” he said. “There are many sources of information we use to motivate, to achieve and succeed while moving the school forward as a unit.”

“I’m sure other schools are doing as well equally in other different ways too, and it’s being perceived differently.”

Upper Miramichi Regional High, in Boiestown, scored highest amongst all provincial English schools in the report. The school has been ranked as top English school in the province before but didn’t receive any final grade last year because there wasn’t enough information about student results at post-secondary institutions.

“Anytime you finish No. 1 in any kind of a ranking system, there’s obviously a feeling of pride, a feeling of accomplishment, a feeling that everybody in the school is working together for a common goal,” said Jon Roe, vice-principal of Upper Miramichi Regional. “We’re obviously doing something right. I guess the message would be to keep doing what we’re doing.”

Following Upper Miramichi Regional High in the second spot was Kennebecasis Valley High School. Hartland Community School placed third, Sir James Dunn Academy in St. Andrews came in fourth place, while Saint John High rounded off the top five.

A total of four schools didn’t receive any overall grade because information was missing for the three-year rolling average used to accumulate report totals. In the case of post-secondary achievement, AIMS said if they couldn’t collect data from at least two post-secondary institutions with results for at least five students, the data wouldn’t be included and therefore, no grade would be given.

Report co-author and AIMS research manager Bobby O’Keefe said New Brunswick schools in general were able to stay consistent or improve on their final letter grade scores. He also said many schools which dropped in their grade ratings largely did so because of drops recorded in achievements by students at university and community colleges.

O’Keefe said each school included in the study had its own strengths or weakness regardless of their letter grade, and that calling a school either bad or good based purely on one letter would be a mistake.

“That’d be too simplified,” he said. “We always say the top schools have areas they can improve on and the bottom schools have areas of strength.”

Education Minister Kelly Lamrock said his department has its own internal data recorded from school-to-school that’s used by the department. However, he said the AIMS report is certainly considered.

“I think it’s a positive thing,” said Lamrock. “I think any exercise that says ‘here are some things we should care about, here’s some hard data,’ … I think that’s always positive and AIMS should be congratulated about that.”