Dr. J.H. Gillis Regional High School ranks highest in the province according to an annual report card conducted by the Atlantic Institute of Market Studies (AIMS).

This is the ninth year for the report card which looks at multiple facets of a school and its operation such as pupil-teacher ratio, attendance and post-secondary participation.

It was the latter category which helped the Regional dethrone a Cape Breton school which held the lofty number one position for the past three report cards.

“After a three-year run at the top, Cape Breton Highlands Academy has been knocked by Dr. J.H. Gillis Regional School, driven by their greatly improved top rank on post-secondary participation accompanied by continued strong performance in most other areas,” an AIMS release regarding the report card said.

Data collected between academic years from 2006 and 2009 was used for this report.

The Regional received an A-, the only N.S. school to receive the grade.

“Certainly anytime someone says you’re first at anything you’re proud of it,” Gerard Ryan, now in his second year as Regional principal, said.

As for the post secondary participation marks, Ryan said that has been focus of the school for a few years now.

“We do have school goals around accreditation and it’s interesting because the last few years there has been a focus on having students make better choices in regards to selection to suit their post secondary goals and dreams,” Ryan said.

“It’s making sure students are picking appropriate courses for what their plans are and even things like co-op programming.

“Students are able to go out in the community and do co-op placements and find out what they do like or don’t like. Sometimes finding out what they don’t like is more important.”

Not far behind with a B+ and fifth overall ranking is East Antigonish Academy of Monastery.

“We received our report card and it’s nice to see the school ranked well,” principal Janice Gough said.

East Antigonish scored particularly well in the overall engagement category.

“One of things I was very pleased to see was the engagement piece and students being engaged in school,” Gough said. “That was nice to see and an improvement from the previous report.”

Strait Regional School Board superintendent Jack Beaton noted that while the AIMS report card doesn’t cover the “whole school experience” it’s always good when schools are recognized for things they’re doing well.

“In the areas that they zeroed in on, they have done very well and we’re pleased with that,” Beaton said.

Still Beaton urges perspective when talking about school rankings.

“In general however, the ranking of schools is not necessarily a positive thing in that there isn’t really a fair comparison because there are so many different aspects of what goes into making a good school,” Beaton said.

In all, 54 Nova Scotia English schools were in the rankings. There were 18 not included because of either incomplete data or their small size.