AIMS Report flawed, says River Hebert principal

Darrell
Darrell Cole
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AMHERST - As much as it's a snapshot of how schools are faring, people shouldn't place too much stock in a report card released Thursday by the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies.

The AIMS' fifth annual high school report card indicates only one Cumberland County high school ranked in the top 25 this year with Pugwash District High moving from 25th spot to 16th while River Hebert District High remained near the bottom of the list, ranked 71st out of 72 schools ranked.

"I think history has shown that since that report first came out it's been flawed," River Hebert principal Don Gamblin said.

"We know all the good things we're doing here and we feel that's not being reflected and it's not an accurate reflection of our school," Gamblin said. "If you base the success of a school on stats you're not getting an accurate picture."

AIMS acting president Charles Cirtwill said the report card is not meant to point fingers at bad schools but is meant to show that all schools, whether in urban or rural settings, can excel.

"It shows us that the underlying assumption of the AIMS report card is valid that schools, no matter what they look like or where they're located can excel," Cirtwill said. "Public schools can serve any student well, so parents shouldn't be taking any more excuses."

Cirtwill said all schools, even those near the bottom of the rankings, do some things well.

"If you look at Pugwash, it moved up to a B after being a C+ for several years. That's the kind of progression you should see."

Cirtwill said River Hebert is doing a good job keeping students in school but its students are not doing as well in provincial exams or moving on to university after Grade 12.

While her school moved up the rankings, Pugwash District High principal Olga Jordan doesn't feel the AIMS report is an accurate indicator of what schools are doing.

"I know the local people will look at that and the fact we're 16th bodes well for Pugwash," Jordan said. "We have a wonderful community of parents, a great set of teachers who work with the students and a great group of students. You could say that about every school."

Jordan's not sure where AIMS gets all its data and pointed out there's so much more going on in her school that's not reflected in the information.

dcole@amherstdaily.com

Organizations: Atlantic Institute for Market Studies, Jordan's

Geographic location: River Hebert, AMHERST, Cumberland County Pugwash

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