The four communities of Maine School Administrative District No. 75 are united in our dedication to develop confident, life-long learners. It is our mission to work together to ensure a community of fluent learners, critical thinkers and creative contributors to our society.
May 1, 2013
Dear parents and community members of M.S.A.D. No. 75:
Our schools recently received its new letter grade from the Maine Department of Education as part of the new Maine School Performance Grading System. This was an initiative announced by Governor LePage in his State of the State address, and the system was developed by the Maine Department of Education.
In Grades 3-8, the letter grade is a combination of both achievement and student growth as measured by the NECAP assessment conducted annually in those grades. The NECAP assesses reading and math. 50% of the letter grade is based upon the percentage of students demonstrating proficiency on the most recent NECAP. The remaining 50% is based upon a formula that scores student growth from the current NECAP to the previous year’s NECAP. Included in that is the growth of the lowest 25% of students. (Please note, in developing this rating system, the Department of Education utilized a bell-shaped curve, selecting cut scores so that 75% of all Maine elementary and middle school would receive a grade of C or below. Only 25% can receive a B or A letter grade this year.)
At the high school, the SAT (administered during the junior year) is used with the most recent three-year average in reading and math compared to the preceding three-year average in reading and math. High school letter grades are 40% proficiency on SAT, 40% progress from three-year average comparisons, and 20% on the graduation rate. (Please note, in developing this rating system, the Department of Education utilized a bell shaped curve, selecting cut scores so that 75% of all Maine high schools would receive a grade of C or below. Only 25% can receive a B or A letter grade this year.)
You can access FAQ’s about this system here. As noted in that document, “you can’t sum up a school in one grade.” Student achievement data is important, however. Parents and community members should look at this data, but looking for patterns that develop over time…patterns of strength as well as patterns indicating a need to improve.
In addition to achievement in reading and math, parents seeking an accurate picture of their school’s effectiveness should include other factors, including:
Our letter grade is important, but is only one measure of our performance. The information provided in the report card is available to you online through the Education Data Warehouse at www.maine.gov/doe/datawarehouse.
Our district, schools and individual teachers have and will continue to examine student achievement data and other information to help inform our practice and improve student learning. Every school, regardless of its letter grade, should strive to continually improve. In our district, that work is shaped by the District goals adopted annually by the School Board. District Goals.
We know the work that must be done, and the report cards may be helpful in focusing more effort toward the progress of our lowest performing students. Professional development for administrators, teachers and support staff will be critical in achieving our goals.
I am proud of the teaching and learning occurring in each of our schools. We have and continue to receive recognition for the accomplishments of our schools, our students and staff.
We will continue to provide quality education with the same dedication and passion as always. We simply cannot allow our focus to shift. We will use this as an opportunity to share and engage those who wish to talk about the letter grades and the work we have undertaken, and acknowledge the support and confidence that our community has placed in their school system.
Please contact your school principal for specific information about that school’s report card or other areas of interest. As always, we appreciate your continued support.Sincerely,
Bradley V. Smith
Superintendent of Schools
Annual Budget Report 2013-2014
First Vote for 13-14 Budget is Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 6:30 p.m. located at the Orion Performing Arts Center (Mt. Ararat Middle School).