Category: Updates

RSU5 – PBE Grading Updates

So, for those of you following things in our district, and around the state, I wanted to share the latest info we have.

I wish to encourage people to make it to this year’s final board meeting on June 13th. That would definitely help us confirm what I have to share below, as we can mention these points during public comment (to get them on public record). Continue reading “RSU5 – PBE Grading Updates”

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How America Is Breaking Public Education

…The first and largest problem is that every educational program we’ve had in place since 2002 — the first year that No Child Left Behind took effect — prioritizes student performance on standardized tests above all else. Test performance is now tied to both school funding, and the evaluation of teachers and administrators. In many cases, there exists no empirical evidence to back up the validity of this approach, yet it’s universally accepted as the way things ought to be.

Imagine, for a moment, that this weren’t education, but any other job. Imagine how you’d feel if you found yourself employed in such a role.

You have, on any given day, a slew of unique problems to tackle. These include how to reach, motivate, and excite the people whose education and performance you’re responsible for. It includes imparting them with skills that will enable them to succeed in the world, which will be vastly different from state-to-state, county-to-county, and even classroom-to-classroom. Gifted students, average students, special needs students, and students with severe disabilities are all often found in the same class, requiring a deft touch to keep everyone motivated and engaged. Moreover, students often come to class with problems that place them at a competitive disadvantage, such as food insecurity, unaddressed physical, dental, and mental health issues, or home life responsibilities that severely curtail their ability to invest in academics.

If your goal was to achieve the greatest learning outcome possible for each of your students, what would you need to be successful? You’d need the freedom to decide what to teach, how to teach it, how to evaluate and assess your students, and how to structure your classroom and curriculum. You’d need the freedom to make individualized plans or separate plans for students who were achieving at different levels. You’d need the resources — financial, time, and support resources — to maximize the return on your efforts. In short, you’d need the same thing that any employee in any role needs: the freedom and flexibility to assess your own situation, and make empowered decisions. …

Full article:

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Budget Meeting – Wednesday, May 23rd at DCS

The Annual Budget Meeting will be held this Wednesday, May 23rd at Durham Community School at 6:30 pm. This is the meeting where citizens vote for the school budget article by article (town-hall style, with the yellow cards) and have the opportunity to make amendments. The budget approved that night will then be sent to a referendum vote on June 12th.

This year’s budget represents a 2.31% increase over last year’s, which translates into a 0.93% tax impact for Durham, 3.04% for Freeport and 3.83% for Pownal.

All budget documents can be found on the RSU website at

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Update: York schools to introduce grading changes

This “rush” to put a system in place is what Convery said he was speaking about. “We have a proficiency-based learning structure that has way too many problems because we were rushed. We need a structure to honor the traditional norms that our community values. We want honor rolls to recognize our kids. This is not hard.”

High school French teacher Nancy Stevens, however, urged the committee to separate the grading system from proficiency-based learning itself – which she supports and said is geared to helping all students reach their potential. The targets for learning which underpin PBL are pivotal to student achievement. “I believe in the power of proficiency-based learning because I’ve been implementing it for the past 20 years.”

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York Parents: Report cards don’t make the grade

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Pearson Efficacy Study Highlights the Challenge of Letting Students Retest

But new, externally audited, efficacy research from Pearson about one of the company’s apps shows a significant correlation between increased retesting and lower overall course performance.

The results of the study pose big questions for reform-minded educators who advocate for students to have multiple chances on exams. The new research suggests that far from mastering concepts, students may simply be retaking quizzes on education technology platforms until their score increases, which may actually hurt their overall learning progression.


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65% of Public School 8th Graders Not Proficient in Reading; 67% Not Proficient in Math

The Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics describes what it means to be “proficient” in math and reading.

“Eighth-graders performing at the Proficient level should…understand the connections between fractions, percents, decimals, and other mathematical topics such as algebra and functions,” says NCES. “Students at this level are expected to have a thorough understanding of Basic level arithmetic operations—an understanding sufficient for problem solving in practical situations.”

When it comes to reading, eighth-grade “students performing at the Proficient level should be able to provide relevant information and summarize main ideas and themes,” says NCES. “They should be able to make and support inferences about a text, connect parts of a text, and analyze text features. Students performing at this level should also be able to fully substantiate judgments about content and presentation of content.”

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Roper: Proficiency-based learning not proficient

Vermont’s student test scores are falling. It’s no longer a blip, but a trend. As State Board of Education member Bill Mathis said, “When you have two different tests showing much the same thing, you have to pay attention to them.” Those two tests are the Smarter Balance Assessment Consortium (SBAC) and the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP), which both register across the board drops in student outcomes.

Roper: Proficiency-based learning not proficient


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