GREENE — SAD 52 directors were disappointed by standardized test results showing high school scores below the state averages in math and science and only slightly above in English/language arts.
Assistant Superintendent Theresa Gillis presented an overview of test results from the Maine Assessment & Accountability Reporting System showing the percentage of students performing at or above state expectations.
The average scores on SATs taken last year by juniors at Leavitt Area High School, compared to state averages, were:
* Mathematics: state, 38.54 percent proficient; LAHS, 35.94 percent.
* Science: state, 61.07 percent proficient; LAHS, 50.78 percent.
* English/language arts: state, 52.28 percent proficient; LAHS, 54.69 percent.
“I am not impressed with what we are seeing here,” Director Peter Ricker of Turner said. “We spend a lot of money in this district, and we should be striving to be above the state average.”
Board Chairwoman Betsy Bullard said, “This is going to be the first of many conversations on the topic.”
She asked Gillis to collect more information for the board to review. MAARS information is available online.
Directors also were unhappy with 2015-16 scores, which they saw for the first time Thursday night. Those scores, compared to state averages, were:
* Mathematics: state, 38.31 percent proficient; LAHS, 25.9 percent.
* Science: state, 60.97 percent proficient; LAHS, 42.03 percent.
* English/language arts: state, 50.58 percent proficient; LAHS 50.36 percent.
On the other hand, Leeds Central School and Tripp Middle School had consistently high numbers on the annual assessments taken last year.
In other business, Superintendent Kimberly Brandt presented information to the board on the new model for Child Development Services.
According to Brandt, services that are currently administered by the state would, under the new proposal, rest on the district.
The proposed legislation will be decided upon during the 2018 short session of the Maine Legislature, which if passed will effectively shift special education for 3- to 5-year-olds to school districts.
Under this model, all aspects of special education services for this age group would become the responsibility of the local district. This includes case management, evaluation, eligibility determination, individualized education program development, and the provision of special education and related services, according to the information presented by Brandt at Thursday’s meeting.
Leavitt Area High School Principal Eben Shaw presented his school improvement plan to the school board. Highlights of the two-part plan include developing opportunities for students to demonstrate proficiency and increasing student engagement.
Shaw told the board a group of students participated in a lake monitoring program under the guidance of a marine biologist. Staff from SkindiversParadise instructed the students on safe diving techniques, which they used to assess Chinese mystery snails in Androscoggin Lake.
Students used the diving gear to collect buckets of snails, measured water depth and used gridwork to calculate the extent of the snail population. The large snails, which are about the size of golf balls, are considered invasive organisms. Native to Southeast Asia, they were brought to this country as a food source and are found in many Maine lakes and ponds.
Shaw said he was impressed with the attitude of staff and students when they “kept doing business as usual” during a 40-minute power outage one day and during problems with the water another day.
The board voted unanimously to increase the two pre-kindergarten education technician positions from part-time to full-time, and in another unanimous vote approved donations to the Tripp Middle School football team.