PARIS – When it comes to sitting in a classroom, many students at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School are simply not engaged, according to a recent study.

However, the school was praised for its efforts to have faculty get to know each student.

The high school has recently gotten the results of the Great Maine Schools Report. Conducted by the George J. Mitchell Scholarship Research Institute, surveyors visited the school for one day last spring. They observed classrooms, interviewed faculty and toured the building.

There were pluses and minuses to the results, said High School Principal Ted Moccia. School officials are taking the criticism constructively, and will apply the $20,000 in grant funds given by the project to target indicated areas.

“The reality is we need to get better at what we’re doing,” Moccia said.

Student engagement was one concern addressed, Moccia said, and the key to improving this is to increase motivation.

“We have to work on it,” Moccia said. “We want every kid engaged in learning.”

According to the report, in about half of the 155 observed classrooms, less than 75 percent of the students were engaged.

School officials plan to collect data on their own to determine how to increase engagement. Moccia said one key to doing this is to have students work on independent or group projects, instead of listening to a teacher talk.

The report also stated that the school needs to increase technology use in classrooms. The school is already working toward this, Moccia said, by providing each freshman with a laptop they can take home.

The school is also training teachers to use technology more in their lessons, Moccia said.

The report praised the school’s teacher teaming system used with freshmen and sophomores. Students will have four common teachers who will work together to get to know the students, Moccia said.

The report stated that this practice made teachers more aware of their students’ strengths and needs, and stronger connections between teachers and students.

The report also noted that the school’s college enrollment rate of graduates had increased two percent.

Moccia said he is continually working to meet the recommendations and goals the report spells out. But money is always a problem.

“We’re always living within budgetary constraints,” Moccia said.

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