LIVERMORE FALLS — New Regional School Unit 36 Superintendent Sue Pratt announced Thursday the high school has been awarded a $1.2 million federal grant to boost students’ achievement.

The district had applied for a $1.4 million school improvement grant after Livermore Falls High School was named one of 10 “persistently low achieving” schools in Maine in March. The criteria to be categorized as such included low student achievement, a high percentage of low-income families and a lack of progress over three years on state assessments.

Pratt, the former assistant superintendent of Mt. Blue Regional District School in Franklin County, had helped put the grant application together with a committee that included high school staff and a school board director.

The first year of the grant would bring in $480,000, which will gradually decrease to $350,000 in the third year, Pratt said. An official letter awarding the grant will be given to the district and the board will need to vote on accepting it, Pratt said.

The money carries the requirement for students’ achievement to significantly improve during the first year of the funding.

The district elected to go with the transformation model that will require rigorous education reform.

Among the goals the application outlines are to increase the number of students meeting or exceeding the SAT reading assessment to 71 percent in year one, and 93 percent in year three. It also calls for an increase in the number of students meeting or exceeding the SAT math assessment to 54 percent in the first year and 89 percent in the third year

Twenty-seven percent of the Class of 2010 met or exceeded the SAT reading assessment standards in their junior year, according to the application. And 21 percent met or exceeded the math assessment standards.

The third goal is to increase the student success rate in grades nine and 10 to 75 percent in year one and 90 percent in year three as measured by a decrease in course failure rates.

If Livermore Falls High School closes for any reason including consolidation, then the school would not get the next year’s grant funding, if it occurs within the three years, Pratt said. However, the district would not have to repay any money.

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