LIVERMORE FALLS — High school Principal Jim Holland gave Regional School Unit 36 directors an overview Thursday on how the staff is working to improve students’ academic achievements.

Livermore Falls High School is in its first year of a $1.2 million, three-year, federal grant to help students master reading and math and increase the number of students passing courses.

The school was named one of 10 “persistently low achieving” schools in Maine in March 2010. The criteria for this category included low student achievement, a high percentage of low-income families and a lack of progress over three years on state assessments.

Holland told the board a lot of work has been done and teachers are undergoing coaching and training in several areas. Six teams were formed to develop plans to meet measurable goals. One of the teams has been trained and has achieved its goal of doing at least 200 observations by Dec. 3, Holland said.  Teachers went into classrooms to observe other teachers teaching and student interaction with them, he said.

Among the goals the staff have set is to increase the number of students meeting or exceeding the 71 percent-level in SAT reading assessments in one year, and the 93 percent-level in three years. The school improvement plan also calls for an increase in the number of students meeting or exceeding the 54 percent-level in SAT math assessments in the first year and the 89 percent-level in three years.

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

The third goal is to increase the student success rate to 75 percent in year one and 90 percent in year three.

Course failures in the first quarter were reduced by 50 percent between progress reports and the end of quarter grades, Holland said.

“We’re halfway through the year and I think we’ve accomplished a lot,” Holland said. He added that there is still work to do.

In other business Thursday, school directors accepted the resignation of Livermore Elementary School Principal Jeannine Backus effective June 30. Backus has been with the district for 26 years.

The board also accepted the resignation of veteran teacher Karen Hardy, who is currently a literacy coach at the elementary school. She will work until the end of the school year.

Superintendent Sue Pratt also announced that she has hired Glenn Eichel as a half-time data coordinator at the high school as part of the school improvement grant.

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