AUGUSTA — For the second year in the row, the Maine Department of Education released letter grades for every public school in Maine. The state average is a C, the same as last year.

The grades can be seen at 2014 school report cards. As the report cards went public Thursday on the Maine Department of Education’s website at www.maine.gov/doe.  

Locally, Lewiston High School and Edward Little High School in Auburn received grades of D because less than 95 percent of juniors took the SAT in May of 2013, superintendents said. Lewiston missed a C grade by three students not taking the test, Edward Little by eight students not taking the test.

Overall, all Lewiston schools scored between a C and F; Auburn schools between an A and F.

Other area high schools that scored a C are: Lisbon High School, Monmouth Academy, Oak Hill High School, Mt. Blue High School, Buckfield Jr.-Sr. High School, Gray-New Gloucester High School, Poland Regional High School, Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School., Leavitt High School and Spruce Mountain High School North.

Spruce Mountain High School South  and Telstar got a D.

Mountain Valley High School in Rumford got an F.

Mt. Abram Regional High School and Winthrop High got B’s.

For the second year in a row, Washburn Elementary School in Auburn got a grade of F on its Maine Department of Education report card.

“It’s extremely unfortunate,” Principal Holly Couturier said Wednesday. “It’s not accurate. It does not give a picture of the great things going on in this school. This is so not an F school.”

Montello Elementary School in Lewiston also got an F. “It stings because our staff knows the kind of work we’re doing here,” Principal Jim Cliffe said Wednesday, calling their work far from an F.

On the 2014 report cards, 40 elementary schools and 10 high schools earned an A, while 53 elementary schools and 18 high schools earned a B. In total, 93 schools saw a grade improvement from 2013 to 2014. Some schools earned a two grade increase including 10 schools that rose from an F to a C, four from a D to a B and seven from a C to an A. Wisdom Middle School, which serves students in Frenchville and Saint Agatha, was the only school that jumped three letter grades, from a D to an A. 

The grading system was launched last year by the LePage Administration, saying when parents and the public are informed and involved in schools, students benefit. The state based the scores on math and reading proficiency, student growth and graduation rates.

The formula used this year by the Department of Education to calculate the grades is unchanged to allow for comparison. However, local and state data on the percentage of students who qualify for free or reduced priced lunch, teacher experience and education levels, and spending has been added to the report cards to provide the public a more comprehensive look at schools.
  
“I want to congratulate these Maine schools who have stepped up to put kids first and who have seen student outcomes and opportunities improve as a result,” Gov. Paul LePage said in a press release issued Thursday. “Maine schools can be the best in the country and if they keep up this good work and the public holds them accountable to that, they will be.”

School improvement is an intensive multi-year process and the Department does not attribute grade increases or declines directly to the grading system. As Commissioner Jim Rier heard when visiting schools this past week, many of the improvements that led to the grade gains have been in the works for years, but the report cards have surfaced those successes and focused schools.

“Today, many Maine school communities deserve to take great pride in their outstanding performance and progress, which the grading system has brought to light,” the commissioner said. “Across the state and at both A and F schools, the dedication of teachers and the care they are taking to ensure every child is successful is improving outcomes and the lives of our students. Now that the grades are out, we encourage the public to celebrate where their schools showed improvement and join us in supporting them where there are opportunities for improvement.”

According to the DOE, the state’s high school point score went up slightly as a result of proficiency and graduation rate gains, though the gap between the percentage of students who graduate and those who are actually proficient widened to 38 percent.
   
For more information about the Maine School Performance Grading System, visit www.maine.gov/doe/schoolreportcards/. The Maine Department of Education’s Data Warehouse where the report cards and detailed multi-year information about schools and districts is available, visit www.maine.gov/doe/dataresources/.


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