DIXFIELD — RSU 10 Superintendent Craig King said he was disappointed in the state’s latest report cards for 10 schools in the district.

Six received F’s, one received a D and three received C’s.

He agreed that the schools must be accountable for the quality of education provided to students, but he also believes the topics on which the grades were based are only a part of the program. The grades were almost all based on progress — or lack of progress — in mathematics and reading.

“We’re working as a district to ensure that we have a positive school climate, that the school has strong relationships with homes and communities and that we monitor student progress and provide extra help,” he said. “We provide lots of opportunities for all of our students to learn.”

Mountain Valley High School in Rumford received an F because fewer than the required number of students took the Scholastic Aptitude Test. The state requires 95 percent take the test; 94.4 percent took it, just shy of the mark.

Last year, the school received a D instead of a C because it narrowly missed the required percentage of students who took the SATs.

“Using the SATs to measure proficiency is like using a ruler to measure a quart,” King said.

SATs are used to measure the likelihood of a student succeeding in college, not the high school curriculum, he said.

Some schools dropped two grades since the first report cards were issued by the state in 2013. Dirigo Middle School in Dixfield dropped from a C to an F, as did Rumford Elementary and Dirigo Elementary in Peru.

Notes from the state said there was a decrease in growth and a decrease in proficiency.

“This is discouraging for teachers,” King said. “It labels a school in a negative way.” 

He said the state may move away from the letter grade system next year.

For this year, and into the future, however, he said, the district will ensure that its curriculum is solid and provides a sufficient number of supports for both students and teachers.

“I might not like the test, but that’s the test,” he said. “I’m not going to spend my time worrying about test results, but instead make sure the teachers have the support to teach the curriculum and the students have the support they need to learn that curriculum. We have 2,600 kids in 10 schools. We have to teach the curriculum. Some will meet the standards readily; some will not.” 

He and curriculum coordinator Gloria Jenkins, along with teacher leaders, will continue to work on some ideas that may boost student success.


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