Laura Columbia, center, covers some of the updates to their strategic planning while director Kyle Fletcher, left, and Superintendent Christian Elkington, right, listen closely at Regional School Unit 9’s board meeting on Tuesday, Jan 10. Brian Ponce/Franklin Journal

FARMINGTON — Academy Hill [AHS] and G. D. Cushing [GDCS] School principal Keith Acedo and Mt. Blue Middle School’s [MBMS] interim principal Kathrine Duchesne presented their school’s fall assessment scores to the Regional School Unit 9 Board of Directors on Tuesday, Jan. 10.

Acedo could not be present at the meeting due to illness, but Superintendent Elkington was able to present the results in his place. According to the Fall 22 assessment scores, which follow the NWEA [Northwest Evaluation Association] metric of academic growth and proficiency in Pre-K through grade 12, 56% of students are at or above grade level mean scores for both math and reading at AHS.

AHS’s fall developmental reading results showed that 63% of students met the district’s fall benchmark score for fluency and comprehension.

“[Acedo] thought that those were pretty good scores, considering the fact that we’ve had the pandemic and lots of attendance issues and so forth,” Elkington commented.

“Obviously, we would love those numbers to be 80%, 90%, or 100%,” he added. “In each year, you want to bring that number up and have more kids be able to show success and meet the benchmark. So obviously, [that is] something we will continue to strive to, but we did not see a drop.”

Director Judith ‘Libby’ Kaut of New Sharon commented on the numbers, saying the standardized test scores did not reflect the level of engagement students had since returning to the classroom.


“I don’t see people sitting there doing nothing, yelling, throwing stuff,” Elkington stated. “I see people engaged in an effort, in an activity or a conversation that is going on. As Libby says, that’s an important piece. The standardized test is a test that happens, and it takes a picture. I’m not saying they’re not valuable, they do help. But it takes a picture at one time. And you know, some of those other pieces are just as or more important.”

MBMS interim principal Kathrine Duchesne, taking over for former principal James Black [now interim director of finance and operations for RSU 9] also presented the scores for her students. According to the benchmark results, students are at or slightly above their scores for 2021.

When it came to growth scores, grades 6 and 7 were shown to be on par with their normative growth model, but grade 8 students did not perform as well, which Duchesne attributes to the pandemic in her report.

Duchesne also stated in her report that she will be having a math focus for this school year with a pilot program called MAP Accelerator. In her report, she states the program is tied directly to NWEA data and students receive direct pathways of specific skills needing to be worked on based on their fall assessment.

“In a middle school class you may have kids that are [at a] fourth grade level with computation skills, or at 11th grade level with algebraic reasoning,” Duchesne stated. “It’s all over the map.”

Duchesne hopes this pilot program will help students bridge the gap with their math test scores.


Laura Columbia, director of curriculum, presented a strategic planning update wherein she stated that the next goal is to work on a Portrait of a Graduate. Columbia presented examples from RSU 58, 56, 10 and 44, which all contain six qualities those districts wish to see in their graduates.

“The first thing I would recommend is some type of community involvement,” Columbia stated. “A night, or afternoon. Something where [parents/guardians] and students in the community feel welcome.

“Looking at the data, there are some questions such as, ‘what do you hope students graduate with?’ and ‘what are the qualities you value the most?’,” she added. “So, really looking back at that data and looking at what are the skills, what are the attributes that we’re looking for in a Mt. Blue student.”

In new business, RSU 9 continued with their policy updates with an update on policies relating to services animals in school [ACAC] as well as staff involvement in decision making [GBB] and family and medical leaves [GBN]. 15 members of the board voted in favor of the policy changes with Director Charles Hinds of New Vineyard opposed.

The board had a first reading of upcoming policy changes for immunizations, medicine, and medical marijuana in schools. These policy changes will be voted on at a later date.

In the final piece of new business, the board voted unanimously on the policy changes for individualized education programs [IHBA] and referral/pre-referral of students with disabilities [IHBAA] after a motion was made to correct one of the policies by removing the word designee.

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