LUBEC – The most recent Maine Educational Assessment scores for juniors at Lubec High School are good – but they are just the beginning, says SAD 19 Superintendent Scott Porter.
Lubec’s 11th-graders placed first in reading, science and social studies among their peers at the eight other Washington County high schools.
When compared with the scores for Maine’s 133 high schools, Lubec was ninth in reading, 19th in science and 40th in social studies.
Porter said in a recent interview that he expects the fourth- and eighth-graders at Lubec Consolidated School also will improve their scores this year, particularly in writing. The 11th-graders scored second in the county in writing and 23rd in the state.
“Writing is very important to us and we’ve changed our writing curriculum” for kindergarten through 12th grades, Porter said. One thing that helps is training the teachers are getting with a $70,000 grant from the state Department of Education.
Margaret Bailey, the grant coordinator for SAD 19, said the money pays for teacher training workshops led by Fred Wolff of Great Source Education Group Inc. of Wilmington, Mass.
Wolff’s course concentrates on the six traits of writing: ideas, organization, voice, word choice, sentence fluency and conventions, Bailey said. Porter said conventions – grammar and punctuation – count for 40 percent of the writing score on MEA tests.
Porter said Wolff’s teacher-training sessions are complemented by a partnership with Cyrene Wells of the University of Maine at Machias.
Bailey said Wells comes to the school once a week to work with teachers in the classroom and that both she and Wolff are connected to a community of writers in Lee, N.H., who specialize in children’s books.
Porter is in his third year as the superintendent of Lubec schools.
He said he and other staff members have worked to better align the curriculum with the state’s Learning Results program. MEA test results provide specific data that help schools determine where there may be problems, he said.
The MEA scores are not the only improvements at Lubec Consolidated, which serves 225 students in kindergarten through high school.
This fall, the school received almost $400,000 in federal money to develop a new computer laboratory and renovate the 50-year-old elementary school.
With the exception of the seventh-graders’ laptops, the school has one computer per classroom, Bailey said. The new laboratory will enable teachers to use computers in class and provide a resource for their own research, she said.
The bulk of the grant – $300,000 – will be used to replace the doors, windows, roof and heating system in the elementary school, Porter said.
The elementary school improvements will be accompanied by a $195,000 project to improve the school gymnasium. The project – which is being financed by local funds – includes a new floor, ceiling, lobby, entrance, bleachers and bathrooms, he said.
Porter said he is excited by the improvements.
“The most important thing is the curriculum, but the climate of a school changes with improvements,” he said. “We need to bring some pride back to this school.”