New best practice video features Belfast school

Maine DOE’s Center for Best Practice has released a new video, “Everything in the Building is Tied to a Learning Standard,” which focuses on Troy Howard Middle School’s transformation over the past seven years. The Belfast middle school has developed a reputation around the State for its aggressive approach to improving student achievement, informed in large part by the data now available in our Data Warehouse.

This approach has involved learning about new practices – first formative assessment, then standards-based grading and now academy structures – and then driving their transformation from within, by administrators, faculty and kids. Until recently, Troy Howard was relatively isolated, even within RSU 20. At no time were significant resources diverted to support the middle school’s efforts. One of the lessons, according to Principal Kim Buckheit, who is featured along with school students and staff in the video, is that “you don’t need to have additional money to become a proficiency-based system.”

You can learn more about Troy Howard’s shift to standards-based learning and access supporting materials by reviewing our case study on RSU 20 entitled “The Power of Principals alongside videos and materials from other innovative Maine districts in the Center for Best Practice. The Center is a resource to schools as they launch improvement initiatives, including as a result of the findings of Maine’s new Performance Grading System.

You can also read about Maine DOE Commissioner Stephen Bowen’s experience at Troy Howard, which he visited this spring on his Promising Practices Tour, here.