This week, the Department was proud to announce that one of the Maine schools we had nominated had been selected as a National Blue Ribbon School.
The Williams-Cone School in Topsham was one of 236 public schools nationwide named by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan into this prestigious program that recognizes schools where students perform at very high levels or show significant improvements in closing achievement gaps.
The K-5 school, which serves just over 200 students under the leadership of Principal Randa Rineer, is definitely deserving of this honor with their hard work in recent years leading to great gains in student achievement. In the 2011-12 school year, 81 percent of Williams-Cone students achieved proficiency or above on the State assessment in reading and 77 percent did in math, up from 66 percent in both reading and math in 2007-08. The school also recently earned an “A” in our School Performance Grading System, with 100 percent participation on State assessments. Their proficiency and growth are well above state averages, including among their most struggling 25 percent of students, with 77.1 percent of those students improving in math and 69 percent in reading, compared to 48 percent and 58 percent respectively on average in elementary schools across Maine.
School leaders attribute their success to a commitment to high standards for all students – no matter their challenges, using achievement data to drive decision-making, and engaging families and the community to enrich student learning and development.
Students, staff and the community of Williams-Cone should be proud of their excellence, and other schools in Maine can look to them as a shining example of effective, engaging learner-centered education. On behalf of all of us at Maine DOE, we congratulate your school and so many others across the state making such meaningful strides in student performance.