As Maine schools move to graduating students with a proficiency-based diploma by 2018, the Maine DOE is offering extensive resources to support those locally-led transitions, including through its Center for Best Practice.
New to the Center is an interview with Hall-Dale Middle School teacher-leader Dan Crocker. Entitled “Taking It Personally,” Crocker provides personal perspective on transitioning students, and himself, to a standards-based system, including takeaways for other teachers in transition. His story is part of a larger case study and resource collection on RSU 2, which had a difficult but ultimately successful transition to student-centered learning as a result of strong leadership, professional development and community involvement.
Crocker, who has not only taught in the district for more than a decade but actually lives there with his family, says while change can be challenging, having honest conversations with students, engaging parents early on and not taking criticism personally will produce meaningful results. “If learner-centered hadn’t happened at Hall-Dale, the kids would have been worse off. I could still do a lot of what I do in a zero to 100 grading system, but it would have been harder,” he says. “It would have been disappointing.”
The Center, supported by the Nellie Mae Education Foundation and made possible by the contributions of the Maine schools that share their stories, serves as a clearinghouse of materials, support and case studies related to learner-centered instructional practices. For more information, visit www.maine.gov/doe/cbp.