Commissioner’s Update – June 12, 2014

From the Maine DOE

This week, the Department had the honor of announcing it was awarding $1.6 million in School Improvement Grant (SIG) funding to James Otis Kaler Elementary.

The South Portland school intends to use this State support to raise student proficiency in math and reading by 10 percent annually over the next three years by better supporting students, enhancing educator effectiveness and increasing parent/community engagement.

The commitment to school improvement is not new to Kaler. In 2011, a school-based renewal effort was launched, but meaningful headway has yet to be made. The school received an “F” on its State report card the last two years, and just 38.5 percent of its students are proficient in math and 44.4 percent in reading.

Kaler’s challenges are significant but certainly familiar to many Maine schools: high teacher turnover and a growing percentage of students who are economically disadvantaged or require special education or English language learning services.

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