Beating the odds

Four Maine schools have been recognized as “beating the odds” by Newsweek magazine.  The schools are Cape Elizabeth High School, Madawaska Middle/High School, Falmouth High School, and Upper Kennebec Valley High School. These schools were chosen based on National Center for Educational Statistics showing student participation in advanced classes, student retention rates, graduation rates, college readiness, and how many students are college-bound.

Students, teachers and community members of SAD 13 gather in celebration of “beating the odds.”
Students, teachers and community members of SAD 13 gather in celebration of “beating the odds.”

For Upper Kennebec Valley Memorial High School in Bingham, beating the odds means more than these statistics.  “In 2013 our school was given an “F” for a grade, and that was worth coming out of retirement to get back to school,” says Principal Julie Richard.  With emotion in explaining the school’s personal growth in overcoming a failing grade, Richard points to all her staff in helping beat the odds.

Newsweek’s beating the odds list is comprised of 500 schools from around the country the magazine has deemed the best at preparing students from low-income backgrounds for college. In April, Maine DOE recognized 21 schools across the state for their high performance or progress as measured by the State’s federally required accountability system. Among them was Upper Kennebec Valley Memorial High School.

As the schools have celebrated beating the odds, the high school in Bingham is also celebrating  students in the current senior class who are  all college bound next fall. Richard says, “The numbers are especially strong this year because of the increased focus on personal improvement, more attention on personal study habits, use of the school’s homework café, and being connected to school in some way.”