Maine school featured for effective, learner-centered instruction

Hall-Dale Middle and High School was one of 18 high-performing schools selected to present at the Ignite ’16 School Showcase in February. Ignite is hosted annually by the National Association of Secondary School Principals and the Center for Secondary School Redesign. The national showcase convenes school leaders, teachers, and students from the nation’s top middle and high schools to discuss effective practices, programs and strategies with colleagues from across the country.

Schools are selected on the basis of their outstanding reputations for quality and innovative practices with challenging populations. One of three high schools in RSU 2, Hall-Dale Middle and High School is fully committed to its vision of addressing the personalized learning needs of its students. Teachers provide opportunities for students to be part of the decisions regarding when they learn, where they learn, and how they learn.

Over the past several years, the teachers have implemented blended learning opportunities incorporating various forms of multimedia, created seminars as another instructional option, and refined teaching and assessing practices to focus on inquiry and deeper learning for students.

Supporting students to be self-directed learners is an area the school would like to continue to grow in as teachers implement personal learning plans for all students and articulate the various pathways students may follow to reach their educational goals.

“On any given day, in order to meet the learning needs of the students, teachers prepare several lessons within the same classroom. Our accelerated learners benefit from this hard work, many of them take college courses as juniors and seniors. Those students who need greater support are also able to get help. I am proud of our learning community for pushing us forward to grow and mature in this learning model,” says Hall-Dale Middle and High School principal Mark Tinkham.

Effective, learner-centered instruction is one of five core priority areas in Maine Department of Education’s strategic plan, Education Evolving: Maine’s Plan for Putting Learners First. The strategic plan sets out objectives and action steps that address the various elements of building an education system focused on the needs of all learners from early childhood into adulthood and focused on preparing each of them for college, careers, and civic life.

For more information about Maine’s plan for supporting all learners, contact Chief Academic Officer Rachelle Tome at