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8th-Grade Families Invited to Proficiency-Based-Learning Sessions

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8th-Grade Families Invited to Proficiency-Based-Learning Sessions
Posted on 04/21/2017
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Families of eighth-graders are invited to some evening information sessions that will help them learn more about the Portland Public Schools’ transition this fall to proficiency-based learning in the district’s middle schools and high schools.

All the sessions will be held from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and the dates are as follows: Monday, April 24, at Lyman Moore Middle School; Wednesday, April 26, at Lincoln Middle School; and Thursday, April 27, at King Middle School. There also will be an open session with language interpreters on Wednesday, May 3, at King Middle School.

Families are invited to choose a session most convenient to them, either at their child’s middle school or at another middle school. Also, although the target audience is eighth-grade students and their families, everyone is welcome.

Maine students who are in eighth grade this year will be the first to graduate with the state’s new proficiency-based high school diplomas. An amendment the Legislature passed last year says that starting in 2021, students must demonstrate proficiency in language arts, math, science, and social studies in order to graduate. The Class of 2021 is this fall’s freshman class.

The sessions are designed to provide Portland Public Schools’ families with more detailed information to help make the transition to high school smoother for current eighth-graders.

The sessions are an opportunity for families to ask questions and hear from Casco Bay High School students and parents, who are already familiar with proficiency-based learning. That school has been following a proficiency-based learning model for years.

The following is some background information on proficiency-based grading and graduation requirements:


• 9th grade students will be graded on a scale of 1 to 4.

• Their grade will be based on their “proficiency” in meeting the expectations of each course.

• Those expectations, called Performance Indicators, will be clearly communicated – students (and parents) will know what they are expected to learn and be able to do. Teachers will be able to focus on specific areas where students are struggling, to offer help.

• Habits of Work and Learning will continue to be graded separately from academic work, just like in middle school.


• In order to earn a diploma, students will need to show “proficiency” on a set of Graduation Standards.

• These standards are the same, no matter which Portland Public Schools high school a student attends.

• These standards will be taught in regular courses.

• Students may also be able to meet some standards through alternative pathways, such as dual enrollment college courses, independent study options, or by attending classes at the Portland Arts and Technology High School (PATHS).

• Students will also need to earn 21 Units of Proficiency in order to graduate. UPs are replacing credits.

• In order to earn a Unit of Proficiency in a class or alternative pathway, students must earn a grade of 3 or higher on all Performance Indicators.

For some FAQ's on proficiency-based learning and additional information, click HERE.

For more information contact: Interim Chief Academic Officer Sharon Pray at 207-874-8110 or praysh@portlandschools.org