Four Mt. Ararat High School teachers have formally announced their retirement and will be completing their careers at Mt. Ararat High School after 120-plus years of service to the students of MSAD No. 75. The work that they have done will continue to influence and guide students for decades to come. Claudette Brassil (English), David Cowing (Special Education), Ian MacKenzie (Guidance), and Richard Bartlett (Social Studies).
Ninth Grade students visited the Maine State House earlier this month where they learned first-hand about the legislative process and the functions of state government. Students visited the chambers of the Maine House of Representatives and met with several Maine elected representatives.
The Mt. Ararat High School Civil Rights Team has been awarded the 2013 Maine Education Association Human and Civil Rights Award. This award is in recognition of this group’s extensive work sponsoring school projects and initiatives designed to create a respectful and open school environment. The Mt. Ararat Civil Rights Team will be recognized later this month at the Maine Education Association’s awards ceremony in South Portland.
Three Mt. Ararat High School students have qualified to participate in the National Merit Scholars Program based on their performance on the October 2012 Pre-Scholastic Aptitude Test, scoring in the top 3% of all students who sat for this national examination. The three students recognized for this honor are: Emma Cota, Ellison Etnier, and Jonah Levy.
Students in Ms. Ballou’s French class hosted students from St. George, Quebec Province. For the last several years, students from Mt. Ararat High School and students from St. George have had an active collaboration visiting each other’s schools and having home stays with host families. Students from St. George joined Mt. Ararat students in a visit to Harpswell to learn about life in this Maine coastal community.
Ninth grade students visited Southern Maine Community College (SMCC) earlier this month to learn about opportunities available at this school. Students met with professors, college students, and other community college personnel to learn about the wide array of programs available at SMCC. Mt. Ararat has many students who graduate and go on to study at SMCC in fields such as nursing, pre-engineering, lab technology, business management, computer technology, and other fields.
Our school recently received its new letter grade from the Maine Department of Education (MDOE) as part of the new Maine School Performance Grading System.
This grade reflects several factors, including math and reading proficiency of all students, growth factors that compare test results from multiple years as well as growth in the 25 percent lowest performing students (for elementary schools), and graduation rates (for high schools).
Our letter grade is important for several reasons. Though it should be seen in light of a complete context and is one measure of our performance, it shows areas in which we are doing well, and it highlights areas in which we need to improve. The information provided in the report card is clear cut and is available to you online through the Education Data Warehouse beginning some time today at www.maine.gov/doe/datawarehouse. Of course, one grade doesn’t tell the whole story. We hope the grade will add to our community discussion about how to constantly improve our school—regardless of where it falls on the grading scale.
Mt. Ararat High School has received a B based on the calculation developed by the MDOE. I will provide parents more detail in the parent mailing scheduled for around May 15.
Although I’m not entirely supportive of this new grading system, I am very impressed with our results. The positive results are a testament to: (a) our commitment to continuous improvement, (b) our commitment to our students in the lower quartiles, and (c) our desire to create a school where we are concerned about the wellbeing, academic, and social growth of each child.