Our Journey to Proficiency Based Learning


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RSU #3 - Our Journey Thus Far - A BRIEF History

In the Spring of 2011, The RSU 3 Board of Directors voted to move our district in the direction of creating a proficiency based system of education.  Later that spring, RSU 3 became a charter member (one of the original 9) of the Maine Cohort for Customized Learning and our "heavy lifting" began!  

Since that time, we have worked diligently to set the proper foundations to create a proficiency based system of education here in RSU 3.  We have provided lots of professional development to our teachers, had many community based discussions, created our new Future-Focused Mission/Vision and are working to finalize our District's Strategic Action Plan.  

          *** Click Here to View Our New Mission/Vision ***

          *** Click Here to View Our Newly Approved STRATEGIC PLAN***

 Throughout all of this work, we have taken great pains to include all stakeholders in these important conversations.  We have conducted public forums, multiple large staff surveys, student surveys, and parent/community surveys and the development of our Mission/Vision and Strategic Action Plan have been guided by three different stakeholder groups.  Much of this preliminary work can be seen below under "Documents of Interest".  

Over the past three years we have made many positive changes towards making our PBE Mission/Vision a reality for our children.  Some of these changes include (but are not limited to):

          *  RSU 3 Teachers worked with teachers from across the state to create a brand new curriculum aligned to the Common Core and Maine's Parameters for Essential Instruction (Learning Results) that allows for students, staff, parents, and community to clearly understand what every student must know and be able to do in order to be successful as an RSU 3 learner, and to ultimately graduate with an Mt. View High School Diploma. 

          *  RSU 3 Teachers have been provided many hours of professional development and training to understand this new curriculum and how to utilize this curriculum effectively with students.

          *  RSU 3 Teachers have worked to create student centered classrooms using School-Wide Visions, Codes of Cooperation, Standard Operating Procedures and other structures that allow for student voice in creating the systems of learning that work best for them, and student choice in how they demonstrate proficiency in their learning.

          *  We have created structures and systems that allow us to group and re-group students across grade levels based upon where they are in their individual learning in order to maximize instructional time and allow students to move along their learning progressions at their own MAXIMUM learning pace.

          *  We have worked to create shared resources for utilization across all schools within RSU 3.  These shared resources include exemplar lesson plans, exemplar assessments, projects, and other materials and resources that demonstrate best practices.

          *  We have worked with teams of teachers to identify minimum benchmark requirements for students in all content areas that must be met by the end of grade 5, grade 8, and grade 12 to help make clear our expectations for student learning.

          *  We have worked to update key district-wide policies to align with our new practices including a new revision to policy IKF - Graduation Requirements.


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 Expectations for 2014-15 Per Grade Level

Even with all of this work being accomplished, there is still much more work to do.  Over the course of the 2014-15 School Year we have the following action plans:

Elementary (K-5) Level

1.Focus in all classrooms across all schools will be on creating student-centered classrooms using our new curriculum with fidelity and rigor.

2.Continue to grade using 1-4 scale and reporting out student learning viaBased upon listening to some excellent parent feedback, we will be including a few key changes.  First, we will be reporting out using .5 increments (1, 1.5,2,2.5,3,3.5,4) as well as adding a “pace” indicator to our reporting so that parents can better understand where a child’s learning is in relation to their grade span.

3.We will be opening up EDUCATE to all parents so that you can access your child’s learning at any time.

4.We will be hosting quarterly meetings at all elementary schools for parents to learn more about our new reporting system and what all this information can help you do to support your child’s learning.

Middle Level (6-8)

1.Focus in all classrooms across all schools will be on creating student-centered classrooms using our new curriculum with fidelity and rigor.

2.Will be using EDUCATE to report out all student learning to parents using a 1-4 scale with increments (1,1.5,2,2.5,3,2.5,4).  Remember, a “4” indicates that a student is going “above and beyond” in their learning and applying knowledge to new learning experiences, a “3” indicates a student meeting proficiency, a “2” indicates a student meeting foundational knowledge requirements, and a “1” indicating that with help, the student knows some foundational knowledge.

3.Parent portal will be open to all parents so that you can access your child’s learning anytime.

4.EDUCATE reports will include reports that indicate where students are in their progressions of learning in order to help parents better understand where a child’s learning is in relation to their grade

5.Trimesters will be used vs. quarters this coming year with progress reports being sent home approximately every 6 weeks.

6.Schedules have been created to allow for more frequent grouping and regrouping of students across grade levels and content areas with teachers according to where they are in their learning so that teachers can maximize instructional time for students.

High School (9-12)

1.Focus in all classrooms across all schools will be on creating student-centered classrooms using our new curriculum with fidelity and rigor.

2.New Graduation Policies have been approved and will be distributed via opening day packets to all parents/RSU 3 will be requesting a 1 year extension from the Maine Department of Education so that the first graduating class that will be receiving a Proficiency Based Diploma will be the class of 2019.

3.Series of Parent meetings will be held to help parents/students better understand what these changes will mean for students in terms of GPA and transcripts, etc.

4.MVHS Grading and Reporting Committee, will be making recommendations around the issues of grading and reporting including “traditions” such as honor roll, class rank, etc. and what profiles/transcripts will look like and how to treat athletic eligibility requirements.

Across the District

1.We will be working to finalize our Strategic Plan – should be completed by Fall, 2014.

2.We will be working to create a district wide communications plan that will help us to better distribute accurate information to the public about what is, and sometimes more importantly, what is not going on in our schools.

3.We will also be continuing our work on policy development to support our new Mission/Vision.

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   Where are we going? 

The RSU 3 Board of Directors is committed to transitioning from our current Industrial Age model of public education to a new and exciting curriculum where learning is the constant and time becomes the variable.  Our new Mission/Vision is our "guidepost" in moving forward to create a proficiency based system of education where:

"Learning is the Constant":

-  Learners allowed to learn at their appropriate developmental instructional level in each of ten content areas based on demonstrated performance and following their own passions and inquiry.

-  Curriculum is "guaranteed and viable" where the standards and supporting materials are made explicit and available to teachers, students and parents ANYTIME and ANYWHERE.

-  Evidence toward proficiency for all learning targets is measured and recorded over time where the learner must score proficient or better prior to beginning the next performance level in a learning progression.

". . . Time is the Variable":

-  Learners advance to the next performance level in a content area when THEY ARE READY not when the teacher thinks the majority of the class is.

-  Progression from one performance level to another can occur at any point during the course of the year for any content area.

-  Learners are in different performance levels for different content areas with a great deal of grouping and re-grouping going on.

-  Where the understanding that learning can occur in more places than just the four walls of a classroom is honored and students are truly free to learn ANYTIME and ANYWHERE.

Have Questions?  Let's See If This Helps. . . 

Click Here to View a Pamphlet On what PBE is.

Click Here to Read Our Most Recent FAQ Sheet.

Click Here to Read Our Superintendent's Blog.

You Can Also Check Out These Documents of Interest 



Documents of Interest (please click on links below)


RSU 3 Board Workshop on RSU 3 Vision for Student Learning

Opening Slide Presentation to Community Education Design Team

Opening Slide Presentation to Staff Education Design Team

Some Proficiency Based Basics (slide show to Community Ed. Design Team)

Two Foundational Principles:  Group Activity Results

Public Forum - Tri-Fold Work

Slide Show - Strategic Planning Committee Mtg. #1

Video - Special School Board Meeting:  What is Student Voice and Choice?

Video - Elementary Level Report Card Overview



Other Helpful Links to Learn More About Proficiency Based or "Customized" Learning:


                            Link                                                                                                                          Brief Summary of Contents                       
Maine Department of Education - "Getting to Proficiency The Maine Department of Education has worked collaboratively with the Great Schools Partnership to create a website full of resources for parents, educators, and others in helping to understand both what a proficiency based system of education is, and how best to create one.  
Maine Cohort for Customized Learning

 The Maine Cohort for Customized Learning (MCCL) is a statewide coalition of school systems, organizations, and individuals committed to supporting performance-based education in Maine school systems.


 Marzano Research Laboratory       This is an organization that has worked closely with us to help us develop our measurement topics and scales that create the "backbone" of our proficiency based system.


 Reinventing Schools Coalition

 This is an organization that we have worked closely with to provide much of our professional development with teachers.

Sir Ken Robinson's Video on Changing Educational Paradigms

This video is a great quick video to help us all understand WHY WE MUST CHANGE the way we "do school"!  

Interview with Bea McGarvey and Chuck Schwahn

 This helps give insight into the book entitled:  "Inevitable" by Bea McGarvey and Chuck Schwahn which outlines what "Mass Customized" learning is and why it is "Inevitable" that our public schools move in this direction.


Mass Customized Learning Presentation

This short video again helps us to better understand why our current "industrialized model" of public education simply can't meet the needs of our 21st Century students any longer - we must change.


Code of Cooperation MVMS

Learning Targets Math MVMS

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