BETHEL — Officials at a Maine high school that once had one of the highest dropout rates in the state say that rate was cut by more than half through a joint effort by staff, parents, students and members of the community.

The Maine Department of Education says Telstar High School in Bethel has made more progress toward meeting state standards than nearly any other high school in the state.

In 2000-2001 the school’s dropout rate was 8.6 percent. Last year the rate was 3.4 percent.

Officials say the first goal was to connect students to the school and find something that engaged them.

The Sun Journal newspaper of Lewiston says the school is mentoring about 50 students.