March 14, 2011

Researchers examine how schools make the grade

Teams visit 25 facilities statewide to see why some are cost-efficient and higher-performing.

By Kelley Bouchard
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

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Gorham High Principal Chris Record says a visit by researchers “was a great opportunity to learn more about our school.”

John Patriquin/Staff Photographer

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Gorham freshmen Katherine O’Connor and Julie Pearson work on a project as technology instructor Randy Perkins looks on. The school is ranked as one of the top 90 in Maine.

John Patriquin/Staff Photographer

At Gorham High, Principal Chris Record isn't exactly sure what brought Kunin's team to his school.

His budget this year was about $7.3 million to educate 866 students, according to the school district's website. And Gorham High's graduation rate is 92 percent, he said.

"That alone says we work hard, with all kinds of kids, to help them be successful," Record said. "We also have highly committed professionals across our staff and we treat our students as individuals."

Two new programs at Gorham High probably caught the visiting team's eye, Record said.

One is Bridges, an alternative education program that serves a small group of freshmen who were identified in middle school as being at risk of dropping out of high school.

In addition to studying regular subjects, Bridges students learn about conflict resolution and participate weekly in the Compass Project boat-building program in Portland. Ten students started the program last fall; eight are still in it and earning a B grade average overall. Record said he hopes to expand the program to 15 students next fall.

Another new program at Gorham High is a freshman academy system, developed to ease the transition for all students into high school. Freshman faculty members have divided into three academies, each with an English, science, social studies and math teacher.

Freshmen are assigned to teachers within one academy in an effort to foster greater collaboration and communication among teachers and build stronger relationships between teachers and students.

Record said he's looking forward to seeing the results of research institute's study and learning what other schools are doing to help their students succeed in a global marketplace.

"The more schools work together, the better off we'll all be," Record said. "The more we open our schools and our classrooms to each other, the better we'll be able to change and adapt our programs so our students can compete with students in China and India."

Staff Writer Kelley Bouchard can be contacted at 791-6328 or at:


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