AUGUSTA — The Maine Department of Education today named the state’s 10 “persistently lowest-achieving schools” as defined by federal criteria, including a Portland elementary school.

Riverton Community School and the other nine schools are now eligible to share $12 million in federal grants if they pursue aggressive school improvement plans, said Education Commissioner Susan Gendron.

The 10 schools have demonstrated low reading and math proficiency and little improvement over three years. The schools are divided into two categories based on eligibility for Title I funding, which targets students from low-income families.

Riverton is among five Title I schools in Maine that have failed to show progress under the federal No Child Left Behind Act for two or more years. The other schools are Deer Isle-Stonington High School, Longley Elementary School in Lewiston, Houlton High School and Sumner Memorial High School in Sullivan.

Portland school officials couldn’t be reached for comment.

The other category targets high schools that are eligible for Title I funding but whose districts use the money in other schools.

The five lowest-performing Maine high schools in that category are: Carrabec High School in North Anson, Hodgdon High School, Lake Region High School in Naples, Livermore Falls High School and Madison Area High School.

The schools are eligible to apply for school improvement grants for up to three years, provided they agree to pursue an aggressive plan to reform the school.

Under federal guidelines, they would have to agree to one of the following models: redesign or replace the school staff; convert the school to a charter school; transform the school through comprehensive reforms; or close the school and transfer students to higher performing schools in the district. Maine law doesn’t allow charter schools.

Identification of persistently low-achieving schools is also a focus of Maine’s application for competitive Race to the Top federal funding.

Gendron said additional schools will have an opportunity to participate in similar turnaround efforts if Maine receives funding.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.