My school is proficiency-based. My students are placed in courses based on their readiness for the work in each course. We are ungraded except for homeroom and state assessments.

My students are motivated because they know that their hard work means moving forward with their coursework, their peers and toward the goals we set together. If they need more time, they’ve got it. If they need to redo, rework and relearn, we can do that, too. If they are ready, we move on.

As a teacher, I provide formative feedback while students are learning and summatively assess how far they have come when we are done. Students can demonstrate their learning in many ways, including cross-curricular projects with rubrics that they build themselves. They own their learning and they are proud of the hard work that it takes to reach the high standards we have set. We no longer lump attitudes and behaviors in with academic skills. We rely on brain research leading us to the growing success our students currently enjoy.

We are a small school with minimal staff. If we can do it, anyone can. I challenge the leadership in our state to stay the course and hold us all to higher standards. Do not allow leadership positions in education to remain unfilled. Build a team of stakeholders to collaborate and coordinate to help ease the difficulties schools face as they implement proficiency-based education. Expect our state leadership to support us, encourage us and celebrate our success. Be our partners and not just our critics.

It is time to step permanently away from the industrial model of learning. We absolutely can do this. We absolutely must keep moving forward.

Marielle Edgecomb

2017 Hancock County Teacher of the Year

Mount Desert