Kennebunkport Consolidated School, shown here in a winter photo, along with Sea Road School, Mildred L. Day School and Middle School of the Kennebunks earned high rankings in the U.S. News and World Report survey of K-8 public schools. Tammy Wells Photo

KENNEBUNK — Three Regional School Unit 21 elementary schools and the district’s sole middle school are among the best schools in their categories in Maine, according to U.S. News and World Report, which focused on math and reading proficiency.

Kennebunkport Consolidated School ranked eighth statewide, Sea Road School ranked ninth, and Mildred L. Day School ranked 11th, out of 364 Maine elementary schools.

Middle School of the Kennebunks ranked 11th out of 209 Maine middle schools surveyed.

This was the first ever ranking of K-8 schools by the news organization.

“The methodology for the brand-new rankings focuses on two areas: math and reading proficiency, or how well students perform on state assessments, and math and reading performance, or how well they perform compared to expectations,” U.S. News and World Report said in a news release. “Based on data from the U.S. Department of Education, the Best K-8 Schools rankings only include public schools.”

The state assessment data used in the rankings is from the 2018-2019 school year and therefore pre-dates the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on test-taking, US News and World Report said.

“We are proud of this great achievement,” said RSU 21 Superintendent Terri Cooper, Ed.D,  in a statement. “Administrators and staff members work to ensure that all students are excelling academically, socially and emotionally in all of our schools. RSU 21 will continue to embed innovative strategies and practices into our classrooms that will increase students’ critical thinking skills.”

She said to support this effort, RSU 21 is focused on incorporating Professional Learning Communities in each school.

“In this process, educators work collaboratively in recurring cycles of collective inquiry and action research to achieve better results for the students they serve. Our goal is to meet the needs of all students in each of our schools,” said Cooper.

Kennebunk Elementary School was not ranked. Whether a school was ranked or unranked was independent of academic quality, according to US News and World report. About 81 percent of public schools with elementary and middle school grades received a ranking.

Unlike the high school reports produced by the company the 2022 Best K-8 Schools report does not contain national rankings.

In May, U.S. News and World Report released their 2021 Best High schools, with Kennebunk High School retaining its designation of the No. 2 school out of 126 ranked in Maine for the second consecutive year. KHS ranked 2,386 out of 17,800 high schools nationally. Rankings focused on college readiness, reading and math proficiency, reading and math performance, underserved student performance, college curriculum breadth and graduation rates.

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