Greely High School in Cumberland was ranked the top high school in Maine for the third year in a row by U.S. News & World Report. Superintendent Jeff Porter credits the hard work of all the students, staff and faculty in the district as well as the district’s strategic plan. Rachel Vitello / The Forecaster

Greely High School has been named the No. 1 high school in Maine by U.S. News and World Report for the third year in a row, while Greely Middle School 6-8 was named the top school in its tier for the first time this year.

“It feels great. It just validates all of the work that we’ve been doing, even more so that it’s the third year in a row,” said Jeff Porter, superintendent of SAD 51, which covers Cumberland and North Yarmouth. “Obviously, something’s working that we’re doing.”

Interim high school Principal Don Gray said the ranking is “really a community recognition” because it wouldn’t be possible without the opportunities they afford to students, from volunteering to jobs and completing graduation requirements.

Greely High School interim Principal Don Gray, left, and School Administrative District 51 Superintendent Jeff Porter both said the school’s high ranking by U.S. News & World Report is truly a “community recognition.” Rachel Vitello / The Forecaster

Greely Middle School 6-8 Principal Mar-E Trebilcock said she attributes at least some of her school’s success to the work it has done to developing response and intervention programming over the last five years.

“We have increased our capacity to serve the learning needs of each and every student who comes through our school by using data to inform curricular decisions, as well as individual student programming decisions,” Trebilcock said.

“Everyone participates in this work, and as a result, we have seen our students make positive gains. It’s the all-in attitude that makes the difference,” she said.


Porter said the district’s strategic plan is highly focused on the “cores” of learning, such as literacy and math. He also said the district does a “rigorous job” of hiring teachers and staff for all its schools.

“Another focus of ours has been career and college readiness,” Porter said. “We make sure that whether students go to college, go right into a career, take a gap year, join the military, it doesn’t matter what the students is doing as long as they are set up for success right from the beginning.”

Moving forward, the district will continue its work by examining student data and graduation rates.

“The next step is to keep doing what we’re doing. I think that’s the hardest part sometimes is to maintain what you’re doing and not get distracted with a hundred other things,” Porter said.

“Especially making sure our teachers don’t get distracted and they’re focused on what we know is good, instructional practice in the classroom. It sounds easy, but it’s not easy, it’s really important,” he said.

Overall, Greely High students on their SATs scored an average of 74% in math, compared to the 30% statewide average; 88% in reading compared to 50%; and 74% in science compared to 50%, according to the U.S. News’ report.

U.S. News & World Report ranks public high schools nationally each year based on their performance on state assessments and how well they prepare students for college. In Maine, 113 schools made the ranking this year, including Falmouth High School, which ranked No. 5 in the state and Yarmouth High School which ranked seventh. Greely Middle School 4-5 ranked No. 8 in the state for middle schools. Falmouth Middle School was second and Freeport Middle School was 10th.

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