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Old 11-15-2013, 10:54 AM
 
4 posts, read 7,181 times
Reputation: 11

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Hi there.

We are looking to relocate to the Portland area from Boston, for a great job opportunity. I was excited how everyone kept saying that the Portland schools are fantastic, until I read the state ratings, and several of the schools in the city of Portland got a C or below.

We fell in love with a house, but the neighborhood school got an F grade! Why is Portland being touted as a fantastic school district, but the schools in our price range seem rather sketchy. We are looking in the $350k and below, with a quality community school.

We are moving from the City of Boston, so I don't see us wanting to move out to a suburb. Can anyone speak about a Portland school that they love? I need elementary and middle school, please.

Thanks!
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Old 11-16-2013, 09:08 AM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
32,023 posts, read 52,159,393 times
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Saying the schools are good / bad, is normally a subjective opinion.

Our governor recently decided to go with a ranking method that gave A thru F grades to be schools. In the process nearly everyone had a fit. Nobody wants their wonderful school to be rated below par.
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Old 11-16-2013, 09:59 AM
 
4 posts, read 7,181 times
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Thanks,

Moving from Boston, where there are great schools and terrible schools often within a half a mile of each other, I am nervous about moving into a great house, but a poor school. Our price range and commute distance seems to be putting us in the Deering area (house with a yard, under $350). Can anyone speak about those neighborhood schools? The good the bad the ugly?

Currently my kids have been in two schools, one that on paper didn't "score" well, but they had a fantastic science and arts program. The test scores reflected the fact that had many non-native English learners who don't test well. The other school "tested" better, but had a cookie cutter curriculum geared only to teaching to the test. Overall, we were much happier with the first.

I know on paper schools look very different than they actually feel. Can anyone comment on the Lyseth, or other Deering schools?

Thanks!
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Old 08-30-2015, 05:34 AM
 
14 posts, read 14,665 times
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Noreaster.....I'm curious how you've gotten on with living in Deering and the schools. We are also looking into Deering but are concerned with the school ratings. Thx.
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Old 08-30-2015, 09:46 AM
 
76 posts, read 91,946 times
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A couple things to keep in mind with schools in Maine is that letters grades will not be given for this year because the new online Smarter Balanced Assessment was given this past spring. Because the test is the first online test and the content of the test is very different so the data won't be comparable to the prior year. Assessment participation and scoring is a significant factor in the letter grades also. So it was decided that no letter grades would be issued in 2015. And now with the passage of LD 1276 Smarter Balanced can no longer be used in future years. So a new assessment will be coming for spring of 2016. So a lot of upheaval there.

Additionally, Maine is in the process of implementing a proficiency based diplomas standard which requires students to demonstrate proficiency in certain content areas before a diploma is awarded.

I mention these two factors because it means the letter grades are good to look at and all but given the transitions education in Maine is going through a deeper look into where the schools are headed would be a good idea.
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Old 08-30-2015, 07:00 PM
 
Location: Maine
18,559 posts, read 22,355,267 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1noreaster View Post
We are looking in the $350k and below, with a quality community school.
You probably won't find it. Sadly, this is the new reality of urban life in America. Once again, The Onion nails it:

Neighborhood Starting To Get Too Safe For Family To Afford - The Onion - America's Finest News Source
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Old 08-31-2015, 06:28 AM
 
Location: Portland, ME
234 posts, read 300,720 times
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Given that schools are ranked based on standardized tests, tests which certainly don't cater to people who speak English as a second language, urban areas are doomed to perform worse as a whole. That said, the urban schools will likely have a higher population and thus more opportunity for advanced level classes. Oh, and suburbs suck.
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Old 08-31-2015, 06:47 AM
 
Location: Northern Maine
10,186 posts, read 15,909,583 times
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Not only will there be no letter grades or valid testing, there will be no valedictorians, measurable excellence or creativity in the classroom. To make time for the huge amount of time teaching students how to do these tests, there will be schools dropping music, art and other "non-essential" subjects. Call it what you want. It is Common Core. The goal is to have a life-long common core of obedient citizens. They have told us what they want. Parents were just not listening.
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Old 08-31-2015, 08:09 AM
 
Location: Maine
18,559 posts, read 22,355,267 times
Reputation: 22435
Quote:
Originally Posted by Northern Maine Land Man View Post
Not only will there be no letter grades or valid testing, there will be no valedictorians, measurable excellence or creativity in the classroom. To make time for the huge amount of time teaching students how to do these tests, there will be schools dropping music, art and other "non-essential" subjects. Call it what you want. It is Common Core. The goal is to have a life-long common core of obedient citizens. They have told us what they want. Parents were just not listening.
Yup. And I don't see it getting any better.

The Left simply wants to throw more money at the same programs causing the problems. A classic definition of throwing gasoline on a fire. And the goal of their education is to make obedient little worker bees, utterly dependent on the State.

The Right simply wants to privatize everything, and to make the goal of education to program obedient little worker bees, utterly dependent on their employers.

A true solution is nowhere in sight.
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Old 09-02-2015, 07:34 AM
 
8 posts, read 7,535 times
Reputation: 15
I can tell you first hand I have met two sets of parents who are absolutely in love with The Fred P Hall School (despite its 3 ranking on GreaterSchools.org). The Longfellow Elementary School has a very high rating. I've heard Ocean Ave Elementary is doing great things as well. I do think you need to take these "scores" and "letter grades" with a grain of salt. The Riverton elementary school has a horrible reputation, however, I contacted the principal of a well known elementary school in the Portland area to ask her about that and she said it has a bad reputation because it was once ranked one of the worst schools in Maine but they've recently had money put into the program and are doing wonderful things. You'll also have somewhat affordable private school options. I know plenty of successful, hard working Maine natives who are a product of the Portland public school system...personally I'm not too worried about it. Good luck with your search!
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