School system creates new learning paradigm

BAR HARBOR — Mount Desert Island area school leaders are re-engineering their curriculums and joining what Maine education leaders call “one of the most significant changes in education in the last 100 years.”

The new teaching system will see education tailored to individual students, with progress based more on learning levels than grade levels. Under the system, development of reasoning skills and lifelong habits of mind gain a large focus, in a bid to create innovative thinkers and students equipped for the modern world, said Mount Desert Island Regional School System (MDIRSS) assistant superintendent Joanne Harriman.

The Maine legislature also is on board with the change. This month it unveiled plans for implementing a recent law, LD 1422, which calls for all Maine high schools to graduate students with a proficiency-based diploma starting in 2018.

Under the law, students may graduate high school between the ages of 16 and 20. Along with current proficiency areas such as English, math, science, social studies and health/physical education, by 2018 graduates must master additional core subjects, including career and education development, world languages, and visual and performing arts.

For more education news, pick up a copy of the Mount Desert Islander.