Shared Vision

The vision of RSU #2 is to be a system of student-centered learning.
Student-centered learning:

  • Embraces student voice and choice through varied learning opportunities that occur year-round and take place inside, as well as outside of schools; project-based learning, internships, experiential learning, career technical education, peer learning, technology and apprenticeships.
  • Shows students learn in a variety of environments, from a variety of sources, and at different paces based on individual learning needs.
  • Presents opportunities for students to analyze and think critically, write and speak effectively, and collaboratively solve complex problems today and in the future.
  • Includes the community and its resources as an important part of the learning process.
  • Integrates a rigorous, focused curriculum with instruction and standards-linked assessments.
  • Enables students to clearly understand what they should know and be able to do as a result of their learning.
  • Incorporates demonstrations as well as traditional tests to measure when a student has mastered the skills and content, thus providing an accurate gauge of how well students are learning and when advancement to the next stage is appropriate.
  • Develops in the learner a sense of self-worth, cultural awareness, and ethical and social responsibility.
  • Ensures that students are able to set goals, manage time, and demonstrate an effective work ethic.

Source: Community shared visioning meetings held April 29, October 7,14,21,28, November 4, 2010 and Nellie Mae Education Foundation Finalized: December 2, 2010 by the RSU2 Standards-Based Ad Hoc Sub-Committee of the School Board Approved: January 5, 2011 by the RSU2 School Board

RSU 2 instructional plan and applied learning model:

What does it mean to be learner-centered and standards-based?

Standards-based design and learner-centered instructional strategies are the foundational pieces by which we structure learning in Regional School Unit 2.  What children will learn, how they will learn it, how they will be assessed and graded, and how their performance will be reported are the learning details each of our children should be able to answer.

Key aspects include:
A transparent curriculum – The knowledge and skills learners must learn as they progress through developmental levels to high school graduation are open and clear to everyone.
Flexibility – Learners are encouraged to move in and out of levels in different content areas, at their own pace.
Learner ownership – Learners own, lead, and partner with their teachers in every phase of learning: goal setting, tracking progress, learner-teacher conferences, and assessments.
High standards – Learners must demonstrate proficient or better knowledge or skill (in the future) in every required content area.


Teacher-Centered vs. Learner-Centered Instruction

Teacher-Centered Learner-Centered
Focus is on teacher Focus is on both learners and instructor
Teacher talks; learners listen Teacher models; learners interact with teacher and one another
Learners work alone Learners work in pairs, in groups, or alone depending on the purpose of the activity
Teacher monitors and corrects every learner utterance Learners talk without constant teacher monitoring; teacher provides feedback/correction when questions arise
Teacher answers learners’ questions about language Learners answer each other’s questions, using teacher as an information resource
Teacher chooses topics Learners have some choice of topics
Teacher evaluates learning Children evaluate their own learning; teacher also evaluates
Classroom is quiet Classroom is often noisy and busy

With the openness of a learner-centered learning environment, knowledge production is vital when providing students the opportunity to explore their own learning styles. In that respect, successful learning also occurs when learners are fully engaged in the active learning process. A further distinction from a teacher-centered classroom to that of a learner-centered classroom is when the teacher acts as a facilitator. In essence, the teacher’s goal in the learning process is to guide learners into making new interpretations of the learning material.

Standards-Based, Learner-Centered Framework

The files below are working documents defining our strategic plan and best-practices for implementing our standards-based, learner-centered education environment at RSU2.  Over the next few months, these may be revised by students, staff and parents of RSU2.



Want to Learn More About Our Learner-Centered Environment?

If you are interested in visiting RSU2 and learning more about student-centered, proficiency-based teaching and learning, please contact
Matt Shea
our Director of Student Achievement at (207) 622-6351 x424 or Virgel Hammonds, Superintendent (207) 622-6351 x410.

Who created the shared vision for RSU2?

On March 3, 2010, the RSU2 School Board established the Standards-Based System Ad Hoc Committee with the purpose “To assist the RSU communities and staff in successfully achieving a Standards- Based, Student-Centered School System.”  This committee consisted of parents, teachers, administrators, and high school students from each community in RSU 2.  The first meeting was held March 29, 2010.

A primary accomplishment of this committee was the development of the shared vision for RSU2.  Over 200 people from every town in RSU2 participated in shared visioning meetings between April and November 2010.  Key questions considered by meeting participants were:

    What do we want our students to know and be able to do upon graduation? What should our schools be like? What skills do our students need to be successful in the 21st Century?

In January, 2011, the RSU2 School Board approved the Ad Hoc Committee’s recommendation for the RSU2 vision statement to be:
The vision of RSU2 is to be a system of student-centered learning.”  Although this is a simple statement, the bullets following this statement explain the deep changes needed for our schools to become truly student-centered.

For more information on student-centered learning, visit

Measurement Topics and Learning Targets

Measurement Topics

Measurement topics are the standards for learning.  They are the curriculum framework that guides teachers in their instruction and lesson planning.  The measurement topics are the standards that all students must achieve.
Examples of learning standards are found in the Maine Learning Results, a document that lists all the learning standards that teachers in Maine are expected to teach at each grade level.  The Maine Learning Results standards have been used in Maine since 1997.
Last year, the Maine legislature adopted the Common Core State Standards to replace the Maine Learning Results in English Language Arts and Mathematics by 2014.

Both the Common Core and the Maine Learning Results include so many standards that it is impossible for our students to achieve all of them in the thirteen years of schooling, grades K-12.  The Measurement Topics were developed to identify the most important standards that all students must know and be able to do in order to achieve graduation and adequate preparation for the future.

Learning Targets

Learning targets are the skills, knowledge, and reasoning processes required for learners to achieve proficiency of each measurement topic.  Student learning and teacher instruction are focused on the learning targets.  Students will show evidence of proficiency of each learning target by completing assessments for each learning target.  The student receives a score of 3 for the Measurement Topic when a student reaches proficiency on all the learning targets in that step of the Measurement Topic.
(See Measurement Topic Key)

The Measurement Topics and Learning Targets were created by groups of teachers from six different school districts. They carefully selected the most important learning standards to group together to create the Measurement Topics that all students are expected to learn.  The teachers worked together over several days in the winter and spring of 2011 to create Measurement Topics in English Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies. During fall 2011, Measurement Topics for Art, Music, World Languages, Physical Education, and Health were created by teachers in RSU2.
(See example of Measurement Topic and Learning Targets)

Taxonomy and Why Is It Important?

In the article above explaining our Measurement Topics and Learning Targets you may have noticed that the center column of information contains the taxonomy.  This indicates the rigor or level of difficulty a learner should reach and demonstrate proficiency.

For example, sometimes to reach score level 2 understanding, often foundational or basic understanding of the topic, is at a retrieval level of difficulty.  Perhaps there are some terms or vocabulary the learner should know before they can fully understand a concept to a deep level.

To receive a proficient score of 3, a learning target may* require a higher rigor or difficulty level on the taxonomy chart such as comprehension or  analysis.

Explicitly showing the taxonomy level for each learning target ensures all learners can understand the level of difficulty that they must strive for and demonstrate in order to reach a proficient score or higher.

RSU2 Taxonomy – Since our measurement topics and learning targets are our curriculum framework for the all students across the RSU, Taxonomy helps us calibrate our instruction, assessments and expectations for all teachers and students in the RSU.

Click here for a taxonomy chart or view below, that is attached to each learning target in Empower.

* Some early steps in elementary levels are introduced to learners with a proficiency (score 3) taxonomy of retrieval meaning if a learner can remember and repeat what they know, (“Knows the sequence of numbers from 0 – 20″ for example) then they have demonstrated proficiency on that learning target and receive a score of 3.

Common Vocabulary for RSU2

Accountability – The expectation of achievement.  In the future, we will hold students accountable to reach proficiency level 3, unless stated differently in an IEP. Teachers are expected to complete all Measurement Topics with learners this year.  Teachers are expected to collaboratively provide learning interventions so that no learners fail.
Assessment – Evidence of a student’s learning.  An assessment enables the learner to show what he/she knows and is able to do.
Balanced Instructional Model – Using a variety of instructional strategies to guide learners towards achievement of learning targets with a balance of direct instruction (whole group/small group/individual) while incorporating simulations, real life connections, and practical applications.
Capacity Matrix – A tool used by some teachers to guide learners through the progression of skills and knowledge needed to achieve proficiency of a learning target.
Evidence – Learner generated work that reflects progress towards proficiency.
Formative Assessment – An assessment that is used to guide learning and instruction.
Four – The highest level on the rating system used to measure learner progress beyond proficiency.  A score of 4 indicates the learner has applied or inferred the knowledge gained in the level 3 learning targets. Opportunities for learners to show level 4 proficiency should be available for most measurement topics. There are two ways to create a level 4 challenge.  Teachers can write learning targets for level 4 proficiency, or teachers (with learners) can create an assessment that requires learners to go beyond the expectations of the level 3 learning targets/assessments.
Grade – Heterogeneous grouping of learners by age.
Learning Target – The skills, knowledge, and reasoning processes required for learners to achieve proficiency of each measurement topic.  Student learning and teacher facilitation is focused on the learning targets.
Level – The word level applies to several things.
Marzano’s taxonomy level identifies the complex reasoning process used by the learner to achieve a learning target. (Retrieval, Comprehension, Analysis, Knowledge Utilization, Metacognition, Self-system thinking)
Proficiency level of 1, 1.5, 2, 2.5, 3, 3.5 or 4 identifies the learner’s understanding of the learning target.  Proficiency level 1 indicates the learner needs help to know the foundational details and processes of the information to be learned. Proficiency level 2 indicates the learner knows the foundational, simple details and processes of the concept to be learned.  Proficiency level 3 indicates the learner understands the targeted, complex ideas and concepts to be learned.  Achieving proficiency level 3 is the goal for all learners.  Proficiency level 4 indicates the learner infers or applies the learned concept in an advanced manner or in an authentic situation.
Grade level is used to identify the age group of a set of students.
Measurement Topic – The summary of the learning targets in a strand within a content area.  Student progress is reported on each measurement topic.
Pacing Chart/Calendar – Yearly planner of when things are taught (not necessarily when students learn).  A pacing chart will guide teachers to accomplish all the measurement topics in one school year.
Proficiency – The desired level of achievement.
Rubric – A tool used to communicate a set of criteria linked to an assignment or assessment.  A rubric helps the learner understand what to do to achieve success.
Scale – A 1-4 rating system used to measure learner progress towards proficiency.
Score – A measurement of progress towards proficiency.
Step – The progression of complexity of information within a Measurement Topic is identified by the word “step”.  Step 1 is the most basic information learned in a measurement topic.  Increasingly more difficult information is presented at each successive step of the Measurement Topic.
Standard – Used interchangeably with strand on the measurement topic template.  A standard helps organize a content area into smaller sections.
Summative Assessment – Assessment results that have been recorded to show learner proficiency at a moment in time.
Task or Activity – Task or Activity is a term used in the software program called Empower.  It refers to the opportunity given to a learner to demonstrate skill, knowledge, understanding, and application of a learning target.

October 2011

Maine Cohort for Customized Learning

RSU2 is one of the six original members of the Maine Cohort for Customized Learning.  The official mission of The Cohort is to lead the development, implementation, and promotion of customized learning.  The Cohort currently has nine school district members, with six additional districts expected to join by January 2012.

Introduction To Educate

Educate is a web-based software application to help teachers and learners track their progress on Measurement Topics or standards.

Click the image below to view a one page “cheat sheet” for parents and students using the Empower portal.  If you just received your temporary password, please change it by logging in and clicking on your login name at the top right of the browser window.  Then choose the Manage Password tab.

Our district web site for Educate is here:

Additional resources introducing the richness of Empower can be found here.



Empower Progress Reports – Overview

This report shows student progress on the Measurement Topics and Learning Targets in each content area (math, science, english language arts, etc)  that have been scored so far in the reporting period (generally from the start of the year).  The measurement topic may not show a score if not all of the learning targets under that measurement topic have been scored.

Viewing Progress Reports Online Now Available

We are happy to announce that you can now view your student’s progress report online through the Empower portal.  Note that the report will open as an Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) in a new window.  Make sure that you allow browser pop-ups from, and have Adobe PDF viewing software on your computer.  It can be downloaded here.

Click this image to download the PDF instructions.

New Empower Tool to View Progress

Based on parent feedback we’ve update Empower to include a new and easy to use tool to quickly see tasks or assignments, due dates and scores all in one view!  It’s now the default screen when you log in.  Click on the image below to open a full size PDF outline describing the functionality.


Hall-Dale MS Teacher Dan Crocker Gets DOE Recognition

Dan Crocker, Hall-Dale Middle School Math teacher, has been working with the implementation of proficiency-based learner-centered work at MSAD16 and RSU2 for many years, and is certainly one of our staff that does an exemplary job.  Congratulations go to Dan Crocker.  Read the article on the DOE site here.

District and School NCLB Report Cards [/vc_accordion_tab][/vc_accordions]
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