Aroostook schools ranked among top 10 in Maine

3 years ago

HOULTON, Maine — Three schools in Aroostook County ranked within the top 10 high schools in the state, according to a recent ranking published by the national outlet U.S. News & World Report

Southern Aroostook School ranked sixth out of all high schools in the state, while Madawaska Middle/High ranked eighth and Easton Junior/Senior High ranked tenth. The other seven schools ranked in the top 10 were located around the greater Portland area, including the top-ranked school, Greely High School in Cumberland. 

For Madawaska Middle/High Principal Wayne Anderson, the placement serves as vindication for the resilience the school has shown during the previous year, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“The pandemic has truly given so many people pause as to how well we are performing, how well we are engaging students, and how well we are supporting one another in this difficult time,” Anderson said. “Accolades such as this that recognize the dedication and successes of my teachers as well as the obvious work put in by the students as managers of their own education.”

For SACS in Dyer Brook, which provides education from Pre-K to 12th grade, its rural location has allowed for small classroom size and strong community support, contributing to its success, according to superintendent Jon Porter.

“We work hard to provide students with a learning experience which provides the necessary skills and behaviors to be successful in life,” Porter said. “This includes providing opportunities for our high school students to take college courses in high school, AP courses, and career and technical education courses.”

With the other high-ranking schools coming from Maine’s more populated and cosmopolitan areas, the Aroostook schools stand out for being located in small, rural communities in the far north of the state. Both Anderson and Porter acknowledged that The County’s culture of strong work ethic are reflected in both the school’s curriculum and in an effort put in by the students. 

“Life in Aroostook County is not always easy. People who choose to live here love the area, but also need grit, the ability to problem solve, and compassion for others because we don’t always have the conveniences urban areas may have,” Porter said. “These qualities are not only instilled in our kids and communities, but also by the people that work in schools in Aroostook County.”

“Everyone in the state is aware of the work ethic of people from The County,” Anderson added. “County students don’t act in a manner that is morally acceptable to what others think or feel, it is a belief system ingrained in them from birth.” 

Other high-placed schools serving the Aroostook area ranked by U.S. News & World Report were Houlton Middle-High School, 21st, and Katahdin Middle/High School, 23rd.