Welcome to the Curriculum, Assessment and Instruction webpage
  • Curriculum: what we teach and what we want students to learn
  • Assessment: tells us how successful we are as teachers and how to better support our students as learners
  • Instruction: our teaching methods and approaches

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MDIHS Curriculum Newsletters

MDIRSS Educational Science Partners

Acadia National Park
College of the Atlantic
Healthy Acadia
Jackson Laboratory
Jesup Memorial Library
Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory
Somes-Meynell Wildlife Sanctuary

Recent Announcements

  • Time Traveling to the Vintage Classroom

    Time Traveling to the Vintage Classroom



    Each spring all MDI third graders, regardless of the school they attend, travel back in time to school as it was in 1895 as part of their exploration of Island History. Studying Mt. Desert Island, its history, geography, economics and government, is the focus of the third grade social studies curriculum. To complete their study, students take a number of field trips. In the words of Robin Sattler, third grade teacher at Pemetic, “The Abbe Museum, Somesville Schoolhouse Visit and the Granite Museum bring history to life for third graders.  The students are engaged in hands-on activities that carry them back to earlier times.”


    That is certainly the case with the Vintage Classroom in the Sound Schoolhouse and Research Center, the home of the MDI Historical Society. Students come to participate in “a day at school” with “Mrs. Abbott” (Maude March), and have the opportunity to dress in costume, sit on benches, write on slates, and read from primers. Recitation, singing and civics are part of the day’s lessons, as is recess with hoops and sticks and balls.


    This year, the visit was greatly enriched by a cast of characters -- the Superintendent and the music teacher as well as local fishermen, sheep shearers, and quarrymen -- who were based on research into real people living in the area at the time. Brittany Parker and Andrew Simon from the Barn Arts Collective worked closely with Brendan O’Keefe and Eloise Schultz from the MDI Historical Society to develop this enhanced experience. Their research took them to the Granite Museum and required a deep dive into the Society’s archives for information and props. This year the program was supported by a grant from the Lynam Foundation. Tim Garrity, the executive director of the MDI Historical Society, is very hopeful that we will be able to continue to support this type of arts-integrated programming for these visits.


    A big shout out to Abbie Plaskov, third grade teacher at Conners-Emerson, who worked with the MDI Historical Society team to help develop the ideas for this enhanced experience at the school house. Much appreciation goes to all of the actors, historians, students and teachers who came together to experience school a la 1895!

    Posted Jun 19, 2017, 9:52 AM by Karen Shields
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We will be posting information for parents and teachers on a regular basis, including answers to frequently asked questions such as:

Is MDIRSS using the Common Core State Standards?

Yes. Maine has adopted the Common Core State Standards as its Maine standards, called the Maine Learning Results, for Math and English Language Arts. The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) provide a map to college and career readiness. MDIRSS has selected Foundation, Focus and Graduation Standards from the CCSS for Math and English Language Arts and the CCSS Literacy Anchor Standards for Science, Social Studies and Technical Subjects. This is local control at its best -- MDIRSS has adopted the CCSS because they describe a vision of education that supports students to read, write, problem solve and think critically in all content areas but has focused on those we feel are most critical to college and career readiness.

Has MDIRSS adopted the Next Generation Science Standards?

Yes. The Next Generation Science Standards provide a robust K-12 framework of science and engineering practices, and cross-cutting concepts that are important in all areas of science and specific content standards related to earth science, biology, chemistry, physics, etc. MDIRSS teachers and science partners -- Acadia National Park, Jackson Laboratory, College of the Atlantic, MDIBL -- are exploring the standards and working to develop effective curricula that will support teaching and learning aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards. Again, we have selected specific standards as our Focus and Graduation Standards in grades 6-12 and aligned curriculum materials to selected units of study in K-5.

What is the difference between learning standards and learning progressions?

Learning Standards describe what we want students to know and be able to do. They are the goal that we have for all students. Learning Progressions describe the learning path to the standards and are tools to measure where students are in their learning and where they need to go next.

What is the Lucy Calkins Writing Program?

Lucy Calkins is the founder of the Reading and Writing Project at Teachers College at Columbia University in New York City, Her work in the area of reading and writing instruction is known throughout the world. Recently, Lucy and her colleagues created a set of units that grade K-5 teachers can use to implement the writing workshop approach in a way that is aligned with the Common Core State Standards. MDIRSS has provided teachers with professional development in this approach and will be supporting implementation through coaching. The units of study are research-based and have been extensively field-tested and are the premier writing program in the country.