Great Schools Partnership

Planning for Proficiency: A Guide for Maine School Leaders

Why We Developed This Guide

This Guide was developed to offer strategies and activities to successfully complete the essential steps in planning and implementing a proficiency-based learning system in your high school. A series of info briefs to be released once per week beginning in late January, the Guide outlines key issues and strategies for successful implementation.

The Great Schools Partnership and its professional staff are supporting proficiency-based learning in Maine and beyond, including all New England states, Florida, Georgia, Colorado, California, Maryland, and Illinois. From our many years in diverse school settings, we’ve distilled the foundational steps needed to implement a high quality proficiency-based system. Further, we’ve worked with schools to address issues ranging from school transcripts to data management systems to quality instruction. This Guide provides links to free resources developed by Great Schools Partnership staff and tested in hundreds of schools. We are confident that these resources will be useful to your work.

You Can be Ready for September 2017

We know there is no one particular pathway to implementation, as each district is unique, but given essential steps to follow, supported by practical suggestions and quality resources, districts can build a local model that is equitable, personalized, and rigorous for all students. With districts just eight months out from required implementation for incoming 9th graders, we recommend adapting and building on the good work of others for much of your work so that your district is able to focus more energies on developing solutions to issues unique to your context. Not having to create everything from scratch will enable you to take the time to collaboratively develop key components of your system, ensuring appropriate flexibility and shared ownership while meeting the Fall 2017 deadline. With an organized and thoughtful launch, ongoing development will continue in your next phases of implementation.

The steps we recommend and the resources we provide are grounded in the PBL Simplified Model we have created and assume a general level of familiarity with it.


Briefing TitleRelease Date
Steps to Proficiency: In this brief, we outline the ten steps districts can follow to implement proficiency-based learning in their schoolsJanuary 31, 2017
Assessing Multiple Pathways: Recognizing Student Learning in Career and Technical Education Programs and Other ExperiencesFebruary 7, 2017
Transfer Students: Assessing and Recognizing the Prior Learning of
Transfer Students
February 14, 2017
Ensuring Success for Students With DisabilitiesFebruary 21, 2017
Verification of Performance IndicatorsFebruary 28, 2017
Verification of Graduation StandardsMarch 7, 2017
Assessing Maine’s Guiding PrinciplesMarch 14, 2017
The Report Card: Communicating Student Learning in Proficiency-Based SystemMarch 21, 2017
Revising the High School Transcript March 28, 2017
District Policy ConsiderationsRevising local policy to support a proficiency-based learning system April 4, 2017
Planning Backward: Unit Design in a Proficiency-Based Learning SystemApril 11, 2017
Communication and Community EngagementApril 18, 2017
Selecting a Learning Management SystemApril 25, 2017

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