US News & World Report ranks PCES 30th among Maine schools

GUILFORD — Among 219 Maine elementary institutions, Piscataquis Community Elementary School has been ranked 30th by US News & World Report.

During a Nov. 14 SAD 4 School Board meeting, PCES Principal Anita Wright said less than an hour prior she received an email letting her know about the designation. She said she needed to learn more about what the ranking means but said PCES was tied for 33rd place among math proficiency and tied for 51st place for reading proficiency in the state. The school has an overall score of 86.7 on a scale of up to 100.

According to a US News & World Report article posted on SAD 4 website, the 2024 Best Elementary and Middle School rankings assess student performance in the context of their states and demographics with data based on the 2020-21 and 2021-22 academic years. Those conducting the rankings examined only standardized, publicly available data that state governments are required by law to report annually to the U.S. Department of Education. Schools are ranked on their performance on state-required tests, graduation, and how well they prepare their students for high school (

“Certainly, nonacademic factors also matter in evaluating schools, but in this space we are measuring what can be fairly measured, and the academic performance of their children’s schools are generally of high importance to families,” the article states.

US News & World Report says PCES is located in a remote rural setting with a student population of 269 from pre-kindergarten to grade 6. Eighty-seven percent of pupils scored at or above the proficient level for math, and 87 percent scored at or above that level for reading.

PCES performed better in math and better in reading in this metric compared with students across the state. In Maine, 84 percent of students tested at or above the proficient level for reading, and 81 percent tested at or above that level for math.

The high ranking for PCES earned the school eligibility to display a U.S. News Best Elementary Schools award badge.

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