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Essential Learning Targets

South Portland School Department has synthesized a set of broad Graduation Standards that capture the intent of the Maine standards known as the Maine Learning Results. In order to meet these graduation standards, SPSD has adopted a set of concise statements about the knowledge and skills that are the minimum and most essential learning for all students to be successful after high school. These targets are referred to as the Essential Learning Targets (ELTs), and they represent a complete and comprehensive body of learning to ensure that our students are career and college ready.

The Essential Learning Targets represents only the minimum learning that SPSD wants for all students. Therefore instruction is focused on providing rich, full, innovative learning opportunities so students can reach their full potential and explore their interests. The ELTs are meant to provide definitive checkpoints for teaching and learning so teachers can make informed decision on their instructional units and to track student progress.

In addition, ELTs allow us to pace/align special education instruction with regular education instruction. These targets are the backbone in the SPSD Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment Cycle. The ELTs provide a common set of desired learning outcomes on which to focus our discussions about formative assessment, integrated units, and RTI.

SPSD's ELTs exist in three categories or domains. Essential Learning Targets exist for each of the eight content areas required by Maine law as well as for the process skills identified in SPSD's strategic vision. These process skills are referred to as 21st Century Skills and include: Critical thinking, Communication, Collaboration, Creativity & Innovation, Problem-solving, Initiative & Professionalism, and Global Awareness.

The third group of targets are the Habits of Work targets. Habits of Work are the skills that are important for all students to have and exhibit to maximize their learning.