Fruit Street School was named Maine’s top public elementary school in a ranking of 225 schools across the state released Tuesday by a national media company.
The designation came in 2022 rankings by U.S. News and World Report that are based on the results from each school’s 2018-19 standardized test scores in math and English, though the company also considered socioeconomic indicators.
While U.S. News and World Report is well known for its college and high school rankings, this year’s ratings mark the magazine’s first for elementary and middle schools.
Fruit Street School, which has about 319 students, according to Maine Department of Education data, teaches students from prekindergarten to third grade. It has the most students of Bangor’s five schools that serve pre-K to third grade.
Fruit Street has received national recognition in the past, including being recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education in 2019. The award is given to schools for outstanding academic achievement.
The William S. Cohen School was ranked as the third best middle school in Maine out of 123 schools across the state. About 330 students in sixth through eighth grades attend.
Fruit Street’s success is the result of its creative students, talented faculty and the leadership of Principal Richard Fournier, Bangor School Department Superintendent James Tager said Tuesday.
“Fruit Street clearly provides a multi-faceted experience for all students including academics, the arts and extracurricular activities,” Tager said. “The community provides a large number of mentors and volunteers to support academic excellence.”
He also praised Cohen school Principal Michael Missbrenner for his efforts to “increase innovative practices,” noting that the school has sought to incorporate empathy and understanding of diverse backgrounds into its curriculum.
Students have numerous opportunities at the Williams S. Cohen School, including to take advanced courses and participate in the school’s “robust” music and arts programs, Tager said.
He said the school is trying to reach 95 percent student participation in extra and co-curricular activities.
“Providing extra and co-curricular activities is important to our students and their families as students work towards future aspirations,” Tager said.
Other schools in the district ranked high at the elementary-school level. Mary Snow School ranked sixth, Abraham Lincoln School ranked 15th, Vine Street School ranked 28th and the Fairmount School ranked 38th.
Elsewhere in the Bangor area, Asa C. Adams School in Orono (12th), Holden Elementary School (21st) and George B. Weatherbee School in Hampden (39th) also ranked highly among elementary schools.
Bangor’s other middle school, James F. Doughty School, was ranked the 18th best in Maine. Other Bangor-area schools that ranked in the top 20 percent of middle schools were Orono Middle School (15th), Reed Brooks Middle School in Hampden (22nd) and Dr. Lewis S. Libby School in Milford (25th).
Greely Middle School in Cumberland was ranked the top middle school, and Falmouth Middle School the second best.