Empowering young Maine students to build a brighter future . . . for themselves and for their communities.

How do we measure success?

We try not to. And when we do, we try to use words and not numbers.

Teachers almost always know when good learning is happening. Those outside of the classroom and schools often want measurements -- quick and viewable proof that good learning has happened. That almost always moves the assessment toward numbers. That almost always moves the assessment toward tests. That almost always moves the assessment away from whether or not we are creating engaged and excited learners and productive and healthy and knowledgeable global citizens.

Our goals are no different. We try not to seek the easiest measurements -- perhaps, the number of students who have won scholarships or participated in workshops and who as high school seniors said they intended to enroll in college. We have done some finite research in that area and the numbers are very positive, but to us they are not significant numbers.

Our goal is not to increase the number of high school seniors who say they plan to enroll in college. Our goal is to inspire young students, to build their aspirations for higher education and their future beyond higher education, to help them have a great return on their personal investment in higher education, and to engage communities in this process in hopes that they will see education and higher education as a significant opportunity to build a brighter future.

Our goal is to inform and excite young Maine students about the opportunity of higher education. We see success when we think about the 3rd grade boy from Solon who, as he was headed out the door at the end of the day, said “That workshop was awesome. College sounds really cool.” Nothing more, nothing less. We see success when we think about the 4th grade boy who complained that he had worked really hard on his essay and hadn’t won. He stopped us on the way out the door to ask for more help next year, and next year he very proudly won. We see success when we keep hearing stories about students who have changed their approach to learning in elementary school because they were given the opportunity to explore an exciting future among people who cared. We see success when we see a community celebrate the achievements of their young and aspiring students and make higher education more a part of their daily conversation.

We visit many great and challenged Maine communities; their futures are unclear. We talk with some great, young students with an understanding of their community and with unlimited potential, if we support it while they are young.

So, we measure energy and excitement and motivation and aspirations believing that these are essential to a successful educational and higher educational experience and to a brighter future for our communities and state.

We encourage you to keep up-to-date on “The Latest from Maine College Circle” to read about the students and communities we try to support and the success we see everyday, measured in words and stories and images.