Maine DOE Updates – April 23, 2012

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Welcome to the April edition of Maine DOE Updates.

This legislative session has brought about a major victory for our students and teachers: the passage of An Act to Ensure Effective Teaching and School Leadership, which will help teachers grow professionally by requiring regular, fair and constructive performance evaluations based on consistent, statewide standards. The legislation also requires that teachers’ professional development and ongoing training be informed by the results of their evaluations.

It’s a victory because it addresses the most important school-based factor that influences student achievement and success: the effectiveness of teachers and educational leaders.

Legislators will return to Augusta briefly next month, and they will take final action on another important piece of legislation that will contribute to improved learning for students. They are expected to approve legislation that ensures a high school diploma is meaningful by basing it on mastery of the skills and knowledge students need to be successful after high school, rather than on a particular number of years spent studying each subject.

FROM THE COMMISSIONER

Clear expectations, rigorous evaluations, continued growth

The recently passed educator effectiveness legislation sets clear performance standards for teachers, provides them with regular feedback, and supports their continued professional growth. Effective teachers, after all, are the most important school-based factor in influencing student achievement and success. By Stephen BowenMore

DISPATCHES

A Teacher of the Year nominee with her display board.Teacher of the Year nominees represent Maine’s great teachers

Eight nominees for the honor of 2013 Teacher of the Year shared a bit of their classroom and their teaching philosophy with legislators and the public at the State House earlier this month. By David Connerty-Marin | More | Nominee Biographies | 2013 Teacher of the Year semi-finalists announced

The new Morse Code: Japanese

Katie and Emily Morse of Machias Memorial High School decided nothing would stop them in their quest to learn Japanese. So, at the suggestion of their guidance counselor, the twins have used their Maine Learning Technology Initiative laptops to enroll in online Japanese courses and study the language and culture that have interested them since they were seven. | More

Maranacook teachers create digital learning materials

Teachers across Maine will soon have access to digital resources full of interactive content that will help them bring middle school social studies and visual and performing arts lessons alive, thanks to the work of teachers at Maranacook Community Middle School. | More

Scholarships available for special education teachers

Teachers who work with special-needs children in Maine schools but do not have full certification could be eligible for scholarship awards that will fund much of the course work necessary for earning full certification. | More

PRESS RELEASES

Governor signs teacher effectiveness bill

AUGUSTA – Governor Paul LePage signed legislation that will support teachers, principals and improved teaching in Maine schools. The bill is one of three education initiatives proposed by the Governor that won passage by legislators. | More | Bowen hails ‘most significant’ education legislation this year

2012 STEM Summit: Closing the skills gap an economic imperative

WATERVILLE – From precision manufacturing to environmental science and information technology, Maine will see thousands of highly paid jobs created across the state in the next 10 years. But mounting evidence shows that Maine continues to do a poor job producing enough workers with the skills necessary to work in these high-paying industries. | More

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