Commissioner’s Update – December 20, 2012

cu-cover-12-20-12The events at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., continue to be a challenging and painful presence for many of us, especially in education. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the families of the victims and the entire Newtown community.

Maine DOE has created a Sandy Hook web page with a number of resources for school districts, parents and families, including: information about emergency planning and preparedness, how to talk with children, a Q&A, and other materials. We will add to the page as we discover appropriate resources.

I have seen many of the messages of comfort and assurance you have been sending to the families in your communities, and have read about your efforts to re-examine your already well-developed comprehensive emergency management plans. At the state level, we are doing the same. I have asked our inter-agency working group on school emergency preparedness, which includes Maine DOE, Maine Emergency Management Agency, Maine School Management Association, and representatives of first responders, to do a top-to-bottom review of the relevant planning, resources, and legislation to see what else we can or should be doing.

— Stephen Bowen

Please note: There will be no Commissioner’s Update on Dec. 27. The next Update will be published next year, on Jan. 3. We wish you happy holidays filled with the closeness of family.



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Suggestions on providing feedback on the Next Generation Science Standards

The second draft of the Next Generation Science Standards – the last before the final version is released in the spring – is set for the first week of January. We are encouraging the broadest possible participation by Maine educators, business, and other stakeholders, in reviewing the draft. | More

Dine and discuss transition to Common Core assessments

Districts are invited to learn more about the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, the creators of Maine’s new Common Core Assessment, over dinner at two separate events near their region. | More

Participate in Chinese guest teacher & trainee program

The College Board Chinese Guest Teacher and Trainee Program provides opportunities to pilot or expand Chinese language and culture programs in Maine elementary, middle and secondary schools during the 2013-14 school year. | More

Nominate math, science, computer teachers for presidential award

The 2012-13 nomination period for 7-12 grade mathematics and science, including computer science, teachers for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching program is currently open. | More

National conference held for educators of language learners (ELLs)

Early childhood through grade 12 educators of language learners (ELLs) are invited to attend the 2013 World-class Instructional Design and Assessment (WIDA) national conference, “Language Learner Success: Building on Strengths.” | More

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