Author Archives: Samantha Warren

Reminder to superintendents surveys due

The following reminder was sent via Priority Notice to all Maine superintendents on Friday, Oct. 17.

Dear Superintendents,

I am writing to remind you to please complete two surveys that will greatly inform the work of the Commission to Strengthen the Adequacy and Equity of Certain Cost Components of the School Funding Formula, established by the Maine Legislature earlier this year.

In partnership with the Maine Education Policy Research Institute (MEPRI), the Department is compiling information for the Commission about the current use of instructional coaches and the physical space, facility capacity and operations of districts as it relates to existing and expanding preschool programs. Because the Commission begins meeting this coming Monday, I encourage you to submit your responses today, though surveys completed after this deadline will be provided to the Commission for consideration at its future meetings.  Continue reading

Governor LePage and First Lady to host 4th Annual Blaine House Food Drive

AUGUSTA – The First Family invites the public to visit the Blaine House once again this year in an effort to help fellow Mainers who are less fortunate. Since Governor Paul R. LePage and First Lady Ann M. LePage began the food drive in 2011, they have collected thousands of pounds of food for pantries and shelters across Maine. Continue reading

Charter Commission advances virtual school proposal, schedules public hearing

A public virtual charter school opened earlier this year is serving nearly 300 students from 86 school districts and an application for another online charter hoping to open next year has now moved forward

AUGUSTA – A second public virtual charter school being proposed in Maine was unanimously advanced to the next round of review by the state’s Charter Commission today.

At a meeting this morning in Augusta, Maine Charter School Commission  members working in small review teams presented their recommendations on three applications, with the Commission then voting to advance the application for the online Maine Virtual Academy. Meanwhile, the Commission unanimously agreed applications for Acadia Academy, proposed for Lewiston-Auburn, and Inspire ME Academy, proposed for the Sanford area, should not move forward. Continue reading

Education Commissioner to visit Bangor schools Thursday

Commissioner Jim Rier will see how the high achieving district is working toward graduating students with proficiency-based diplomas starting in 2019

BANGOR – Maine’s Education Commissioner will spend Thursday in the classrooms of the state’s third largest school district to see how proficiency-based education is transforming teaching and learning there.

Commissioner Jim Rier will be in Bangor to tour Vine Street School (preK-3), William S. Cohen School (grades 6-8) and Bangor High School with Bangor School Department Superintendent Betsy Webb.

Bangor schools are among the state’s highest achieving and proficiency levels are well above the state average at the middle and high schools that Governor Paul R. LePage’s Education Commissioner will visit. Both schools earned a B on the report cards released by the Maine Department of Education last spring.   Continue reading

Guidance to Maine schools on EV-D68

The following guidance on Enterovirus D68 from the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention was distributed by the Maine DOE to all Maine school nurses on Friday, Oct. 3.

Each year, millions of people become ill due to respiratory illnesses. Some of the more common respiratory illnesses in schools may include influenza, pertussis and the common cold. The common cold can be caused by many viruses including enteroviruses, one strain of which (EV-D68) is responsible for several outbreaks in the United States in 2014, including one recent case here in Maine. Schools should be aware of these illnesses, how to prevent them and what is reportable. Continue reading

Longtime Skowhegan special educator Maine’s 2015 Teacher of the Year

In a surprise all-school assembly Thursday at Skowhegan Area Middle School, longtime MSAD 54 special educator Jennifer Dorman was named the 2015 Maine Teacher of the Year. She is the second special education teacher ever honored with Maine’s top award for educator excellence. Pictured here: Skowhegan Area Middle School Principal Zachary Longyear, Maine Department of Education Commissioner Jim Rier, 2015 Maine Teacher of the Year Jennifer Dorman and MSAD 54 Superintendent Brent Colbry.

Longtime MSAD 54 special educator Jennifer Dorman is the 2015 Maine Teacher of the Year, the second special education teacher ever to receive this honor. Pictured here: Skowhegan Area Middle School Principal Zachary Longyear, Maine Department of Education Commissioner Jim Rier, 2015 Maine Teacher of the Year Jennifer Dorman and MSAD 54 Superintendent Brent Colbry.

In a surprise all-school assembly today, Maine Education Commissioner Jim Rier announced Skowhegan Area Middle School’s Jennifer Dorman was selected from nearly 400 nominees as Maine’s top teacher

SKOWHEGAN – A 20-year veteran special educator in Somerset County schools committed to supporting her students succeed despite their challenges has been selected as the 2015 Teacher of the Year.

In a surprise assembly at MSAD 54’s Skowhegan Area Middle School (SAMS) on Thursday, Education Commissioner Jim Rier announced Jennifer Dorman had been chosen from a field of 376 nominees as Maine’s top teacher. Continue reading

Mid-Maine Technical Center receives SHAPE award for safety

AUGUSTA— Commissioner of Labor Jeanne Paquette announced that the Mid-Maine Technical Center has earned the Safety and Health Award for Public Employers (SHAPE). Mid-Maine Technical Center, a regional school covering Lawrence, Messalonskee, Waterville and Winslow High Schools, offers 24 career and technical education courses to 470 students.

SHAPE recognizes public-sector organizations that voluntary undertake a rigorous safety achievement program for their workers; in the case of schools, students also benefit from improved safety. Continue reading

Governor LePage proclaims October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month

AUGUSTA – Governor Paul R. LePage today joined state and local officials, representatives from law enforcement, business and community leaders and victims’ advocacy groups at the Blaine House to mark the beginning of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Continue reading

Maine DOE Monthly – September 30, 2014

Welcome to the September issue of the Maine DOE Monthly.

This month marked the arrival of the first high school class that will be expected to demonstrate proficiency  in the eight content areas of the Maine Learning Results when they graduate in four years. Because of that expectation as well as upcoming implementation of new educator evaluations and next generation assessment systems, in recent weeks the Department brought 24 experts together to review the standards in the foundational content areas of mathematics and English language arts and additionally asked the public to weigh-in. If changes are needed to improve the clarity and rigor of the standards, the time to make them is now.  September also marked Attendance Awareness Month and brought well-deserved recognition to our state’s service to military-connected students.

As always, read on for a roundup of other recent updates from the Department, and stay tuned to our Newsroom and weekly Commissioner’s Updates for the latest news you can use from the Maine DOE.


Dispatches & Press Releases

2014-15 school year: We’re in this together

On behalf of Governor LePage and all of us at the Department, I want to thank teachers, administrators and other school staff for their care for and commitment to our students. Maine kids are increasingly being inspired in their classrooms and achievement in their studies is rising as a result, putting them on a path for future college and career success. | More

Commissioner Rier: Transparent, inclusive review process will improve Maine’s learning standards

All Mainers want high standards for our students and believe they are capable of meeting them. From this updating process, I anticipate refinements that reflect the expertise of our panel and the experience of our state in implementing the current standards over the past three years. We will emerge not just with stronger standards but stronger collective confidence in them.| More

Maine partnership receives national honor for service to military-connected children

A local partnership enhanced by the statewide efforts of Maine’s First Lady Ann LePage and the Maine Department of Education has been nationally recognized for serving students whose parents are in the military. | More

Proficiency standard applies to special education students

As Maine moves towards a proficiency-based system that will ensure that all students graduate from our high schools having met rigorous learning standards, some have asked about the impact of this new expectation on students with disabilities. | More

Education Commissioner urges schools to promote importance of attendance

Attendance Awareness Month and back to school season provide Maine districts an opportunity to do what is consistently seen as most effective in combating chronic attendance: educating parents. | More

Maine DOE welcomes new Higher Education Specialist Angel Loredo

Angel Loredo has joined the Maine DOE as its Higher Education Specialist. | More

Superintendents asked to complete survey of public preschool programs

The Maine DOE is committed to supporting and expanding high-quality public preschool programs. The Legislature passed two bills, now Public Laws, which focus on public preschool programs for children four years of age. | More

2015 Maine Teacher of the Year finalists in the final stages of the determination process

Finalists for Maine’s 2015 Teacher of the Year will participate in their final interview with panel members this week–the last step of the determination process.  | More

Maine DOE warns of scam targeting schools

The Maine DOE is warning schools to think twice before paying invoices from a Las Vegas based company calling itself Scholastic School Supply. | More

Department provides answers to proficiency FAQs

As the Class of 2018 enters its first year of secondary school, school leaders are thinking deeply and asking questions about what it means to award a proficiency-based diploma after Jan. 1, 2018. | More

Maine DOE creates assessment tool for standards-based IEP goals

The Department has created Self-Assessing for Standards-Based IEP Goals as an optional tool to assist school administrative units (SAUs) to self-assess progress in writing standards-aligned IEP goals. | More

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Dispatches
Press Releases
From the Commissioner

Panel convened by Education Commissioner to improve Maine learning results, public input sought

Recommendations will inform improvements the Maine Department of Education intends for the state’s math and English language arts standards

AUGUSTA – Maine’s Education Commissioner is asking the public and a panel of parents, educators and business leaders to inform improvements his Department plans to make to the state’s learning standards for mathematics and English language arts.

Maine Department of Education Commissioner Jim Rier announced today that a 24-member panel will begin work this week to assess the rigor and clarity of the standards. Continue reading