Author Archives: Samantha Warren

Governor LePage supports SEALSfit Program, allocates $16,000 from contingency fund

AUGUSTA – Governor Paul R. LePage announced this week he is allocating $16,000 to the SEALSfit youth leadership program. The funding is through the Governor’s contingency fund and the money will enable the program to continue offering support to Maine youth.

The Portland Police Department and the Maine Leadership Institute manage the SEALSfit program, which is a youth leadership course that incorporates physical training (based on the US Navy SEALs regimen) with values-based leadership instruction and mentoring by law enforcement personnel.

“Our children need mentors to help them discover the leadership they have within themselves,” said Governor Paul LePage. “SEALSfit has proven to be an effective program for teens in the Portland area and I fully support broadening its reach so youth across Maine have opportunities to succeed.”

During its previous four sessions, SEALSfit has provided training for a diverse group of Portland-area teenage youth in cross-cultural, interpersonal relations to develop a better understanding of teamwork, character, ethics, anti-bullying and group and individual communications.

Session “5” begins on April 13, lasting sevens weeks and culminates in a graduation ceremony on Friday, May 29. The weekly program consists of two, two-hour physical training sessions and one, two-hour leadership training session led by members of the Portland area educational community. Former US Navy SEALs will conduct physical training. Members of the Portland Police Department and other area law enforcement agencies, including the South Portland Police Department, Westbrook Police Department and the U.S. Attorney’s Office, will mentor 20 students from Portland area high schools.

Maine high school graduation rate up, achievement gaps down

Newly released state and federal data shows Maine is closing achievement gaps as graduation rates among economically disadvantaged students, those with disabilities and some minorities are on the rise and above national averages

AUGUSTA – Maine’s high school graduation rate has hit an all-time high, as has the percentage of students who are either economically disadvantagedor have a disability and are earning their diploma in four years.

According to newly released data from the Maine Department of Education, 86.48 percent of the students who entered the ninth grade in the fall of 2010 graduated on time in 2014. That’s up just slightly from 86.36 percent in 2013 and well above the 80.3 percent graduation rate reached in 2009-2010 when the current calculation method was introduced. Continue reading

Department provides clarification on assessment read aloud function

The following Priority Notice was distributed on Wednesday, March 25 to Maine Educational Assessment for Math & ELA/Literacy District/System Administrators and School Test Coordinators providing them clarification on read aloud functions on Apple devices as well as a reminder about a weekly conference call during which the Department is providing an update on the test, answering questions and sharing best practices.

It has been brought to our Department’s attention that students working on Apple iPads and MacBooks have access to a read-aloud function known as “speak selection” or “speech” and have been taught to use it as an appropriate learning tool. This notice is to clarify the limits on this function specifically during testing. Continue reading

Opening day of new statewide online assessment a success

The following Priority Notice from Maine DOE Acting Commissioner Tom Desjardin was sent to Maine schools on Tuesday, March 17, announcing that the first day of the new statewide assessment had been a success and outlining Department support for schools throughout the March 16-May 29 testing window.

Dear Educators,

Yesterday, thousands of Maine students began the Maine Educational Assessment (MEA) for Mathematics and English Language Arts/Literacy developed by Smarter Balanced. More than a decade after we began putting technology in the hands of Maine students and teachers to support their 21st century learning and teaching, our state is finally using this familiar environment to assess what students know and are able to do.

From what you’ve told us, the first day of online testing was a success. In the words of one district: “So far. So good.” Schools reported no major problems and expressed appreciation that our Department’s staff had quick answers to any questions asked.  Continue reading

Maine DOE provides final preparation guidance to assessment administrators

The following Priority Notice was sent to those overseeing the administration of the new statewide assessment at the district and school level to overview resources available from the Department to support their final local preparations.

Dear District/System Administrators and School Test Coordinators,

With just a few days until the test window opens for the Maine Educational Assessment (MEA) for Mathematics and English Language Arts/Literacy developed by Smarter Balanced, we wanted to provide some final guidance to help School Test Coordinators (SCs) prioritize their efforts to best prepare their Test Administrators (TAs) to successfully give the test. Continue reading

Maine DOE opens registration for free online AP classes

The offering of free Advanced Placement courses through AP4ALL is another way the Maine Department of Education makes digital learning opportunities available to all Maine students

AUGUSTA – Registration is now open for online Advanced Placement courses provided at no cost to the state’s public school students by the Maine Department of Education. Continue reading

Maine DOE reminds educators of MEA administration resources, new trainings

The following Priority Notice was sent to District/System Administrators, School Test Coordinators and Technology Directors on March 2 to highlight resources from the Maine DOE to support the successful administration of the upcoming State assessment, as well as announce upcoming regional technical assistance sessions.

Dear District/System Administrators, School Test Coordinators and Technology Directors,

With the window for giving the new online Maine Educational Assessment (MEA) for Mathematics and English Language Arts/Literacy developed by Smarter Balanced opening in just two weeks, we want to make sure you have the resources you need to feel prepared for a successful test administration.

On our assessment website, you can find an extensive library of administration materials. With so many supports available, we wanted to draw your attention to a few including: Continue reading

Acting Education Commissioner to visit Baxter Academy Friday

The visit marks the first by a Maine Education Commissioner to one of the state’s six new public charter schools

PORTLAND – Maine’s Acting Education Commissioner Tom Desjardin will visit the Baxter Academy for Technology & Science on Friday to see how the innovative new public school is engaging its students through hands-on group learning.

The visit marks the first time a sitting education commissioner has toured a Maine public charter school since Governor Paul R. LePage signed legislation making Maine the 41st state to allow public charters and expanded the opportunity Maine students have to attend the school that is in their best interest. Continue reading

Maine DOE Monthly – February 24, 2015

Welcome to the February issue of the Maine DOE Monthly, which provides a recap of some of the month’s most important updates from the Department.

This may be the shortest month but the Maine DOE got a lot done to better support Maine schools as they work to ensure every learner has the opportunity to reach their full potential. Just yesterday, we sent out a detailed letter to inform educators about our Department’s renewed efforts to support the continued quality implementation of key initiatives that will improve teaching and learning in Maine. Our daily work throughout February reinforced that commitment. We began technical assistance visits to more than 50 schools to help their transition to proficiency; released preliminary ED 279s for FY16 that reflect increased funding for education; and provided new resources to help schools prepare for the spring statewide assessment administration including training videos, a secure mobile browser and keyboard flexibility.

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

Dispatches & Press Releases

Maine DOE renews efforts to support local change

The Department is sensitive to the amount of work at the local level required to effectively implement initiatives that will better prepare students for success in college, career and civic life and outlines its commitments to make that implementation both high quality and manageable. | More

Commissioner visits Auburn schools

Maine’s Acting Education Commissioner returned earlier this month to the Auburn schools he once attended to learn about their efforts to improve outcomes and to inspire students with his own story. | More

Maine DOE recommends, rather than requires, assessment keyboards

The Maine DOE is pleased to announce that mechanical keyboards will no longer be required for the online administration of the new Maine Educational Assessment for Mathematics and English Language Arts/Literacy. | More

Maine DOE begins visits to schools to support proficiency-based diploma efforts

The Maine DOE will visit more than 50 districts to provide targeted technical assistance to schools preparing to award proficiency-based diplomas. | More

Preliminary FY2016 State subsidy printouts available

The Maine DOE has released preliminary FY 2016 (2015-16 school year) State subsidy printouts, known as ED 279s, on its website at These preliminary amounts are based on Governor LePage’s proposed two-year budget that increases funding for Maine schools and students and assumes State payment directly to public charter schools as proposed in LD 235. | More

Department seeks feedback on ESEA waiver in advance of renewal

In preparation for Maine’s application for a renewal of its existing ESEA waiver, the Department is seeking feedback on how the State’s current accountability and improvement system is serving Maine’s students and schools. | More

Maine DOE posts video of assessment administration training

Maine educators who will be helping to administer the upcoming online State assessment but couldn’t attend one of the Department’s recent regional workshops can now see the entire training online. The Maine DOE has posted a four-hour video on its YouTube channel filmed at the southern Maine workshop session on Friday, Jan. 16. | More

iOS 8 compatible secure browser available for assessment administration

An iOS 8 compatible secure browser application that will be used for the upcoming administration of the Maine Educational Assessment for Mathematics and English Language Arts/Literacy is now available. | More

Governor LePage proclaims February Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month

Governor Paul R. LePage is requesting Mainers observe Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month this February. | More

Maine recognizes Career and Technical Education Month

Students and educators across Maine are joining those across the nation during the month of February to celebrate national Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month. | More

Outstanding educators sought for Maine talent pool

The Maine DOE is seeking recommendations through May 1 for the 2015 Maine Educator Talent Pool. | More


Press Releases
From the Commissioner

Maine DOE renews efforts to support local change

The following Priority Notice was sent on Monday, Feb. 23 to inform Maine educators about the efforts of the Maine DOE to support the continued quality implementation of key initiatives that will improve teaching and learning in Maine, including the administration of new assessments, educator evaluation and the awarding of proficiency-based diplomas.

Dear Educators,

Welcome back from a well-deserved February break. As you know, in recent years the Department has successfully advocated for reforms that strengthen accountability, best practices and choice. The result is that our increasingly learner-centered schools will better prepare students for success in college, career and civic life.

Never before has more been expected of Maine students. The same could be said for our schools. Continue reading