Category Archives: Charter School Commission

Commissioner’s Update – October 23, 2014

From Maine Education Commissioner Jim Rier

Last week, some Maine educators traveled to Dallas, Texas to participate in an assessment conference. Given the national attention currently on that city because of the three confirmed cases of Ebola there, some have raised concerns in the districts these educators are returning to.

We all share a commitment to the health and safety of everyone in our school communities. While it is important we always take precautions to protect ourselves and our students from infectious diseases, it is also important to make sure communications by officials and the media increases awareness rather than anxiety.

As your Commissioner of Education, I’ve been hesitant to reach out to you about Ebola because I did not want my doing so to create more concern about a disease for which Maine has had no reported cases or contacts. However, because of the multiple inquiries our Department has received from school leaders, I did want to provide some basic information from our State and federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that will hopefully help you communicate more effectively with parents and the public.

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Notices and Reporting

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News & Views

Reminder to superintendents of surveys due

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 are due. | More

Maine DOE offers strategies to help ELLs demonstrate proficiency

All students in Maine, including English language learners, will need to demonstrate proficiency of both State learning standards and the Guiding Principles in order to graduate beginning in 2018. | More

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

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. | More

Notice of proposed rule changes to Chapter 13

The Maine DOE and the State Board of Education are proposing changes this fall to the rules regarding the qualifying examinations for credentialing purposes for teachers, educational specialists and administrators. | More

Maine DOE showcases student artwork

The work of student artists from three Maine schools will be displayed at the Maine DOE’s office in Augusta throughout the coming year. | More

Maine celebrates Farm to School with local Harvest Week menu contest

Maine schools showed culinary creativity in their entries to the state’s inaugural Harvest Lunch Week menu contest, sponsored by the Maine DOE. | More

Community spirit awards open to grades 5 through 12

Maine students in grades 5-12 who have made meaningful contributions to their communities through volunteer service in the past year are invited to apply for a Prudential Spirit of Community Award| More

Scholarship opportunity for Maine students

Maine students are invited to apply for the 2015 Horatio Alger Association Scholarship Program.  | More

Educator resources available through The Boston Globe

The Boston Globe News in Education (NIE) program is offering access to educational resources free of charge to Maine teachers and their students in grades K-12. | More

Samsung Solve for Tomorrow call for submissions

Maine middle and high schools are invited to enter the annual Samsung Solve for Tomorrow contest for a chance to win a share of $2 million in technology and prizes for their school. | More

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LATEST DOE Career/Project Opportunities

Commissioner’s Update – October 16, 2014

From Maine Education Commissioner Jim Rier

Last week, I had the opportunity to spend two full days at the annual conference of the Association of Computer Technology Educators of Maine (ACTEM). To say I was impressed and inspired by what I experienced would be an understatement. Maine has long been looked to as a national leader when it comes to integrating technology in the classroom and the energy and expertise I saw in the hundreds of technology educators at the conference proved why.

I was especially impacted by the session I attended entitled “A Day in the iPad Empowered Elementary Classroom.” To see how Maine educators are using technology to change the way they teach students is almost as exciting as seeing how students – including those only in Kindergarten – are responding. Maine kids are being engaged and empowered as leaders in their own learning through these new tools in ways that many adults like me can’t even imagine. It is critical we keep up with their appetite and aptitude by finding innovative ways to leverage technology to continue to improve not just the experience of our students but their academic achievement.

I want to thank Maine’s many technology educators who are doing just that in classrooms across the state every day. Not only are you enhancing the educational environment for our students, but you are better preparing them for success in 21st century college and careers.

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Notices and Reporting

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News & Views

Education Commissioner visiting Bangor schools today

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. | More

Turner Elementary named Maine’s National Blue Ribbon School

Turner Elementary School in MSAD 52 is one of 287 public schools across the country to be named a 2014 National Blue Ribbon School for high levels of student achievement. | More

Charter Commission advances virtual school proposal, schedules public hearing

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. | More

District leaders share educator evaluation system implementation strategies

A panel of district leaders who have experienced the challenges and the success of developing and implementing Performance Evaluation and Professional Growth (PEPG) systems shared their success strategies at a recent seminar. | More

MMSA selects Ruth Kermish-Allen as Executive Director

The board and staff of the Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance have selected Ruth Kermish-Allen, currently Director of Education at the Island Institute and a resident of Appleton, as the organization’s next Executive Director. | More

Schools encouraged to prepare for Alcohol Awareness Day

Community groups and schools across the state will be conducting activities to raise awareness about alcohol use and abuse throughout Maine’s Alcohol Awareness Week, Dec. 1-5. | More

Maine schools encouraged to enter Verizon Innovative App Challenge

Maine schools are encouraged to enter the Verizon Innovative App Challenge, a creative and collaborative competition that offers up to $20,000 in grants for winning middle schools and high schools. | More

More Dispatches | Press Releases | From the Commissioner


LATEST DOE Career/Project Opportunities

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

Department shares further guidance for processing charter invoices

The Maine DOE has posted additional guidance clarifying the process for preparing or disputing charter school invoices to resident school administrative units. This second clarification as well as additional resources are available on the finance section of the Maine Charter School Commission’s website.

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Maine DOE publishes guidance for districts processing charter school invoices

The Department has posted documents clarifying the process for preparing or disputing charter school invoices to resident school administrative units (SAUs). Clarification on how to determine the amount payable by a SAU to a charter school can be found here.

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Maine Charter School Commission welcomes new leadership

For Immediate Release from the Maine Charter School Commission Thursday, July 17.

Contact: Bob Kautz, Executive Director, (207) 592-8352

AUGUSTA – The Maine Charter School Commission (MCSC) has new leadership, having elected Shelley Reed as chair and Ande Smith as vice-chair.

Reed, of Wayne, had previously served as vice-chair and replaces outgoing chair Jana Lapoint, who has served as Chair for two terms and will remain on the Board. Ms. Reed has served on the Maine Charter School Commission since its inception in 2011. Currently, she is the Special Projects Coordinator for the Restorative Justice Institute of Maine.

Reed has long been active in public education, having served as the State Homeless Education Coordinator, School Counselor Consultant, and Truancy, Dropout Alternative Education Consultant in the Maine Department of Education for 10 years, retiring in 2011. Previous work in education included 16 years of service as an elementary school counselor in Lewiston and 13 years as a grade 1 and 2 teacher in Auburn. Reed has a Master’s in Counselor Education from the University of Southern Maine and a Bachelor’s in Education from the University of Maine, Farmington.

Smith is a resident of North Yarmouth with his school-age children. He graduated Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with a BS degree in Nuclear Engineering, the University of Connecticut with a Masters of Public Affairs, and the University Of Maine School Of Law with his Juris Doctor. He is President of Deer Brook Associates, a privately held firm providing legal and consulting services principally in information security, technology, and privacy. Having earned his submarine warfare qualifications, Smith also holds the rank of Captain in the US Navy Reserve, where he commands a Pentagon-based undersea warfare unit and is the director of the Reserve component’s undersea warfare operations program for the US submarine force.

Both Reed and Smith were elected to one-year positions that began July 1 and are eligible for re-election after serving their terms.

The Maine Charter School Commission is one of two types of entities permitted to authorize public charter schools in Maine. The Commission can authorize up to 10 public charter schools throughout the state during the first 10 years of Maine’s charter school law.

As of this September, there will be 6 public charter schools in Maine serving over 700 students. These schools are the Baxter Academy for Technology and Sciences in Portland, the Cornville Regional Charter School in Cornville, the Fiddlehead School of Arts and Science in Gray, the Harpswell Coastal Academy in Harpswell, the Maine Connections Academy, a state-wide virtual school in South Portland, and the Maine Academy of Natural Sciences in Hinckley.

The Maine Charter School Commission is an independent state agency. The Commission consists of seven members appointed by the Maine State Board of Education. Three of the seven are members of the State Board. The remaining four members are required by law to come from a wide variety of professional backgrounds.

For more information, visit the Maine Charter School Commission.

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Notice of intent for 6 charter school proposals received

Six groups informed the Maine Charter School Commission (MCSC) that they plan to submit applications to open public charter schools in Maine.  All of the groups hope to open a school in the fall of 2015.

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Charter commission seeks proposals for 2015 school opening

The Maine Charter School Commission is currently soliciting proposals for new public charter schools that would begin serving students in the fall of 2015.

In a request for proposals (RFP) published Wednesday, the Commission seeks detailed applications from capable school developers who are committed to educating their students well in a successful, sustainable, high quality charter school.  Continue reading

Education Commissioner applauds expansion of student learning opportunities

The Maine Charter School Commission voted today to approve the state’s first virtual charter school, which could begin start serving students this fall

AUGUSTA – Education Commissioner Jim Rier released the following statement today in response to the Maine Charter School Commission’s approval of the state’s first public virtual charter school.

The unanimous approval authorizes the independent Commission to enter into contract negotiations with Maine Connections Academy, which plans to start serving as many as 300 students from across the state this fall.

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Charter Commission to vote on applications March 3

The Maine Charter School Commission will vote at its March 3 meeting on whether to move forward the applications of three public charter schools proposed to open in Maine this fall. Continue reading