Category Archives: Legislation

Educator resources for suicide awareness and prevention

The following Priority Notice was distributed to superintendents on Tuesday, August 19.

Dear Superintendents,

Ensuring the safety of our students is a commitment we all share and by providing supportive places to learn and thrive, we are doing our part to help our young people reach their full potential.

That is why today, I am pleased to announce the release of an online training video and toolkit, Suicide Prevention Awareness for Maine School Personnel, prepared by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Maine and available at no cost to Maine schools. This important resource aids school districts in complying with Maine’s school-based suicide awareness and prevention law (LD 609, PL 53, DOE Rule Chapter 38) that was passed in April 2013.

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Maine DOE provides complimentary 2014-15 law books to superintendents

The Maine DOE acquired enough copies of the Maine Education and School Statutes 2014-2015 edition law book from the publisher, Swan Island Press, to distribute one at no charge to each superintendent of schools in Maine.

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OSEP letter cautions on using alternative graduation requirements for students with disabilities

The U.S. Department of Education has advised Louisiana’s Superintendent of Education John White that a new Louisiana law allowing students with disabilities to follow a different route to a high school diploma than what’s required of other students may violate the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965 and the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), as well as other federal requirements.

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Commission established to study essential programs and services

The Commission to Strengthen the Adequacy and Equity of Certain Cost Components of the School Funding Formula was established pursuant to Resolve 2014, Chapter 114 and held its first meeting on July 25.

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Maine DOE adopts rules for suicide awareness and prevention

Rule Chapter 38:  Suicide Awareness and Prevention in Maine Public Schools has been finally adopted by the Department of Education and took effect June 29, 2014.

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Responsibility for FAPE for deaf or hard-of-hearing students

Under Public Law 2013, Chapter 552 (formerly LD 1769) An Act To Implement the Recommendations of the Report Defining Cost Responsibility for Deaf and Hard-of-hearing Students Receiving Services from the Maine Educational Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing and the Governor Baxter School for the Deaf, beginning July 1, 2015

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Maine DOE’s legislative summary posted

Maine DOE has prepared a summary of major laws related to education enacted by the Second Regular Session of the 126th Maine Legislature. This information may prove helpful to educators when planning for the 2014-15 school year.

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Department provides additional guidance on FERPA amendments

Last year, the Department posted a dispatch on amendments to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) resulting from the Uninterrupted Scholars Act.  These amendments to FERPA included an Additional Exception to Parental Consent Requirements for Students in Foster Care and an Exemption to Notice Requirement When Records Released Under Court Order.

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Maine DOE provides flexibility to SAUs to ensure implementation of proficiency-based diploma

The following Priority Notice was distributed to superintendents today, affirming the Department’s commitment to the state’s students being awarded diplomas based on proficiency and previewing the flexibility it was providing to districts in meeting a requirement to do so by 2018.

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Maine DOE strengthens educator effectiveness

Following several changes by the Maine Legislature, I am pleased to say that the Department has finally adopted Rule Chapter 180, which establishes standards and procedures for the implementation of performance evaluation and professional growth systems (known as PE/PG systems) that each school administrative unit (SAU) is required to have implemented by the 2015-16 school year. PE/PG systems for teachers and principals improve educator effectiveness by establishing clear expectations for professional practice and student learning/growth and providing actionable feedback and support to help educators meet them.

The Department outlined the changes it made through the public rulemaking process last fall in a previous Commissioner’s Update dispatch. It is important to note that during the Legislature’s review this spring of Maine DOE’s provisionally-adopted rule, there was agreement that student growth measures should be a significant factor in determining a teacher or principal effectiveness rating and that local school boards have the authority and responsibility to approve or reject the stakeholder group’s proposed PE/PG system plan. Additionally, the Legislature maintained that the Maine DOE will still have to approve PE/PG system plans and that there are contingencies if local stakeholder groups can’t reach consensus, including adoption of a State model.

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