Category Archives: Legislation

Commissioner’s Update – February 26, 2015

From the Maine Department of Education

Earlier this week, the Department reached out to Maine educators to detail our efforts to better support the continued quality and manageable 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.

To reiterate, as part of our ongoing efforts to support meaningful implementation of new systems that improve the college and career readiness of Maine students, the Department is committed to:

  • Providing $4 million to support districts with proficiency-based diploma transition costs
  • Increasing training and assistance to ensure success of new online assessment
  • Not issuing A-F school report cards in 2015 but resuming doing so in 2016
  • Keeping the field apprised of legislation that could extend PEPG system pilots another year
  • Providing $5 million for professional development to support local evaluation system development

The Department hopes this increased funding and flexibility helps to alleviate anxiety in the field so educators can focus on what is most important: helping all Maine students reach their full potential.

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Notices and Reporting

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Acting Education Commissioner to visit Baxter Academy Friday

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. | More

Maine DOE reminds schools of roof snow load hazard

The Maine DOE is reminding districts that the heavy snowfall this winter may be straining school roofs. | More

MEA Science Alternate (PAAP) registration ends March 1

Registration for this year’s Personalized Alternate Assessment Portfolio (PAAP) closes this Sunday, March 1 at 5 p.m.  | More

Registration underway for alternate assessment for math, ELA

Registrations are currently being collected from special educations directors by the Maine DOE for the National Center and State Collaborative Alternate Assessment (NCSC) that will be used to assess mathematics and English language arts. | More

Maine DOE seeks Visual and Performing Arts Specialist

The Maine DOE is seeking applicants to fill the position of Visual and Performing Arts Specialist. | More

Department offers special services related guidance

The Maine DOE’s Office of Special Services is reminding all contracted service providers who provide services to children that they must undergo a Criminal History Record Check. This includes transportation providers such as cab drivers. | More

Maine DOE shares guidance related to NCAA student eligibility

The Maine DOE is offering guidance to Maine schools related to the expectations of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) for courses. | More

Comments sought on Maine’s IDEA Part B application

The Maine DOE is seeking comments from the public on its annual application for federal funds under Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which covers services for preschool- and school-age children with disabilities. | More

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Comments sought on Maine’s IDEA Part B application

The Maine DOE is seeking comments from the public on its annual application for federal funds under Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which covers services for preschool- and school-age children with disabilities.

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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

Commissioner’s Update – February 19, 2015

From the Maine Department of Education

The Maine DOE has released preliminary FY 2016 (2015-16 school year) State subsidy printouts, known as ED 279s, on its website at www.maine.gov/doe/eps/.

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.  Specifically, the Governor’s FY16 budget proposal includes $964.1 million for general purpose aid for Maine schools – an increase of $20.3 million over the $943.8 appropriated by the Legislature for FY 15 – and $966.3 million for FY17 – an increase of $22.5 million over appropriated FY15 funding.

The proposed budget would bring the subsidy provided by the State per pupil to $5,334 in FY16 and $5,389 in FY17, an increase of nearly 17 percent since the Governor took office in 2011 and per pupil State funding was $4,619.

The subsidy amounts for FY 2016 contained in the preliminary ED 279s do not represent final action of the 127th Maine Legislature and should therefore only be used as initial guidance in informing local budget preparations.

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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

MaineCare Seed payment adjustments made, report review by April 1

The remaining 2014-15 subsidy checks for General Purpose Aid for local schools will reflect adjustments for MaineCare Seed payments paid by the Maine DOE on behalf of school administrative units (SAUs).  | More

Maine DOE shares assessment EL support information

The Maine DOE has released new resources relating to supports available for English learners taking the Maine Educational Assessment for Mathematics and English Language Arts/Literacy developed by Smarter Balanced. | More

School enrollment contacts posted to support assessment administration

Contact information has been posted to the Maine DOE website to assist School Test Coordinators (SCs) in resolving any discrepancies in the student lists available in the Test Information Distribution Engine during the upcoming administration of the new Maine Educational Assessment for Mathematics and English Language Arts/Literacy developed by Smarter Balanced. | More

RFP issued for 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program

The Maine DOE has issued a request for proposals seeking bids to establish or extend 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLC) in 2015-2016. | More

QZAB Tax Credit Bond applications due April 17

The Maine DOE will accept applications for the Federal Qualified Zone Academy Bond (QZAB) Program through April 17. The Department currently has $1,435,000 of QZAB issuing authority to distribute to qualifying schools units. | More

Maine seeks feedback on IDEA Part C application

Maine is seeking input on its application for the Part C (birth through two) program under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, known as IDEA. The Part C budget is for State Fiscal Year 2016. | More

Maine State Archives commemorates 150th anniversary of 13th Amendment

The Maine State Archives is celebrating Black History Month by commemorating the State’s 150th anniversary of ratifying the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which abolished slavery. | More

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Preliminary FY 2016 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 www.maine.gov/doe/eps/.

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Maine seeks feedback on IDEA Part C application

Maine is seeking input on its application for the Part C (birth through two) program under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, known as IDEA. The Part C budget is for State Fiscal Year 2016.

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Commissioner’s Update – February 12, 2015

From the Maine Department of Education

The nomination deadline is just days away for the 2016 Maine Teacher of the Year.

Members of the public can enter educators who demonstrate a commitment to excellence and nurturing the achievement of all students at www.mainetoy.org through Feb. 20. To be considered, a teacher must hold at least a four-year degree and be employed by a Maine public school – including a public charter school or publicly supported secondary school.

The eventual winner of the state’s highest teaching honor, which is awarded by the Maine DOE through a program administered by Educate Maine, serves as an advocate for teachers, students and the efforts underway in Maine’s public schools to prepare students for success in college, career and civic life.

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News & Views

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

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

JMG receives $200,000 to expand to Cony High School

Governor Paul R. LePage and Acting Education Commissioner Tom Desjardin were on hand Tuesday as Jobs for Maine’s Graduates (JMG) accepted a $200,000 grant from the AT&T Foundation. | More

School day SAT administration support available

The Department is letting schools preparing to administer the optional SAT to their students on Wednesday, April 15 know of support available from College Board. | More

Nominations open for Maine’s 2015 Curriculum Leader of the Year

The Maine Curriculum Leaders’ Association (MCLA) is seeking nominations for the 2015 Maine Curriculum Leader of the Year through March 30. | More

Maine DOE sets reduced AP test fees for low-income students

The Maine DOE has worked with the U.S. Department of Education and the College Board to acquire grant money to cover a portion of the exam fee for low-income students. | More

Department updates guidance on adult ed and MUSER

The Maine DOE has recently revised its FAQs on adult education and its role in Maine’s Unified Special Education Regulations (MUSER). | More

Students encouraged to enter Maine Constitution Essay and Poster Contest

The Maine Secretary of State’s Office is inviting students to enter its Maine Constitution Essay and Poster Contest. | More

Maine schools educating boys of color eligible for $10k COSEBOC award

Qualifying Maine schools are invited to enter the Coalition of Schools Educating Boys of Color (COSEBOC) fourth annual COSEBOC School Awards. | More

Webinar on Feb. 24 on nuisance birds around schools

Maine schools that have issues with nuisance birds are invited to a free webinar overviewing the challenges that avian pests present and ways to deter them. | More

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Department updates guidance on adult ed and MUSER

The Maine DOE has recently revised its FAQs on adult education and its role in Maine’s Unified Special Education Regulations (MUSER).

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Commissioner’s Update – February 5, 2015

From the Maine Department of Education

There are many benefits to an online administration of the new Maine Educational Assessment for Mathematics and English Language Arts/Literacy developed by Smarter Balanced. The computer delivery will better allow students to demonstrate critical and higher-order thinking skills; more accurately measure where students are; give educators and parents more timely information to inform instruction; and allow for a more efficient, cost-effective administration.

As a result, the Department is highly recommending schools give the test electronically but understands there may be individual students who are unable to access the assessment using a computer (e.g., medical reason for avoiding screen viewing). For those cases, the Maine DOE is providing a procedure for requesting a paper-pencil version of the assessment.

Please note, this is a different process than requesting to provide a schoolwide paper-pencil administration of the assessment, which only a few schools did by yesterday’s deadline.

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News & Views

Acting Commissioner Tom Desjardin shares a laugh while talking with young students at his alma mater, Washburn Elementary. He was joined on the first stop of his tour yesterday of Auburn schools by his first grade teacher, Mrs. Bristol, who retired from that district in 2005. To invite the Acting Commissioner to see how your school is putting students first, contact Maine DOE’s Communications Director at samantha.warren@maine.gov.

Acting Commissioner Tom Desjardin shares a laugh with students at his alma mater, Washburn Elementary. He was joined on the first stop of his tour yesterday of Auburn schools by his first grade teacher, Mrs. Bristol (at left), who retired from the district in 2005.

Acting Education Commissioner visits Auburn schools

Maine’s Acting Education Commissioner returned Wednesday 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 provides student roster guidance to ensure assessment administration success

Accurate student lists for this spring’s computer-based Maine Educational Assessment (MEA) Mathematics and English Language Arts/Literacy developed by Smarter Balanced will depend on ongoing collaboration between the Maine DOE and the local school districts. | More

Comprehensive School Health Education Spring Conference to focus on proficiency

The Maine DOE is inviting educators to its 2015 Comprehensive School Health Education Spring Conference, which will focus on transitioning health education curriculum to a proficiency-based system of learning. | More

Department encourages recognition of school counselors during National School Counseling Week

The Department is reminding Mainers about the unique contributions of professional school counselors and how students are more prepared for success in college and career as a result of what school counselors do as the nation recognizes National School Counseling Week. | More

Maine DOE releases webinar on College, Career and Civic Life Framework for Social Studies

Maine DOE has released a short webinar to provide educators with information about the College, Career and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies. | More

Inaugural Maine Science Festival scheduled for March 20-22 in Bangor

Maine educators, students and families are invited to attend the first annual Maine Science Festival in Bangor this March 20-22. Events include a Teen Tech Night, high school state science fair, science scavenger hunt around Bangor and sessions on science in children’s literature, crime scene investigation and the intersection of science and economic development. | More

Department hosts Summer Food Service Program trainings

In preparation for the fast approaching summer season, the Maine DOE’s Child Nutrition Services Team will offer Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) trainings through the state in the coming months. | More

Maine DOE promotes financial literacy education resources

As part of its ongoing efforts to support financial literacy education, the Maine DOE is encouraging educators to save the date for the 6th Annual Fostering Financial Education in Maine Schools Conference on May 1 in Rockland. | More

Maine Humanities Council announced Student Humanities Ambassadors

The Maine Humanities Council (MHC) announced that Abigayle Hopkins from Machias Memorial High School in Machias and Victoria Simons from Noble High School in Berwick are the first Student Humanities Ambassadors in Maine. | More

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Commissioner’s Update – January 29, 2015

From the Maine Department of Education

The Maine DOE will begin visits next month to provide targeted technical assistance to schools preparing to award proficiency-based diplomas.

Last May, the Department released six options by which districts could apply for extensions to fully implementing systems that support the awarding of proficiency-based diplomas starting in 2018 as a 2012 Maine law requires. Extension options five and six were designed for districts early in their transition and thus in need of the most structured support from the Maine DOE. It is the 50 or so districts who applied under one of those options, which extend full implementation to 2021, that will be visited by teams of up to four Department staff.

The half-day visits are intended to positively support schools in progress toward their benchmarks; identify and validate progress since the application; inform the Maine DOE of district needs; and as needed, to clarify Maine DOE understanding of district work and benchmarks.

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Notices and Reporting

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News & Views

Feb. 4 deadline for picking paper-pencil assessment administration

Maine schools wanting to give the upcoming Maine Educational Assessment for Mathematics and English Language Arts/Literacy developed by Smarter Balanced as a paper-pencil test rather than online must let the Department know by Wednesday, Feb. 4. So far, only one school has indicated they will do so. | 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

Outstanding educators sought for Maine talent pool

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

Transition Career Exploration Workshop available

The Maine DOE’s State Personnel Development Grant and the Maine Department of Labor’s Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) have partnered to offer schools a free e-workshop that helps students discover employment possibilities. | More

ACCESS for ELLs® testing window closes, materials due to MetriTech

The ACCESS for ELLs® testing window is set to close Friday, Jan. 30 and districts are required to pack and return all testing material to MetriTech by Feb. 6. | More

Department, State Board reopens rules related to exams for educator credentialing

The Maine DOE and the State Board of Education have reopened for further public comments the rules regarding the qualifying examinations for credentialing purposes for teachers, educational specialists and administrators. | More

Department reschedules NEO facilities training sessions

A NEO facilities training has been rescheduled to Feb. 12 due a snowstorm this week. | More

Requirements change for bus driver physicals

The Maine DOE has updated its physical form for bus drivers, which can be found here on the Department’s website along with instructions. | More

Maine students invited to share vision in digital storytelling challenge

Maine schools are invited to enter a free digital storytelling competition that asks students to share their visions for the future. | More

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