Category Archives: English Language Arts

Maine DOE seeking online panel members to set achievement levels

As a governing state in the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, Maine continues to support the efforts to develop a rigorous assessment system that will become operational in the 2014-15 school year. As part of those efforts, the Maine DOE is seeking qualified educators, administrators, parents and business/community leaders to participate in an online process to recommend cut scores for achievement levels on Smarter Balanced developed assessments.

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American Institutes for Research selected to administer Smarter Balanced assessments

The following Priority Notice was distributed to educators on Monday, July 7.

Dear Educators,

Earlier this year, the Department made clear our commitment to rigorous standards and aligned assessments. To that end, I wanted to let you know we have just selected the American Institutes for Research (AIR) to administer our Smarter Balanced aligned State assessments in grades 3-8 and grade 11 for the 2014-15 school year.

AIR was chosen through a competitive process and we are confident their selection is best for Maine students and educators. Because they were the vendor that delivered the Smarter Balanced field test that many of your schools participated in this spring, their assessment engine and experience will be familiar to tens of thousands of Maine students and educators when it is first used statewide for State and federal accountability purposes in the spring of 2015.

AIR’s package includes summative and interim assessments for grades 3-8 and grade 11. Additionally, through our one-year contract with them, we will be able to provide high schools the option of utilizing interim and formative assessments for grades 9 and 10, though doing so of course remains entirely a local decision. The optional assessments will be provided at no cost to districts.

As you likely know, since 2007 Maine has used the SAT for State and federal accountability at the high school level and required all third-year students to participate. As the Department has previously communicated, the Smarter Balanced aligned assessment to be administered next year by AIR will replace the SAT as the mandatory grade 11 measure in math, critical reading and writing. That said, we know many high school students and families have appreciated that the State offered a free college readiness exam and it is our intention to again make one available in 2014-15, though certainly taking it would not be mandatory. We are currently exploring the best options for Maine students and schools, and will send out a priority notice as soon as decisions have been made.

We greatly value our relationship with our previous assessment administrator, Measured Progress, which will continue to provide our State science assessment and alternate, as well as our system for accountability reporting to the U.S. Department of Education. And we look forward to developing our new partnership with AIR in the year ahead as together with your help, we implement a fair, accurate and comprehensive assessment system that better provides parents and educators the information they need to help all Maine kids be college and career ready when they leave our schools.

If you have questions about the changes in our assessment program or would like technical assistance, please contact our Chief Academic Officer Rachelle Tome at rachelle.tome@maine.gov or 207-624-6705 or our Assessment Coordinator Sue Fossett at susan.fossett@maine.gov or 207-624-6775.

Sincerely,

Jim Rier, Commissioner
Maine Department of Education

Governor LePage announces $11.3 million to support at-risk students

The Governor announced the awards from the Maine Department of Education at the Reiche School in Portland alongside the CEO of LearningWorks, one of 15 grantees who will establish or continue 32 community learning centers that provide students extended learning services

PORTLAND – Governor Paul R. LePage announced today that the Maine Department of Education is giving out $11.3 million over the next five years to support extended learning opportunities for at-risk students.

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Maine DOE announces Innovative Approaches to Literacy Program funding opportunity

The Maine DOE is pleased to announce a new funding opportunity from the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) Office of Elementary and Secondary Education for the Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) Program. The federal IAL grant is aligned with Maine’s Comprehensive Literacy Plan, Literacy for ME, by supporting high-quality initiatives to develop and improve literacy skills of children and students from birth through grade 12 in high-need educational agencies and schools. The Maine DOE is encouraging those eligible to apply to submit an application directly to the USDE by July 17.

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Materials released in advance of Commissioner’s Conference

The following Priority Notice was distributed to school superintendents today in advance of the 103rd Annual Commissioner’s Conference for Superintendents:

Dear Superintendents,

We look forward to working with you next week during the 103rd Annual Commissioner’s Conference for Superintendents, scheduled to begin at noon on Monday, June 23 at Point Lookout in Northport. Continue reading

State awards South Portland’s Kaler Elementary $1.6 million for school improvement

The funding from the Maine Department of Education will help transform the struggling school and increase student achievement, teacher effectiveness and community engagement

SOUTH PORTLAND – A South Portland elementary school will use $1.6 million awarded today by the Maine Department of Education to raise student proficiency in math and reading by 10 percent annually over the next three years. Continue reading

Maine DOE announces preview period for Smarter Balanced digital resources

The Smarter Balanced Digital Library preview launched on June 3.These on-demand materials are aligned to the Smarter Balanced assessment targets and will be an important resource for Maine teachers to understand progress in student learning. Continue reading

New mentor reading program opportunity for schools

Funding is now available to Maine schools to offer a Teen Trendsetters™ program for their students.
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Maine DOE announces 2014 summer literacy institute

The Maine DOE is inviting teams of educators to attend the 2014 Summer Literacy Institute to be held August 12-13 at Thomas College in Waterville. The two-day event will feature members of the Vermont Writing Collaborative sharing its book Writing for Understanding. Presenters will explain the Writing for Understanding approach which describes a method of teaching writing that clearly matches the purpose and supports inclusion of strong evidence to support the main ideas.

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State releases 2014 report cards, congratulates high performing and high progress schools

The rollout of the report cards at www.maine.gov/doe comes as Education Commissioner Jim Rier completes a statewide tour celebrating the many Maine schools that improved by at least one letter grade

AUGUSTA – The 2014 school report cards are out and certificates of achievement signed by Governor Paul R. LePage and Education Commissioner Jim Rier are in the mail for 121 schools that earned an A or B grade.

Dozens of schools that demonstrated high levels of student growth over the past year will also receive a certificate and a letter recognizing their success in better serving all students.

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