Category Archives: Mathematics

Commissioner’s Update – April 9, 2015

From the Maine Department of Education

AUGUSTA – Maine’s high school graduation rate has hit an all-time high, as has the percentage of students who are either economically disadvantaged or 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.

In announcing the rising rate, Maine’s Acting Education Commissioner Tom Desjardin said he is especially encouraged to see the state make such progress in narrowing achievement gaps though he urged more work must be done.

“All children can learn and deserve equal opportunity to do so in our schools,” Desjardin said. “I want to thank Maine’s educators for their hard work in supporting an increasing number of historically academically disadvantaged students find success. Moving forward, we must continue to improve both our graduation rate and the value of the diplomas awarded by our schools so that every student leaves with the foundation they need to achieve their full potential.”

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Notices and Reporting

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News & Views

Maine student artwork selected for MLTI screensavers

Twenty-one student artists will have an audience of more than 70,000 students and educators for their artwork starting this fall. | More

Maine DOE releases online public preschool application

The Maine DOE has created a new online application form that will make it easier for districts to apply for State approval of new or expanding public preschool programs. | More

Maine DOE seeks surrogate parents to support students with disabilities

The Maine DOE is seeking volunteers to serve as surrogate parents for children with disabilities in educational matters. | More

Maine DOE helps expand internet access in rural Washington County

Maine DOE’s Learning Through Technology Team was in Washington County last week to lend its support for the “Check-out the Internet” event at Cherryfield Free Public Library. | More

Department offers webinars in advance of ELL assessment

The Maine DOE is providing two webinars this spring to assist schools as they prepare for the 2015-16 administration of the computer-based English language proficiency assessment, ACCESS for ELLs 2.0. | More

Migrant Education Program’s Blueberry Harvest School wins state environmental award

The Blueberry Harvest School has been named the winner of the Maine Environmental Education Association Excellence in Environmental Education Program Award. | More

Maine team drives away champions of national bus roadeo

Lisa Gadway and Gregg McGoff from the Fairfield-based MSAD 49 recently earned first place for their performance in the 18th Annual National Special Needs Team Safety Roadeo. | More

April 13 webinar overviews federal student privacy laws

The Maine DOE is encouraging district staff to review the Privacy Technical Assistance Center’s latest guidance document: Protecting Student Privacy While Using Online Educational Services: Model Terms of Service during a webinar on Monday, April 13. | More

Maine DOE provides nutrition equipment assistance

The Department is encouraging schools to apply for their share of the $75,542 that Maine has been awarded in food service equipment assistance. | More

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LATEST DOE Career/Project Opportunities

Department offers webinars in advance of ELL assessment

The Maine DOE is providing two webinars this spring to assist schools as they prepare for the 2015-16 administration of the computer-based English language proficiency assessment, ACCESS for ELLs 2.0.

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Commissioner’s Update – April 2, 2015

From the Maine Department of Education

Governor Paul R. LePage and Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy President and CEO Liza McFadden honored 14 teen mentors with Excellence Awards in leadership and service during a recognition ceremony at the Blaine House this week. Students mentoring in the Foundation’s Teen Trendsetters™ program assist first through third graders with reading during weekly tutoring sessions.

“I am proud of these students who serve as positive role models and leaders for their mentees,” said Governor LePage. “Mentoring at any age during a student’s career can lead to a lifelong commitment to helping others and their community.”

The Teen Trendsetters Excellence Award is given to mentors who provide outstanding leadership and service, particularly with helping their mentees read on grade level. After successfully piloting Teen Trendsetters in Windham, Maine, during 2012 and 2013, the Barbara Bush Foundation this past year expanded the program to 20 schools throughout Maine.

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Notices and Reporting

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New early childhood learning and development standards released by Maine DOE, DHHS

The Maine Departments of Education and Health and Human Services have released Maine’s Early Learning and Development Standards (MELDS), which outline what children should know and be able to do by the end of preschool. | More

Maine DOE opens registration for 30th annual school wellness conference

Maine schools are invited to attend the 30th Annual Maine DOE Schoolsite Health Promotion & Wellness Conference from Wednesday, June 24 through Friday, June 26 at Sugarloaf. | More

Suicide prevention conference scheduled for May 7

The Maine DOE is encouraging those working to prevent suicide in the state’s schools to consider attending the one-day Maine Suicide Prevention Program’s Annual Beyond the Basics in Suicide Prevention conference on May 7 in Portland. | More

MPA names top assistant principals

The Maine Principals’ Association has announced its 2015 Maine Outstanding Assistant Principal of the Year at both the elementary and secondary school levels. | More

Maine DOE regional workshops support math educators

The Maine DOE recently concluded a series of eight regional, full-day workshop sessions across the state intended to support instruction in mathematics and make connections to the State assessment. | More

Students prepare for business careers at state DECA conference

More than 100 students gathered last month for the Maine DECA 47th State Career Development Conference. | More

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Maine DOE regional workshops support math educators

The Maine DOE recently concluded a series of eight regional, full-day workshop sessions across the state intended to support instruction in mathematics and make connections to the State assessment.

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Commissioner’s Update – March 26, 2015

From the Maine Department of Education

The Maine DOE is partnering with Common Sense Media to provide free workshops throughout the state this spring to help educators harness the positive power of technology.

Learning how to use media and technology wisely and safely is an essential skill for life and learning in the 21st century. The two workshops offered through the Department’s Maine Learning Technology Initiative will help educators guide students to think critically, act responsibly and interact positively in the digital world and to discover high quality resources. The hands-on sessions will be led by Common Sense Media experts and contact hours will be issued.

Skills To Help You Discover, Use, and Share Great Digital Tools for Learning Through Graphite will help educators use Graphite, a free service by Common Sense Media, to discover high quality apps, websites and games for students; evaluate the learning potential of these tools; curate tools into useful collections; innovate by reimagining lessons to seamlessly weave in technology using a framework called App Flows; and collaborate with other teachers by sharing best practices for using digital tools in the classroom.

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Notices and Reporting

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News & Views

Maine DOE reminds schools of SAT registration deadline

The Maine DOE is reminding schools of the April 1 deadline for registering students for the upcoming school day administration of the SAT. | More

Department provides guidance on use of IEPs in educator effectiveness benchmarks

The Maine DOE is offering guidance about the use of Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) in establishing educator effectiveness benchmarks as a result of recent rule changes. | More

Maine DOE developing preschool health screening resources

Maine DOE is planning to provide guidance and support by late spring to assist school nurses in conducting health, hearing and vision screening of four-year-olds entering public preschool programs in the 2015-16 school year. | More

Maine DOE invites educators to Summer Literacy Institute

The Maine DOE is encouraging teams of educators to attend its 2015 Summer Literacy Institute. | More

Maine FFA students participate in State House ag day

Maine FFA (formerly known as “Future Farmers of America”) student State Officers participated in Maine Agriculture Day at the State House earlier this month. | More

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LATEST DOE Career/Project Opportunities

Maine DOE reminds schools of SAT registration deadline

The Maine DOE is reminding schools of the April 1 deadline for registering students for the upcoming school day administration of the SAT.

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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

Commissioner’s Update – March 19, 2015

From Acting Education Commissioner Tom Desjardin

This week, 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 week of online testing has been 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. 

I’m glad things are getting off to such a good start because I believe in the incredible potential of this new online assessment and I know how hard so many of you are working to see that potential fully realized. On behalf of Maine students, thank you.

Unlike the bubble tests of the past, this new assessment measures higher-order thinking and how students actually apply the skills they should be learning and need for 21 century college and career success. Its adaptive abilities – meaning questions and their difficulty are adjusted based on a participant’s previous answers  –  helps teachers better help their students by more accurately pinpointing individual student strengths and weaknesses. Results, available in weeks rather than months, more quickly inform instruction and interventions. Universal tools, accommodations and designated supports like the ability to highlight or have the text read aloud, are available thanks to the online delivery. These integrated features alleviate test-taking anxiety and better support the unique needs of each student, especially those with disabilities. And the lengthened 11-week test window gives schools more administration flexibility and creates less stress for students, even though the assessment actually requires significantly fewer hours to administer than the NECAP.

That said, the administration of this new assessment won’t be perfect.

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Notices and Reporting

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News & Views

Maine DOE overviews updated educator evaluation expectations

Maine’s educator evaluation expectations have changed as a result of legislative action initiated by the Department to ensure the state could maintain flexibility from burdensome federal requirements. A summary of changes to Title 20-A and Rule Chapter 180 as a result of the enactment of LD 692 and the expected enactment of LD 38, are outlined here. | More

Department provides resources in advance of science assessment opening on May 4

The Maine DOE is sharing resources with schools to support their preparations for the annual statewide science assessment, which will run May 4-22. | More

Maine schools selected for personalized learning initiative

Twenty New England public schools in the League of Innovative Schools including five from Maine have been selected by the New England Secondary School Consortium and the Great Schools Partnership to participate in a new initiative. | More

Maine DOE offers resources for increasing rigor in science education

Science researchers and educators from Maine and across the country convened in Chicago last week to share tools and discuss policy to support effective science instruction. | More

Department provides support to ESEA monitor schools through webinar

The Maine DOE has posted a new webinar intended to provide support and guidance to Maine districts with schools recently given “monitor” status under the state’s federally required accountability system. | More

Regional meetings scheduled on improving school attendance

Promoting school attendance is the agenda for two regional meetings this month sponsored by Count ME In. | More

Maine Department of Labor offers technical assistance to support youth employment

The Maine Department of Labor (DOL) is offering increased assistance around youth employment. | More

More Dispatches | Press Releases | From the Commissioner


LATEST DOE Career/Project Opportunities

Maine DOE overviews updated educator effectiveness expectations

Maine’s educator evaluation expectations have changed as a result of legislative action initiated by the Department to ensure the state could maintain flexibility from burdensome federal requirements. Continue reading

Department provides resources in advance of science assessment opening on May 4

The Maine DOE is sharing resources with schools to support their preparations for the annual statewide science assessment, which will run May 4-22.

Continue reading