Category Archives: Science & Technology

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

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.

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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

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. Designed to ignite students’ interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), the Challenge shows students exciting new possibilities for their futures, opening doors they may never have known were there.

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Final deadline for proficiency-based diploma extension applications Oct. 18

The final deadline for districts looking for an extension in implementing a proficiency-based diploma requirement is next week.

Earlier this year, the Department released six extension request options to provide the time and support districts say they need to undertake the thoughtful, systemic change needed to ensure quality implementation of systems that support the awarding of proficiency-based diplomas starting in 2018.

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All students, all standards but different demonstrations of proficiency

As Maine moves toward a proficiency-based education system that will ensure students graduate from our high schools having mastered State learning standards, I am often asked what this expectation means for our nearly 30,000 students with disabilities.

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Smarter Balanced Digital Library surpasses 2K item mark, workshops offered

The Maine DOE is pleased to announce the Smarter Balanced Digital Library, a collection of vetted instructional, assessment and professional development resources, currently contains more than 2,000 resources, including each grade level, K-12, in the content areas of mathematics and English language arts.

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Maine high schools awarded three-year grant for computer science instruction

The National Science Foundation  has awarded a three-year $469,369 grant to improve access to computer science instruction for Maine high school students. This project is led by the Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance  in partnership with RSU 26 in Orono and the University of Maine at Augusta.

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Maine teachers spend summer volunteering at Maine State Aquarium

While some teachers were taking advantage of the summer to relax, Deb Clark, a Gifted and Talented Program teacher at Winslow Elementary, spent the better part of one week volunteering at the Maine State Aquarium in West Boothbay Harbor. The experience provided a chance not only to give back to the aquarium, a place she has been bringing her students for years, but to grow personally and professionally.

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Fourth cohort of Maine Governor’s STEM Academy graduates

The 23 Academy Fellows who graduated from the Governor’s Academy for STEM Education Leadership program this summer were provided with professional development opportunities designed to build leadership qualities with a focus on STEM integration.

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