Category Archives: Science & Technology

Commissioner’s Update – January 22, 2015

From the Maine Department of Education

The Maine DOE has selected one of the state’s leading learning technology integrators and a 30-year veteran educator to head its Learning Through Technology Team, which administers the groundbreaking 1:1 Maine Learning Technology Initiative (MLTI).

Dr. Mike Muir, who now serves as the Multiple Pathways Director for the Auburn School Department, will join the Maine DOE starting Jan. 26. In his current role in Auburn, Muir supported the district’s large scale school change initiatives, including customized, performance-based learning; shared leadership teams; proficiency-based professional development; and one of the first 1:1 primary grades iPad initiatives.

Prior to his tenure in Auburn, he worked as a mathematics teacher in Winslow and Skowhegan, and later as a practicum supervisor and professor of middle grades education and educational technology at the University of Maine at Farmington.

While this is the first time Muir has worked for the Maine DOE, he has long been an advocate of MLTI and a leader in integrating technology provided by the State into the classroom to improving teaching and learning.

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Notices and Reporting

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News & Views

Nominations sought for 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. | More

LePage Administration proposes public charter school funding fix

The LePage Administration is proposing legislation that would have the Maine DOE make monthly payments directly to approved public charter schools starting in FY16, the same way the Department has long distributed funds to traditional public school districts. | More

Schoolwide Plan due, Department schedules guidance webinar

The Maine DOE is hosting a webinar next month to provide guidance to Title I schools as they complete their Schoolwide Plan, which now must be submitted to the Department. | More

Maine FFA students discover Agricultural Trades Show

Student leaders from the Maine FFA Association (formerly known as “Future Farmers of America”) traveled to the 74th annual Maine Agricultural Trades Show at the Augusta Civic Center last week. | More

Maine teachers invited to apply for STEM scholarship

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Alumni Club of Maine is inviting Maine middle school and high school science and engineering teachers to apply for Club scholarships to the MIT Science and Engineering Program for Teachers (SEPT). | More

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LATEST DOE Career/Project Opportunities

Maine teachers invited to apply for STEM scholarship

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Alumni Club of Maine is inviting Maine middle school and high school science and engineering teachers to apply for Club scholarships to the MIT Science and Engineering Program for Teachers (SEPT) which will be held June 21-27.

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PAAP test bank live

The Personalized Alternate Assessment Portfolio (PAAP) task bank is up and running with 206 students registered so far. The PAAP will be used this year to assess science in grades 5, 8, and the third year of high school.

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Commissioner’s Update – December 18, 2014

From the Maine Department of Education

The Maine DOE has contracted one of the state’s foremost learning technology leaders to help schools as they prepare to administer Maine’s first-ever statewide online assessment this spring.

Andy Wallace will work with the Department to develop technology related resources and provide support to schools to ensure they are ready to successfully administer the Maine Educational Assessment for Mathematics and English Language Arts/Literacy developed by the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC).

Wallace is currently the technology director for the South Portland School Department and will continue in that role while also working with the Department on a seven month contract. He brings more than 14 years of experience as a technology director in both rural and urban school districts to the Department assignment, and was recently named the 2014 Administrator of the Year by the Maine Association of School Librarians.

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Please note: This is the final issue of the Commissioner’s Update for 2014 as State Offices will be closed for holidays on Thursday, Dec. 25 and Thursday, Jan. 1. All of us at the Maine DOE send warm wishes to you and your school communities for a happy holiday season and we look forward to continuing to serve you in 2015. Please expect to receive the December Maine DOE Monthly on Tuesday, Dec. 30 and the next weekly Commissioner’s Update on Thursday, Jan. 8.


Notices and Reporting

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News & Views

Maine DOE releases scheduling guidance for new State assessment

To support district and school testing coordinators in their planning for the spring 2015 administration of the Maine Educational Assessment in Mathematics and English Language Arts/Literacy, the Maine DOE has posted scheduling guidelines on the assessment section of its website. | More

Clarification of public preschool program requirements

The Maine DOE has received many inquiries from school district personnel seeking clarification on the public preschool legislation passed last spring. | More

Maine DOE provides resources to help schools keep students safe

In light of several high profile incidents in Maine involving threats to schools, the Department is reminding districts of the many resources it has already available to support schools in their ongoing efforts to keep students safe. | More

Maine joins New England states to create common system for reporting on educational performance

A consortium of states including Maine has released two years of reports created under a first of its kind regional common data project. | More

Certification of superintendent election or reelection

The Maine DOE is reminding administrators and school board members of the approaching deadline for annual certification of employment of Superintendent of Schools. | More

Maine students put STEM skills to the test at FIRST LEGO League Championship

Hundreds of Maine students from Kittery to Frenchville came together last weekend to compete at the 15th Annual FIRST LEGO League Championship, run by Maine Robotics and held at the Augusta Civic Center. | More

Annual gifted and talented program applications past due

The Department is reminding school district administrators that their 2014-15 annual applications for gifted and talented program approval were due on Dec. 5. | More

Department encourages early summer food program planning

The Maine DOE is encouraging districts to begin planning now for their Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). | More

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LATEST DOE Career/Project Opportunities

Maine DOE hires learning tech leader to assist with online assessment implementation

The Maine DOE has contracted one of the state’s foremost learning technology leaders to help schools as they prepare to administer Maine’s first-ever statewide online assessment this spring.

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Maine students put STEM skills to the test at FIRST LEGO League Championship

Hundreds of Maine students from Kittery to Frenchville came together last weekend to compete at the 15th Annual FIRST LEGO League Championship, run by Maine Robotics and held at the Augusta Civic Center.

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Maine high school students show improvements in math, writing and science scores

Performance of third-year high school students increased slightly in math, writing and science, but most students still aren’t achieving grade-level expectations yet are still being allowed to graduate

AUGUSTA – Maine high school juniors improved their scores in math, writing and science on last spring’s statewide standardized tests, but less than half of students are performing at grade level and many will still graduate anyway.  Continue reading

MEA Alternate Science (PAAP) training webinar announced

The Maine DOE and Measured Progress will conduct a training webinar on Dec. 9 from 2 to 4 p.m. for those involved with administration of this year’s Personalized Alternate Assessment Portfolio (PAAP). Continue reading

Commissioner’s Update – November 13, 2014

From the Maine Department of Education

We know many readers look forward to our weekly Commissioner’s Update, specifically for the column from Commissioner Jim Rier, whose insight on education has come from nearly two decades in Augusta, first as a member of the State Board of Education and since 2003 here at the Department.

That’s why we wanted to let you know that Commissioner Rier is out indefinitely on leave, though he remains in close communication with us. The Commissioner is proud of the progress the Department has made to better support schools in preparing all Maine students for college and career success.

In his absence, Governor LePage has appointed Chief Academic Officer Rachelle Tome to serve as Acting Commissioner. Acting Commissioner Tome has been at Maine DOE for a decade, first as a School Improvement Specialist and most recently as Chief Academic Officer.

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Notices and Reporting

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News & Views

Districts reminded of importance of maintaining accurate student enrollment data in DC system

The Maine DOE is reminding districts of the importance of maintaining accurate student enrollment data in the new Direct Cert (DC) system due to its integration with State Infinite Campus. | More

Nominees sought for educators effectively engaging families

Nominations are now open for the 2015 Toyota Family Teacher of the Year Award, which will honor an exemplary teacher engaging families in education. | More

Guidance provided on preventing school laboratory incidents

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) recently released a safety bulletin based on three recent serious incidents where children were burned while observing school laboratory demonstrations involving flammable liquid methanol. | More

High school students invited to apply for research fellowships at MDI Biological Laboratory

The Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory is now accepting applications for exceptional high school students interested in a laboratory research experience at MDI Biological Laboratory in the summer of 2015. | More

Districts reminder of school food sale guidelines

As a reminder, all food sales to students in schools must meet the Smart Snacks Guidelines as determined by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). | More

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LATEST DOE Career/Project Opportunities

High school students invited to apply for research fellowships at MDI Biological Laboratory

The Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory is now accepting applications for exceptional high school students interested in a laboratory research experience at MDI Biological Laboratory in the summer of 2015.  Students must be nominated in order to apply.  MDI Biological Laboratory usually awards 10 high school fellowships each summer.

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