Category Archives: Science & Technology

Presidential recognition

Two Maine teachers are recipients of the prestigious Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. William O’Brien of Camden Hills Regional High School and Lisa McLellan of Windham High School will receive their awards at a Washington, D.C. event later this summer. These awardees teach 7th through 12th grade and were selected by a panel of distinguished scientists, mathematicians, and educators following an initial selection process done at the state level.

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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 104th Annual Commissioner’s Conference for Superintendents:

Dear Superintendents,

We look forward to working with you next week during the 104th Annual Commissioner’s Conference for Superintendents, scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. on Sunday, June 28 at Sunday River’s Jordan Hotel in Newry.

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Maine DOE honors finalists for excellence in mathematics and science teaching

Maine DOE recently honored two state finalists for the 2014 Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching Mathematics and Science (PAEMST) with a dinner held at the Maple Hill Farm Inn in Hallowell.  Shari Templeton, Maine DOE Science and Technology Specialist, and Michele Mailhot, Maine DOE Mathematics Specialist, planned the evening event honoring Lauree Gott, elementary science finalist (Veazie Community School) and Laura Stevens, Ph.D., elementary mathematics finalist (Dora L. Small School).

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Commissioner’s Update – April 16, 2015

From the Maine Department of Education

The Maine DOE is encouraging educators to attend the Fostering Financial Education in Maine Schools conference on May 1 at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor.

The conference, which is hosted by the Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy, is intended for educators, administrators and counselors who are interested in improving the financial capability of Maine students. The event will feature free financial education resources for K-12 and college-age students with a variety of workshops presented by classroom teachers and financial literacy experts.

As part of Maine DOE’s ongoing efforts to support financial education, the Department’s Social Studies Specialist Kristie Littlefield will be conducting a session.

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Notices and Reporting

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News & Views

Governor LePage supports SEALSfit Program, allocates $16,000 from contingency fund

Governor Paul R. LePage announced this month he is allocating $16,000 to the SEALSfit youth leadership program. | More

SAT irregularity reports due April 17

The College Board is reminding Test Center Supervisors at Maine schools that participated in the April 15 SAT School Day Administration and have their make-up date on April 29, that they must submit any irregularity reports to ETS by Friday, April 17. | More

2015 Educator Talent Pool recommendations due May 1

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

Department announces reporting requirement, resources to help Special Purpose Private Schools support pathways to proficiency

The Maine DOE is providing the state’s Special Purpose Private Schools (SPPS) with new resources so their students are better positioned on the pathway to proficiency. | More

Webinar to overview School Improvement Grant process for eligible schools

The Maine DOE has submitted its federal application for continued School Improvement Grant (SIG) funding. If approved for the sixth straight year, the Department would receive funding to distribute to help the state’s most struggling schools. | More

Maine DOE trains 28 districts in language of science

The Maine DOE ESL/Bilingual Programs recently provided training for 28 school districts in developing and using language effectively to make connections between science language and science concepts. | More

May 20 workshop to focus on supporting young children with autism

The Maine DOE is encouraging educators to attend a May 20 workshop entitled Language and Communication for Young Children with Autism. | More

 

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Maine DOE trains 28 districts in language of science

The Maine DOE ESL/Bilingual Programs recently provided training for 28 school districts in developing and using language effectively to make connections between science language and science concepts in the science classroom.

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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

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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.

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Commissioner’s Update – March 12, 2015

From the Maine Department of Education

Registration is now open for online Advanced Placement courses provided at no cost to the state’s public school students by the Maine Department of Education.

As part of its commitment to providing digital learning opportunities to all Maine students, the Department’s AP4ALL program allows all publicly funded high school students access to the year-long online Advanced Placement courses and covers the cost of associated books and materials.

The courses can help prepare students to take AP exams, which many post-secondary institutions including those in the University of Maine System and the Maine Community College System typically offer college credit for.

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Notices and Reporting

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News & Views

Preliminary FY 2016 State subsidy printouts updated for Adult Ed actual counts

The Department has updated FY16 (2015-16 school year) preliminary State subsidy printouts, known as ED 279s, to reflect newly reported Adult Education actual counts. | More

Maine DOE posts test security materials

The Maine DOE is reminding administrators of the new online Maine Educational Assessment (MEA) for Mathematics and English Language Arts/Literacy developed by Smarter Balanced that any unusual events that occur during the March 16-May 29 testing window must be documented. | More

Maine DOE provides proficiency-based IEP goals writing workshop

The Maine DOE Office of Special Services is offering free trainings throughout the state in April to support school districts in writing proficiency-based Individualized Education Program (IEP) goals. | More

Maine DOE to apply for School Improvement Grant funding, seeks public comment on related waiver

The Maine DOE will again apply for federal School Improvement Grant funding that the Department would distribute to help the state’s most struggling schools close achievement gaps. | More

Maine DOE invites schools to Maine Emergency Preparedness Conference

The Department is encouraging Maine schools to attend the free 2015 Maine Partners in Emergency Preparedness Conference next month in Augusta. The conference will include an all-day track on Tuesday, April 21 focusing on school security and safety. | More

Maine DOE shares federal guidance on effectively communicating with students with disabilities

The Maine DOE is encouraging districts to review new guidance from the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights and the U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services regarding how to more effectively communicate with public schools students with hearing, vision or speech disabilities. | More

Bonny Eagle, Baxter Academy robotics team win big at out-of-state contests

Robotics teams from Bonny Eagle High School and Baxter Academy for Technology and Science have brought big awards back to Maine. The two teams will join dozens of other top robotics teams from across the Northeast to complete in the Pine Tree District competition that opens today in Lewiston. | More

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Bonny Eagle, Baxter Academy robotics teams win big at out-of-state contests

Robotics teams from Bonny Eagle High School and Baxter Academy for Technology and Science have brought big awards back to Maine. Continue reading

Commissioner’s Update – March 5, 2015

From the Maine Department of Education

With the window for giving the new online Maine Educational Assessment (MEA) for Mathematics and English Language Arts/Literacy developed by Smarter Balanced opening in less than two weeks, we want to make sure you have the resources you need to feel prepared for a successful test administration.

On our assessment website, you can find an extensive library of administration materials. With so many supports available, we wanted to draw your attention to a few including:

  • The Online Test Administration Manual, which includes information on the rules of online testing and ensuring security, testing time and recommended order of administration, establishing appropriate testing conditions, tasks to complete prior to testing, details of the actual testing administration, scripts for Test Administrators, and how to respond to any testing improprieties, irregularities and/or breaches.
  • Our Frequently Asked Questions, which provide answers to common queries on topics like roles for testing, participation requirements, paper-pencil vs. computer-adaptive testing, accessibility and much more.
  • A guide specifically outlining supports for English learners as well as the test directions translated into 17 different languages.

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Notices and Reporting

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News & Views

UMPI and MSSM partner to help high school students earn associate degrees

PRESQUE ISLE — Beginning this fall, students attending the Maine School of Science and Mathematics will be able to take advantage of the most comprehensive early-college pathway in Maine. | More

Department releases updated IEP Procedural Manual

The Maine DOE has released an updated Maine State Individualized Education Program (IEP) Procedural Manual which can be found here on its website. | More

Save the date for Maine DOE special services webinar

The Maine DOE Office of Special Services is encouraging special education administrators to save the date for the Department’s upcoming annual training on the Local Entitlement Application.  | More

Department continues to seek feedback on ESEA waiver in advance of renewal

In preparation for Maine’s application for a renewal of its existing ESEA waiver, the Department continues to seek feedback on how the State’s current accountability and improvement system is serving Maine’s students and schools. | More

Alternate assessment registration continues

Registration remains underway for the National Center and State Collaborative Alternate Assessment (NCSC) that will be used to assess students with the most significant cognitive disabilities in mathematics and English language arts. | More

Applications open for Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program

Applications are now being accepted to participate in the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) in the 2015-16 school year. | More

Professional standards released for food service staff

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has released a final rule establishing national professional standards for all school nutrition employees. | More

Maine students to compete in state poetry finals next Wednesday

The 10 Maine students who will compete next week in the 2015 Maine State Finals for Poetry Out Loud – a National Poetry Recitation Contest – have been named. | More

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