Category Archives: Science & Technology

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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Guidance provided on preventing school laboratory incidents

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) recently released a safety bulletin, Key Lessons for Preventing Incidents from Flammable Chemicals in Educational Demonstrations, based on three recent serious incidents in Nevada, Colorado and Illinois where children were burned while observing school laboratory demonstrations involving flammable liquid methanol.

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Commissioner’s Update – November 6, 2014

From Maine Education Commissioner Jim Rier

Career and technical education (CTE) plays a critical role in strengthening the college and career readiness of our students and the economic future of our state.

At 27 centers across Maine, CTE educators are engaging and exciting our students with relevant, hands-on learning experiences. Through rigorous, standards-based programming that always has the student and their post-secondary goals at the center, these important teachers are helping students develop the academic and technical skills they’ll need for success in the 21st century. Like all Maine educators, they deserve our thanks for inspiring students and helping them to realize their potential.

In particular, I’d like to recognize Stanley Sluzenski and Suzanne M. Hall, two excellent educators who reflect the professionalism and commitment to students that is necessary and now commonplace in our CTE centers.

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Notices and Reporting

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News & Views

MEA science testing window extended, will better accommodate AP students

The science portion of the Maine Educational Assessment (MEA) will be administered to all students in grades five and eight and to those in their third year of high school during a three-week window from May 4 to May 22. | More

Revised National Board certification process for teachers

Over the years Maine has built an important cohort of National Board certified educators. Created for teachers, by teachers, National Board Certification is a voluntary, performance-based, peer-review process. | More

Resource available for elementary school principals

The National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) has released a new resource for elementary school principals. | More

Maine DOE provides PD program for arts educators

The Maine DOE is inviting arts educators to participate in a professional development program. | More

Maine DOE offers HIV prevention educator trainings

Two HIV prevention educator trainings are scheduled in December as a result of funding provided by the passage of LD1699. | More

Maine Integrated Youth Health Survey registration open

The Maine DOE, in collaboration with the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, is encouraging public schools to register for the 2015 Maine Integrated Youth Health Survey (MIYHS). | More

District academic staff evaluation survey data due

The new Maine DOE NEO EDFacts School Academic Staff Evaluation Survey (formerly the MEDMS Educator Quality and Effectiveness EQE survey) is scheduled for initial rollout. | More

Department school nutrition team provides reminders to districts

Numbers in the National School Lunch Program are collected every November when a district files its October claim information. | More

Maine DOE learning technology staff attend SETDA leadership summit

Members of the Maine DOE Learning Through Technology Team recently returned from the annual State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) leadership summit. | More

Native American history and culture essay contest call for entries

In an effort to enhance Maine Native American Studies lessons, the Secretary of State is sponsoring an essay contest. | More

Register for Schools, Technology and the Law seminar to be held Nov. 14

Registration is open for “Schools, Technology and the Law” seminar hosted by Drummond Woodsum at the Augusta Civic Center on Nov. 14. | More

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LATEST DOE Career/Project Opportunities

Input sought for teacher shortage areas

The Maine DOE has been notified of the requirement to submit Maine teacher shortage areas by Dec. 11 for designation by the U.S. Department of Education (U.S. DOE) for the 2015-2016 school year.  The U.S. DOE annually designates teacher shortage areas for purposes of deferment of loan repayments or reductions of teaching obligation under the following student loan programs:  Continue reading

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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