Category Archives: Science & Technology

Commissioner’s Update – February 26, 2015

From the Maine Department of Education

Earlier this week, the Department reached out to Maine educators to detail our efforts to better support the continued quality and manageable implementation of key initiatives that will improve teaching and learning in Maine, including the administration of new assessments, educator evaluation and the awarding of proficiency-based diplomas.

To reiterate, as part of our ongoing efforts to support meaningful implementation of new systems that improve the college and career readiness of Maine students, the Department is committed to:

  • Providing $4 million to support districts with proficiency-based diploma transition costs
  • Increasing training and assistance to ensure success of new online assessment
  • Not issuing A-F school report cards in 2015 but resuming doing so in 2016
  • Keeping the field apprised of legislation that could extend PEPG system pilots another year
  • Providing $5 million for professional development to support local evaluation system development

The Department hopes this increased funding and flexibility helps to alleviate anxiety in the field so educators can focus on what is most important: helping all Maine students reach their full potential.

Continue reading


Notices and Reporting

More Notices | Administrative Letters | Reporting Calendar


News & Views

Acting Education Commissioner to visit Baxter Academy Friday

Maine’s Acting Education Commissioner Tom Desjardin will visit the Baxter Academy for Technology & Science on Friday to see how the innovative new public school is engaging its students through hands-on group learning. The visit marks the first time a sitting education commissioner has toured a Maine public charter school. | More

Maine DOE reminds schools of roof snow load hazard

The Maine DOE is reminding districts that the heavy snowfall this winter may be straining school roofs. | More

MEA Science Alternate (PAAP) registration ends March 1

Registration for this year’s Personalized Alternate Assessment Portfolio (PAAP) closes this Sunday, March 1 at 5 p.m.  | More

Registration underway for alternate assessment for math, ELA

Registrations are currently being collected from special educations directors by the Maine DOE for the National Center and State Collaborative Alternate Assessment (NCSC) that will be used to assess mathematics and English language arts. | More

Maine DOE seeks Visual and Performing Arts Specialist

The Maine DOE is seeking applicants to fill the position of Visual and Performing Arts Specialist. | More

Department offers special services related guidance

The Maine DOE’s Office of Special Services is reminding all contracted service providers who provide services to children that they must undergo a Criminal History Record Check. This includes transportation providers such as cab drivers. | More

Maine DOE shares guidance related to NCAA student eligibility

The Maine DOE is offering guidance to Maine schools related to the expectations of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) for courses. | More

Comments sought on Maine’s IDEA Part B application

The Maine DOE is seeking comments from the public on its annual application for federal funds under Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which covers services for preschool- and school-age children with disabilities. | More

More Dispatches | Press Releases | From the Commissioner


LATEST DOE Career/Project Opportunities

Acting Education Commissioner to visit Baxter Academy Friday

The visit marks the first by a Maine Education Commissioner to one of the state’s six new public charter schools

PORTLAND – Maine’s Acting Education Commissioner Tom Desjardin will visit the Baxter Academy for Technology & Science on Friday to see how the innovative new public school is engaging its students through hands-on group learning.

The visit marks the first time a sitting education commissioner has toured a Maine public charter school since Governor Paul R. LePage signed legislation making Maine the 41st state to allow public charters and expanded the opportunity Maine students have to attend the school that is in their best interest. Continue reading

MEA Science Alternate (PAAP) registration ends March 1

Registration for this year’s Personalized Alternate Assessment Portfolio (PAAP) closes this Sunday, March 1 at 5 p.m.

Continue reading

RFP issued for 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program

The Maine DOE has issued a request for proposals seeking bids to establish or extend 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLC) in 2015-2016.

Continue reading

Inaugural Maine Science Festival scheduled for March 20-22 in Bangor

Maine educators, students and families are invited to attend the first annual Maine Science Festival in Bangor this March 20-22. Continue reading

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.

Continue reading


Notices and Reporting

More Notices | Administrative Letters | Reporting Calendar


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

More Dispatches | Press Releases | From the Commissioner


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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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

More Notices | Administrative Letters | Reporting Calendar


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

More Dispatches | Press Releases | From the Commissioner


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.

Continue reading