Category Archives: Science & Technology

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

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.

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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

More Dispatches | Press Releases | From the Commissioner


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

More Dispatches | Press Releases | From the Commissioner


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