Category Archives: Social Studies

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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All students, all standards but different demonstrations of proficiency

As Maine moves toward a proficiency-based education system that will ensure students graduate from our high schools having mastered State learning standards, I am often asked what this expectation means for our nearly 30,000 students with disabilities.

A free appropriate public education must include support to allow students with disabilities to achieve the same high standards as other students.

I – like all of my colleagues at the Department and so many of you – believe that Maine students with disabilities deserve to graduate knowing that they have the knowledge and skills needed for future success. And I am confident that they can, even if their path toward proficiency sometimes looks different than that of their classmates. After all, in the true learner-centered system envisioned in Maine’s Education Evolving strategic plan, all students are active participants in and directors of their own learning, taking a meaningful role in planning learning activities and being allowed to choose the manner by which they display proficiency, whether it be a final exam, paper, project or other demonstration.

Maine law states that a diploma may be awarded to a child with a disability if that child achieves proficiency in the same standards as required of other children “as specified by the goals and objectives of the child’s individualized education plan.” The Department has always interpreted that language to mean that an IEP team may modify the means by which a student with a disability demonstrates proficiency in the standards and reflect that on the student’s IEP but they may not modify the standards themselves, which are codified in Department rule.

The federal Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services (OSERS) and the U.S. Department of Education recently affirmed that, issuing a letter to the State of Louisiana in which they expressed significant concern about that state’s recently enacted law permitting IEP teams to change and lower the expectations for students with disabilities. The position set forth in their letter supports our Department’s own: to qualify for a diploma a student with disabilities must meet the same level of proficiency in the same standards as students without disabilities; however, the manner in which they demonstrate their eligibility for a diploma may differ.

Our Department means it when we say “all standards, all students.” And we are backing up that commitment by providing resources to support your local efforts including free coaching and tools.

For more information or technical assistance in supporting all students, please contact Maine DOE’s Director of Special Services Jan Breton at janice.breton@maine.gov or 624-6713. For more information about the proficiency-based diploma requirement and related resources, visit Getting to Proficiency: Graduating Every Student Prepared.

Smarter Balanced Digital Library surpasses 2K item mark, workshops offered

The Maine DOE is pleased to announce the Smarter Balanced Digital Library, a collection of vetted instructional, assessment and professional development resources, currently contains more than 2,000 resources, including each grade level, K-12, in the content areas of mathematics and English language arts.

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Maine DOE releases social studies webinar highlighting inquiry-based resources

The Maine DOE has created a free webinar to help educators better understand where Maine students are when it comes to developing evidence-based arguments and how to support them in improving those skills. The webinar is the latest in a series of school improvement webinars developed by the Department to support Maine schools based on needs identified from statewide student performance data.

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Department provides answers to proficiency FAQs

As the Class of 2018 enters its first year of secondary school, school leaders are thinking deeply and asking questions about what it means to award a proficiency-based diploma after Jan. 1, 2018. In 2012, Maine enacted landmark legislation making high school graduation starting in 2018 dependent upon the following four requirements:

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Civic observances for Maine schools in September

Four observances and recognition days that provide important civic learning opportunities occur in September, one of them required by federal law. They include:

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SAUs invited to apply for coaching and evidence-based practice PD

Creating standards-based Individualized Education Programs (IEP) was the first step; implementing those plans is next.

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Smarter Balanced digital library of formative assessment tools passes 1K item mark

Members of Maine’s Digital Library State Network of Educators were among 80 educators from the Smarter Balanced participating states that convened July 14-17 for a marathon work session to review and evaluate resources submitted to the Digital Library. Marilyn Joyce of Brewer and  Sandra Cookson of RSU 87 along with Maine DOE specialist Morgan Dunton were on hand as the Digital Library count passed 1,000  items and kept climbing.

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Maine DOE hosts webinar on proficiency-based diplomas readiness

In response to requests, the Department is offering a webinar titled Proficiency-Based Diplomas: Extension or Confirmation on the morning of September 5 from 9-10:00.

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PEPG resources for principals

The following Priority Notice was distributed to superintendents on Tuesday, August 19.
Dear Superintendents,

As part of ongoing efforts to support school administrative units in ensuring that teachers are led by highly effective building administrators, I am pleased to announce the release of the Maine DOE Principal Performance Evaluation and Professional Growth (PEPG) Model.

The Department has adopted as a State Principal PEPG Model the Administrator Evaluation Framework, which was prepared by the Auburn School Department in collaboration with the Department and the Maine Principals’ Association.

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