Category Archives: Elementary School

Special rates for Maine teachers at National Council for the Social Studies conference

The National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) will host the nation’s largest and most comprehensive social studies professional development conference at its 2014 Annual Conference in Boston, November 21-23.

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Maine DOE seeking online panel members to set achievement levels

As a governing state in the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, Maine continues to support the efforts to develop a rigorous assessment system that will become operational in the 2014-15 school year. As part of those efforts, the Maine DOE is seeking qualified educators, administrators, parents and business/community leaders to participate in an online process to recommend cut scores for achievement levels on Smarter Balanced developed assessments.

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American Institutes for Research selected to administer Smarter Balanced assessments

The following Priority Notice was distributed to educators on Monday, July 7.

Dear Educators,

Earlier this year, the Department made clear our commitment to rigorous standards and aligned assessments. To that end, I wanted to let you know we have just selected the American Institutes for Research (AIR) to administer our Smarter Balanced aligned State assessments in grades 3-8 and grade 11 for the 2014-15 school year.

AIR was chosen through a competitive process and we are confident their selection is best for Maine students and educators. Because they were the vendor that delivered the Smarter Balanced field test that many of your schools participated in this spring, their assessment engine and experience will be familiar to tens of thousands of Maine students and educators when it is first used statewide for State and federal accountability purposes in the spring of 2015.

AIR’s package includes summative and interim assessments for grades 3-8 and grade 11. Additionally, through our one-year contract with them, we will be able to provide high schools the option of utilizing interim and formative assessments for grades 9 and 10, though doing so of course remains entirely a local decision. The optional assessments will be provided at no cost to districts.

As you likely know, since 2007 Maine has used the SAT for State and federal accountability at the high school level and required all third-year students to participate. As the Department has previously communicated, the Smarter Balanced aligned assessment to be administered next year by AIR will replace the SAT as the mandatory grade 11 measure in math, critical reading and writing. That said, we know many high school students and families have appreciated that the State offered a free college readiness exam and it is our intention to again make one available in 2014-15, though certainly taking it would not be mandatory. We are currently exploring the best options for Maine students and schools, and will send out a priority notice as soon as decisions have been made.

We greatly value our relationship with our previous assessment administrator, Measured Progress, which will continue to provide our State science assessment and alternate, as well as our system for accountability reporting to the U.S. Department of Education. And we look forward to developing our new partnership with AIR in the year ahead as together with your help, we implement a fair, accurate and comprehensive assessment system that better provides parents and educators the information they need to help all Maine kids be college and career ready when they leave our schools.

If you have questions about the changes in our assessment program or would like technical assistance, please contact our Chief Academic Officer Rachelle Tome at rachelle.tome@maine.gov or 207-624-6705 or our Assessment Coordinator Sue Fossett at susan.fossett@maine.gov or 207-624-6775.

Sincerely,

Jim Rier, Commissioner
Maine Department of Education

Maine DOE adopts rules for suicide awareness and prevention

Rule Chapter 38:  Suicide Awareness and Prevention in Maine Public Schools has been finally adopted by the Department of Education and took effect June 29, 2014.

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Commissioner’s Conference focuses on Proficiency-Based Diplomas and Educator Effectiveness

In closing comments of the 103rd Annual Commissioner’s Conference for Superintendents, Education Commissioner Jim Rier applauded attendees for their attention and participation in the general and break-out sessions during the 3-day event. The Department collaborated with Maine School Management Association in planning the conference, which was designed to provide superintendents and other district administrators with guidance, technical assistance and practical tools to use in implementing recently-passed legislation.

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Maine Commission for Community Service presents AmeriCorps webinar

Registration is now open for an informational webinar introducing AmeriCorps program basics and the various types of grants available during the major triennial AmeriCorps State program grant competition that will take place this Fall and Winter.

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Notice of intent for 6 charter school proposals received

Six groups informed the Maine Charter School Commission (MCSC) that they plan to submit applications to open public charter schools in Maine.  All of the groups hope to open a school in the fall of 2015.

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Governor LePage announces $11.3 million to support at-risk students

The Governor announced the awards from the Maine Department of Education at the Reiche School in Portland alongside the CEO of LearningWorks, one of 15 grantees who will establish or continue 32 community learning centers that provide students extended learning services

PORTLAND – Governor Paul R. LePage announced today that the Maine Department of Education is giving out $11.3 million over the next five years to support extended learning opportunities for at-risk students.

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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 103rd Annual Commissioner’s Conference for Superintendents:

Dear Superintendents,

We look forward to working with you next week during the 103rd Annual Commissioner’s Conference for Superintendents, scheduled to begin at noon on Monday, June 23 at Point Lookout in Northport. Continue reading

National Core Arts Standards (NCCAS) released

The National Coalition for Core Arts Standards (NCCAS) has released the final version of its voluntary national standards in dance, media arts, music, theater and visual arts.

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