Category Archives: High School

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 with more than 100 participants from across the state at a recent seminar hosted by legal firm Drummond Woodsum in partnership with the Maine School Management Association.

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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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Education Commissioner to visit Bangor schools Thursday

Commissioner Jim Rier will see how the high achieving district is working toward graduating students with proficiency-based diplomas starting in 2019

BANGOR – 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.

Commissioner Jim Rier will be in Bangor to tour Vine Street School (preK-3), William S. Cohen School (grades 6-8) and Bangor High School with Bangor School Department Superintendent Betsy Webb.

Bangor schools are among the state’s highest achieving and proficiency levels are well above the state average at the middle and high schools that Governor Paul R. LePage’s Education Commissioner will visit. Both schools earned a B on the report cards released by the Maine Department of Education last spring.   Continue reading

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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Notice of proposed rule changes: Chapter 101, Maine Unified Special Education Regulation Birth to Age Twenty

The Maine DOE is proposing changes this fall to the rules regarding the provision of child find, early intervention services, and special education and related services to eligible children with disabilities age birth to 20.

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Regional school calendars due April 14

School administrative units (SAUs) and private schools approved for tuition purposes are expected to establish regional school calendars in coordination with their local secondary career and technical education school by April 14.

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MPBN seeks students for Junior Broadcaster Board

The Maine Public Broadcasting Network recently announced the formation of the MPBN Junior Broadcaster Board to be made up of Maine high school sophomore and junior students. Slated to launch in February, MPBN is accepting applications to join the board through Nov. 15.

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Superintendents surveyed on use of instructional coaches

The following Priority Notice requesting participation in a survey on the use of instructional coaches was distributed to all Maine superintendents on Wednesday, Oct. 8.

Dear Superintendents,

As you know, the Maine DOE is committed to ensuring that every learner has the opportunity to be successful. Part of that is ensuring our schools have the resources they need to best support all of their students, including those who are economically disadvantaged.   Continue reading

Guidance to Maine schools on EV-D68

The following guidance on Enterovirus D68 from the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention was distributed by the Maine DOE to all Maine school nurses on Friday, Oct. 3.

Each year, millions of people become ill due to respiratory illnesses. Some of the more common respiratory illnesses in schools may include influenza, pertussis and the common cold. The common cold can be caused by many viruses including enteroviruses, one strain of which (EV-D68) is responsible for several outbreaks in the United States in 2014, including one recent case here in Maine. Schools should be aware of these illnesses, how to prevent them and what is reportable. Continue reading

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.