Category Archives: Operations

Commissioner’s Update – March 26, 2015

From the Maine Department of Education

The Maine DOE is partnering with Common Sense Media to provide free workshops throughout the state this spring to help educators harness the positive power of technology.

Learning how to use media and technology wisely and safely is an essential skill for life and learning in the 21st century. The two workshops offered through the Department’s Maine Learning Technology Initiative will help educators guide students to think critically, act responsibly and interact positively in the digital world and to discover high quality resources. The hands-on sessions will be led by Common Sense Media experts and contact hours will be issued.

Skills To Help You Discover, Use, and Share Great Digital Tools for Learning Through Graphite will help educators use Graphite, a free service by Common Sense Media, to discover high quality apps, websites and games for students; evaluate the learning potential of these tools; curate tools into useful collections; innovate by reimagining lessons to seamlessly weave in technology using a framework called App Flows; and collaborate with other teachers by sharing best practices for using digital tools in the classroom.

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Notices and Reporting

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News & Views

Maine DOE reminds schools of SAT registration deadline

The Maine DOE is reminding schools of the April 1 deadline for registering students for the upcoming school day administration of the SAT. | More

Department provides guidance on use of IEPs in educator effectiveness benchmarks

The Maine DOE is offering guidance about the use of Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) in establishing educator effectiveness benchmarks as a result of recent rule changes. | More

Maine DOE developing preschool health screening resources

Maine DOE is planning to provide guidance and support by late spring to assist school nurses in conducting health, hearing and vision screening of four-year-olds entering public preschool programs in the 2015-16 school year. | More

Maine DOE invites educators to Summer Literacy Institute

The Maine DOE is encouraging teams of educators to attend its 2015 Summer Literacy Institute. | More

Maine FFA students participate in State House ag day

Maine FFA (formerly known as “Future Farmers of America”) student State Officers participated in Maine Agriculture Day at the State House earlier this month. | More

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LATEST DOE Career/Project Opportunities

Maine DOE developing preschool health screening resources

Maine DOE is planning to provide guidance and support by late spring to assist school nurses in conducting health, hearing and vision screening of four-year-olds entering public preschool programs in the 2015-16 school year.

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Commissioner’s Update – March 19, 2015

From Acting Education Commissioner Tom Desjardin

This week, thousands of Maine students began the Maine Educational Assessment (MEA) for Mathematics and English Language Arts/Literacy developed by Smarter Balanced. More than a decade after we began putting technology in the hands of Maine students and teachers to support their 21st century learning and teaching, our state is finally using this familiar environment to assess what students know and are able to do.

From what you’ve told us, the first week of online testing has been a success. In the words of one district: “So far. So good.” Schools reported no major problems and expressed appreciation that our Department’s staff had quick answers to any questions asked. 

I’m glad things are getting off to such a good start because I believe in the incredible potential of this new online assessment and I know how hard so many of you are working to see that potential fully realized. On behalf of Maine students, thank you.

Unlike the bubble tests of the past, this new assessment measures higher-order thinking and how students actually apply the skills they should be learning and need for 21 century college and career success. Its adaptive abilities – meaning questions and their difficulty are adjusted based on a participant’s previous answers  –  helps teachers better help their students by more accurately pinpointing individual student strengths and weaknesses. Results, available in weeks rather than months, more quickly inform instruction and interventions. Universal tools, accommodations and designated supports like the ability to highlight or have the text read aloud, are available thanks to the online delivery. These integrated features alleviate test-taking anxiety and better support the unique needs of each student, especially those with disabilities. And the lengthened 11-week test window gives schools more administration flexibility and creates less stress for students, even though the assessment actually requires significantly fewer hours to administer than the NECAP.

That said, the administration of this new assessment won’t be perfect.

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Notices and Reporting

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News & Views

Maine DOE overviews updated educator evaluation expectations

Maine’s educator evaluation expectations have changed as a result of legislative action initiated by the Department to ensure the state could maintain flexibility from burdensome federal requirements. A summary of changes to Title 20-A and Rule Chapter 180 as a result of the enactment of LD 692 and the expected enactment of LD 38, are outlined here. | More

Department provides resources in advance of science assessment opening on May 4

The Maine DOE is sharing resources with schools to support their preparations for the annual statewide science assessment, which will run May 4-22. | More

Maine schools selected for personalized learning initiative

Twenty New England public schools in the League of Innovative Schools including five from Maine have been selected by the New England Secondary School Consortium and the Great Schools Partnership to participate in a new initiative. | More

Maine DOE offers resources for increasing rigor in science education

Science researchers and educators from Maine and across the country convened in Chicago last week to share tools and discuss policy to support effective science instruction. | More

Department provides support to ESEA monitor schools through webinar

The Maine DOE has posted a new webinar intended to provide support and guidance to Maine districts with schools recently given “monitor” status under the state’s federally required accountability system. | More

Regional meetings scheduled on improving school attendance

Promoting school attendance is the agenda for two regional meetings this month sponsored by Count ME In. | More

Maine Department of Labor offers technical assistance to support youth employment

The Maine Department of Labor (DOL) is offering increased assistance around youth employment. | More

More Dispatches | Press Releases | From the Commissioner


LATEST DOE Career/Project Opportunities

Maine schools selected for personalized learning initiative

Twenty New England public schools in the League of Innovative Schools including five from Maine have been selected by the New England Secondary School Consortium and the Great Schools Partnership to participate in a new initiative that will help them develop personalized learning experiences that address the distinct learning needs, interests and aspirations of individual students. The initiative’s goal is to help the schools remodel their academic programs to ensure that every graduate is prepared to succeed in postsecondary education, modern workplaces and adult life.

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Regional meetings scheduled on improving school attendance

Promoting school attendance is the agenda for two regional meetings this month sponsored by Count ME In.

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Maine Department of Labor offers technical assistance to support youth employment

The Maine Department of Labor (DOL) is offering increased assistance around youth employment.

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Commissioner’s Update – March 12, 2015

From the Maine Department of Education

Registration is now open for online Advanced Placement courses provided at no cost to the state’s public school students by the Maine Department of Education.

As part of its commitment to providing digital learning opportunities to all Maine students, the Department’s AP4ALL program allows all publicly funded high school students access to the year-long online Advanced Placement courses and covers the cost of associated books and materials.

The courses can help prepare students to take AP exams, which many post-secondary institutions including those in the University of Maine System and the Maine Community College System typically offer college credit for.

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Notices and Reporting

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News & Views

Preliminary FY 2016 State subsidy printouts updated for Adult Ed actual counts

The Department has updated FY16 (2015-16 school year) preliminary State subsidy printouts, known as ED 279s, to reflect newly reported Adult Education actual counts. | More

Maine DOE posts test security materials

The Maine DOE is reminding administrators of the new online Maine Educational Assessment (MEA) for Mathematics and English Language Arts/Literacy developed by Smarter Balanced that any unusual events that occur during the March 16-May 29 testing window must be documented. | More

Maine DOE provides proficiency-based IEP goals writing workshop

The Maine DOE Office of Special Services is offering free trainings throughout the state in April to support school districts in writing proficiency-based Individualized Education Program (IEP) goals. | More

Maine DOE to apply for School Improvement Grant funding, seeks public comment on related waiver

The Maine DOE will again apply for federal School Improvement Grant funding that the Department would distribute to help the state’s most struggling schools close achievement gaps. | More

Maine DOE invites schools to Maine Emergency Preparedness Conference

The Department is encouraging Maine schools to attend the free 2015 Maine Partners in Emergency Preparedness Conference next month in Augusta. The conference will include an all-day track on Tuesday, April 21 focusing on school security and safety. | More

Maine DOE shares federal guidance on effectively communicating with students with disabilities

The Maine DOE is encouraging districts to review new guidance from the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights and the U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services regarding how to more effectively communicate with public schools students with hearing, vision or speech disabilities. | More

Bonny Eagle, Baxter Academy robotics team win big at out-of-state contests

Robotics teams from Bonny Eagle High School and Baxter Academy for Technology and Science have brought big awards back to Maine. The two teams will join dozens of other top robotics teams from across the Northeast to complete in the Pine Tree District competition that opens today in Lewiston. | More

More Dispatches | Press Releases | From the Commissioner


LATEST DOE Career/Project Opportunities

Maine DOE posts test security materials

The Maine DOE is reminding administrators of the new online Maine Educational Assessment (MEA) for Mathematics and English Language Arts/Literacy developed by Smarter Balanced that any unusual events that occur during the March 16-May 29 testing window must be documented.

Continue reading

Preliminary FY 2016 State subsidy printouts updated for Adult Ed actual counts

The Department has updated FY16 (2015-16 school year) preliminary State subsidy printouts, known as ED 279s, to reflect newly reported Adult Education actual counts.

Continue reading

Maine DOE invites schools to Maine Emergency Preparedness Conference

The Department is encouraging Maine schools to attend the free 2015 Maine Partners in Emergency Preparedness Conference next month in Augusta.

Continue reading