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. Continue reading
The following reminder was sent via Priority Notice to all Maine superintendents on Friday, Oct. 17.
I am writing to remind you to please complete two surveys that will greatly inform the work of the Commission to Strengthen the Adequacy and Equity of Certain Cost Components of the School Funding Formula, established by the Maine Legislature earlier this year.
In partnership with the Maine Education Policy Research Institute (MEPRI), the Department is compiling information for the Commission about the current use of instructional coaches and the physical space, facility capacity and operations of districts as it relates to existing and expanding preschool programs. Because the Commission begins meeting this coming Monday, I encourage you to submit your responses today, though surveys completed after this deadline will be provided to the Commission for consideration at its future meetings. Continue reading
Schools in Maine and across the nation are recognizing National School Bus Safety Week, Oct. 20 through 24. During the same week, schools will acknowledge the importance of bus drivers to a student’s education with Bus Driver Appreciation Day.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency will again make funds available for the School Bus Replacements Rebate Program beginning this fall. This is the second time the EPA will open the Diesel Emission Reduction Act School Bus Replacement Funding opportunity.
Maine Unified Special Education Regulations (MUSER) §VI.2.L state that “[i]t is the full expectation that children eligible under this Chapter will attend school the equivalent amount of time per day as children without disabilities in the same school and/or program.” MUSER §VI.2.L also provides that an abbreviated school day (defined at MUSER §II.1 as “any day that a child eligible under this chapter attends school or receives educational services for less time than age/grade peers without disabilities within the same school and/or school program”) can only be initiated based upon a child’s individual educational or medical needs.
Next week, I have the honor of speaking about school security at the Maine Partners in Emergency Preparedness Conference. I am excited to share all the advancements we’ve made here in recent years to strengthen the safety and security of our schools, especially since the shootings at Sandy Hook.
Most notably, thanks to two security reports commissioned by the Legislature and our Department and produced by Safe Havens International and PDT Architects, Maine schools now better understand their vulnerabilities and opportunities to better ensure student and staff safety.
Knowing how important this work is can often make it daunting for districts and schools boards to figure out where to best begin. That’s why as a follow-up to those assessments and in partnership with Safe Havens International, we are pleased to provide a free school security guide entitled 20 Simple Strategies to Safer and More Effective Schools.
School bus drivers throughout Maine will participate in regional road-e-o competitions starting this month.
The competitions encourage driving excellence and are designed to test and increase operational and safety skills for participants. Top drivers at each regional road-e-o move on to compete at the state-level competition.
The Maine DOE recently issued guidance regarding the provision of transportation to special education students. In response to questions we’ve received as a result of that dispatch, the Department wishes to provide additional clarity. Continue reading
Our Special Services team members are often asked under what circumstances and in what way does transportation appear in a student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP). Continue reading
Grants are now available to Maine schools through the Maine Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program, a federally-funded partnership of the Maine Department of Transportation, the Bicycle Coalition of Maine and communities throughout the state working to improve bicycle and pedestrian safety and encourage more students to walk and bike to school. Continue reading