Category Archives: Transportation

Maine DOE announces school transportation software that’s going places

A new and important release of Transfinder school transportation software is scheduled for June 20, 2015. Transfinder Routefinder Pro Version 12.0 is the largest release in the 27-year history of Transfinder, including nearly 40 new features and over 100 enhancements.  For example, simultaneous school routing allowing multiple users to route for the same school at the same time, every grid includes a map allowing users to see the grid and the map at the same time, and much more that is user friendly and requires less clicks. The update is free to Maine public school districts. School districts that now use Transfinder are expected to see the change occur by late June.

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Commissioner’s Update – April 9, 2015

From the Maine Department of Education

AUGUSTA – Maine’s high school graduation rate has hit an all-time high, as has the percentage of students who are either economically disadvantaged or have a disability and are earning their diploma in four years.

According to newly released data from the Maine Department of Education, 86.48 percent of the students who entered the ninth grade in the fall of 2010 graduated on time in 2014. That’s up just slightly from 86.36 percent in 2013 and well above the 80.3 percent graduation rate reached in 2009-2010 when the current calculation method was introduced.

In announcing the rising rate, Maine’s Acting Education Commissioner Tom Desjardin said he is especially encouraged to see the state make such progress in narrowing achievement gaps though he urged more work must be done.

“All children can learn and deserve equal opportunity to do so in our schools,” Desjardin said. “I want to thank Maine’s educators for their hard work in supporting an increasing number of historically academically disadvantaged students find success. Moving forward, we must continue to improve both our graduation rate and the value of the diplomas awarded by our schools so that every student leaves with the foundation they need to achieve their full potential.”

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Notices and Reporting

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News & Views

Maine student artwork selected for MLTI screensavers

Twenty-one student artists will have an audience of more than 70,000 students and educators for their artwork starting this fall. | More

Maine DOE releases online public preschool application

The Maine DOE has created a new online application form that will make it easier for districts to apply for State approval of new or expanding public preschool programs. | More

Maine DOE seeks surrogate parents to support students with disabilities

The Maine DOE is seeking volunteers to serve as surrogate parents for children with disabilities in educational matters. | More

Maine DOE helps expand internet access in rural Washington County

Maine DOE’s Learning Through Technology Team was in Washington County last week to lend its support for the “Check-out the Internet” event at Cherryfield Free Public Library. | More

Department offers webinars in advance of ELL assessment

The Maine DOE is providing two webinars this spring to assist schools as they prepare for the 2015-16 administration of the computer-based English language proficiency assessment, ACCESS for ELLs 2.0. | More

Migrant Education Program’s Blueberry Harvest School wins state environmental award

The Blueberry Harvest School has been named the winner of the Maine Environmental Education Association Excellence in Environmental Education Program Award. | More

Maine team drives away champions of national bus roadeo

Lisa Gadway and Gregg McGoff from the Fairfield-based MSAD 49 recently earned first place for their performance in the 18th Annual National Special Needs Team Safety Roadeo. | More

April 13 webinar overviews federal student privacy laws

The Maine DOE is encouraging district staff to review the Privacy Technical Assistance Center’s latest guidance document: Protecting Student Privacy While Using Online Educational Services: Model Terms of Service during a webinar on Monday, April 13. | More

Maine DOE provides nutrition equipment assistance

The Department is encouraging schools to apply for their share of the $75,542 that Maine has been awarded in food service equipment assistance. | More

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Maine team drives away champions of national bus roadeo

Lisa Gadway and Gregg McGoff from the Fairfield-based MSAD 49 recently earned first place for their performance in the 18th Annual National Special Needs Team Safety Roadeo, held at the Frisco Independent School District just outside of Dallas, TX. Eighteen teams consisting of a driver and monitor from 11 states competed in the 2015 roadeo, which is co-sponsored by the National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT) and STN Media, publishers of School Transportation News magazine.

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Requirements change for bus driver physicals

The Maine DOE has updated its physical form for bus drivers, which can be found here on the Department’s website along with instructions.

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Maine DOE provides resources to help schools keep students safe

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

Reminder to superintendents surveys due

The following reminder was sent via Priority Notice to all Maine superintendents on Friday, Oct. 17.

Dear Superintendents,

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 recognize National School Bus Safety Week, Bus Driver Appreciation Day

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.

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Federal School Bus Replacement Rebate Program announced

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.

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Guidance on transportation for special education students and equivalent school days

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.
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Simple strategies for safer, more effective schools

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.

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