Category Archives: Accountability

Notice of proposed rule changes: Chapter 13, Qualifying Examinations for Teachers, Educational Specialists and Administrators

The Maine DOE and the State Board of Education are proposing changes this fall to the rules regarding the qualifying examinations for credentialing purposes for teachers, educational specialists and administrators.

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Commissioner’s Update – October 16, 2014

From Maine Education Commissioner Jim Rier

Last week, I had the opportunity to spend two full days at the annual conference of the Association of Computer Technology Educators of Maine (ACTEM). To say I was impressed and inspired by what I experienced would be an understatement. Maine has long been looked to as a national leader when it comes to integrating technology in the classroom and the energy and expertise I saw in the hundreds of technology educators at the conference proved why.

I was especially impacted by the session I attended entitled “A Day in the iPad Empowered Elementary Classroom.” To see how Maine educators are using technology to change the way they teach students is almost as exciting as seeing how students – including those only in Kindergarten – are responding. Maine kids are being engaged and empowered as leaders in their own learning through these new tools in ways that many adults like me can’t even imagine. It is critical we keep up with their appetite and aptitude by finding innovative ways to leverage technology to continue to improve not just the experience of our students but their academic achievement.

I want to thank Maine’s many technology educators who are doing just that in classrooms across the state every day. Not only are you enhancing the educational environment for our students, but you are better preparing them for success in 21st century college and careers.

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Notices and Reporting

More Notices | Administrative Letters | Reporting Calendar


News & Views

Education Commissioner visiting Bangor schools today

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. | More

Turner Elementary named Maine’s National Blue Ribbon School

Turner Elementary School in MSAD 52 is one of 287 public schools across the country to be named a 2014 National Blue Ribbon School for high levels of student achievement. | More

Charter Commission advances virtual school proposal, schedules public hearing

A second public virtual charter school being proposed in Maine was unanimously advanced to the next round of review by the state’s Charter Commission. | More

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 at a recent seminar. | More

MMSA selects Ruth Kermish-Allen as Executive Director

The board and staff of the Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance have selected Ruth Kermish-Allen, currently Director of Education at the Island Institute and a resident of Appleton, as the organization’s next Executive Director. | More

Schools encouraged to prepare for Alcohol Awareness Day

Community groups and schools across the state will be conducting activities to raise awareness about alcohol use and abuse throughout Maine’s Alcohol Awareness Week, Dec. 1-5. | More

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. | More

More Dispatches | Press Releases | From the Commissioner


LATEST DOE Career/Project Opportunities

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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Update on new school staff evaluation survey

As originally noted in a dispatch dated June 4, changes to the MEDMS Educator Quality and Effectiveness (EQE) Survey are still in progress. The changes discussed in June have since evolved.

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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.

Maine DOE offers institute on early childhood learning standards

Thanks to a generous grant from the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), the Maine DOE is holding a one-day institute, “From Preschool to Kindergarten-Connecting the Language & Literacy Standards” at Thomas College on Friday, Oct. 3.

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2014-15 school year: We’re in this together

Congratulations on the start of the 2014-15 school year!

This week, Maine students are fortunate to be heading back to schools where they will be welcomed by educators who encourage their love of learning and are deeply dedicated to ensuring every one of them is successful.

On behalf of Governor LePage and all of us at the Department, I want to thank those teachers, administrators and other school staff for their care for and commitment to our students. Maine kids are increasingly being inspired in their classrooms and achievement in their studies is rising as a result, putting them on a path for future college and career success.

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SAUs invited to apply for coaching and evidence-based practice PD

Creating standards-based Individualized Education Programs (IEP) was the first step; implementing those plans is next.

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OSEP letter cautions on using alternative graduation requirements for students with disabilities

The U.S. Department of Education has advised Louisiana’s Superintendent of Education John White that a new Louisiana law allowing students with disabilities to follow a different route to a high school diploma than what’s required of other students may violate the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965 and the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), as well as other federal requirements.

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Proficiency-based diploma extension applications now available to SAUs

The following Priority Notice was distributed to superintendents Tuesday, July 22.

Dear Superintendents,

Discussions at the Commissioners Conference in June yielded valuable input for the diploma extensions application process. In the weeks following the conference, three school administrative units in Maine agreed to pilot the application process by completing the extension request best suited to their level of preparedness to award a proficiency-based diploma.

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