Category Archives: Accountability

Commissioner’s Update – May 21, 2015

From the Maine Department of Education

On Monday May 18 the legislature’s Joint Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs held a work session on LD 695 “An Act To Empower Parents in the Education of Their Children by Allowing an Opt-out from Standardized Assessments.” The end result was that 11 of the 13 committee members voted not to force local school districts to inform parents of their right to opt-out of statewide assessment. Two of the eleven voted to pass a version of the bill without that requirement. The bill now goes to the Maine House and Senate.

Discussion of the bill included a lot of information regarding the legal aspects of this potential action. This included legal opinions from attorneys with both the Office of the Maine Attorney General and the legislature’s Office of Policy and Legal Analysis.

Both attorneys advised the committee that parents and students have a right to not take the standardized statewide assessment. No one is going to force a child to sit and take the test. They do not, however, have a right to be shielded from the consequences of that act which could range from action by the school district or loss of federal funding for the school. Local school districts in Maine have the authority under state law to place requirements on students and not award a diploma if the student does not meet these requirements. This could include things such as community service, a senior year graduation exam, or participation in statewide or local assessments.

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News & Views

Annual MLTI student technology conference brings 1000+ to UMaine Thursday

Over 1,000 students and educators will bring their Maine Department of Education provided digital devices to UMaine on Thursday for a one-day conference. | More

Maine DOE announces teacher leadership summit

The Maine DOE is promoting the Elevating and Celebrating Effective Teaching and Teachers (ECET2) summit at Colby College in Waterville on August 6-7. | More

Hiring standards for school nutrition program directors take effect July 1

Beginning July 1 school nutrition program directors will be required to meet new hiring standards as a result of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) recent ruling establishing national professional standards for all school nutrition employees. | More

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Notice regarding “opting-out” of statewide assessments

The following Priority Notice from Maine DOE Acting Commissioner Tom Desjardin was sent to schools on Wednesday, May 20.

Dear Educators,

On Monday (5/18/15) the legislature’s Joint Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs held a work session on LD 695 “An Act To Empower Parents in the Education of Their Children by Allowing an Opt-out from Standardized Assessments.” The end result was that 11 of the 13 committee members voted not to force local school districts to inform parents of their right to opt-out of statewide assessment. Two of the eleven voted to pass a version of the bill without that requirement. The bill now goes to the Maine House and Senate.

Discussion of the bill included a lot of information regarding the legal aspects of this potential action. This included legal opinions from attorneys with both the Office of the Maine Attorney General and the legislature’s Office of Policy and Legal Analysis.

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Commissioner’s Update – May 14, 2015

From the Maine Department of Education

LD 131 “An Act To Amend the Laws Related to Public Funding of Charter Schools” was signed May 8, 2015 by Governor LePage. Under the new law  Maine DOE will make monthly payments directly to approved public charter schools starting in FY16, the same way the Department has long distributed funds to traditional public school districts.

Currently, districts that lose students to public charter schools are billed directly by the receiving charter school. The Maine DOE will provide financial relief to traditional school units since they no longer must include these payments in their annual budgets.

The new funding method will relieve the unpredictable financial impact of charters to individual (sending) districts and was overwhelmingly supported by leaders of Maine’s school districts, including the 100 or so that now have at least one student enrolled in one of the state’s five bricks-and-mortar charter schools or the virtual Maine Connections Academy. The change also allows Maine to move beyond the divisive debate about charter school funding and refocus on how to create opportunities for students to be most successful at Maine public schools, whether they be charters or traditional.

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Notices and Reporting

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News & Views

First Lady LePage, Acting Education Commissioner announce 2015 County Teachers of the Year

First Lady Ann LePage and Acting Education Commissioner Tom Desjardin marked Teacher Appreciation Week by announcing the top teacher from each Maine county. | More

Maine Department of Education pledges additional funding to support autism resource, research institute

The Maine Department of Education is committing over $150,000 to continue the work of the state’s first autism institute. | More

Department seeks feedback on ESEA waiver renewal

The Maine DOE is seeking feedback on Maine’s proposed Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) Waiver Renewal application. | More

Alternate assessment for math, ELA closing May 15

The deadline to submit the National Center and State Collaborative Alternate Assessment (NCSC), used to assess students with the most significant cognitive disabilities in mathematics and English language arts is this Friday, May 15. | More

Maine DOE joins library advocates in Washington, D.C. for National Library Legislative Day

Last week the Maine DOE was represented along with hundreds of library supporters in Washington, D.C. to speak with their legislators about the importance of libraries. | More

Notice to 30th annual school wellness conference applicants; due date extended to May 29

If your school submitted an application for the 30th Annual Maine Schoolsite Health Promotion Program “Wellness” Conference to the Maine DOE but has not yet received a confirmation please contact the Department. | More

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Governor LePage signs charter school funding fix

LD 131 “An Act To Amend the Laws Related to Public Funding of Charter Schools” was signed May 8, 2015 by Governor LePage. Under the new law  Maine DOE will make monthly payments directly to approved public charter schools starting in FY16, the same way the Department has long distributed funds to traditional public school districts.

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Department seeks feedback on ESEA waiver renewal

The Maine DOE is seeking feedback on Maine’s proposed Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) Waiver Renewal application. The application, with documented changes to the original application, demonstrates how the State’s current accountability and improvement system is implemented to serve Maine’s students and schools while outlining future implementation of the ESEA Flexibility Waiver over the next three years.

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First Lady LePage, Acting Education Commissioner announce 2015 County Teachers of the Year

The 2016 Maine Teacher of the Year will be selected from the 16 honorees and named at a surprise all-school assembly this fall

AUGUSTA – First Lady Ann LePage and Acting Education Commissioner Tom Desjardin marked Teacher Appreciation Week by announcing the top teacher from each Maine county at a State House ceremony today.

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Maine DOE provides resources, guidance to support educator evaluation pilot

As parts of its commitment to ensuring all students have access to great teachers and leaders, the Maine DOE has developed a resource that districts can use to self-assess their readiness to pilot their Performance Evaluation and Professional Growth (PEPG) systems in the 2015-16 school year. The Pilot Readiness Guide provides:

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Commissioner’s Update – April 23, 2015

From the Maine Department of Education

The Maine DOE is recognizing 21 schools across the state for their high performance or progress as measured by the State’s federally required accountability system.

As part of Maine’s approved application for flexibility under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA or No Child Left Behind), the State received a waiver to implement its own plan to improve educational outcomes for all students, close achievement gaps and increase the quality of instruction through the implementation of its own tiered statewide system of support. By reviewing annual progress and student proficiency, schools are placed into one of five categories: priority, focus, monitor, progressing and meeting, allowing the Department to most intensively target support to the schools that need it most.

Just as Maine’s system allows the Department to identify schools that most need improvement support, it also recognizes those showing the greatest levels of improvement and performance.

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Notices and Reporting

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Maine DOE specialists support improvement initiatives at newly identified schools

The Department’s School Improvement Team is continuing to provide support and technical assistance to help raise student achievement at the state’s schools, including those recently identified as priority, focus and monitor under Maine’s federally required accountability system. | More

Maine DOE seeks readers for 21st CCLC grant competition

The Maine DOE is seeking qualified grant readers for its upcoming 21st Century Community Learning Center (21st CCLC) grant application review process. | More

Maine Arts Commission seeks teacher leaders for assessment initiative

The Maine Arts Commission is inviting visual and performing arts teachers to consider being a teacher leader with the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative (MAAI), phase 5. | More

Maine School Nutrition Association dishes out top director, manager awards

The Maine School Nutrition Association (MSNA) has honored RSU 13 Director of School Nutrition Charles Butler as Director of the Year and Portland Public Schools Nutrition Manager Nancy McAdam as Manager of the Year. | More

State releases school-based modules on tick and mosquito diseases and prevention

New modules on tick and mosquito diseases and prevention that were developed by the Maine CDC Division of Infectious Disease with input from the Maine DOE are now available to the state’s schools. | More

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Maine DOE recognizes reward schools

The Maine DOE is recognizing 21 schools across the state for their high performance or progress as measured by the State’s federally required accountability system. Continue reading

Maine DOE specialists support improvement initiatives at newly identified schools

The Department’s School Improvement Team is continuing to provide support and technical assistance to help raise student achievement at the state’s schools, including those recently identified as priority, focus and monitor under Maine’s federally required accountability system.

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