Category Archives: Accountability

No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Report Cards now available

The 2014-15 NCLB Report Cards, showing levels of performance at Maine schools for the 2013-14 school year, are now available through the Maine DOE Data Warehouse.

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Maine Department of Education awarded flexibility from Feds

AUGUSTA – The Maine Department of Education received a three-year waiver allowing flexibility regarding specific requirements of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), formerly known as the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001(NCLB), whose reauthorization was recently debated and is being revised in our nation’s capital. While the revised ESEA shrinks the federal role yielding greater power to states to judge student achievement and school performance (from regulations outlined under NCLB), this recent waiver provides Maine educators and State and local leaders the opportunity for continued work toward rigorous and comprehensive State-developed plans designed to improve educational outcomes for all students, close achievement gaps, increase equity, and improve the quality of instruction.

“In 2013, Maine’s waiver application was approved by USDOE, but this renewal of the waiver required diligent, persistent work on behalf of Maine DOE,” says Acting Commissioner Thomas Desjardin. “We worked relentlessly with Arne Duncan, US Secretary of Education and his staff as the federal government had exerted extreme authority over states in the past. The Maine DOE staff worked diligently in securing the original waiver and again in this renewal process in making adjustments addressing USDOE points. In March, Maine lawmakers joined in passing legislation, LD 692, including rule making, to assist our efforts in this waiver renewal request, making this a collaborative effort.”

This waiver, the first three-year waiver ever issued by USDOE, allows Maine to continue on the path with more time for students to learn and educators to teach. ESEA flexibility has and will continue to allow Maine to focus resources on comprehensive, rigorous interventions in the lowest-performing schools, while ensuring that all low-achieving students have the supports they need to catch up to their peers. ESEA flexibility also has an effect of energizing teacher and principal effectiveness work across Maine and puts the focus on creating feedback systems that show the impact teachers and principals are having on student learning and shine a light on best practices to support teachers’ development.

At the heart of the State’s continued efforts is a system of differentiated recognition, accountability and support for Maine’s Title I-served schools, distinguished not just by student proficiency but also progress. As a result, Maine’s mission is to cut in half the percentage of non-proficient students at each school in the coming years. This is done through the continued implementation of the Maine Learning Results, a set of high standards geared to help Maine students be career and college ready.

For more information contact: Acting Commissioner tom.desjardin@maine.gov, 624-6620, or Director of Communications anne.gabbianelli@maine.gov, 624-6747, 592-4439.

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Standardized Assessment Task Force created to inform RFP process

The Standardized Assessment Task Force of 21 Maine educators are busy at work this summer as the state seeks a vendor/partner to carry out the Maine Educational Assessment for public school students in grades 3-8 and 11. In June, the task force met to discuss the successes and needed areas of improvement of the last assessment. Now the role of this group is to engage in a question and answer exchange that will act as a guide to help the Department draft a Request for Proposals (RFP). These proposals will be scored according to the RFP to determine which organization will serve as Maine’s next vendor.

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State awards $1.63 million through a grant to help a struggling school

Funding granted from the Maine Department of Education will help transform the Auburn school by increasing student achievement, teacher effectiveness and engaging parent and community support.

AUBURN – Washburn Elementary School in Auburn will use just over $1.63 million in School Improvement Grant (SIG) funding awarded by the Maine Department of Education to focus on raising student proficiency in math by 30 percent and reading by 35 percent over the next five years.

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Commissioner’s Conference

In case you missed the 104th Annual Commissioner’s Conference, here is a recap with valuable links.

Acting Commissioner of Education, Thomas Desjardin opened and closed the conference at Sunday River with timely updates on the ongoing FY16 budget discussions and voting at the State House at the time. He also acknowledged the ever changing educational climate and the hard work and successes of school leaders and Maine DOE’s support through its multi-faceted services.

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Educators invited to attend the 2015 MLTI Summer Institute – Don’t miss out

The Maine Learning Technology Initiative (MLTI) invites educators to attend its 2015 Summer Institute scheduled July 21-23 at Bowdoin College in Brunswick. This is an opportunity you do not want to miss as you learn new techniques and strategies that will help address proficiency-based learning, teacher accountability and higher order thinking skills.

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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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Notices and Reporting

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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

More Dispatches | Press Releases | From the Commissioner


LATEST DOE Career/Project Opportunities

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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