Category Archives: Educator Effectiveness

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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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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Materials released in advance of Commissioner’s Conference

The following Priority Notice was distributed to school superintendents today in advance of the 104th Annual Commissioner’s Conference for Superintendents:

Dear Superintendents,

We look forward to working with you next week during the 104th Annual Commissioner’s Conference for Superintendents, scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. on Sunday, June 28 at Sunday River’s Jordan Hotel in Newry.

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Maine DOE supports SAUs in reporting PEPG pilot plan with brief survey

The following Priority Notice was sent on Monday, June 8.

As part of the implementation of Performance Evaluation and Professional Growth (PEPG) systems, Rule Chapter 180 and Maine Revised Statute Title 20-A, Chapter 508 require that School Administrative Units (SAUs) test-run or pilot their PEPG systems for principals and teachers during the 2015-16 school year. In order to ensure that districts are on track for a pilot next year, the law requires each SAU to submit a “plan describing the intentions of its pilot project” by July 15.

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Committee votes to increase subsidy; cuts elsewhere

The following Priority Notice from Maine DOE Acting Commissioner Tom Desjardin was sent to schools on Tuesday, June 2.

Dear Educators,

In the midst of budget discussions in the legislature a lot of information and numbers are flying around and knowing you are in the midst of making your own local budgets, I wanted to give you this update which is current as of Tuesday, June 2 at noon.

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Maine DOE continues site visits to support proficiency-based efforts

The Maine DOE  will continue school site visits into June to provide targeted technical assistance for proficiency-based extension options five and six.

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Commissioner’s Update – April 30, 2015

From the Maine Department of Education

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:

  • The current implementation timeline
  • Key system components that districts must and/or should pilot
  • Indicators of readiness to pilot each component
  • Relevant resources, with page and section references
  • Questions that school administrative units might seek to answer during the pilot
  • Guidance for Teacher Incentive Fund districts (TIF 3 and TIF 4)
  • DEMO student learning and growth effectiveness rating scales

This guide is intended for local district use. It is not for reporting purposes. As a follow-up to this resource, in June, the Department will ask districts to confirm their intent to pilot by completing a short online survey. Details about this process will be provided with the release of the survey.

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Notices and Reporting

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News & Views

Maine DOE invites educators to performance assessment webinar

The Maine DOE is inviting Maine educators to participate in a free webinar, Laying the Foundation for Performance Assessment: Lessons Learned from the Innovation Lab Network Pilot in New England, on Wednesday, May 27 at 3 p.m. | More

Regional school calendars past due

The Department is reminding school administrative units (SAU) and private schools approved for tuition purposes that they are now required to establish regional school calendars, in coordination with their local secondary Career and Technical Education (CTE) school. | More

Educators encouraged to save the date for MLTI Summer Institute

The Maine Learning Technology Initiative (MLTI) is encouraging educators to save the date for its 2015 Summer Institute, scheduled July 21-23 at Bowdoin College in Brunswick. | More

MaineCare Seed payment adjustments made, report review due May 22

The Maine DOE is reminding school administrative units (SAUs) that the remaining 2014-15 subsidy checks for General Purpose Aid for local schools will reflect adjustments for MaineCare Seed payments paid by the Department on behalf of districts. | More

Alternate assessments closing soon

The deadline to submit the MEA Alternate Science (PAAP) portfolios electronically is 5 p.m. today, April 30. | More

Maine teachers invited to participate in assessment hand scoring

Maine’s teachers are invited to apply for part-time work available now through June as a reader/evaluator in the scoring process for students across states who participated in the 2015 Smarter Balanced developed assessment.| More

Newly released ACCESS for ELLs® score reports a resource for supporting students

The Maine DOE is reminding schools that the ACCESS for ELLs® score reports received earlier this month can be used to determine if individual English learners are meeting expected English language proficiency growth. | More

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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 2, 2015

From the Maine Department of Education

Governor Paul R. LePage and Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy President and CEO Liza McFadden honored 14 teen mentors with Excellence Awards in leadership and service during a recognition ceremony at the Blaine House this week. Students mentoring in the Foundation’s Teen Trendsetters™ program assist first through third graders with reading during weekly tutoring sessions.

“I am proud of these students who serve as positive role models and leaders for their mentees,” said Governor LePage. “Mentoring at any age during a student’s career can lead to a lifelong commitment to helping others and their community.”

The Teen Trendsetters Excellence Award is given to mentors who provide outstanding leadership and service, particularly with helping their mentees read on grade level. After successfully piloting Teen Trendsetters in Windham, Maine, during 2012 and 2013, the Barbara Bush Foundation this past year expanded the program to 20 schools throughout Maine.

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Notices and Reporting

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News & Views

New early childhood learning and development standards released by Maine DOE, DHHS

The Maine Departments of Education and Health and Human Services have released Maine’s Early Learning and Development Standards (MELDS), which outline what children should know and be able to do by the end of preschool. | More

Maine DOE opens registration for 30th annual school wellness conference

Maine schools are invited to attend the 30th Annual Maine DOE Schoolsite Health Promotion & Wellness Conference from Wednesday, June 24 through Friday, June 26 at Sugarloaf. | More

Suicide prevention conference scheduled for May 7

The Maine DOE is encouraging those working to prevent suicide in the state’s schools to consider attending the one-day Maine Suicide Prevention Program’s Annual Beyond the Basics in Suicide Prevention conference on May 7 in Portland. | More

MPA names top assistant principals

The Maine Principals’ Association has announced its 2015 Maine Outstanding Assistant Principal of the Year at both the elementary and secondary school levels. | More

Maine DOE regional workshops support math educators

The Maine DOE recently concluded a series of eight regional, full-day workshop sessions across the state intended to support instruction in mathematics and make connections to the State assessment. | More

Students prepare for business careers at state DECA conference

More than 100 students gathered last month for the Maine DECA 47th State Career Development Conference. | More

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