Category Archives: Educator Effectiveness

Commissioner’s Update – December 11, 2014

From the Maine Department of Education

The Maine Department of Education has been awarded $14.8 million to expand public preschool opportunities in 10 counties.

Over the next four years, the Department will pass 95 percent of the funds awarded by the U.S. Department of Education to 13 school districts with high percentages of low-income students so they can establish or expand preschool programs in partnership with local early childhood program providers.

In total, 33 new classrooms will be created with the funding and most will open next September, adding to Maine’s existing 205 classrooms serving 4-year-old students. Another 23 classrooms already in operation will be expanded so students can attend five days a week for the full day. With up to 16 students per preschool classroom, the award can potentially allow access to early childhood education to more than 500 additional Maine children.

Participating districts include Lewiston, Millinocket, Sanford, Westbrook, SAD 58 (Phillips, Strong and Kingfield) and RSU 3 (Brooks, Liberty, Monroe and Unity), 12 (Chelsea and Somerville), 13 (Rockland), 37 (Addison, Harrington and Milbridge), 39 (Limestone), 49 (Albion and Clinton), 53 (Pittsfield) and 74 (Anson, North Anson and Solon).

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Maine DOE launches web resources for assessment

The Maine DOE has launched a new section on its website with resources related to the new online Maine Educational Assessment for Mathematics and English Language Arts/Literacy as well as a portal developed by its vendor for assessment administration. | More

Maine DOE offers regional assessment administration workshops

The Maine DOE is offering four regional workshops in January to support school districts as they prepare for the spring administration of the Maine Educational Assessment for Mathematics and English Language Arts/Literacy. | More

Maine DOE releases resources to support new educator evaluation system development

The Maine DOE has released new online resources to support school administrative units (SAUs) in designing and implementing Performance Evaluation and Professional Growth (PEPG) systems. | More

Student art submissions sought for MLTI screensaver contest

The Maine DOE is seeking artwork created by students to feature next year on the screensavers of the thousands of devices it provides to Maine schools through the Maine Learning Technology Initiative (MLTI). | More

Cooking with USDA Foods webinar on Dec. 18

School food service professionals are encouraged to register for the webinar K-12 Cooking with USDA Foods with White House Champions of Change chefs Garrett Berdan, Carlin Breinig and Cyndie Story on Dec. 18. | More

Maine schools receive funds to purchase local foods from local farmers

Projects in RSU 18 and Downeast Maine have been awarded funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to bring more food grown by local farmers to students. | More

Students invited to do service projects to benefit Toys for Tots

Maine schools are invited to engage students in service to others through the 2014 Joy Maker Challenge this holiday season. | More

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Maine DOE releases resources to support new educator evaluation system development

As part of its commitment to ensuring great teachers and school leaders, the Maine DOE has released new online resources to support school administrative units (SAUs) in designing and implementing Performance Evaluation and Professional Growth (PEPG) systems.

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Maine DOE hosts educator effectiveness workshop on Dec. 12

The Maine DOE is offering a free half-day workshop for new superintendents and building administrators who need general information on the educator effectiveness law, which requires all school administrative units to develop and implement performance evaluation and professional growth (PEPG) systems by the 2015 school year.

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Commissioner’s Update – November 6, 2014

From Maine Education Commissioner Jim Rier

Career and technical education (CTE) plays a critical role in strengthening the college and career readiness of our students and the economic future of our state.

At 27 centers across Maine, CTE educators are engaging and exciting our students with relevant, hands-on learning experiences. Through rigorous, standards-based programming that always has the student and their post-secondary goals at the center, these important teachers are helping students develop the academic and technical skills they’ll need for success in the 21st century. Like all Maine educators, they deserve our thanks for inspiring students and helping them to realize their potential.

In particular, I’d like to recognize Stanley Sluzenski and Suzanne M. Hall, two excellent educators who reflect the professionalism and commitment to students that is necessary and now commonplace in our CTE centers.

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MEA science testing window extended, will better accommodate AP students

The science portion of the Maine Educational Assessment (MEA) will be administered to all students in grades five and eight and to those in their third year of high school during a three-week window from May 4 to May 22. | More

Revised National Board certification process for teachers

Over the years Maine has built an important cohort of National Board certified educators. Created for teachers, by teachers, National Board Certification is a voluntary, performance-based, peer-review process. | More

Resource available for elementary school principals

The National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) has released a new resource for elementary school principals. | More

Maine DOE provides PD program for arts educators

The Maine DOE is inviting arts educators to participate in a professional development program. | More

Maine DOE offers HIV prevention educator trainings

Two HIV prevention educator trainings are scheduled in December as a result of funding provided by the passage of LD1699. | More

Maine Integrated Youth Health Survey registration open

The Maine DOE, in collaboration with the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, is encouraging public schools to register for the 2015 Maine Integrated Youth Health Survey (MIYHS). | More

District academic staff evaluation survey data due

The new Maine DOE NEO EDFacts School Academic Staff Evaluation Survey (formerly the MEDMS Educator Quality and Effectiveness EQE survey) is scheduled for initial rollout. | More

Department school nutrition team provides reminders to districts

Numbers in the National School Lunch Program are collected every November when a district files its October claim information. | More

Maine DOE learning technology staff attend SETDA leadership summit

Members of the Maine DOE Learning Through Technology Team recently returned from the annual State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) leadership summit. | More

Native American history and culture essay contest call for entries

In an effort to enhance Maine Native American Studies lessons, the Secretary of State is sponsoring an essay contest. | More

Register for Schools, Technology and the Law seminar to be held Nov. 14

Registration is open for “Schools, Technology and the Law” seminar hosted by Drummond Woodsum at the Augusta Civic Center on Nov. 14. | More

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Commissioner’s Update – October 23, 2014

From Maine Education Commissioner Jim Rier

Last week, some Maine educators traveled to Dallas, Texas to participate in an assessment conference. Given the national attention currently on that city because of the three confirmed cases of Ebola there, some have raised concerns in the districts these educators are returning to.

We all share a commitment to the health and safety of everyone in our school communities. While it is important we always take precautions to protect ourselves and our students from infectious diseases, it is also important to make sure communications by officials and the media increases awareness rather than anxiety.

As your Commissioner of Education, I’ve been hesitant to reach out to you about Ebola because I did not want my doing so to create more concern about a disease for which Maine has had no reported cases or contacts. However, because of the multiple inquiries our Department has received from school leaders, I did want to provide some basic information from our State and federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that will hopefully help you communicate more effectively with parents and the public.

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Notices and Reporting

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Reminder to superintendents of surveys due

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 are due. | More

Maine DOE offers strategies to help ELLs demonstrate proficiency

All students in Maine, including English language learners, will need to demonstrate proficiency of both State learning standards and the Guiding Principles in order to graduate beginning in 2018. | More

Governor LePage and First Lady to host 4th Annual Blaine House Food Drive

The First Family invites the public to visit the Blaine House once again this year in an effort to help fellow Mainers who are less fortunate. | More

Notice of proposed rule changes to Chapter 13

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. | More

Maine DOE showcases student artwork

The work of student artists from three Maine schools will be displayed at the Maine DOE’s office in Augusta throughout the coming year. | More

Maine celebrates Farm to School with local Harvest Week menu contest

Maine schools showed culinary creativity in their entries to the state’s inaugural Harvest Lunch Week menu contest, sponsored by the Maine DOE. | More

Community spirit awards open to grades 5 through 12

Maine students in grades 5-12 who have made meaningful contributions to their communities through volunteer service in the past year are invited to apply for a Prudential Spirit of Community Award| More

Scholarship opportunity for Maine students

Maine students are invited to apply for the 2015 Horatio Alger Association Scholarship Program.  | More

Educator resources available through The Boston Globe

The Boston Globe News in Education (NIE) program is offering access to educational resources free of charge to Maine teachers and their students in grades K-12. | More

Samsung Solve for Tomorrow call for submissions

Maine middle and high schools are invited to enter the annual Samsung Solve for Tomorrow contest for a chance to win a share of $2 million in technology and prizes for their school. | More

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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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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

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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 with more than 100 participants from across the state at a recent seminar hosted by legal firm Drummond Woodsum in partnership with the Maine School Management Association.

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Celebrating Maine’s 2015 Teacher of the Year

Last week I had the honor of announcing Jennifer Dorman as the 2015 Maine Teacher of the Year.

Mrs. Dorman, who dreamed of being a teacher since her very first day of Kindergarten, has been a special educator in Somerset County schools for two decades, most recently at Skowhegan Area Middle School (SAMS) where she is a seventh-and eighth-grade special education and reading intervention teacher.

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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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