Category Archives: School Choice

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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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

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Charter Commission advances virtual school proposal, schedules public hearing

A public virtual charter school opened earlier this year is serving nearly 300 students from 86 school districts and an application for another online charter hoping to open next year has now moved forward

AUGUSTA – 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 today.

At a meeting this morning in Augusta, Maine Charter School Commission  members working in small review teams presented their recommendations on three applications, with the Commission then voting to advance the application for the online Maine Virtual Academy. Meanwhile, the Commission unanimously agreed applications for Acadia Academy, proposed for Lewiston-Auburn, and Inspire ME Academy, proposed for the Sanford area, should not move forward. Continue reading

Maine DOE publishes guidance for districts processing charter school invoices

The Department has posted documents clarifying the process for preparing or disputing charter school invoices to resident school administrative units (SAUs). Clarification on how to determine the amount payable by a SAU to a charter school can be found here.

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Maine Charter School Commission welcomes new leadership

For Immediate Release from the Maine Charter School Commission Thursday, July 17.

Contact: Bob Kautz, Executive Director, (207) 592-8352

AUGUSTA – The Maine Charter School Commission (MCSC) has new leadership, having elected Shelley Reed as chair and Ande Smith as vice-chair.

Reed, of Wayne, had previously served as vice-chair and replaces outgoing chair Jana Lapoint, who has served as Chair for two terms and will remain on the Board. Ms. Reed has served on the Maine Charter School Commission since its inception in 2011. Currently, she is the Special Projects Coordinator for the Restorative Justice Institute of Maine.

Reed has long been active in public education, having served as the State Homeless Education Coordinator, School Counselor Consultant, and Truancy, Dropout Alternative Education Consultant in the Maine Department of Education for 10 years, retiring in 2011. Previous work in education included 16 years of service as an elementary school counselor in Lewiston and 13 years as a grade 1 and 2 teacher in Auburn. Reed has a Master’s in Counselor Education from the University of Southern Maine and a Bachelor’s in Education from the University of Maine, Farmington.

Smith is a resident of North Yarmouth with his school-age children. He graduated Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with a BS degree in Nuclear Engineering, the University of Connecticut with a Masters of Public Affairs, and the University Of Maine School Of Law with his Juris Doctor. He is President of Deer Brook Associates, a privately held firm providing legal and consulting services principally in information security, technology, and privacy. Having earned his submarine warfare qualifications, Smith also holds the rank of Captain in the US Navy Reserve, where he commands a Pentagon-based undersea warfare unit and is the director of the Reserve component’s undersea warfare operations program for the US submarine force.

Both Reed and Smith were elected to one-year positions that began July 1 and are eligible for re-election after serving their terms.

The Maine Charter School Commission is one of two types of entities permitted to authorize public charter schools in Maine. The Commission can authorize up to 10 public charter schools throughout the state during the first 10 years of Maine’s charter school law.

As of this September, there will be 6 public charter schools in Maine serving over 700 students. These schools are the Baxter Academy for Technology and Sciences in Portland, the Cornville Regional Charter School in Cornville, the Fiddlehead School of Arts and Science in Gray, the Harpswell Coastal Academy in Harpswell, the Maine Connections Academy, a state-wide virtual school in South Portland, and the Maine Academy of Natural Sciences in Hinckley.

The Maine Charter School Commission is an independent state agency. The Commission consists of seven members appointed by the Maine State Board of Education. Three of the seven are members of the State Board. The remaining four members are required by law to come from a wide variety of professional backgrounds.

For more information, visit the Maine Charter School Commission.

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Notice of intent for 6 charter school proposals received

Six groups informed the Maine Charter School Commission (MCSC) that they plan to submit applications to open public charter schools in Maine.  All of the groups hope to open a school in the fall of 2015.

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Charter commission seeks proposals for 2015 school opening

The Maine Charter School Commission is currently soliciting proposals for new public charter schools that would begin serving students in the fall of 2015.

In a request for proposals (RFP) published Wednesday, the Commission seeks detailed applications from capable school developers who are committed to educating their students well in a successful, sustainable, high quality charter school.  Continue reading

Education Commissioner applauds expansion of student learning opportunities

The Maine Charter School Commission voted today to approve the state’s first virtual charter school, which could begin start serving students this fall

AUGUSTA – Education Commissioner Jim Rier released the following statement today in response to the Maine Charter School Commission’s approval of the state’s first public virtual charter school.

The unanimous approval authorizes the independent Commission to enter into contract negotiations with Maine Connections Academy, which plans to start serving as many as 300 students from across the state this fall.

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Charter Commission to vote on applications March 3

The Maine Charter School Commission will vote at its March 3 meeting on whether to move forward the applications of three public charter schools proposed to open in Maine this fall. Continue reading

Charter Commission advances 3 applications, schedules public hearings

Following committee reviews, three proposed public charter schools including one in Lewiston and two virtuals have moved to the next stage in the State’s application process, which includes public hearings next week

AUGUSTA – The public will have the opportunity to weigh-in next week on three public charter schools proposed to open in Maine this fall.

Earlier today, Maine Charter School Commission (MCSC) members working in small review teams presented their recommendations on four applications, with the entire seven-member Commission then voting to advance applications from Lewiston-Auburn Academy Charter School, Lewiston; Maine Connections Academy; and Maine Virtual Academy. The application for Many Hands Montessori School in Windham did not move forward.

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Commissioner applauds strong start of charter schools

Monitoring by the Maine Charter School Commission of the two charter schools that served students during the 2012-13 academic year show the state’s first charters are meeting their missions

AUGUSTA – The State’s Acting Education Commissioner is applauding the state’s first two public charters after their inaugural monitoring reports show the central Maine schools are engaging students and adapting quickly to meet emerging needs.

Cornville Regional Charter School in Cornville, which served approximately 60 grade K-6 students, and the Maine Academy of Natural Sciences (MeANS) in Hinckley, which served 52 students grades 9-12, opened in the fall of 2012 after Maine, under the leadership of Governor Paul R. LePage, became the 41st state to allow public charter schools. 

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