Category Archives: Technology

Competitive Skills Scholarship Program now accepting applications

The Competitive Skills Scholarship Program, designed to help Maine residents learn new skills and succeed in a changing economy, is currently accepting applications.

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Say goodbye to MEDMS Staff Collection and hello to NEO Staff; training is next

In the early 2000s, the Maine Education Data Management System (MEDMS) was created to communicate with local school administration districts and cooperatively manage their staff- and student-level data for state and federal regulatory compliance. Since then, there have been many changes to regulation, as well as advances in technology. In 2005, the Maine DOE removed the student collection piece of MEDMS and added an application known as Infinite Campus to serve as the Department’s Student Information System (SIS). Now, NEO is around the corner.

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Maine DOE announces school transportation software that’s going places

A new and important release of Transfinder school transportation software is scheduled for June 20, 2015. Transfinder Routefinder Pro Version 12.0 is the largest release in the 27-year history of Transfinder, including nearly 40 new features and over 100 enhancements.  For example, simultaneous school routing allowing multiple users to route for the same school at the same time, every grid includes a map allowing users to see the grid and the map at the same time, and much more that is user friendly and requires less clicks. The update is free to Maine public school districts. School districts that now use Transfinder are expected to see the change occur by late June.

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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 – June 4, 2015

From the Maine Department of Education

Maine’s top Career & Technical Education students were honored as students of the year recently at a ceremony at the Lewiston Regional Technical Center.

It was a great night to celebrate the best CTE students in Maine. Twenty six centers were represented. State School Board Chair, Peter Geiger, indicated that it was the best celebration for students he has seen. Senator Brian Langley, Education Committee Chair, was also impressed and gave the audience a superb presentation with his remarks aligned to CTE in Maine.

Each of the 26 students was presented with an award certificate and two received scholarships in the amount of $1,000 each at the event sponsored by the Maine Administrators of Career & Technical Education (MACTE).

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Notices and Reporting

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FFA students celebrate accomplishments at 85th annual state convention

Secondary and middle school students in the Maine FFA Association (formerly known as “Future Farmers of America”) celebrated numerous accomplishments during the annual state convention held on May 14-15 at the University of Maine. | More

Data training sessions announced

There are many changes coming in the 2015-16 school year. In order that accurate student and staff data is reported to the Maine DOE, it is important that the appropriate staff attend one (or more) of these training sessions. | More

Learning Disability Report (LDR) form guidance

In a letter dated February 23, 2015, the United States Department of Education Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services directed the Maine DOE to issue guidance clarifying the use of the Learning Disability Report (LDR) form. | More

Office of Special Services notice of changes in special education forms

The Maine DOE Office of Special Services has revised the forms listed below. Revised forms are to be used effective August 1, 2015. | More

Maine DOE provides assistance for Civil Rights Data Collection to districts

The Maine DOE is offering some assistance to local districts who are working to comply with the U.S. Department of Education’s Civil Rights Data Collection. | More

Fact sheet highlights academic performance and student health risk

A newly available one-page fact sheet on the relationship between Academic Performance and Student Health Risks is available. | More

School and workplace violence training Aug 19-20

The National Tactical Officers Association (NTOA) and the Brewer Police Department will host a two-day training event on school and workplace violence on Aug 19-20 in Brewer. | More

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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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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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Annual MLTI student technology conference brings 1000+ to UMaine Thursday

ORONO – 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 to understand the power and possibilities delivered to them through Maine’s Learning Through Technology Initiative (MLTI).

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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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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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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.

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Commissioner’s Update – May 7, 2015

From the Maine Department of Education

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

Visits to schools that were granted an extension five or six  are providing valuable information about the types of supports needed by districts to sustain the transition to proficiency-based education and reflects the deep commitment of districts to student-centered learning.

The Maine DOE will release information about the 2015 renewal process for extensions soon. Last year’s extension applications provided a clear picture of the status of districts implementation of proficiency-based education to date. District extension applications can be viewed on the Maine DOE website. The Maine DOE anticipates a dramatically streamlined renewal process for spring 2015.

The Maine DOE plans to convene extension option six schools as a group in June to provide targeted supports for the implementation of proficiency-based diplomas. This convening is in lieu of a second site visit. More information about this event will be sent to districts in the coming weeks.

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Nominations open for MAHPERD Teachers of the Year

Nominations are open for the Maine Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (MAHPERD) Teachers of the Year awards. | More

New technology awards announced, nominations open through June 1

The Association for Computer Technology Educators of Maine (ACTEM) announced their REBOOTED and REIMAGINED awards, open to innovative educators at all grade levels that have a direct impact on student learning. | More

Schoolwide program funding involving local entitlement funds

Schools that have been granted schoolwide program status under No Child Left Behind (NCLB) are required to submit a budget showing funding sources for their activities. | More

Special services invoicing procedure for state agency clients

Under MUSER §IV.4.E(3), the Maine DOE is responsible for the costs of special education services provided to state agency clients and pays those costs directly to the providing agency or person. | More

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