Category Archives: Administrative Letters

Official correspondence. Letters from before July 1, 2010, are in the archive.

Maine DOE offering PEPG development grants to SAUs

The following priority notice was sent today to all Maine school districts.

In an effort to support school administrative units (SAUs) develop their PEPG systems, the Maine DOE is proud to offer grants of $4,600 for the purpose of PEPG professional development. To receive these targeted funds, SAUs must complete the PEPG Implementation Grant Application and respond to the Department’s Intent to Pilot survey (released in June) by Thursday, Oct. 15.

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Reminder to districts: Suicide awareness and prevention training

The following priority notice was sent today to superintendents as a reminder all school personnel must complete suicide awareness and prevention training by the start of the 2015-16 school year.

Dear Superintendents,

Ensuring the safety of our students is a priority and a shared responsibility. Suicide awareness and prevention efforts are a part of safeguarding schools. To increase the potential of recognizing a student (or colleague) is in need of assistance, Maine passed the school-based suicide awareness and prevention law (LD 609, PL 53, DOE Rule Chapter 38) in April 2013.

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Data reports deadline extensions and reminders

The following Priority Notice was sent to transportation directors on Thursday, July 30.

Dear Transportation Directors and Business Managers,

The following data reports have upcoming deadlines and/or extensions.

For policy questions regarding EF-T-21 and EF-T-24, contact Transportation and Facilities Administrator Pat Hinckley at

For policy questions related to the EF-M-43, contact School Finance Coordinator Paula Gravelle at

For assistance with access to the NEO data system, contact the Maine DOE MEDMS Helpdesk at

Thank you for your attention to these dates.


Pat Hinckley, Transportation and Facilities Administrator
Maine Department of Education

Additional State subsidy

The following Priority Notice was sent to superintendents and business managers on Thursday, July 30.

Dear Superintendents and Business Managers,

With the recent passage of the biennial budget, many school districts in Maine saw an increase in the amount of subsidy that they will receive from the State. We thought this would be a good time to explain some of the laws regarding how these additional funds can be used.

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Maine DOE provides survey for SAUs to report proficiency-based implementation progress

The following Priority Notice was sent to Maine school administrative units (SAUs) on Monday, July 27.

As part of the implementation of Title 20-A Section 4722-A (proficiency-based diplomas) the Maine DOE is releasing a survey to collect data on implementation progress. High schools have until August 27 to complete the survey. The Department’s goal is 100 percent participation.

This survey, the 2014-2015 Progress Report: Implementing Proficiency-Based Learning and Proficiency-Based Diplomas, has 38 (mostly multiple choice) questions and is a way for Maine’s districts to report vital data to the Maine DOE regarding the progress made from July 1, 2014 – July 31, 2015. As such, this report generates a brief but important source of data for both districts and the State.

The information collected will help the Department chart progress toward the implementation of proficiency-based diplomas. This information will be shared with the public and with lawmakers and will inform the development of additional resources and supports for districts. The progress report will also create a moment-in-time snapshot of district progress toward proficiency-based diplomas.

The Maine DOE will request additional evidence from a district when a district indicates it has completed the following and is ready to award proficiency-based diplomas:

  • Reporting standards are established for all eight content areas.
  • Summative assessments are used to collect evidence for reporting standards for each content area.
  • Evidence of proficiency is collected determining for the five Guiding Principles.
  • Multi-tiered systems of supports are in place for students (for those who struggle and for those who wish to accelerate to reach proficiency).

Any SAU who did not have their confirmation of readiness or extension request granted, is offered an opportunity to request a meeting with the Department to discuss the district’s preparedness to award proficiency-based diplomas. The Department will assume that any district/high school that does not have an approved extension plan or confirmation of readiness is be prepared to award proficiency-based diplomas after January 1, 2018.

The Department expresses its gratitude to the Maine school districts that piloted this survey.

The online survey for SAUs is available here and linked from the Maine DOE’s Getting to Proficiency Support web page. To download a pdf version of the questions ahead of time please click here.

For more information please contact the Department’s Standards-Based Education Specialist Diana Doiron at or 624-6823.

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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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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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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Department provides clarification on assessment read aloud function

The following Priority Notice was distributed on Wednesday, March 25 to Maine Educational Assessment for Math & ELA/Literacy District/System Administrators and School Test Coordinators providing them clarification on read aloud functions on Apple devices as well as a reminder about a weekly conference call during which the Department is providing an update on the test, answering questions and sharing best practices.

It has been brought to our Department’s attention that students working on Apple iPads and MacBooks have access to a read-aloud function known as “speak selection” or “speech” and have been taught to use it as an appropriate learning tool. This notice is to clarify the limits on this function specifically during testing. Continue reading