Category Archives: From the Commissioner

Districts asked to select assessment coordinator

The following Priority Notice was distributed on Friday, Dec. 5 to superintendents requesting they identify a district assessment coordinator to coordinator and ensure a successful administration of the 2014-15 State assessment. Please note the survey has not been linked to this Newsroom posting but was provided directly to superintendents.

Dear Superintendents,

As we prepare for the spring 2015 administration of the new Maine Educational Assessment for Mathematics and English Language Arts/Literacy developed by the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, we need you to identify an individual from your district to fill a critical role.  Continue reading

Department assesses readiness of schools to administer computer-based MEA

The following Priority Notice was distributed on Tuesday, Nov. 25 announcing a technology readiness survey to assess the preparedness of Maine schools for successfully administering the 2014-15 State assessment. Please note the survey has not been linked to this Newsroom posting but was provided directly to superintendents, principals and technology directors.

Dear Superintendents, Principals and Technology Directors,

The online administration of the new Maine Educational Assessment (MEA) for Mathematics and English Language Arts/Literacy developed by the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium will better allow students to demonstrate critical and higher-order thinking skills; provide more timely information to inform instruction; and improve teaching, learning, and the college and career readiness of our students. Continue reading

Commissioner Jim Rier on leave, Chief Academic Officer Rachelle Tome appointed Acting Commissioner

We know many readers look forward to our weekly Commissioner’s Update, specifically for the column from Commissioner Jim Rier, whose insight on education has come from nearly two decades in Augusta, first as a member of the State Board of Education and since 2003 here at the Department.

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Recognizing Maine’s career and technical educators

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. Continue reading

Extension applications show Maine’s commitment to successful proficiency-based diploma implementation

Earlier this year, the Department released six options by which districts could apply for extensions to fully implementing systems to support the awarding of proficiency-based diplomas starting in 2018.

I continue to be appreciative of the positive feedback we regularly receive in response to offering that flexibility. Many educators and district leaders have commented that while they had initially been uncertain about the extension application process, it ended up being a valuable opportunity for reflection that helped focus local efforts moving forward to best ensure quality implementation.

But nothing has been more encouraging than seeing the high number of extension applications and confirmations of readiness that the Department received by the Oct. 18 final deadline. Continue reading

Planning for success: 2014-15 State assessment

The following Priority Notice was distributed on Tuesday, Oct. 28 regarding Maine’s plans for a successful administration of the 2014-15 State assessment.

Dear Maine Educators, Students and Families,

This October marks the first in recent memory during which Maine students in Grades 3-8 are not taking their State assessment. Instead, next spring students in those grades or in their third year of high school will take the Smarter Balanced aligned assessment that Maine will now use for State and federal accountability purposes. Continue reading

Spreading the facts about Ebola

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.

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Reminder to superintendents surveys due

The following reminder was sent via Priority Notice to all Maine superintendents on Friday, Oct. 17.

Dear Superintendents,

I am writing to remind you to please complete 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, established by the Maine Legislature earlier this year.

In partnership with the Maine Education Policy Research Institute (MEPRI), the Department is compiling information for the Commission about the current use of instructional coaches and the physical space, facility capacity and operations of districts as it relates to existing and expanding preschool programs. Because the Commission begins meeting this coming Monday, I encourage you to submit your responses today, though surveys completed after this deadline will be provided to the Commission for consideration at its future meetings.  Continue reading

Learning through technology educators

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. Continue reading

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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