Category Archives: From the Commissioner

Subsidy checks reflect MaineCare Seed adjustments

Dear Superintendents and Business Managers,

I am writing to let you know that the remaining 2013-14 subsidy checks for General Purpose Aid for Local Schools will reflect additional adjustments for MaineCare Seed payments paid by the Maine DOE on behalf of school administrative units (SAUs) for the following:

  • 2014 Quarter 1 and 2 MaineCare Payment adjustments
  • Corrections to 2013 Quarter 4 MaineCare Payment adjustments

Continue reading

As we enter the home stretch, a thank you

This week’s Commissioner’s Update is landing in inboxes as many of you are hopefully enjoying a well-deserved April vacation.

The days between now and when the school year ends in June will likely be your busiest, and include a flurry of budget preparations, the administration of the SAT and/or Smarter Balanced field tests, the release of the State school report cards, all of the preparations that go into graduation and so much more.

Continue reading

Message to districts: Updated ED 279s posted

Dear Superintendents and Business Managers,

The Department is pleased to let you know that we have just posted updated FY 2015 (2014-15 school year) State subsidy printouts, known as ED 279s, here on our website.

Continue reading

Simple strategies for safer, more effective schools

Next week, I have the honor of speaking about school security at the Maine Partners in Emergency Preparedness Conference. I am excited to share all the advancements we’ve made here in recent years to strengthen the safety and security of our schools, especially since the shootings at Sandy Hook.

Most notably, thanks to two security reports commissioned by the Legislature and our Department and produced by Safe Havens International and PDT Architects, Maine schools now better understand their vulnerabilities and opportunities to better ensure student and staff safety.

Knowing how important this work is can often make it daunting for districts and schools boards to figure out where to best begin. That’s why as a follow-up to those assessments and in partnership with Safe Havens International, we are pleased to provide a free school security guide entitled 20 Simple Strategies to Safer and More Effective Schools.

Continue reading

Committed to rigorous standards, aligned assessments

Last week, the Maine Education Association (MEA) announced its reservations about the updated math and ELA standards that were incorporated into the Maine Learning Results back in 2011 and have been being implemented in Maine schools since. They also called for a moratorium on the next generation of assessments aligned to those standards, developed in collaboration with Maine teachers and the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, of which Maine is currently a governing member.

Continue reading

Learning from the latest NECAP results: Part II

In last week’s Commissioner’s Update, I shared with you an analysis of the statewide math and reading results for the 2013-14 New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP), administered this past October.

With the exception of Grade 5 math and writing, we saw flat or declining scores in all other grades and content areas. Digging into the data shows us where strengths and struggles are, and focuses improvement initiatives.

Continue reading

Notice to superintendents, principals on school grades

Dear Superintendents and Principals,

Next month, our Department will release the second round of school report cards, using existing data to provide the public a snapshot of how all Maine schools are doing.

Continue reading

Notice to superintendents on 2014 Commissioner’s Conference

Dear Superintendents,

I wanted to personally invite you to save the date for our 103rd Annual Commissioner’s Conference for Superintendents, scheduled to run from noon on Monday, June 23 through noon on Wednesday, June 25 at Point Lookout in Northport (please note the Monday start).

Continue reading

Learning from the latest NECAP results: Part I

Earlier this week, the Department released the state-level results for the 2013-14 New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP). The test was administered back in October and districts have had (and hopefully been closely analyzing) their individual results since January.

From the state-level data, we can see that while the majority of Maine’s elementary school students are still proficient in math (60.2 percent) and reading (69.1 percent), there are concerning performance declines across the board. While proficiency went up in Grade 5 math and writing and was flat in Grade 3, 5 and 7 reading as well as Grade 7 math, it was down in both math and reading for Grades 3, 4, 6 and 8.

Just as we as a Department encourage you to dig into your data to inform your understanding of challenges and opportunities, we’ve been doing the same here.

Continue reading

Reminder regional calendars due May 1

Dear CTE Directors and Superintendents,

We are writing to remind you that school administrative units and private schools approved for tuition purposes are expected to establish regional school calendars, in coordination with their local secondary career and technical education school, by May 1.

Continue reading