Welcome to the February issue of the Maine DOE Monthly.
Our Department continues to deliver on our promise to support schools, especially in their implementation of critical work like the proficiency-based diploma, educator effectiveness evaluations, and new standards and assessments. This month, we provided new resources that directly help educators and administrators, including sample policies for proficiency-based education systems, approved educator effectiveness models, guidance on merging certification support and performance evaluation systems, and expanded suicide prevention and awareness training.
We’re also excited to announce that last Thursday following unanimous confirmation by the Maine Legislature’s Education Committee and then the Maine Senate, Jim Rier was sworn-in by Governor LePage as Maine’s Commissioner of Education. If you haven’t had the opportunity to work with Jim in his years of service to Maine schools and students first as a member of the State Board of Education and since 2003 here at the Department, you can learn more about him here.
As always, read on for a roundup of other recent updates from the Department and stay tuned to our Newsroom and weekly Commissioner’s Updates for the latest news you can use from the Maine DOE.
Dispatches & Press Releases
AUGUSTA – Nominations are open through Feb. 28 for the 2015 Maine Teacher of the Year. For the first time since the Maine DOE recognition program launched in 1954, the public is being invited to join school and district leaders in going online to directly nominate educators for the prestigious statewide distinction, the winner of which serves as an advocate for Maine’s teachers, students and education system. | More
Last week I had the opportunity to participate in the University of Maine at Presque Isle’s (UMPI) exciting announcement they would be moving to a proficiency-based system beginning next fall. I believe UMPI’s voluntary adoption of this model sends a strong message to the K-12 system that proficiency-based is the new normal in Maine education – not just because it is required by State statute, but because it is the right thing to do for kids. | More
All of us share a commitment to ensuring our schools are physically and emotionally safe and supportive places for students to learn and thrive. As your Commissioner of Education, I want you to know our Department is collaborating with others to take serious steps to help students before they harm themselves. | More
The Maine State Board of Education is accepting applications for potential student members from schools in the Second Congressional District. | More
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. | More
To support school administrative units (SAUs) in continuing with work already underway when the rule was originally proposed in 2013 as well as SAUs who are just beginning to explore professional practice models, the Department has posted and will update as needed the Maine DOE Menu of Approved Professional Practice Models along with information about the requirements for a model on its Educator Effectiveness website. | More
District policies are critical supports for proficiency-based education and successful locally-led implementation may require the revision of existing district policies. Many school districts around the state are currently engaged in discussions to revise policies to reflect their proficiency-based systems. | More
In preparation for supporting provisionally certified teacher-candidates as they work toward State professional certification, local Professional Learning Community Support Systems (PLCSS) teams across Maine are gearing up to review their programs and deliver mentor training. | More
AUGUSTA – The Maine Department of Education is seeking organizations to help provide low-income children healthy meals when school is not in session this summer. | More
Fostering candid self-evaluation, the self-assessment tool provided by Maine DOE leads districts through a comprehensive set of questions focused on policy, practice and community engagement aspects of implementation. | More
From the Commissioner