Category Archives: Commissioner’s Updates

Commissioner’s Update – July 31, 2014

Featured Press Release

Maine Department of Labor Proposes Rules Changes to Assist Students in Career and Technical Education Programs

The following release was originally published by the Maine Department of Labor on July 29, 2014.

AUGUSTA – The Maine Department of Labor announced in a news release proposed changes to rules surrounding job training programs for minors. The purpose of the proposed change is to allow students enrolled in approved Career and Technical educational programs to train on specific equipment, located at a business that is necessary for their course of study.

Due to the size and expense of some modern, standard industrial equipment, CTE schools cannot afford to purchase or maintain that equipment solely for training students. The changes would allow students to train on the equipment at a business under strict supervision.  Businesses hosting the training will have to comply with a number of conditions under the proposed rules.

“Many technical educational programs are at a disadvantage because some of our labor laws have not kept up with the changes in technology and job training,” said Governor Paul R. LePage. “These changes will keep students safe but provide the opportunity to gain specific skills on updated equipment that our schools cannot afford to buy. This helps our students start on a great career and our businesses remain competitive.”

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OSEP letter cautions on using alternative graduation requirements for students with disabilities

The U.S. Department of Education has advised Louisiana’s Superintendent of Education John White that a new Louisiana law allowing students with disabilities to follow a different route to a high school diploma than what’s required of other students may violate the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). | More

Maine DOE awards ConnectME technology grants

The Maine DOE’s Office of Adult Education and Family Literacy awarded twelve $5,000 ConnectME technology grants to adult education programs and four $2,500 technology grants to literacy volunteer programs. | More

Commission established to study essential programs and services

The Commission to Strengthen the Adequacy and Equity of Certain Cost Components of the School Funding Formula was established pursuant to Resolve 2014, Chapter 114 and held its first meeting on July 25. | More

Child Development Services announces web-based inventory system

Maine Child Development Services (CDS) system, in collaboration with the Maine CITE Coordinating Center, the statewide Assistive technology (AT) program, has created a web-based inventory system to track adaptive equipment/AT. | More

Maine FFA Association student officers participate in national leadership conference

Student officers of the Maine FFA Association (formerly known as Future Farmers of America) attended the National Leadership Conference for State Officers (NLCSO), a regional leadership training in Croghan, New York, June 28-July 2.  | More

National Assessment Governing Board accepting nominations in mid-August

The National Assessment Governing Board will be issuing a call for nominations in mid-August; information will be available on their website at at that time. | More

Update of Maine Schools form to be filed electronically for 2014-15

This school year the Maine DOE will be requiring all superintendents and private school administrators to file the Update of Maine Schools form electronically through NEO, the Department’s new data management system. | More

Maine’s County Teachers of the Year one step closer

Maine’s County Teachers of the Year have been hard at work this summer. They have now completed their oral presentations and are one step closer to becoming Maine’s State Teacher of the Year. | More


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Commissioner’s Update – July 17, 2014

Featured Press Release

Maine awarded $819,433 for meeting workforce system and adult education performance goals

The following release was originally published by the Maine Department of Labor on July 8, 2014.

AUGUSTA – The Maine Departments of Education and Labor and the State Workforce Investment Board (SWIB) have been awarded a Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Incentive Grant of $819,433 based on performance in federal Program Year 12 (July 2012 through June 2013).  Only eight states met their objectives and earned such a grant. Maine last qualified for an incentive grant 12 years ago.

The award is based on the performance of all of the statewide Adult Education Programs and all of the partners in the workforce development system, specifically the Department of Labor and its CareerCenters and the service providers that work through the CareerCenter system and the Local Workforce Investment Boards. The service providers are Goodwill Industries of Northern New England, Aroostook County Action Program, Western Maine Community Action and Eastern Maine Development Corporation.

“I have made it a priority to implement reforms in our systems that result in better outcomes for our citizens,” said Governor Paul R. LePage. “Giving Mainers the tools to enter a good-paying career should be the focus of our training and adult education dollars. This grant recognizes the progress we have made toward meeting that goal, but we have more work to do.”

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Maine high school student wins national contest

Noah Binette, a freshman at Noble High School in North Berwick, Maine, has won first place for his exhibit about Malaga Island at the Kenneth E. Behring National History Day competition recently held at the University of Maryland. | More

Maine DOE seeking online panel members to set achievement levels

As a governing state in the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, Maine continues to support the efforts to develop a rigorous assessment system that will become operational in the 2014-15 school year. | More

CDS staff completes routines-based interview training

The Child Development Services team is pleased to announce that as of June 30, the Part C staff at all 9 regional CDS sites has completed the Routines-Based Interview (RBI) training. | More

Special rates for Maine teachers at National Council for the Social Studies conference

The National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) will host the nation’s largest and most comprehensive social studies professional development conference at its 2014 Annual Conference in Boston, November 21-23. | More

Optional high school assessment opportunities in 2014-15

To assist in preparing students for college and career readiness and post-secondary opportunities, the Maine Department of Education is pleased to announce our continued partnership with the College Board to provide high schools the opportunity to offer students the ReadiStep, PSAT, SAT and AccuPLACER.  | More

Governing board for high school equivalency test selected

Educational Testing Service, the provider of the new ETS high school equivalency test program known as HiSET, has partnered with the Maine DOE and other states who administer HiSET to appoint a governing board to help set overall direction for the program. | More

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Commissioner’s Update – July 3, 2014

Featured Press Release

Governor LePage announces $11.3 million to support at-risk students

The Governor announced the awards from the Maine Department of Education at the Reiche School in Portland alongside the CEO of LearningWorks, one of 15 grantees who will establish or continue 32 community learning centers that provide students extended learning services

PORTLAND – Governor Paul R. LePage announced that the Maine Department of Education is giving out $11.3 million over the next five years to support extended learning opportunities for at-risk students.

The Governor announced the awards alongside Education Commissioner Jim Rier, LearningWorks CEO Ethan Strimling, Portland Public Schools Superintendent Manny Caulk and South Portland School Department Superintendent Suzanne Godin at the Reiche School in Portland.

LearningWorks will receive around $2.5 million over the five-year award period to provide hands-on, engaging and relevant extended day and summer programming at six schools in Portland and South Portland through the establishment and continuation of 21st Century Community Learning Centers.

Community learning centers provide academic support and enrichment opportunities outside of school hours that improve the in-school performance of at-risk students – including those who struggle academically or are from low-income or immigrant families.

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Commissioner’s Conference focuses on Proficiency-Based Diplomas and Educator Effectiveness

In closing comments of the Annual Commissioner’s Conference for Superintendents, Education Commissioner Jim Rier applauded attendees for their attention and participation in the event. that was designed to provide superintendents and other district administrators with guidance, technical assistance and practical tools to use in implementing recently-passed legislation. | More

Maine DOE releases results from proficiency-based Readiness Inventory

The Maine DOE has released results from the proficiency-based diploma Readiness Inventory, a tool designed to help school districts better understand their progress toward proficiency and to help determine which of the six extension options is best for them to pursue. | More

New resource for performance evaluation and professional growth systems

Following enactment of the Maine Educator Effectiveness law in 2012, the Maine DOE worked for over a year to finalize the rules that govern the development and implementation of performance evaluation and professional growth (PEPG) systems for teachers and principals. | More

Maine DOE announces Innovative Approaches to Literacy Program funding opportunity

The Maine DOE is pleased to announce a new funding opportunity from the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) Office of Elementary and Secondary Education for the Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) Program | More

SAUs invited to apply for “Supporting ALL Teachers for ALL Students” leader team training

The Maine DOE invites district-wide teams of educators from both general and special education to become leader teams for Supporting ALL Teachers for ALL Students. This professional development training includes a two-day eventin Brewer, Oct. 15-16 and ongoing coaching, consultation and technical assistance  | More

RFP issued for education-related services for homeless children and youth

The Maine DOE has issued a request for proposals (RFP) seeking bids to develop and implement programs providing educational and related services beyond those provided in the general education program to facilitate the enrollment, attendance and school success of homeless children and youth under the McKinney-Vento Act | More

Maine Commission for Community Service presents AmeriCorps webinar

Registration is now open for an informational webinar introducing AmeriCorps program basics and the various types of grants available during the major triennial AmeriCorps State program grant competition that will take place this Fall and Winter. | More

Maine DOE adopts rules for suicide awareness and prevention

Rule Chapter 38:  Suicide Awareness and Prevention in Maine Public Schools has been adopted by the Department of Education and took effect June 29, 2014. | More

Responsibility for FAPE for deaf or hard-of-hearing students

Notice of statutory change going into effect on July 1 of next year (2015). Under Public Law 2013, Chapter 552 (formerly LD 1769) | More

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Commissioner’s Update – June 19, 2014

From the Maine DOE

Over the past month, I’ve had the privilege of speaking at not one, but three, adult education graduations. Having a small part in the celebration of the huge accomplishments of these unique students has been one of the greatest honors I’ve had as your Commissioner of Education.

Earning a high school diploma requires incredible hard work and perseverance, even under the best of circumstances. But the best of circumstances isn’t something many adult education students have known when it comes to their schooling.

Though they don’t make the front pages like their traditional high school or collegiate counterparts, the stories of the graduates I have seen receive their high school diploma or its equivalent through adult education have been especially humbling and serve as a reminder of adult education’s critical role in our communities.

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Maine robotics teams excel at world championships

Robotics teams from eight schools represented Maine well at three recent world championships: FIRST Robotics, VEX Robotics and FIRST Lego League. | More

Maine DOE offers Infinite Campus, State reporting & school nutrition training sessions

The Department’s Maine Education Data Management System  (MEDMS) Helpdesk Team is partnering with the School Nutrition Team to provide joint training sessions throughout the state in August for Maine schools. Both Infinite Campus District Edition users and non-Infinite Campus system users are encouraged to attend. | More

Maine DOE announces Positive Youth Development Institute

The Maine DOE’s 21st Century Community Learning Centers and the Maine After School Network invite educators, administrators, community members, juvenile justice workers, and after school and youth development program staff to attend the annual Positive Youth Development Institute (PYDI) at the University of New England in Biddeford on July 21-22. | More

Maine DOE’s legislative summary posted

Maine DOE has prepared a summary of major laws related to education enacted by the Second Regular Session of the 126th Maine Legislature. This information may prove helpful to educators when planning for the 2014-15 school year. | More

Department provides additional guidance on FERPA amendments

Last year, the Department posted a dispatch on amendments to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) resulting from the Uninterrupted Scholars Act.  These amendments to FERPA included an Additional Exception to Parental Consent Requirements for Students in Foster Care and an Exemption to Notice Requirement When Records Released Under Court Order. | More

Student lunch prices set for 2015 school year

The maximum price students can be charged for school lunch in School Year 2015 is $3 per lunch. Districts who wish to exceed this amount must complete a price waiver request form and submit it on behalf of their legal agent/superintendent to Maine DOE’s Office of Child Nutrition. | More

Brewer School and Police Departments announce school and workplace violence training

The Brewer Police Department in partnership with the Brewer School Department are inviting members of the community, law enforcement, public safety staff, educators and administrators to a two-day training on August 18-19 at the Brewer Community School. | More

National Core Arts Standards released

The National Coalition for Core Arts Standards (NCCAS) has released the final version of its voluntary national standards in dance, media arts, music, theater and visual arts. | More

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Commissioner’s Update – June 12, 2014

From the Maine DOE

This week, the Department had the honor of announcing it was awarding $1.6 million in School Improvement Grant (SIG) funding to James Otis Kaler Elementary.

The South Portland school intends to use this State support to raise student proficiency in math and reading by 10 percent annually over the next three years by better supporting students, enhancing educator effectiveness and increasing parent/community engagement.

The commitment to school improvement is not new to Kaler. In 2011, a school-based renewal effort was launched, but meaningful headway has yet to be made. The school received an “F” on its State report card the last two years, and just 38.5 percent of its students are proficient in math and 44.4 percent in reading.

Kaler’s challenges are significant but certainly familiar to many Maine schools: high teacher turnover and a growing percentage of students who are economically disadvantaged or require special education or English language learning services.

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State awards South Portland’s Kaler Elementary $1.6 million for school improvement

SOUTH PORTLAND – A South Portland elementary school will use $1.6 million awarded today by the Maine Department of Education to raise student proficiency in math and reading by 10 percent annually over the next three years. | More

Maine DOE to distribute funds to support proficiency-based diploma transition

Maine school administrative units (SAUs) will receive targeted funds to support the transition to a proficiency-based diploma again this year. Beginning in the fall, the Maine DOE will distribute to each SAU a grant in the amount of 1/10th of 1 percent of that SAU’s total cost of education. | More

Maine DOE offers free school safety, security workshop

The Maine DOE is encouraging staff from Maine schools to attend Preparing People: A School Safety and Security Workshop on Tuesday, June 24 at Colby College Alumni Center in Waterville. | More

Charter commission seeks proposals for 2015 school opening

The Maine Charter School Commission is currently soliciting proposals for new public charter schools that would begin serving students in the fall of 2015. | More

Maine’s CTE Centers name students of the year

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

Department honors top math, science teachers

The Maine DOE recently honored the four state finalists for the 2013 Presidential Award in Excellence in Teaching Mathematics and Science (PAEMST) with a dinner held at the Maple Hill Farm Inn located in Hallowell. Maine DOE Science and Technology Specialist Shari Templeton and Mathematics Specialist Michele Mailhot planned the evening event. | More

Maine Department of Labor offers students summer employment tips

AUGUSTA – As school gets out for the summer, the Maine Department of Labor is reminding students looking for summer jobs that the work-permit application is available online. All minors under the age of 16 must have a work permit before they start a job, whether or not they attend school. | More

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Commissioner’s Update – June 5, 2014

From the Maine DOE

It’s high school graduation season and while the commitment of Maine K-12 public education system to proficiency-based diplomas starting in 2018 is clear, one of the questions I’m most frequently asked is whether colleges share that belief in the great value of this approach.

Actions like the University of Maine at Presque Isle’s transition to proficiency-based learning and college acceptances of graduates from Maine schools that have already gone to proficiency-based education reflect higher education’s support, which is not surprising given this shift ensures greater college and career readiness. But Maine students and their families rightfully want more guarantees that post-secondary institutions will understand and embrace their proficiency-based diplomas.  

That’s why I am pleased to share that earlier this week, the New England Secondary School Consortium (NESSC) announced that all of the public institutions of higher education in five New England states including Maine have endorsed proficiency-based education and graduation.

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Maine DOE announces preview period for Smarter Balanced digital educator resources

The Smarter Balanced Digital Library preview launched on June 3.These on-demand materials are aligned to the Smarter Balanced assessment targets and will be an important resource for Maine teachers to understand progress in student learning.  | More

Downeast students earn passing grade from Marine Resources Commissioner for Winter flounder project

More than 50 students from coastal high schools presented their preliminary findings on their winter flounder project to Maine Commissioner of Marine Resources Patrick Keliher last week. | More

Nominations open for Maine technology educator awards

The Association for Computer Technology Educators of Maine (ACTEM) is accepting nominations for the Maine Educator of the Year and the Maine Leader of the Year awards to be announced at their 2014 Conference held in Augusta in October. | More

New toll-free fax number for MEDMS helpdesk

The Maine DOE is pleased to share that the Maine Education Data Management System (MEDMS) Helpdesk has a new toll-free fax number: 866-219-8344. | More

Maine DOE to implement new school staff survey

Maine school administrative units (SAUs) have been completing the Educator Quality and Effectiveness Survey initiated by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) annually since 2010. The survey data has been collected through the Maine Education Data Management System (MEDMS). | More

Maine mathematics educators honored

The Portland Sea Dogs recently recognized the current and several past recipients of the Jacqueline Mitchell Mathematics Educator Award. | More

Maine music teachers hold conference

Maine music teachers and students gathered at the University of Maine in Orono for the Maine Music Educators Association’s (MMEA) In-Service Conference last month. The conference offered performances from chorus, band, strings and jazz, and also provided professional development opportunities on proficiency and student assessment methods specific to each area of instruction. | More

Youth health survey to be administered next February

The Maine DOE, in collaboration with the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, is pleased to announce the fourth administration of the Maine Integrated Youth Health Survey (MIYHS) will be next February. | More

Maine FFA student officers receive leadership training

Trainers from the National FFA Organization (formerly known as “Future Farmers of America”) traveled to Aroostook County last week to prepare the new team of Maine FFA State Officers for their responsibilities in overseeing the duties of the student-run leadership organization for secondary and middle school students enrolled in agriculture and natural resource classes. | More

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Commissioner’s Update – May 29, 2014

From the Maine DOE

There is perhaps no greater opportunity to ensure Maine students graduate college and career ready than the transition to proficiency-based diplomas now underway in our state.

That’s why our Department supported the 2012 law making it mandatory that schools award these diplomas starting in 2018 and why we have worked hard in the two years since to be a resource to districts as they make this significant shift. It is also why earlier this week, the Department previewed the options it was offering Maine school administrative units (SAUs) who need more time in meeting this requirement.

The decision to use the authority I have under a provision in Maine’s Basic School Approval Law to grant school units waivers from the proficiency-based diploma requirement through July 1, 2020 was not one I took lightly.

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State supports proficiency-based diplomas, offers districts implementation flexibility

AUGUSTA – The Maine Department of Education affirmed its commitment to the state’s students being awarded diplomas based on proficiency but announced today it would give school districts more flexibility in meeting a requirement to do so by 2018.  | More

Maine DOE provides Q & A on educator effectiveness system development

Earlier this month, the Maine DOE announced the final adoption of rule Chapter 180, which governs the development and implementation of Performance Evaluation and Professional Growth (PE/PG) systems that improve teacher and principal effectiveness. | More

Maine DOE offers training to new ESEA/NCLB coordinators

The Maine DOE is inviting new coordinators of Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA)/No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Title Programs to a free training session in Augusta on July 10. | More

Maine teachers chosen for summer humanities institute

PORTLAND– Five Maine teachers have been selected as National Endowment for the Humanities (NEW) Summer Scholars from a national applicant pool to attend an Acadian culture summer institute. | More

Maine DOE offers facilities, maintenance staff training

The Maine DOE and the Educational Plant Maintenance Association of Maine invite school administrators, facilities directors, business managers, maintenance teams and custodial staff to the 46th Annual School Facilities Conference at Colby College on June 23-25. Registration to the multi-track conference on leadership, maintenance and custodial care is free to public school staff. | More

Guidance on transportation for special education students and equivalent school days

Maine Unified Special Education Regulations (MUSER) §VI.2.L state that “[i]t is the full expectation that children eligible under this Chapter will attend school the equivalent amount of time per day as children without disabilities in the same school and/or program.”  | More

New mentor reading program opportunity for schools

Funding is now available to Maine schools from the Barbara Bush Foundation to offer a Teen Trendsetters™ program for their students. | More

Maine FFA Association holds annual convention

Students in the Maine FFA Association (formerly known as “Future Farmers of America”) celebrated another year of accomplishments during their State Convention at the University of Maine, Orono earlier this month. | More

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Commissioner’s Update – May 22, 2014

From the Maine DOE

Following several changes by the Maine Legislature, I am pleased to say that the Department has finally adopted Rule Chapter 180, which establishes standards and procedures for the implementation of performance evaluation and professional growth systems (known as PE/PG systems) that each school administrative unit (SAU) is required to have implemented by the 2015-16 school year. PE/PG systems for teachers and principals improve educator effectiveness by establishing clear expectations for professional practice and student learning/growth and providing actionable feedback and support to help educators meet them.

The Department outlined the changes it made through the public rulemaking process last fall in a previous Commissioner’s Update dispatch. It is important to note that during the Legislature’s review this spring of Maine DOE’s provisionally-adopted rule, there was agreement that student growth measures should be a significant factor in determining a teacher or principal effectiveness rating and that local school boards have the authority and responsibility to approve or reject the stakeholder group’s proposed PE/PG system plan. Additionally, the Legislature maintained that the Maine DOE will still have to approve PE/PG system plans and that there are contingencies if local stakeholder groups can’t reach consensus, including adoption of a State model.

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State releases 2014 report cards, congratulates high performing and high progress schools

AUGUSTA – The 2014 school report cards are out and certificates of achievement signed by Governor Paul R. LePage and Education Commissioner Jim Rier are in the mail for 121 schools that earned an A or B grade. | More

Students, educators to celebrate technology as learning tool at annual MLTI conference

ORONO – Students from 44 schools will gather at UMaine on Thursday to showcase how technology provided by the Maine Department of Education is transforming their learning and better preparing them for classroom and career success. | More

Maine DOE proposes rules for suicide awareness and prevention

The enactment of PL 2013, Chapter 53, (LD 609), An Act To Increase Suicide Awareness and Prevention in Maine Public Schools, requires all Maine school personnel to be trained in suicide awareness and prevention. It further requires all school administrative units (SAU) to put supports in place to help prevent suicide. | More

Maine DOE releases professional practice model survey results

The development and implementation of Performance Evaluation and Professional Growth (PE/PG) systems has prompted many school administrators to look for opportunities to share ideas and resources. | More

Maine DOE reminds districts of new military identifier for fall reporting

The Maine DOE is reminding superintendents, Infinite Campus (IC) data managers, building administrators and school office personnel of the state-wide implementation of the military-dependent child identifier responses in Infinite Campus expected in the upcoming October upload. | More

Maine DOE announces 2014 summer literacy institute

The Maine DOE is inviting teams of educators to attend the 2014 Summer Literacy Institute to be held August 12-13 at Thomas College in Waterville. The two-day event will feature members of the Vermont Writing Collaborative sharing its book Writing for Understanding. Presenters will explain the Writing for Understanding approach which describes a method of teaching writing that clearly matches the purpose and supports inclusion of strong evidence to support the main ideas. | More

Members sought for deaf or hard of hearing commission

The Maine Commission for the Deaf, Hard of Hearing and Late Deafened (CDHHLD) is seeking nominations to fill vacancies on the Commission. Students, parents, educators and community members with knowledge and experience related to hearing loss are especially important to the work the Commission does to implement positive changes for Maine’s deaf and hard of hearing citizens. | More

Department reminds SAU’S of additional 2013-14 HQT data collection requirement

Maine is required by the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) to conduct a second “Highly Qualified” Teacher (HQT) data collection for the 2013-14 school year. | More

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Commissioner’s Update – May 15, 2014

From the Maine DOE

Maine Education Commissioner Jim Rier presents Rose M. Gaffney School Principal Mitchell Look with a certificate of achievement for earning an A on their 2014 school report card. The school received a C last year.

Commissioner Jim Rier presents Rose M. Gaffney School Principal Mitchell Look with a certificate of achievement for earning an A on their 2014 school report card. The Machias school, which the Commissioner and his three sons attended, received a C last year.

In a few hours, the 2014 school report cards will be made available to the public via the Department’s Education Data Warehouse.

Meanwhile, I am spending the day visiting elementary schools in South Hiram and Gorham that have each seen a two-letter grade gain since last year’s report card was released. The grading system certainly can’t be credited for those increases, but it has helped to surface success stories that can inform the improvement work happening at so many of our schools.

That’s why I’ve spent the week traveling from Washington County to western Maine to visit schools with 2014 report cards that show a letter grade or more of growth. It’s been exciting to celebrate these schools and see their pride upon being presented with their improved report card. But more so, it’s been an incredible learning experience for me

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Commissioner celebrates Washington County school improvements on first day of report card rollout tour

MACHIAS – Maine’s Commissioner of Education spent Monday in Washington County, recognizing two schools there for raising their grades on the 2014 school report cards that will be released to the public on Thursday. | More

In conjunction with the release of this year’s school grades, the Maine DOE is pleased to make available a school improvement webinar series recorded this spring based on the needs surfaced by the latest grades and our improvement-related discussions with schools. | More

The Maine DOE is accepting registrations for the 4th Annual ESL Summer Academy to be held June 24-26 at the University of Maine in Orono. Administrators and school teams are encouraged to attend the academy, which will feature interactive sessions on working with the academic language demands in content standards. | More

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently awarded 170 Maine schools $2,022,150 for distribution during the 2014-15 school year to provide fresh fruits and vegetables at no cost to students. A list of the Maine schools who received the award is available on the Department’s School Nutrition website. | More

K-12 educators, teaching artists and interdisciplinary teams are invited to the New England Summit on Arts Education hosted by the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative (MAAI). The summit will be held July 29-August 1 at the University of Southern Maine in Portland. | More

The passage of LD 1850 (PL 2013, Resolve Ch. 114) charged the Maine DOE with conducting an analysis of the Title I component in the Essential Programs & Services (EPS) school funding formula. To ensure the accuracy of that review, the Department is asking that districts review the staff they reported in the Maine Education Data Management System who are paid with federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Title I Disadvantage funds. | More

As the end of the school year approaches, the Maine DOE is reminding school administrative unit (SAU) staff that discipline reporting is due on June 30. The Department’s focus on bullying prevention has enabled us to expand the reporting capabilities available to SAUs and a detailed explanation of these improvements can be seen here. | More

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Commissioner’s Update – May 8, 2014

From the Maine DOE

This Teacher Appreciation Week, I had the honor on behalf of the Department and the LePage Administration of recognizing the first-ever Maine County Teachers of the Year.

Maine students are being inspired each day by the effective, engaging educators we are fortunate to have in so many of our classrooms and the 16 teachers named this week are among the best of the best.

I look forward to recognizing one of them as Maine’s 2015 Teacher of the Year this fall, though I believe all of them are certainly more than deserving of that distinction. I also want to thank Hannaford, Geiger, Bangor Savings Bank, Unum, the Maine Board of Education, Educate Maine and the Maine Teacher of the Year Association for their tireless support of the Maine State Teacher of the Year Program.

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Registration, agenda available for Commissioner’s Conference for Superintendents

The Department has opened registration for its 103rd Annual Commissioner’s Conference for Superintendents. | More

Certification changes to become effective May 14

The Maine State Board of Education has finally adopted the revised Rule for Certification, Authorization and Approval of Education Personnel. The two part (Rule Chapter 115, Part I and Part II) revised rule becomes effective May 14. | More

Maine DOE seeking panel members to set achievement levels

As a governing state in the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, Maine continues to support the efforts to develop a rigorous assessment system that will become operational in the 2014-15 school year. As part of those efforts, the Maine DOE is seeking the nomination of qualified educators, administrators, parents and business/community leaders to participate in the process to recommend cut scores for achievement levels on Smarter Balanced developed assessments. | More

School nutrition standards to become effective July 1

Federal school nutrition standards adopted in 2010 will become effective on July 1. The Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act (HHFKA) requires that all foods sold on a school campus outside of the school meal program must meet the Smart Snacks nutrition standards set forth in the interim final rule titled “National School Lunch Program (NLSP) and School Breakfast Program (SBP): Nutrition Standards for All Foods Sold in School as required by the HHFKA of 2010.” | More

Maine DOE to offer trainings on National School Lunch Program improvements

Maine DOE Child Nutrition Program staff will be offering training sessions this summer to update local school unit nutrition program staff on federal and State improvements to the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). A regional training schedule will be available in June and published in the Commissioner’s Update and on the Department’s professional development calendar. | More

More information on the School Facility Management System

The Maine DOE is reminding district leaders that the School Facility Management System (SFMS) provided to school administrative units (SAU) through the Maine DOE will no longer be available after June 30, the end date of the current contract with WFA, Inc., the software provider. | More

Department guidance on annual review of IEPs

The Maine Unified Special Education Regulation (MUSER) requires that the Individualized Education Program (IEP) Team review a child’s IEP no less than annually. | More

Consultation by teachers of the visually impaired

An appropriately qualified teacher of the visually impaired (TVI) who provides consultation to regular education teachers and/or to special education teachers of children from age 3 to 20 under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is providing consultation, as a special education service.   It is a service in itself, not a level of intensity of service.  Also, this consultation should not be confused with “vision services,” which are available under IDEA only to infants and toddlers. | More

Nominations being accepted for Maine Curriculum Leader of the Year

Nominations are now open for the 2013-14 Maine Curriculum Leader of the Year award.

Strong curriculum and instructional leadership is particularly important in our state as schools work to implement proficiency-based education. Nominees should be effective curriculum leaders who have been active at the local, regional and state level. | More

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