Category Archives: Maine DOE Monthly

Maine DOE Monthly – September 30, 2014

Welcome to the September issue of the Maine DOE Monthly.

This month marked the arrival of the first high school class that will be expected to demonstrate proficiency  in the eight content areas of the Maine Learning Results when they graduate in four years. Because of that expectation as well as upcoming implementation of new educator evaluations and next generation assessment systems, in recent weeks the Department brought 24 experts together to review the standards in the foundational content areas of mathematics and English language arts and additionally asked the public to weigh-in. If changes are needed to improve the clarity and rigor of the standards, the time to make them is now.  September also marked Attendance Awareness Month and brought well-deserved recognition to our state’s service to military-connected students.

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

2014-15 school year: We’re in this together

On behalf of Governor LePage and all of us at the Department, I want to thank teachers, administrators and other school staff for their care for and commitment to our students. Maine kids are increasingly being inspired in their classrooms and achievement in their studies is rising as a result, putting them on a path for future college and career success. | More

Commissioner Rier: Transparent, inclusive review process will improve Maine’s learning standards

All Mainers want high standards for our students and believe they are capable of meeting them. From this updating process, I anticipate refinements that reflect the expertise of our panel and the experience of our state in implementing the current standards over the past three years. We will emerge not just with stronger standards but stronger collective confidence in them.| More

Maine partnership receives national honor for service to military-connected children

A local partnership enhanced by the statewide efforts of Maine’s First Lady Ann LePage and the Maine Department of Education has been nationally recognized for serving students whose parents are in the military. | More

Proficiency standard applies to special education students

As Maine moves towards a proficiency-based system that will ensure that all students graduate from our high schools having met rigorous learning standards, some have asked about the impact of this new expectation on students with disabilities. | More

Education Commissioner urges schools to promote importance of attendance

Attendance Awareness Month and back to school season provide Maine districts an opportunity to do what is consistently seen as most effective in combating chronic attendance: educating parents. | More

Maine DOE welcomes new Higher Education Specialist Angel Loredo

Angel Loredo has joined the Maine DOE as its Higher Education Specialist. | More

Superintendents asked to complete survey of public preschool programs

The Maine DOE is committed to supporting and expanding high-quality public preschool programs. The Legislature passed two bills, now Public Laws, which focus on public preschool programs for children four years of age. | More

2015 Maine Teacher of the Year finalists in the final stages of the determination process

Finalists for Maine’s 2015 Teacher of the Year will participate in their final interview with panel members this week–the last step of the determination process.  | More

Maine DOE warns of scam targeting schools

The Maine DOE is warning schools to think twice before paying invoices from a Las Vegas based company calling itself Scholastic School Supply. | More

Department provides answers to proficiency FAQs

As the Class of 2018 enters its first year of secondary school, school leaders are thinking deeply and asking questions about what it means to award a proficiency-based diploma after Jan. 1, 2018. | More

Maine DOE creates assessment tool for standards-based IEP goals

The Department has created Self-Assessing for Standards-Based IEP Goals as an optional tool to assist school administrative units (SAUs) to self-assess progress in writing standards-aligned IEP goals. | More

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Maine DOE Monthly – July 29, 2014

Welcome to the July issue of the Maine DOE Monthly.

This past month the Department continued to provide valuable resources, support and practical tools to help transition Maine schools to awarding proficiency-based diplomas to ensure the next generation’s success in the workplace, college and beyond. On July 22, the Department shared with superintendents the six extension application forms posted on the Department’s Getting to Proficiency web pages as well as a confirmation of readiness form for school districts to provide evidence of preparedness. The Department is also grateful to Bangor, Cape Elizabeth and South Portland high schools for piloting the extension application process for Maine school administrative units to follow. These examples confirm the great volume of work and thoughtful planning occurring in Maine schools in support of students’ learning.

On July 17, the Maine DOE together with the Maine Department of Labor and the State Workforce Investment Board were pleased to announce a federal grant in the amount of $819,433 had been awarded for meeting workforce system and adult education performance goals. In addition to this support, Governor LePage announced early in the month that the Department will be distributing $11.3 million over the next five years to support extended learning opportunities for at-risk students.

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 (publishing biweekly during the summer months) for the latest news you can use from the Maine DOE.


Dispatches & Press Releases

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

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

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Maine DOE Monthly – June 24, 2014

Welcome to the June issue of the Maine DOE Monthly.

As you receive this, 125 district leaders from across the state are convening in Northport at our 103rd Annual Commissioner’s Conference for Superintendents. In developing the conference agenda, the Department wanted to provide superintendents with the information and practical tools they need to be effective leaders in addressing the important initiatives we know they will be most challenged by in the year ahead.  Not surprisingly, much of our three days together is focused on the transition Maine districts are making to awarding proficiency-based diplomas starting in 2018. That shift is perhaps the most significant one ever undertaken by Maine’s K-12 public education system, but if done right, there is no greater opportunity to ensure our students graduate college and career ready. That’s why this month, our Department released six options by which districts could apply for extensions that would give them more time to thoughtfully make this transition and announced we would again be distributing targeted funds to districts to support costs related to the shift not otherwise subsidized by the State.

The Maine DOE and our state’s K-12 schools aren’t the only ones committed to proficiency. This month, we also shared that all of the public institutions of higher education in five New England states including Maine have endorsed proficiency-based education and graduation.

As always, read on for a roundup of other recent updates from the Department, including about our $1.6 million School Improvement Grant recipient, and stay tuned to our Newsroom and weekly Commissioner’s Updates (publishing biweekly during the summer months) for the latest news you can use from the Maine DOE.


Presumpscot1

Education Commissioner Jim Rier continued his visits to improving Maine schools this month with a stop at Presumpscot School in Portland, which has been recognized for high achievement on both the State (school report cards) and federal (ESEA) accountability systems. Here he shares a laugh with a fourth grade student about rocks that float while discussing her geology learning expedition.

Dispatches & Press Releases

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

Commissioner Rier: Extension options ensure proficiency-based diplomas done right

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 earlier this month, the Department previewed the options it was offering Maine school administrative units (SAUs) who need more time in meeting this requirement. | More

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

Commissioner Rier: Adult Education graduation truly a new beginning

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. | More

Maine higher ed institutions endorse proficiency-based learning

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. | 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

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 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

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Maine DOE Monthly – May 27, 2014

Welcome to the May issue of the Maine DOE Monthly.

Spring is a season of celebrations, and in keeping with that, we spent much of the month celebrating the students, teachers and improvements at Maine schools.

We released the 2014 school report cards, and recognized the 121 A and B schools as well as those that showed great growth with certificates of achievement signed by Governor LePage and Commissioner Rier. In conjunction with the report card rollout, we also spent the week visiting several of the 100 or so schools that improved by at least one letter grade so we could congratulate their progress and learn more about what they are doing to inspire students and raise performance levels.

Earlier this month, we also recognized the new County Teachers of the Year at a State House ceremony during Teacher Appreciation Week and tonight, Commissioner Rier will honor diploma recipients at the first of three Adult Education graduations he’ll speak at, reflecting our commitment to education and workforce development.

If you’re curious about what’s worth celebrating in your local school, then visit our Education Data Warehouse to see their report card and dozens of data points. Since the grades went public earlier in May, thousands of Mainers have visited this free Maine DOE resource to learn about the many positive things happening in their schools and what opportunities exist for supporting improvement. You can watch a short webinar on how to use the warehouse 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

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

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

Maine DOE report cards offer learning opportunities

Just as we teach our kids to be lifelong learners, we have to be too. The school report cards released by the Department provide a learning opportunity for us all. Some will be quick to dismiss the grades and the Department that delivers them. Others will use them exactly as Maine DOE intended, seeing them as a snapshot of a school’s performance and a springboard for diving into the data to learn more about a school’s strengths and where there are opportunities for improvement. | More

Commissioner Rier commends Adult Education, graduates at three ceremonies

TOPSHAM – Maine’s Education Commissioner will celebrate the 57 students who have earned their high school degree at the Merrymeeting Adult Education graduation tonight. He will participate in two other adult education graduations this spring, including the RSU 52 Adult and Community Education graduation in Turner on May 30 and the Windham/Raymond Adult Education graduation in Windham on June 12. | More

Education Commissioner recognizes County Teachers of the Year

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. | More

Students, educators to showcase 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 strengthens educator effectiveness

The Department has adopted Rule Chapter 180, which establishes standards and procedures for the implementation of performance evaluation and professional growth systems that improve educator effectiveness by establishing clear expectations and providing actionable feedback and support to help educators meet them. | More

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Maine DOE Monthly – April 29, 2014

Welcome to the April issue of the Maine DOE Monthly.

The two busiest months of the school year are ahead of us and Education Commissioner Jim Rier used his column in last week’s Commissioner Update to let all who work with and for districts know how much they are appreciated.

One of the best ways our Department can show our support for Maine’s hardworking educators is by being clear and consistent about where we stand, and where we are headed. That’s why this month, we affirmed our committed to rigorous standards and aligned assessments, which so many of you have been working to effectively implement over the past three years. We also show our thanks by providing resources to local districts that hopefully make their work easier. In April, we provided an analysis of the latest NECAP results and graduation rates, shared a new guide of simple strategies for safe schools, began a series of regional workshops for principals and reminded districts about a self-assessment tool to help them transition to a proficiency-based diploma.

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

Education Commissioner Rier affirms Maine DOE’s commitment to rigorous standards, aligned assessments

The Department believes Maine should have rigorous standards that ensure students leave our schools prepared for college and career and that there needs to be a way of objectively assessing where our students are in meeting those standards. | More

Maine high school graduation rates continue to climb

AUGUSTA – Maine’s high school graduation rate continues to climb with 86.36 percent of all students who entered the ninth grade in the fall of 2009 earning their diplomas on time in 2013, but State education officials stress that proficiency must be the top priority. | More

Maine DOE prepares to release school report cards, outlines changes

AUGUSTA – The Maine Department of Education has begun creating the 2014 school report cards that will be published in May. In an effort to expand the snapshot of a school the report card provides, the Department will add information about student poverty, teacher tenure and education levels, and funding. | More

Education Commissioner Rier announces new Department resources for safer schools

Thanks to two security reports, 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.| More

Maine DOE to host regional workshops for principals as instructional leaders

The Maine DOE is offering a series of free regional workshops this month to support principals in mentoring and coaching teachers to implement instructional practices that allow all students to demonstrate growth and proficiency in State standards. | More

Maine DOE provides analysis of Fall NECAP results

While 2013 marked the last NECAP administration as Maine moves to a next generation assessment system aligned with its recently updated academic standards, we hope schools are looking closely at their results. Ultimately, it is by doing this level of analysis locally that you can most meaningfully improve instruction and student learning. | More Part I | More Part II

Tripp Middle School wins top nutrition award

Tripp Middle School is the first middle school in Maine to earn a Gold Medal in the US Department of Agriculture’s HealthierUS School Challenge. | More

Arts educators recognized at State House celebration

AUGUSTA – Arts educators were recognized at the Maine State House Wednesday as part of Maine’s annual celebration of Arts Education Day. | More

Online district self-assessment available through June 30

The Maine DOE is reminding district leaders that the comprehensive online self-assessment developed in collaboration with Great Schools Partnership is available in its electronic form through June 30. The online district self-assessment is designed to support districts with their action planning for proficiency-based education and the transition to a proficiency-based diploma. | More

Maine chosen for rural dropout prevention project

Maine has been selected as one of 15 states to work with the US Department of Education and the National Dropout Prevention Network/Center on the Rural Dropout Prevention Project. | More

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Maine DOE Monthly- March 25, 2014

Welcome to the March issue of the Maine DOE Monthly.

Our Department is often thought of as a regulatory agency, but in reality, so much of what we do here each day is centered on being or providing resources to Maine schools and students. The news we share in our weekly Commissioner’s Updates and summarize in this monthly roundup reflects our supporting role.

In March, we provided $500,000 to CTE centers to support the Bridge Year Program, opened registration for all Maine high school students to take free online Advanced Placement courses, offered schools an opportunity to apply for $1.7 million in improvement grants, and launched new resources for community literacy, ingratiating CTE and math, and implementing a proficiency-based diploma. We are also proud to recognize schools and students for their achievements. This month we announced the 39 Reward schools who have high performance or progress under our new ESEA accountability system and named the 22 students whose talented artwork will be showcased on tens of thousands of MLTI devices and throughout our Augusta offices.

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

Maine DOE bridges transition to college, careers with $500,000 in grants

AUGUSTA – As many as 225 students will earn approximately two semesters of college credit before they even graduate from high school, thanks to $500,000 from the Maine Department of Education to support the innovative Bridge Year Program. | More

Maine DOE recognizes reward schools for performance, progress

Just as Maine’s ESEA accountability systems allows our Department to identify schools that most need improvement support, it also recognizes those showing the greatest levels of improvement and performance. Through this process, we are pleased to announce that 19 schools have been named as a High Progress Reward School and 20 as a High Performance Reward School | More

Maine DOE selects student artwork for MLTI screensavers

AUGUSTA – Twenty-two young Maine artists will soon have an audience of tens of thousands of their fellow students and teachers for their artwork. | More

Education Commissioner applauds expansion of student learning opportunities

AUGUSTA – Education Commissioner Jim Rier released the following statement this week in response to the Maine Charter School Commission’s approval of the state’s first public virtual charter school. The unanimous approval authorizes the independent Commission to enter into contract negotiations with Maine Connections Academy, which plans to start serving as many as 300 students from across the state this fall. | More

Preliminary FY15 State subsidy printouts published

The Department is pleased to let you know that the FY 2015 (2014-15 school year) preliminary State subsidy printouts, known as ED 279s, are now available here on our website. It is important to remember that these printouts reflect the currently enacted biennial budget, and will no doubt be adjusted as the Legislature responds to current and projected budget shortfalls. | More

AP4ALL registration now open

Student registration is now open for AP4ALL, which provides online Advanced Placement courses free of charge to any student residing in a Maine school administrative unit who is educated at the public expense. | More

Priority schools invited to apply for $1.7 million in SIG support

For the fifth straight year, the Maine DOE has been awarded money from the U.S. Department of Education Title I School Improvement Grants (SIG) program to turn around our state’s persistently most struggling schools. | More

Literacy for ME offers community literacy webinars

The Maine DOE is providing a webinar series designed to support community literacy teams. This five-part monthly series began in January and will continue through May. | More

Project guides for integrating math and CTE available

The project guides in this publication are intended to give inspiration and guidance to teachers who are looking to develop collaborative units that include mathematics and CTE. They have the intended outcome of improving student engagement, participation and achievement and contain a wealth of resources that can be used as is or adapted to fit particular partnerships. | More

Maine DOE adds standards resources

The Maine DOE has recently added a new Standards in a Proficiency-Based Education page to its Getting to Proficiency website with resources intended to support educators as they make these local decisions. | More

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Maine DOE Monthly – February 25, 2014

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

Nominations sought for 2015 Maine Teacher of the Year

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

K-12 should take note of higher ed’s voluntary move to proficiency-based education, Commissioner says

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

Commissioner Rier promotes value of expanded State suicide prevention training

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

State Board of Education seeks student representatives

The Maine State Board of Education is accepting applications for potential student members from schools in the Second Congressional District. | More

Charter Commission to vote on applications March 3

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

Maine DOE shares educator effectiveness approved models

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

Policies support proficiency-based education implementation

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

Guidance on merging certification support and performance evaluation systems

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

Maine DOE seeks summer food site sponsors

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

Self-assessment for proficiency-based diploma transition online through June

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

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Maine DOE Monthly – January 28, 2014

RieratMontello

Acting Commissioner Jim Rier looks on at a math lesson at Montello Elementary in Lewiston last week. The school is just beginning a three-year transformational improvement process, supported by the Department and a $1.8 million School Improvement Grant.

Welcome to the January issue of the Maine DOE Monthly.

So much happens here in a month, and January was no exception. In recent weeks, Governor LePage nominated Jim Rier as Education Commissioner; we again did our part to advance educator effectiveness and provide new resources to schools to support their transition to a proficiency-based diploma by 2018; and our staff provided in-school support across the state, including via a visit by Acting Commissioner Rier and Chief Academic Officer Rachelle Tome’s to Lewiston schools to see how Department-supported improvement work there is transforming culture and student performance.

Read on for more information about those important initiatives and a roundup of other January updates from the Department. And as always, stay tuned to our Newsroom and weekly Commissioner’s Updates for the latest news you can use from the Maine DOE.


Dispatches & Press Releases

State Board of Education supports Governor LePage’s candidate for Education Commissioner

AUGUSTA –The State Board of Education says they support Governor Paul R. LePage’s proposed Education Commissioner, following an interview with the candidate. Earlier this month, Governor LePage said he hoped to nominate Acting Education Commissioner Jim Rier for the position permanently and asked the Board for their appraisal of the candidate. (Please note, since this release, Rier has been formally nominated by the Governor.) | More

Maine DOE provisionally-adopts educator effectiveness rule

Earlier this month, we advanced our commitment to supporting great teachers and leaders even further when we provisionally-adopted a new rule to help districts implement the landmark teacher and principal effectiveness law proposed and signed by Governor LePage in 2012. | More

Maine youth report healthier habits, struggles with depression

AUGUSTA – Maine youth are making healthier choices, including smoking and drinking less, but are increasingly struggling with their emotional wellbeing. Those findings and other insights directly from tens of thousands of Maine students about their health and habits are detailed in the newly released results of the 2013 Maine Integrated Youth Health Survey | More

Acting Commissioner Rier says adult ed offers something for everyone

Adult education offers something for everyone. From the opportunity to earn a high school credential to support preparing for college to offering low-cost courses on everything from cooking to computer programming, the people of Maine are fortunate to have such a robust adult education system. | More

Acting Education Commissioner Rier, Chief Academic Officer Tome tour Lewiston schools

LEWISTON – Maine Department of Education Acting Commissioner Jim Rier will tour two Lewiston schools this Thursday that are undertaking significant initiatives to improve student outcomes. | More

Maine DOE publishes policy on standards-based IEP goals

Maine’s transition to a proficiency-based diploma by 2018 is underway. As part of those ongoing efforts, supported by the $2 million in transition funding our Department distributed this fall and the resources we’ve made available on our website, those who serve students with disabilities are beginning to bring Individualized Education Program (IEP) goals into alignment with the new graduation requirements. | More

Department supports, clarifies MPA principal evaluation model

A committee of the Maine Principals’ Association (MPA) has developed a model for evaluating the professional practice of principals.  While the final rule has not yet been adopted, Department staff have reviewed the MPA model and determined that it meets the criteria currently proposed in the rule for the professional practice element of principal evaluation. | More

Two Maine schools nominated for National Blue Ribbon honor

The Maine DOE  has nominated Turner Elementary School and Winthrop Grade School to be 2014 National Blue Ribbon Schools. | More

Maine students selected for Senate Youth Program

Two Maine students will travel to Washington, D.C. for a week in March to serve as delegates to the United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP). Zachary Duperry of Portland and Carolyn Liziewski of Gray were chosen from across the state to be part of the group of 104 student delegates who will attend the program’s 52nd annual Washington Week. | More

Educator shares experience transitioning to proficiency-based system

As Maine schools move to graduating students with a proficiency-based diploma by 2018, the Maine DOE is offering extensive resources to support those locally-led transitions, including through its Center for Best Practice. New to the Center is an interview with Hall-Dale Middle School teacher-leader Dan Crocker. | More

New financial literacy resources available from Maine DOE

The Maine DOE annually provides information about financial literacy resources to superintendents and school board members. A list of suggested financial literacy resources that can help teachers integrate financial literacy instruction in the classroom is available here on the Maine DOE’s Social Studies web page. | More

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Maine DOE Monthly – December 31, 2013

Welcome to the December issue of the Maine DOE Monthly.

It’s been a busy end to our year here at the Department. Earlier this month, Acting Education Commissioner Jim Rier and Governor Paul R. LePage recognized Computer Science Education Week and the thousands of Maine students developing 21st century skills by participating in the Hour of Code and FIRST LEGO League Robotics Championship.

We also honored the anniversary of the Sandy Hook school shootings by sharing the steps Maine schools have taken in the year since to strengthen school security and keep students safe.

Through the Maine DOE Newsroom, we’re always eager to pass along the positive stories of what Maine schools are doing to put students first in hopes that what’s supporting children in other schools will encourage your own efforts. This month, we brought you news of an exciting collaboration among students from seven coastal school students to engineer a new fishery, shared with you the three Maine schools recognized for their innovation by Education Week and told you about Portland Public Schools’ new Parent University to engage parents and the public in the important work happening in that city’s schools.

All of us at the Maine DOE look forward to serving you in 2014, and to keeping you posted about our work and that of Maine schools and students right here in the Maine DOE Newsroom.

Happy New Year!


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A series of new videos from Maine DOE’s Literacy for ME initiative show why investing in literacy is an investment in our state, and provide suggestions on ways to support literacy learning. | More

Dispatches & Press Releases

Governor LePage, Acting Commissioner Rier recognize Computer Science Education Week

AUGUSTA – Maine Governor Paul R. LePage and Acting Education Commissioner Jim Rier are recognizing the important role computer science has in the state’s classrooms and growing economy. | More

New public charter schools proposed to Commission for 2014

AUGUSTA – The Maine Charter School Commission (MCSC) has received applications from four groups interested in opening public charter schools in the fall of 2014. Those submitting applications by the Dec. 2 deadline to join Maine’s five existing public charter schools included Lewiston-Auburn Academy Charter School, Lewiston; Maine Connections Academy; Maine Virtual Academy; and Many Hands Montessori School, Windham. | More

Acting Commissioner Rier says school security strengthened since Sandy Hook

On Saturday, many of us paused to remember the courage of so many in the face of the evil of one on the anniversary of the senseless school shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary. Here in Maine, schools have always taken the safety and security of their students and staff seriously, but even more so since Newtown. | More

Acting Commissioner Rier lauds Maine schools on EdWeek innovation list

Maine schools have long been looked to as national leaders in education innovation. That’s why I am not surprised that Education Week recently named three of our state’s schools to a list of those across the country worth visiting. | More

Maine DOE’s Literacy for ME releases new community resources

The Maine DOE has developed new informational brochures and videos designed to help community literacy teams across the state educate parents and the public about literacy development and empower them with simple ways in which they can support literacy education. | More

IDEA’s excess cost and MOE requirements

All school administrative units (SAUs) that receive funding under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) are reminded to review two important requirements governing those funds to ensure compliance with them. | More

FIRST LEGO League crowns state champions

AUGUSTA – Sixty two teams descended on the Augusta Civic Center to finish up their FIRST LEGO League Season on Saturday.  Teams from all over the state competed with their LEGO robots on this year’s “Nature’s Fury” playing field.| More

Dine & Discuss workshops to focus on fractions

The Association of Teachers of Mathematics in Maine (ATOMIM) is offering Dine & Discuss: Fractions Edition sessions focused on building developmental understanding of fractions from kindergarten through high school. Sessions, which run from 4 to 6:30 p.m., are planned for Portland (Jan. 16), Waterville (Jan. 16), Pittsfield (Jan. 22), Kennebunk (Jan. 23), Limestone (Jan. 24) and Rockland (Feb. 11). | More

Coastal school students partner to engineer fishery

CASTINE – Students from seven coastal Maine high schools began designing an alternative fishery for Downeast Maine this week as part of the Eastern Maine Skippers Program (EMSP). | More

Portland Public Schools launches Parent University

PORTLAND – The Portland Public Schools is launching a new program, Parent University, to involve parents and guardians more fully in their children’s education.  | More

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Maine DOE Monthly – November 26, 2013

Welcome to the November issue of the Maine DOE Monthly.

Our Department is committed to supporting Maine schools. This month, we rolled out our plan for doing it better, with an improved and well-informed focused system of supports.

One of the most meaningful ways to supports schools and students is by ensuring an effective educator in every classroom and an effective school leader in every building. This month, Maine DOE held a public hearing on a new rule to implement the teacher and principal effectiveness law enacted in 2012 and surveyed district leaders about their local efforts to implement Performance Evaluation and Professional Growth systems as required under that law to better inform us as we help school administrative units advance this work.  We also took time to celebrate Maine’s many effective and engaging educators at the 2014 Teacher of the Year banquet at Unum in Portland. This Thanksgiving and throughout the year, we give our thanks to the incredible teachers recognized at that event and to all those who work to put students first in Maine schools each day.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours from all of us the Maine DOE.


2014 TOY Karen MacDonald and students
Earlier this month, Acting Commissioner Jim Rier and King Middle School students Joy Mugaju and Divine Ingabire helped honor Karen MacDonald as the 2014 Teacher of the Year. | More

Dispatches & Press Releases

Maine DOE shares new system of supports

With the holidays approaching, now is the time to thank all of our teachers and school/district leaders for the work you do each day to meet the needs of all Maine students. It is also the time to share with all of you our vision for how the Maine DOE can better support your important work. | More

Record number of Mainers earning high school credential

AUGUSTA – A record high number of Mainers have earned their high school equivalency credential this year in advance of the State moving to a new exam provider starting in 2014. Already in the first 10 months of 2013, 2,699 Mainers have successful completed their GED®, a significant increase over the 1,878 who did so in 2012 and the 2,258 who did so in 2011. | More

Acting Commissioner Rier extends thanks to great teachers and leaders

Last Friday, I had the privilege of attending the annual Teacher of the Year banquet, hosted at Unum’s Portland campus. It was exciting to see the education and business communities come together to celebrate these champions for children. | More

Acting Commissioner Rier applauds strong start of charter schools

AUGUSTA – The State’s Acting Education Commissioner is applauding the state’s first two public charters after their inaugural monitoring reports show the central Maine schools are engaging students and adapting quickly to meet emerging needs. | More

Hour of Code comes to Maine schools

More than 5,000 Maine students from 16 schools will join a national campaign to demystify computer science during the Hour of Code campaign in December – and additional schools may register through Nov. 15. The event is scheduled to coincide with Computer Science Week from Dec. 9-15, during which Project>Login will also host Maine’s first statewide Hour of Code Dojo. | More

Colleges commit to accepting proficiency-based diploma

A frequently asked question relating to Maine’s move to a proficiency-based diploma by 2018 is “Will colleges and universities accept proficiency-based transcripts?” | More

Literacy for ME reports on first year accomplishments

The Maine DOE’s Literacy for ME initiative recently hosted a Critical Friends meeting to share its accomplishments and offer guidance for ongoing implementation efforts. This meeting marked the first-year implementation anniversary of Literacy for ME, a statewide initiative intended to bolster literacy learning opportunities across the birth to adult span. Literacy for ME includes a State literacy plan that promotes state-level literacy education efforts as well as the development of community-based literacy teams. | More

Nominations open for nation’s top science and math teaching award

Nominations are now open for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) 2013-14 competition, sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF). The PAEMST are the nation’s highest honors for teachers of mathematics and science, including computer science. | More

Maine students invited to enter Verizon STEM Challenge

Maine middle and high school students can compete to win $20,000 for their school and the latest Samsung tablet as part of an innovative science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) challenge from Verizon. | More

Governor LePage’s trade mission to Columbia promotes Maine Schools

AUGUSTA — Representatives from two Maine high schools and one university met with Colombian parents and students on Thursday night as the State of Maine trade mission, led by Governor Paul R. LePage, continued in Bogota, Colombia. | More

Maine DOE’s Jeff Mao honored for technology Leadership

Jeff Mao, the Maine DOE’s learning technology policy director, was recently named leader of the year at the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) Leadership Summit banquet. | More

Maine STEM Council names first executive director

Dr. Thomas E. Keller has recently been appointed executive director of the Maine STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Council. The council was established by the Legislature in 2011 to “develop strategies for enhancing science, technology, engineering and mathematics education from prekindergarten through postsecondary education. | More

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