Category Archives: Maine DOE Monthly

Maine DOE Monthly – January 26, 2016

Commissioner’s Comments

Beardsley-web

Acting Education Commissioner Bill Beardsley

The preliminary State subsidy printouts (ED 279s) that many have been asking about, will be coming out in a few days. The Department has been dedicated to completing the preliminary, estimated State subsidy printouts, and as soon as those are finalized, the information will be posted on our website at http://www.maine.gov/doe/eps/. Also at that time, superintendents and business managers will be alerted via a Priority Notice. It will be important for districts to remember that those initial printouts will reflect the currently enacted biennial budget, and will likely be adjusted as the Legislature responds to current and projected budget shortfalls.

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Maine DOE Monthly – December 29, 2015

Welcome to the December issue of the Maine DOE Monthly, which provides a recap of some of the month’s most important updates from the Department.

December has been dominated with assessment news with a contract signing and subsequent support and guidance offered from the Maine Department of Education’s assessment and accountability team.

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Maine DOE Monthly – November 24, 2015

Welcome to the November issue of the Maine DOE Monthly, which provides a recap of some of the month’s most important updates from the Department.

The month has included celebrating, rulemaking, granting funds, offering continued opportunities, guidance and more.

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Maine DOE Monthly – October 27, 2015

Welcome to the October issue of the Maine DOE Monthly, which provides a recap of some of the month’s most important updates from the Department.

The fall kicked off with news of Governor LePage’s appointment of Acting Education Commissioner, a conditional assessment awardee, technology micro-credentials, and the 2016 Teacher of the Year, to highlight a few.

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Maine DOE Monthly – September 29, 2015

Welcome to the September issue of the Maine DOE Monthly, which provides a recap of some of the month’s news from the Department.

Acting Commissioner Tom Desjardin and Communications Director Anne Gabbianelli in the Cabinet Room of the State House on Sept. 23

Acting Commissioner Tom Desjardin and Communications Director Anne Gabbianelli in the Cabinet Room of the State House on Sept. 23

On Sept. 21, Acting Commissioner Tom Desjardin wrote to staff expressing his gratitude for all the well wishes he received following his accident Sept. 13.

“As you may already know, I managed to fall through the second floor of our barn and broke my back… the great news is I will likely only need to wear a big brace, sort of a cast, for about eight weeks to give my spine some time to heal. No surgery is needed. It makes my healing much easier knowing the work of DOE will continue as usual thanks to the great staff there…I can’t wait to get back to “the floor” and to working with you all again soon. See you all soon!”

-Tom Desjardin

Dispatches & Press Releases

Learning that is accessible, free and takes students into the future

The Maine Department of Education and the University of Maine at Fort Kent have announced a first-of-a-kind partnership to expand the number of options Maine students have to earn college credit while still in high school. This partnership was celebrated Wednesday, Sept. 23 at 3 p.m. in the Cabinet Room at the State House. | More

Standardized Assessment Scores for 2014-15

As Maine shifts to a proficiency-based system by 2018, the 2014-15 Smarter Balanced Assessment scores in English language arts and mathematics for grades 3 through 8 and the third year of high school are the first statewide assessment of our students’ accomplishments in meeting Maine’s college and career readiness standards. | More

Maine is one of 16 states to gain federal approval on Educator Equity Plan

The U. S. Department of Education has approved Maine’s Educator Equity Plan aimed at increasing access to excellent educators. Maine is one of only 16 states to receive approval of the required state Educator Equity Plan, filed with USDOE last month. | More

Numbers of CTE students earning postsecondary credit increases

Approximately 250 high school students enrolled in a Career and Technical Education (CTE) program will earn nearly 3,000 postsecondary credits during the 2015-16 school year. | More

Grants awarded in adult education

Making close to 500 adult students hirable is the focus of $319,000 Integrated Education and Training Pilot Grant that will be evenly split between five adult education programs spanning from Androscoggin County to Hancock and Aroostook Counties. | More

Maine DOE provides $1M in grant funds to CTE schools

Maine DOE is pleased to announce 27 Career and Technical Education schools will receive their share of $1 million in grant funds in FY 2016. | More

Cross Disciplinary Literacy Network registration now open

Maine educators are invited to register for the 2015-16 school year. This year’s CDLN plans include four webinar strands developed by Maine educators as well as two in-person opportunities offered at four regional locations. | More

Registration open for ACTEM conference

The Association of Computer Technology Educators of Maine (ACTEM) will be holding its annual statewide conference Oct. 15-16 at the Cross Center in Bangor. | More

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From the Commissioner

Maine DOE Monthly – August 25, 2015

Welcome to the August issue of the Maine DOE Monthly, which provides a recap of some of the month’s news from the Department.

Dispatches & Press Releases

Implementing proficiency survey due

August 27 ends the month-long window for completing the 2014-2015 Progress Report: Implementing Proficiency-Based Learning and Proficiency-Based Diplomas. The Department’s goal is 100 percent participation in this survey. | More

Narrowing down the process

The Standardized Assessment Task Force and a few hundred stakeholders and educators all weighed in as the Maine DOE crafted a Request for Proposals (RFP) seeking a new vendor for the 2015-16 administration of the MEA for math and ELA/literacy. The comments and feedback were crucial to the process and helped inform the writing of the document that is in its final stages. The finalized RFP goes to the Maine State Bureau of Purchases and Sales for approval, which includes securing the Governor’s approval. After that, Maine DOE will make the RFP publicly available. | More

September release for scores

Since mid-July, preliminary spring 2015 Maine Educational Assessment (MEA) for mathematics and English language arts/literacy results have been available to schools/SAU (School Administrative Units) in the Online Reporting System (ORS). Access to the site is overseen by district/system administrators (DSA). | More

Volumes of certifications

Nearly 10,000 certifications have been processed this summer at the Maine DOE and the certification team is not done yet. These certifications include all educators’ certifications and criminal history record checks on all those in food services, transportation, adult education, driver’s education and more. | More

A summer of NEO

Over 750 people have participated in the 13 NEO data system training workshops across the state with the final two sessions wrapping up this week. The training has been crucial because the Maine DOE Data Management System (MEDMS) staff data collection has been transferred into a new system called NEO Staff. | More

NCLB report cards

The 2014-15 NCLB Report Cards were made available last week through the Maine DOE Data Warehouse. These figures provide the current levels of performance of Maine schools. The data from 2013-14 shows Maine students’ standing right now and how much progress needs to be made to meet state goals. | More

ESEA three-year waiver

After labor intensive, fast-paced work on behalf of Maine DOE staff and our legislature, the Maine DOE received a three-year waiver allowing flexibility regarding specific requirements of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). | More

Other Maine DOE accomplishments

The first six months of 2015 saw great success for the Maine DOE. The accomplishments include: successful passage of legislation, recognition for the state’s success in the transition to a computer-based assessment aligned with Maine’s updated college and career readiness standards, earning college credits while in high school, and a steady increase in graduation rates, to name a few. | More

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Maine DOE Monthly – July 28, 2015

Welcome to the July issue of the Maine DOE Monthly, which provides a recap of some of the month’s news from the Department.

What’s next?

While we await the final results from this past spring’s statewide assessment for math and English language arts/literacy, all eyes are on what’s next. As you may recall, the legislature passed LD1276 terminating Maine’s membership in the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium. In response, a Standardized Assessment Task Force was created of Maine educators which first met in June to discuss the successes and needed areas of improvement of the last assessment. The group has since been engaged in a question and answer exchange that will act as a guide to help the Department draft a Request for Proposals (RFP). These proposals will be scored according to the RFP to determine which vendor will administer next year’s assessment. Your comments are welcome by visiting the Department’s Standardized Assessment Task Force page. | More

Verifying results

Everyone is waiting for the 2015 assessments results. Some states have already released results, but Maine school districts just received preliminary data mid-July and at this time, all information is being verified. The goal is to release the final data by the end of next month. While we want to showcase student growth in proficiency, we need to keep in mind this past year’s testing was the first, more rigorous testing of the past few years of implementing Maine’s Learning Standards, preparing for college and career readiness. | More

Collecting district progress data

A survey for SAUs on proficiency-based implementation progress is currently underway. High schools have until August 27 to complete the survey. The information collected will help the Maine DOE chart progress toward the implementation of proficiency-based diplomas. This information will be shared with the public and with lawmakers and will inform the development of additional resources and supports for districts. The progress report will also create a moment-in-time snapshot of district progress. The Department expresses its gratitude to the Maine school districts that piloted this survey. Click here to complete the survey. | More

NEO workshops & account management

NEO may sound like a new summer flick, but it’s actually Maine DOE’s new data collection system. The New Educational Ontology (NEO) has the Department hosting 13 training sessions this summer across the state which began July 21 and wraps up August 26. The feedback from these sessions so far has been healthy as the agenda includes: changes in how student enrollment is uploaded, truancy, student security, and more. Two items of particular interest are the new procedure for graduation and drop out verification allowing districts to enter their data instead of the Department, and the new staff system. With the 2015-16 school year upon us, SAUs with new staff requiring access to NEO must contact the MEDMS Helpdesk.| More

Budget numbers

Early this month, Maine DOE posted updated FY 2016 (2015-16 school year) State subsidy printouts, known as ED 279s, here on our website. This was a quick turnaround by The Department once the biennial budget (PL 2015 Ch. 267) was approved by the legislature. Maine DOE continues to provide districts guidance in how school finance statues impact their budgetary process. The Department also assists with clarifying timelines for districts to pass their budgets and keeps districts appraised of legislative action that may affect the budget process at the local level. | More

A struggling school gets a financial boost

The Washburn Elementary School in Auburn has been awarded just over $1.63 million in a federal School Improvement Grant (SIG). The Maine DOE will monitor the school’s success in raising student proficiency in math and reading over the next five years. This grant will allow the struggling PreK-6 school to enhance educator effectiveness and instruction under the leadership of a new principal. The school will also hire two Instructional Coaches, three Ed Techs, a Pre-K Instructor, a Parent Liaison and a part-time Grant Coordinator. In addition, Washburn plans to provide upward of two additional days of structured staff time to review student data to inform interventions and instruction. | More

Deadlines ahead:

Just a few days remain for these reporting items:

And more housekeeping items, listed in the last Commissioner’s Update, are:

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From the Commissioner

Maine DOE Monthly – June 23, 2015

Welcome to the June issue of the Maine DOE Monthly, which provides a recap of some of the month’s news from the Department.

Summer Calendar Items

Following the success of the February webinar and regional schoolwide information sessions, the Maine DOE continues to provide guidance to Title I schools as they complete their Annual Schoolwide Plan Review, due July 1. Read more

Beginning with the 2015-16 school year, all staff charged with data collection must attend a training session as MEDMS transitions to NEO. Register here

The 2015 MLTI Summer Institute is slated for July 21-23 at Bowdoin College in Brunswick. Don’t miss out. Register here

And planning into the fall, the Maine DOE will be offering an evidence-based practice IEP Goal Writing for College, Career and Community Readiness work shop. Read more

Aiming for a Healthy Summer

The Maine DOE is helping with nourishment for the brain and body this summer with its Literacy for ME and Summer Foods Program. A host of schools in low-income areas across the state are summer meal sites. Find a summer meal site

Avoid what’s called the “summer slide,” with a good book or two. The Maine DOE’s Literacy for ME initiative has resources to support summer literacy listed here.

Congratulations Are In Order

Accolades go to teachers and their students alike this past school year. Two state finalists were honored by Maine DOE for the 2014 Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching Mathematics and Science (PAEMST). Read more

A national nonprofit group devoted to the teaching and learning of American history named Cyndi Broyer of New Suncook Elementary School in Lovell, as the 2015 Maine History Teacher of the Year. Read more

Who will be named The 2016 Maine Teacher of the Year? Read about the semi-finalists here.

Twenty six of Maine’s top Career & Technical Education students were honored. Their names and fields of study are listed here.

Thirty three students were honored by the Maine Humanities Council for the 2015 Letters About Literature contest. Read more

Read on for a roundup of other recent 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.

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Maine DOE Monthly – April 30, 2015

Welcome to the April issue of the Maine DOE Monthly, which provides a recap of some of the month’s most important updates from the Department.

There are incredible things happening in Maine schools, several of which we recently spotlighted as part of our commitment to celebrating the state’s students and educators. For the fifth straight year, our high school graduation rate was up and State and federal data shows Maine is closing achievement gaps as graduation rates among economically disadvantaged students, those with disabilities and some minorities are on the rise and above national averages. This month we also recognized 21 schools for their high performance or progress as measured by our federally required accountability system and honored 14 teen mentors and 21 student artists.

Read on for a roundup of other recent 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

Maine high school graduation rates up, achievement gaps down

AUGUSTA – Maine’s high school graduation rate has hit an all-time high, as has the percentage of students who are either economically disadvantaged or have a disability and are earning their diploma in four years. | More

Maine DOE recognizes reward schools

Nearly two-thirds of the reward schools have more than 50 percent of their students qualifying for free or reduced price lunch, proving that all students are capable of achieving academic success when schools put in place the appropriate supports and strategies to help them overcome challenges. | More

Maine DOE specialists support improvement initiatives at newly identified schools

The Department’s School Improvement Team is continuing to provide support and technical assistance to help raise student achievement at the state’s schools, including those recently identified as priority, focus and monitor under Maine’s federally required accountability system. | More

Governor LePage and Barbara Bush Foundation For Family Literacy honor teen mentors

Governor Paul R. LePage and Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy President and CEO Liza McFadden honored 14 teen mentors with Excellence Awards in leadership and service during a recent recognition ceremony at the Blaine House. | More

Maine student artwork selected for MLTI screensavers

Twenty-one student artists will have an audience of more than 70,000 students and educators for their artwork starting this fall. | More

2015 Educator Talent Pool recommendations due May 1

The Maine DOE is accepting recommendations for the 2015 Maine Educator Talent Pool through May 1. | More

New early childhood learning and development standards released by Maine DOE, DHHS

The Maine Departments of Education and Health and Human Services have released Maine’s Early Learning and Development Standards (MELDS), which outline what children should know and be able to do by the end of preschool. | More

Maine DOE releases online public preschool application

The Maine DOE has created a new online application form that will make it easier for districts to apply for State approval of new or expanding public preschool programs. | More

Maine DOE seeks surrogate parents to support students with disabilities

The Maine DOE is seeking volunteers to serve as surrogate parents for children with disabilities in educational matters. | More

Maine DOE opens registration for 30th annual school wellness conference

Maine schools are invited to attend the 30th Annual Maine DOE Schoolsite Health Promotion & Wellness Conference from Wednesday, June 24 through Friday, June 26 at Sugarloaf. | More

May 20 workshop to focus on supporting young children with autism

The Maine DOE is encouraging educators to attend a May 20 workshop entitled Language and Communication for Young Children with Autism. | More

Migrant Education Program’s Blueberry Harvest School wins state environmental award

The Blueberry Harvest School has been named the winner of the Maine Environmental Education Association Excellence in Environmental Education Program Award. | More

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From the Commissioner

Maine DOE Monthly – February 24, 2015

Welcome to the February issue of the Maine DOE Monthly, which provides a recap of some of the month’s most important updates from the Department.

This may be the shortest month but the Maine DOE got a lot done to better support Maine schools as they work to ensure every learner has the opportunity to reach their full potential. Just yesterday, we sent out a detailed letter to inform educators about our Department’s renewed efforts to support the continued quality implementation of key initiatives that will improve teaching and learning in Maine. Our daily work throughout February reinforced that commitment. We began technical assistance visits to more than 50 schools to help their transition to proficiency; released preliminary ED 279s for FY16 that reflect increased funding for education; and provided new resources to help schools prepare for the spring statewide assessment administration including training videos, a secure mobile browser and keyboard flexibility.

Read on for a roundup of other recent 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

Maine DOE renews efforts to support local change

The Department is sensitive to the amount of work at the local level required to effectively implement initiatives that will better prepare students for success in college, career and civic life and outlines its commitments to make that implementation both high quality and manageable. | More

Commissioner visits Auburn schools

Maine’s Acting Education Commissioner returned earlier this month to the Auburn schools he once attended to learn about their efforts to improve outcomes and to inspire students with his own story. | More

Maine DOE recommends, rather than requires, assessment keyboards

The Maine DOE is pleased to announce that mechanical keyboards will no longer be required for the online administration of the new Maine Educational Assessment for Mathematics and English Language Arts/Literacy. | More

Maine DOE begins visits to schools to support proficiency-based diploma efforts

The Maine DOE will visit more than 50 districts to provide targeted technical assistance to schools preparing to award proficiency-based diplomas. | More

Preliminary FY2016 State subsidy printouts available

The Maine DOE has released preliminary FY 2016 (2015-16 school year) State subsidy printouts, known as ED 279s, on its website at www.maine.gov/doe/eps/. These preliminary amounts are based on Governor LePage’s proposed two-year budget that increases funding for Maine schools and students and assumes State payment directly to public charter schools as proposed in LD 235. | More

Department seeks feedback on ESEA waiver in advance of renewal

In preparation for Maine’s application for a renewal of its existing ESEA waiver, the Department is seeking feedback on how the State’s current accountability and improvement system is serving Maine’s students and schools. | More

Maine DOE posts video of assessment administration training

Maine educators who will be helping to administer the upcoming online State assessment but couldn’t attend one of the Department’s recent regional workshops can now see the entire training online. The Maine DOE has posted a four-hour video on its YouTube channel filmed at the southern Maine workshop session on Friday, Jan. 16. | More

iOS 8 compatible secure browser available for assessment administration

An iOS 8 compatible secure browser application that will be used for the upcoming administration of the Maine Educational Assessment for Mathematics and English Language Arts/Literacy is now available. | More

Governor LePage proclaims February Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month

Governor Paul R. LePage is requesting Mainers observe Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month this February. | More

Maine recognizes Career and Technical Education Month

Students and educators across Maine are joining those across the nation during the month of February to celebrate national Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month. | More

Outstanding educators sought for Maine talent pool

The Maine DOE is seeking recommendations through May 1 for the 2015 Maine Educator Talent Pool. | More

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From the Commissioner