Category Archives: School Improvement

No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Report Cards now available

The 2014-15 NCLB Report Cards, showing levels of performance at Maine schools for the 2013-14 school year, are now available through the Maine DOE Data Warehouse.

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Maine Department of Education awarded flexibility from Feds

AUGUSTA – The Maine Department of Education received a three-year waiver allowing flexibility regarding specific requirements of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), formerly known as the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001(NCLB), whose reauthorization was recently debated and is being revised in our nation’s capital. While the revised ESEA shrinks the federal role yielding greater power to states to judge student achievement and school performance (from regulations outlined under NCLB), this recent waiver provides Maine educators and State and local leaders the opportunity for continued work toward rigorous and comprehensive State-developed plans designed to improve educational outcomes for all students, close achievement gaps, increase equity, and improve the quality of instruction.

“In 2013, Maine’s waiver application was approved by USDOE, but this renewal of the waiver required diligent, persistent work on behalf of Maine DOE,” says Acting Commissioner Thomas Desjardin. “We worked relentlessly with Arne Duncan, US Secretary of Education and his staff as the federal government had exerted extreme authority over states in the past. The Maine DOE staff worked diligently in securing the original waiver and again in this renewal process in making adjustments addressing USDOE points. In March, Maine lawmakers joined in passing legislation, LD 692, including rule making, to assist our efforts in this waiver renewal request, making this a collaborative effort.”

This waiver, the first three-year waiver ever issued by USDOE, allows Maine to continue on the path with more time for students to learn and educators to teach. ESEA flexibility has and will continue to allow Maine to focus resources on comprehensive, rigorous interventions in the lowest-performing schools, while ensuring that all low-achieving students have the supports they need to catch up to their peers. ESEA flexibility also has an effect of energizing teacher and principal effectiveness work across Maine and puts the focus on creating feedback systems that show the impact teachers and principals are having on student learning and shine a light on best practices to support teachers’ development.

At the heart of the State’s continued efforts is a system of differentiated recognition, accountability and support for Maine’s Title I-served schools, distinguished not just by student proficiency but also progress. As a result, Maine’s mission is to cut in half the percentage of non-proficient students at each school in the coming years. This is done through the continued implementation of the Maine Learning Results, a set of high standards geared to help Maine students be career and college ready.

For more information contact: Acting Commissioner tom.desjardin@maine.gov, 624-6620, or Director of Communications anne.gabbianelli@maine.gov, 624-6747, 592-4439.

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State awards $1.63 million through a grant to help a struggling school

Funding granted from the Maine Department of Education will help transform the Auburn school by increasing student achievement, teacher effectiveness and engaging parent and community support.

AUBURN – Washburn Elementary School in Auburn will use just over $1.63 million in School Improvement Grant (SIG) funding awarded by the Maine Department of Education to focus on raising student proficiency in math by 30 percent and reading by 35 percent over the next five years.

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Commissioner’s Conference

In case you missed the 104th Annual Commissioner’s Conference, here is a recap with valuable links.

Acting Commissioner of Education, Thomas Desjardin opened and closed the conference at Sunday River with timely updates on the ongoing FY16 budget discussions and voting at the State House at the time. He also acknowledged the ever changing educational climate and the hard work and successes of school leaders and Maine DOE’s support through its multi-faceted services.

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Funding available for school renovations

The Maine DOE will accept applications for funding of school renovation projects through the School Revolving Renovation Fund. The Department will be able to approve approximately $10 million in SRRF loans. A portion of each loan will be considered a grant and will be forgiven, and the remaining portion will be paid back over five or 10 years at zero percent interest.

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Maine DOE offers one-on-one support for new NCLB coordinators

The Maine DOE is offering face-to-face training in July to provide guidance to new coordinators for Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA)/No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Titles and use of federal grant funds.

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SAUs agree on pathways for students in special purpose private schools

Students who are placed by their school administrative unit in a special purpose private school must be assured of a pathway to graduation from that SAU. That assurance, and a description of the pathway, is documented in a written agreement signed by both the SAU and the SPPS for each student at the SPPS.

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Materials released in advance of Commissioner’s Conference

The following Priority Notice was distributed to school superintendents today in advance of the 104th Annual Commissioner’s Conference for Superintendents:

Dear Superintendents,

We look forward to working with you next week during the 104th Annual Commissioner’s Conference for Superintendents, scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. on Sunday, June 28 at Sunday River’s Jordan Hotel in Newry.

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Schoolwide Plan due July 1, Department continues to provide additional support

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.

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Maine DOE supports SAUs in reporting PEPG pilot plan with brief survey

The following Priority Notice was sent on Monday, June 8.

As part of the implementation of Performance Evaluation and Professional Growth (PEPG) systems, Rule Chapter 180 and Maine Revised Statute Title 20-A, Chapter 508 require that School Administrative Units (SAUs) test-run or pilot their PEPG systems for principals and teachers during the 2015-16 school year. In order to ensure that districts are on track for a pilot next year, the law requires each SAU to submit a “plan describing the intentions of its pilot project” by July 15.

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