Category Archives: From the Commissioner

Transparent, inclusive process will improve Maine’s standards

Earlier this week, a 24-person panel came together in Augusta to begin reviewing the state’s math and English language arts standards.

The panel’s membership – which includes parents, teachers, principals, superintendents, school board members, college professors and business leaders – is diverse, as are their perspectives. Over the next six weeks, they’ll assess the rigor and clarity of each standard and make suggestions where improvement is needed.

I personally asked them to participate in this critical process because learning standards underlie much of our work in the coming years to transform education in Maine, from the awarding of proficiency-based diplomas to the implementation of educator evaluations and next generation assessment systems. If changes are needed, the time to make them is now. Continue reading

Proficiency standard applies to special education students

The following Priority Notice was sent to Maine Superintendents and Directors of Special Education by Commissioner Jim Rier and Maine DOE Director of Special Services on Sept. 17.

Dear Superintendents and Directors of Special Education,

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.  Continue reading

Maine honored for service to military students

Following the horrific attacks of Sept. 11 now 13 years ago, many Mainers stepped up to serve our country and the cause of freedom around the world. Their children are unsung heroes who face frequent moves, the absence of a beloved mom and/or dad during long deployments and daily uncertainty.

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

Congratulations on the start of the 2014-15 school year!

This week, Maine students are fortunate to be heading back to schools where they will be welcomed by educators who encourage their love of learning and are deeply dedicated to ensuring every one of them is successful.

On behalf of Governor LePage and all of us at the Department, I want to thank those 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.

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PEPG resources for principals

The following Priority Notice was distributed to superintendents on Tuesday, August 19.
Dear Superintendents,

As part of ongoing efforts to support school administrative units in ensuring that teachers are led by highly effective building administrators, I am pleased to announce the release of the Maine DOE Principal Performance Evaluation and Professional Growth (PEPG) Model.

The Department has adopted as a State Principal PEPG Model the Administrator Evaluation Framework, which was prepared by the Auburn School Department in collaboration with the Department and the Maine Principals’ Association.

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Educator resources for suicide awareness and prevention

The following Priority Notice was distributed to superintendents on Tuesday, August 19.

Dear Superintendents,

Ensuring the safety of our students is a commitment we all share and by providing supportive places to learn and thrive, we are doing our part to help our young people reach their full potential.

That is why today, I am pleased to announce the release of an online training video and toolkit, Suicide Prevention Awareness for Maine School Personnel, prepared by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Maine and available at no cost to Maine schools. This important resource aids school districts in complying with Maine’s school-based suicide awareness and prevention law (LD 609, PL 53, DOE Rule Chapter 38) that was passed in April 2013.

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Maine DOE announces PEPG resources

The following Priority Notice was distributed to superintendents today to announce the release of PEPG resources for educator effectiveness.

Dear Superintendents,

Discussions at the Commissioners Conference in June yielded valuable input for the development of the Maine DOE Teacher Performance Evaluation and Professional Growth (PEPG) Model. In the weeks following the conference, the Department met with a variety of stakeholder groups to revise and finalize the model and companion documents, a collection of resources that will support schools in ensuring that every learner has access to highly effective teachers and school leaders.

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Proficiency-based diploma extension applications now available to SAUs

The following Priority Notice was distributed to superintendents Tuesday, July 22.

Dear Superintendents,

Discussions at the Commissioners Conference in June yielded valuable input for the diploma extensions application process. In the weeks following the conference, three school administrative units in Maine agreed to pilot the application process by completing the extension request best suited to their level of preparedness to award a proficiency-based diploma.

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American Institutes for Research selected to administer Smarter Balanced assessments

The following Priority Notice was distributed to educators on Monday, July 7.

Dear Educators,

Earlier this year, the Department made clear our commitment to rigorous standards and aligned assessments. To that end, I wanted to let you know we have just selected the American Institutes for Research (AIR) to administer our Smarter Balanced aligned State assessments in grades 3-8 and grade 11 for the 2014-15 school year.

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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 103rd Annual Commissioner’s Conference for Superintendents:

Dear Superintendents,

We look forward to working with you next week during the 103rd Annual Commissioner’s Conference for Superintendents, scheduled to begin at noon on Monday, June 23 at Point Lookout in Northport.

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