Category Archives: From the Commissioner

Maine DOE renews efforts to support local change

The following Priority Notice was sent on Monday, Feb. 23 to inform Maine educators about the efforts of the Maine DOE to support the continued quality implementation of key initiatives that will improve teaching and learning in Maine, including the administration of new assessments, educator evaluation and the awarding of proficiency-based diplomas.

Dear Educators,

Welcome back from a well-deserved February break. As you know, in recent years the Department has successfully advocated for reforms that strengthen accountability, best practices and choice. The result is that our increasingly learner-centered schools will better prepare students for success in college, career and civic life.

Never before has more been expected of Maine students. The same could be said for our schools. Continue reading

Maine DOE recommends, rather than requires, assessment keyboards

The Maine DOE is pleased to announce that mechanical keyboards, while still recommended based on the best interest of some students, will no longer be required for the online administration starting next month of the new Maine Educational Assessment for Mathematics and English Language Arts/Literacy developed by Smarter Balanced. Continue reading

Feb. 11 deadline to sign up students for paper-pencil assessment

The following Priority Notice was sent on Feb. 4 to District/System Administrators and School Coordinators for the Maine Educational Assessment for Mathematics and English Language Arts/Literacy developed by Smarter Balanced, alerting them of the Feb. 11 deadline by which to request individual students be provided paper-pencil tests.

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iOS 8 compatible secure browser for assessment available soon

The following Priority Notice was distributed on Tuesday, Jan. 13 to superintendents, technology directors and district/system assessment administrators (DSAs) to alert them that an iOS 8 compatible secure browser for administration of the new online assessment was being developed by AIR and would be coming later this month. Continue reading

Department reminds district leaders EDFacts Staff Survey past due

The following Priority Notice was distributed on Tuesday, Jan. 6 to superintendents and business managers reminding them of the expectation to submit 2013-14 EDFacts Annual Academic Staff Survey as required by the U.S. Department of Education.
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Districts asked to select assessment coordinator

The following Priority Notice was distributed on Friday, Dec. 5 to superintendents requesting they identify a district assessment coordinator to coordinator and ensure a successful administration of the 2014-15 State assessment. Please note the survey has not been linked to this Newsroom posting but was provided directly to superintendents.

Dear Superintendents,

As we prepare for the spring 2015 administration of the new Maine Educational Assessment for Mathematics and English Language Arts/Literacy developed by the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, we need you to identify an individual from your district to fill a critical role.  Continue reading

Department assesses readiness of schools to administer computer-based MEA

The following Priority Notice was distributed on Tuesday, Nov. 25 announcing a technology readiness survey to assess the preparedness of Maine schools for successfully administering the 2014-15 State assessment. Please note the survey has not been linked to this Newsroom posting but was provided directly to superintendents, principals and technology directors.

Dear Superintendents, Principals and Technology Directors,

The online administration of the new Maine Educational Assessment (MEA) for Mathematics and English Language Arts/Literacy developed by the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium will better allow students to demonstrate critical and higher-order thinking skills; provide more timely information to inform instruction; and improve teaching, learning, and the college and career readiness of our students. Continue reading

Commissioner Jim Rier on leave, Chief Academic Officer Rachelle Tome appointed Acting Commissioner

We know many readers look forward to our weekly Commissioner’s Update, specifically for the column from Commissioner Jim Rier, whose insight on education has come from nearly two decades in Augusta, first as a member of the State Board of Education and since 2003 here at the Department.

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Recognizing Maine’s career and technical educators

Career and technical education (CTE) plays a critical role in strengthening the college and career readiness of our students and the economic future of our state. Continue reading

Extension applications show Maine’s commitment to successful proficiency-based diploma implementation

Earlier this year, the Department released six options by which districts could apply for extensions to fully implementing systems to support the awarding of proficiency-based diplomas starting in 2018.

I continue to be appreciative of the positive feedback we regularly receive in response to offering that flexibility. Many educators and district leaders have commented that while they had initially been uncertain about the extension application process, it ended up being a valuable opportunity for reflection that helped focus local efforts moving forward to best ensure quality implementation.

But nothing has been more encouraging than seeing the high number of extension applications and confirmations of readiness that the Department received by the Oct. 18 final deadline. Continue reading