Category Archives: From the Commissioner

Message to districts: Updated ED 279s posted for FY 2016

The following Priority Notice was distributed to school superintendents and business managers today regarding updated FY 2016 ED 279s:

Dear Superintendents and Business Managers,

The Department is pleased to let you know that we have just posted updated FY 2016 (2015-16 school year) State subsidy printouts, known as ED 279s, here on our website.

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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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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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Committee votes to increase subsidy; cuts elsewhere

The following Priority Notice from Maine DOE Acting Commissioner Tom Desjardin was sent to schools on Tuesday, June 2.

Dear Educators,

In the midst of budget discussions in the legislature a lot of information and numbers are flying around and knowing you are in the midst of making your own local budgets, I wanted to give you this update which is current as of Tuesday, June 2 at noon.

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Smarter Balanced bill passes committee

The following Priority Notice from Maine DOE Acting Commissioner Tom Desjardin was sent to schools on Thursday, May 21.

Dear Educators,

On Monday (5/18/15) the legislature’s Joint Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs held a work session on LD 1276 “An Act To Improve Educational Assessments of Maine Students.” This bill required that the Department of Education withdraw from the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium and not engage with SBAC on any future statewide assessments.

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Notice regarding “opting-out” of statewide assessments

The following Priority Notice from Maine DOE Acting Commissioner Tom Desjardin was sent to schools on Wednesday, May 20.

Dear Educators,

On Monday (5/18/15) the legislature’s Joint Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs held a work session on LD 695 “An Act To Empower Parents in the Education of Their Children by Allowing an Opt-out from Standardized Assessments.” The end result was that 11 of the 13 committee members voted not to force local school districts to inform parents of their right to opt-out of statewide assessment. Two of the eleven voted to pass a version of the bill without that requirement. The bill now goes to the Maine House and Senate.

Discussion of the bill included a lot of information regarding the legal aspects of this potential action. This included legal opinions from attorneys with both the Office of the Maine Attorney General and the legislature’s Office of Policy and Legal Analysis.

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Opening day of new statewide online assessment a success

The following Priority Notice from Maine DOE Acting Commissioner Tom Desjardin was sent to Maine schools on Tuesday, March 17, announcing that the first day of the new statewide assessment had been a success and outlining Department support for schools throughout the March 16-May 29 testing window.

Dear Educators,

Yesterday, thousands of Maine students began the Maine Educational Assessment (MEA) for Mathematics and English Language Arts/Literacy developed by Smarter Balanced. More than a decade after we began putting technology in the hands of Maine students and teachers to support their 21st century learning and teaching, our state is finally using this familiar environment to assess what students know and are able to do.

From what you’ve told us, the first day of online testing was a success. In the words of one district: “So far. So good.” Schools reported no major problems and expressed appreciation that our Department’s staff had quick answers to any questions asked.  Continue reading

Maine DOE provides final preparation guidance to assessment administrators

The following Priority Notice was sent to those overseeing the administration of the new statewide assessment at the district and school level to overview resources available from the Department to support their final local preparations.

Dear District/System Administrators and School Test Coordinators,

With just a few days until the test window opens for the Maine Educational Assessment (MEA) for Mathematics and English Language Arts/Literacy developed by Smarter Balanced, we wanted to provide some final guidance to help School Test Coordinators (SCs) prioritize their efforts to best prepare their Test Administrators (TAs) to successfully give the test. Continue reading

Maine DOE reminds educators of MEA administration resources, new trainings

The following Priority Notice was sent to District/System Administrators, School Test Coordinators and Technology Directors on March 2 to highlight resources from the Maine DOE to support the successful administration of the upcoming State assessment, as well as announce upcoming regional technical assistance sessions.

Dear District/System Administrators, School Test Coordinators and Technology Directors,

With the window for giving the new online Maine Educational Assessment (MEA) for Mathematics and English Language Arts/Literacy developed by Smarter Balanced opening in just two weeks, we want to make sure you have the resources you need to feel prepared for a successful test administration.

On our assessment website, you can find an extensive library of administration materials. With so many supports available, we wanted to draw your attention to a few including: Continue reading

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