Maine DOE Updates – Dec. 12, 2011

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Welcome to the December edition of Maine DOE Updates!

As the holidays approach, Maine DOE is busy gathering thoughts from the public on measuring school and teacher effectiveness, rewarding school success and helping schools improve. Collecting the input is a crucial part of preparing the State’s request for flexibility from the provisions of the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the primary federal mechanism for holding schools accountable.

So far, we’ve heard from more than 1,000 people through an ongoing, online survey and a public forum last week at Bangor High School where Education Commissioner Stephen Bowen discussed school accountability with students, teachers, administrators and others.

If you haven’t shared your thoughts, there’s still time.

Tomorrow night, Commissioner Bowen will host an online forum before visiting Portland on Wednesday to collect in-person feedback. The details for both of those forums can be found on the Maine DOE’s ESEA Flexibility web page. And if you don’t have the chance to weigh in at a forum, there’s a link to the 10-question survey on the same page. You can submit your survey responses until Dec. 23 at 5 p.m.

FROM THE COMMISSIONER

The upside of not being first

Maine is submitting its request for ESEA Flexibility a full three months after the first 11 states submitted theirs. That means we have the advantage of reviewing their plans to see if they have solutions that will work here in Maine. By Stephen BowenMore

Taking a chance on behalf of kids

The Auburn school department this fall purchased enough iPads for all its kindergarten students and teachers. Now, educators across Maine and the United States want to know how it’s going. By Stephen BowenMore

DISPATCHES

Students offer thoughts on accountability

Education Commissioner Stephen Bowen met with eight students at Bangor High School on Dec. 8 to ask their thoughts on what makes for an effective school, and what makes for an effective teacher. | More

First forum yields ideas on ESEA flexibility

About 45 members of the public – including teachers, administrators, school board members, parents and a handful of students – attended a forum at Bangor High School on Dec. 8 to share their ideas on measuring school and teacher effectiveness, rewarding school success and helping schools improve. | More

Maine DOE welcomes social studies content specialist

Kristie Littlefield began work this fall as Maine DOE’s social studies content specialist and liaison to the Western Maine superintendents’ region. She wants to hear from the state’s social studies teachers about their professional development needs. | More

PRESS RELEASES

Ed Commissioner asks public for ideas on school accountability, recognition

AUGUSTA — The Maine DOE wants to hear from the public as it constructs a new system for holding schools accountable, helping them improve and recognizing their success. Education Commissioner Stephen Bowen will hold three public forums to gather input and is encouraging Maine residents to share their feedback online. | More