Education Commissioner invites teachers to online forum on A-F grading opportunities

The conversation with teachers about using their school’s report card to improve student achievement is part of the Maine Department of Education’s larger plan to better support schools in meeting the needs of all students

AUGUSTA – The Maine Department of Education will continue the conversation on using its new A-F grades to improve schools with an online teacher forum this Thursday.

“Empowering Educators With A-F: Where We Can Go From Here” is open to all Maine educators and will be hosted by Maine DOE Commissioner Stephen Bowen, Chief Academic Officer Rachelle Tome and Director of the Statewide Longitudinal Data System Bill Hurwich.

The forum will focus on how educators can understand and utilize their school’s report card and the data behind it to immediately begin improving their school. The Department will also talk to teachers about the available resources it has to better support schools and their students.

Teachers participating will have an opportunity to submit questions to the State education leaders as well as their feedback on how Maine DOE can help schools improve student achievement.

The forum will be held from 3 to 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 16. Teachers can register to participate at www1.gotomeeting.com/register/631576520.

“We’ve been excited by the outpouring of conversation in our communities about our schools in the two weeks since the letter grades were announced,” said Commissioner Bowen. “Now that there is an understanding of how the grades were developed, it is time for the substantive dialogue about how they can be used to improve student outcomes. Teachers will ultimately play the most critical role in implementing school improvement initiatives and we look forward to beginning that collaborative process with them starting with this week’s forum.”

The new Maine School Performance Grading System, which uses a familiar A-F scale to grade each school, was launched by Governor Paul R. LePage and Commissioner Bowen on May 1 after months of development by Department staff.

The report cards take long-collected reading and mathematics assessment data – and in the case of high schools, graduation rates – but presents it for the first time in an understandable, usable way that engages parents and communities in their local schools and encourages continuous improvement among them.

For those who want to dig deeper beyond the letter grades, Maine DOE also launched a comprehensive website that contains detailed multi-year information about all Maine schools.

Thursday’s teacher forum is being held online and after the school day ends in an effort to ensure as many educators as interested can participate. It will additionally be archived and available on the Department’s website at www.maine.gov/doe for those unable to attend.

The forum is just one of the many ways Maine DOE is following-up the release of the report cards to motivate conversation and change.

In a continuing effort to offer support to schools across Maine, Commissioner Bowen last week announced Department staff will be reaching out to every school that received a D or an F by the end of the academic year to identify and initiate high priority assistance and professional development opportunities. There will also be weekly webinars on school improvement strategies and the creation of advisory councils by both Governor LePage and Commissioner Bowen, the former with a focus on teacher feedback and the latter on expanding effective professional development.

For more information about the Maine School Performance Grading System, visit www.maine.gov/doe/schoolreportcards.

One thought on “Education Commissioner invites teachers to online forum on A-F grading opportunities

  1. Are you going to advise the D and F graded teachers that the State of Maine will take over their schools if they do not improve in two years as you stated in your memo to Governor Lepage?

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