Building leadership capacity to transform our schools

Today marks the launch of Maine DOE’s new School Improvement Webinar Series. It’s one of the many resources we’re making available to support the school improvement work initiated by our Maine School Performance Grading System.

We hope you’ll join us on our four free webinars already scheduled this month. They’ll focus on topics including the characteristics of highly effective schools; using data from our data warehouse and Measured Progress to inform planning for the 2013-2014 school year; and strategies for schools with low income populations to be high performing.

Recordings of the webinars will be available on the Department’s educator resources webpage following each session. Those who are unable to participate are invited to submit topic-relevant questions in advance to

A not-so-new resource for district administrators is our annual Superintendent’s Conference, scheduled for June 23-26 at Point Lookout in Northport. It’s the 102nd annual and is a meaningful way to gather in celebration of the end of another successful school year, while gearing up for the one just ahead.

Like our webinars, this year’s conference is all about ensuring Maine’s student get the education they deserve. Over the three days, we’ll focus on the learner-centered instruction and transformational leadership needed to ensure education evolves to meet the needs of the 21st century learner. This year’s conference is somewhat different than those in the past because we’ll collaborate with the Maine Principals Association between 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday through 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday to offer an extended leadership program for superintendents and principals to participate in together. Throughout my Promising Practices Tour and the development of our Center for Best Practice, it’s become apparent that the common denominator in turnaround schools is leadership. It is our hope that this conference, in connection with our larger school improvement efforts, will help build the leadership capacity necessary for sustaining meaningful and measurable school improvement in our state.

In addition to the transformational leadership training, I am especially excited about our first round of panel discussions, not just because they come right after I am finished giving the annual Commissioner’s welcome, but because they center on a topic I – and I know many of you – think about often. “Opportunities in Education and the Economy in Maine” will include discussions on workforce trends and the role of education in fostering Maine-specific opportunities, the needs of the business community in their own words and a look at the creative partnerships between education and business at work in our state, something I wrote about in my Commissioner’s Update just last week. University of Maine System Chancellor James Page will end the panel series with a call to action about the critical role superintendents will have in the future of education, and ultimately of our state.

For more information about the Superintendent’s Conference or to register by the June 14 deadline, contact Nancy Lamontagne at 624-6822 or

Maine DOE is proud to put on this conference for you year after year, and to find new ways to ensure our services better support yours. I look forward to connecting with you there.

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