Welcome to the June issue of Maine DOE Monthly.
Just as June has been a busy month in our districts as the academic year comes to a close, so has it been here at the Maine DOE as we step up our efforts to support school improvement and innovation. This month, we put on our first improvement strategies webinar series, provided increased training on using our new Data Warehouse to better understand student challenges and opportunities and expanded our Center for Best Practice with helpful new case studies and videos.
As you begin thinking about the next school year – whether you are a parent, an educator or an interested community member – we remind you that these new tools and our entire Department is available as a resource to you as we work together to support all Maine students and schools. In the meantime, we hope you have some well-deserved time off with your family to experience and enjoy all that our beautiful state has to offer this summer.
Dispatches & Press Releases
As part of our commitment to being a resource to support all schools in their ongoing improvement efforts, Maine DOE is hosting a new school improvement webinar series. These free webinars for educators ran through June 18 and have been recorded and made available for later viewing. The series will resume in August. | More
When the Maine DOE released the state’s School Performance Grading System last month, the agency also unveiled the Data Warehouse, a powerful tool that can help educators improve student achievement and the public learn more about Maine’s schools. | More
School may be already out, but the Legislature isn’t just yet. Last week, the Appropriations Committee cut $18.4 million in targeted funding Maine DOE and the Governor had proposed in the next biennial budget that would have supported improvement and innovation in our schools. Included in those cuts was $3 million specifically for school improvement, funding which several districts have already expressed an interest in receiving. | More
AUGUSTA – As Governor Paul R. LePage continues to review the upcoming two-year budget, which was delivered to him late last week, he has discovered a disturbing trend of cuts to education. The budget reflects a slashing by the Legislature’s Appropriations Committee of supports for existing programs proven to prepare Maine youth for success in college and their careers and some innovative new ones. | More
The Center for Best Practice has released its fifth case study showcasing districts successfully implementing proficiency-based practices. The schools of RSU 20 (Belfast/Searsport area) figure prominently in the history of the state’s move toward learner-centered education. | More
Last week I visited Biddeford Middle School as well as elementary schools in MSAD 54, where administrators and teachers are taking hands-on, customized learning to the next level with math labs, academic coaches and workshop-model classrooms. By Stephen Bowen | More
When I visited Troy Howard Middle School on Thursday as part of the tail end of my Promising Practices Tour, I was impressed by the school’s two-year academy system that puts students first by placing them in one of three academies based on their learning styles. By Stephen Bowen | More
AUGUSTA – For the first time since the Maine Learning Technology Initiative began in 2002, schools have made a choice in the solutions they will use for 21st century teaching and learning. | More
Teachers interested in an interactive look at the Smarter Balanced assessment can now take a practice test. The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) made practice tests available starting last week for teachers, students, parents and the public in advance of the test’s full deployment in Maine schools starting in 2015. | More
Falmouth High School awarded the first Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, known as STEM, diploma endorsements in the state of Maine to 18 of its 189 graduates this year. | More
Governor LePage, Education Commissioner Bowen and business leaders recognize Maine’s nationally competitive robotics teams, STEM students at State House ceremony
AUGUSTA – Maine’s nationally recognized robotics teams and STEM student leaders were honored by Governor Paul R. LePage and Education Commissioner Stephen Bowen this morning in a ceremony that reinforced the need for students to better develop the skills that will make them – and Maine – competitive in a global economy. | More
NORTHEAST HARBOR – Superfood quinoa and vegetables fresh from the school garden on the lunch menu. A walking and running group during recess. And a Culinary Club that brings students into the kitchen to volunteer alongside food services staff. These are just some of the health and wellness offerings that helped Mount Desert Elementary become the first school in the state and the second in New England to earn a Gold Medal of Distinction from the HealthierUS School Challenge. | More