Following the launch of the Maine School Performance Grading System, we’ve spent our time reaching out to underperforming and at-risk schools to learn more about their challenges and the supports they’d like Maine DOE to provide.
What we continue to hear is that schools want to learn from other Maine schools that are like them. In the words of one school leader, “Tell us what’s working in other places with similar populations and budget concerns.” That’s the thinking behind our Center for Best Practice, which provides success stories (and videos) from schools in our state implementing learner-centered instructional practices. This fall, we plan to grow the Center to provide stories and tools for other topic areas Maine schools say they would like more information and ideas on. Maine DOE will be reaching out to all schools in September to assess the most common areas of interest, and also to ask you if your school has any best practices for overcoming a common challenge that you’d be willing to share through the Center.
In the meantime, we’ll be resuming our school improvement webinar series next month. Our proposed topics have been informed by our conversations with “D” and “F” schools and include attendance, Common Core implementation, preparing students for the October elementary assessment, special education in the classroom, using Measured Progress, discipline that doesn’t take students out of the classroom and Response to Intervention. Given that schools find value in hearing from each other, Maine DOE would like to invite you to join us in speaking on these webinars if you’ve had success in one or more of these topic areas. Please send an email of interest by Friday, Aug. 2 to Communications Director Samantha Warren at email@example.com that indicates the topic area you’d like to share your proven approaches for, and your general availability (e.g. Thursdays between 3 and 5 p.m.).
My Commissioner’s tours are another way to amplify the success stories from our schools, as I did this past spring with my Promising Practices Tour. This fall, I’d like my tour to provide schools and districts an opportunity to give a progress report on the improvement initiatives they have underway currently. While I am visiting, I’d also like to connect with local business and community leaders to talk about education in Maine, workforce development and the opportunity for public-private partnerships. If you’d like me to come visit your school or district, please also email firstname.lastname@example.org with your interest and a brief overview of the improvement efforts underway.
Your stories are important. We look forward to sharing them.
This week you’ll also find the latest Maine DOE career and project opportunities in the Commissioner’s Update. If you’re interested in joining our team of talented staff, be sure to look for job postings in future Commissioner’s Updates as well.