Commissioner’s Update – August 8, 2013

From the Commissioner

For students, August means back-to-school shopping for new backpacks, binders and clothes. But for administrators and educators, it can feel frantic finalizing lesson plans, getting classrooms ready and coordinating instruction with new colleagues. At the same time, the start of the school year also brings new or updated federal and State expectations. We are committed to doing whatever we can to support you so those regulatory changes don’t get in the way of what schools are all about – teaching and learning.

From Common Core implementation to new federal sub-recipient monitoring, this issue of the Commissioner’s Update highlights several of the changes you need to know as you get ready to welcome students back. We hope you find these updates helpful, and we encourage you to continue visiting our newsroom for the latest Department news and guidance and exploring our A-Z index to connect to our wealth of online information.  

As school begins, please remember Maine DOE is a resource to serve you as you serve students. Whether you have a question about facilities, finance or science standards, our team is always just a phone call, email or school visit away to support you. You can find complete Department contact information here, or if you aren’t sure where to begin, send an email to or call 207-624-6600 to have your inquiry directed to the person who can be of most help to you.

We look forward to hearing from you.

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New best practice video features Belfast school

Maine DOE’s Center for Best Practice has released a new video, “Everything in the Building is Tied to a Learning Standard,” which focuses on Troy Howard Middle School’s transformation over the past seven years. The Belfast middle school has developed a reputation around the State for its aggressive approach to improving student achievement, informed in large part by the data now available in our Data Warehouse. | More

Maine assessments updates

The 26 states of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, of which Maine is one, are on target to administer the first Smarter Balanced assessment in spring 2015. That gives teachers and students the 2013-14 school year and most of the 2014-15 school year to prepare for the new assessments. | More

Education Commissioner affirms commitment to accountability in wake of reformer’s resignation

AUGUSTA – Maine’s Education Commissioner Stephen Bowen released a statement today in response to the resignation of Florida Education Commissioner Dr. Tony Bennett, affirming his Department’s commitment to school reform and accountability. | More

Commissioner Bowen to help honor inaugural grads of Maine’s first charter school

HINCKLEY – Less than two years after Governor Paul R. LePage’s landmark student choice legislation finally allowing public charter schools in Maine went into effect, his Education Commissioner will help celebrate the state’s first charter school graduation. | More

State seeks new adult high school equivalency assessment provider

Maine has published a request for proposals (RFP) for a new adult high school equivalency assessment provider, citing concerns from testing sites they would not be able to completely transition to the GED® computer-based test by 2014. | More

Educators encouraged to attend Common Core and IEP goal-writing training

The Maine DOE Office of Special Services is offering regional professional development sessions in evidence-based practices this fall. | More

State Ed Board members complete national policy training

Arlington, VA — The newest members of the Maine State Board of Education are back from two days of intensive training from the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) to help board members become highly effective state education policymakers. | More

Reminder: Opportunity to attend evidence-based autism training

Maine DOE will provide evidence-based autism team training during the 2013-14 academic year for 15 school-based teams that represent educators working with children with autism. Members of the teams should include general and special educators, related services staff and general and special education administrators. | More

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