Commissioner’s Update – September 5, 2013

From the Commissioner

As you may have seen in the press, some concerns and questions have been raised recently about the Common Core standards in math and ELA, which the State incorporated into its Learning Results standards in 2011. Many of those concerns seem to stem from suspicions that the Common Core is an attempt by the federal government to influence education policy in the states and, as a consequence, that the adoption of these standards will diminish Maine’s longstanding tradition of local control. Continue reading

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Headshots of 2014 Maine Teacher of the Year finalists.Two elementary school teachers and one middle school teacher have been selected as finalists for 2014 Maine Teacher of the Year. | More

News & Views

2014 Maine Teacher of the Year finalists named

AUGUSTA – Maine Education Commissioner Stephen Bowen has announced that two elementary school teachers and one middle school teacher have been selected as the state finalists for the prestigious title of 2014 Maine Teacher of the Year. | More

Governor Lepage signs Executive Order protecting local control, student privacy

AUGUSTA – Governor Paul R. LePage signed has signed an executive order affirming Maine’s commitment to protecting local education control and student privacy rights. The Governor’s action prohibiting the influence of the federal government into Maine’s education policy comes after parents and educators have raised concerns about successful state-led education reforms, including more rigorous, relevant standards in mathematics and English language arts Maine voluntarily adopted in common with other states in 2011. | More

New Maine law requires suicide prevention training for all school personnel

A new law, signed by Governor Paul R. LePage in April, requires all school personnel to complete Suicide Prevention Awareness Training beginning in the 2014-15 academic year. | More

Maine DOE’s legislative summary posted

Maine DOE has prepared a summary of major laws related to education enacted by the First Regular Session of the 126th Maine Legislature. This information may prove helpful to educators when planning during the 2013-14 school year. | More

9/11 Day pledge, resources available to students and teachers

The “I Will” service project initiative calls on each citizen to pay tribute to September 11th, 2001 victims and first responders by performing a “good deed,” meaning a personal act of service or an act of “neighboring,” on the 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance. | More

Notice of September observances for Maine schools

Four important observances and recognition days occur in September, one of them required by federal law. This notice is to remind teachers, administrators and others of these important learning opportunities and to share some suggested resources. | More

Reminder: Smarter Balanced practice test available

Teachers and administrators are reminded that Smarter Balanced practice tests are available all grade levels from 3 to 8 and at grade 11. These practice tests are an excellent way for teachers to preview what to expect in spring 2015, for students to get practice in online testing and for parents to begin to understand how the new tests will better assess student achievement and understanding of both content and concepts. | More

Annual notification of eligibility for schoolwide programs

Schools that receive federal Title I funds, have poverty rates of at least 40 percent and have approved Title IA Schoolwide Plans are eligible to use their Title I funds – and funds from other sources – to develop “schoolwide programs.” | More

Unorganized Territories educators prepare for new school year

To prepare for its upcoming school year, the Education in the Unorganized Territories (EUT) principals and teachers in conjunction with the EUT Special Education Director, Barb Pineau, and Director of State Schools, Shelley Lane, focused on three important areas during their annual August training. | More

Notice of legislative resolve regarding special education review of SAUs

During the last legislative session, the Legislature passed a resolve (H.P.828 – L.D. 1184) directing Maine DOE to amend its rules regarding special education review of school administrative units (SAUs) that do not own, lease or otherwise operate any school. | More

Math, science research awards open to Maine students

Young scientists ages 13 to 18 with promising research ideas are invited to enter a new annual competition sponsored by the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth (CTY). | More

State Farm now accepting grant applications from schools

Maine schools are invited to apply for State Farm’s 2014 Good Neighbor Citizenship Company Grants program, which offers programmatic support to U.S. schools in two focus areas: education and safety. | More

Information for Maine school bus operators traveling in New Hampshire

The State of New Hampshire requires non-New Hampshire government entities operating qualified motor vehicles in New Hampshire, including school buses, to license under the International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA). | More

Latest DOE Career/Project Opportunities

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From the Commissioner

Please note: To coincide with the start of the 2013-14 school year, the Commissioner’s Update has resumed its regular weekly distribution.