Commissioner’s Update – May 1, 2014

From the Maine DOE

One year ago today, the Department released the first school report cards under the Maine School Performance Grading System. Using a familiar A-F scale, existing public data, and measuring all students and all schools, the grades provide Maine’s first true statewide accountability system. As importantly, our formula acknowledges that many students arrive in our schools already behind, and equally credits student proficiency and student growth, including how elementary schools help their most struggling 25 percent of students.

That roll-out sparked a difficult yet critical statewide conversation on school quality and drove thousands of Mainers to the Department’s website and new Education Data Warehouse to learn more about their local school’s performance and how it compared to others. While on an average day our website at draws around 8,000 unique views, in the three days surrounding the launch of the school report cards, the site received more than 200,000.

We’ll be releasing this year’s school grades late the week of May 12. While the formula for the grades remains unchanged so as to allow for comparison from one year to the next, you will notice some differences on the report cards and how the Department rolls them out. We believe these improvements will allow the conversation to move beyond the merits of school grading and the validity of the data used so the focus can be where it should: celebrating successes in our schools and surfacing areas needing more support.

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Subsidy checks reflect MaineCare Seed adjustments

The Department advises districts that remaining 2013-14 subsidy checks for General Purpose Aid for Local Schools will reflect additional adjustments for MaineCare Seed payments paid by the Maine DOE. | More

Authority to make educational decisions for adult students

The Maine DOE seeks to clarify that guardianship of an adult student is not required in order for the parent (or other adult) to make decisions about a student’s education. | More

Maine DOE Cross Discipline Literacy Network offers instructional strategies in support of proficiency

More than 300 Maine educations have engaged in professional learning through the Maine DOE’s Cross Discipline Literacy Network (CDLN) already this school year. | More

Maine DOE convenes Governor’s Academy for STEM Leadership

The Maine DOE convened the fifth meeting of the Maine Governor’s Academy for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Education Leadership last month in collaboration with the Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance (MMSA). | More

Close reading resources available from Maine DOE

As part of its commitment to providing resources to Maine educators, the Maine DOE has recently developed two webinars highlighting an instructional strategy that fosters the ability to read complex texts. | More

Portland food service director wins state award

Ron Adams, food service director for the Portland Public Schools, has won the School Nutrition Association (SNA) Outstanding Director of the Year Award for Maine. Adams will be honored at a red carpet awards ceremony in July at SNA’s national conference in Boston. | More

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