Registration, agenda available for Commissioner’s Conference for Superintendents

The following Priority Notice was distributed by the Department this week to superintendents to invite them to the 103rd Annual Commissioner’s Conference for Superintendents:

Dear Superintendents,

The implementation of systems that support proficiency-based diplomas and educator evaluation necessitate some of the most significant shifts our state’s public education system has ever undertaken. The Maine DOE has and will continue to provide resources and clarity to benefit your locally led transition work, including through our upcoming 103rd Annual Commissioner’s Conference for Superintendents. Registration is now open for the conference, which is scheduled for Monday, June 23 through Wednesday, June 25 at Point Lookout in Northport.

Thanks to the thoughtful feedback of our conference planning partners from the Maine School Superintendents Association (MSSA) and the Maine Principals Association (MPA), the Department has designed an agenda that provides you the information and practical tools to be effective change leaders as your districts navigate the challenges ahead. We’re happy to share a draft of that agenda, including expected session outcomes, with you here. Please note that while our initial “save the date” noted a focus on business issues on the conference’s opening day, we have structured Monday’s sessions around those topics given the strong interest many of you have expressed in developing critical communications and community engagement skills. However, staff from our School Finance and Operations Team will be available to you at the conference on Monday and Tuesday to provide one-on-one technical assistance.

103rd Annual Commissioner’s Conference for Superintendents DRAFT Agenda

Monday, June 23 (Registration opens at 10 a.m., conference begins at noon)

Commissioner’s Welcome, Maine Education Commissioner Jim Rier (General session)

Talking About Proficiency-Based Education: The Pragmatics of Delivering a Message to a Community, Stephen Abbott, Great Schools Partnership, Director of Communications (General session)

Talking About Proficiency-Based Education: Important Strategies to Employ: Stephen Abbott, Great Schools Partnership, Director of Communications (General session)

Stories From the Front Lines and the Front Pages: Communications Experience of Maine Districts, Panel of Maine School District Leaders (General session)

Communications Planning Templates and Action Planning (Facilitated small group discussions)

Maine School Management Association (MSMA) Reception and Awards Banquet

Tuesday, June 24 (MPA Leadership Institute, also at Point Lookout, begins at 10 a.m. Please note: Participants at both the MPA Institute and the Commissioner’s Conference will be welcome to attend either events’ Tuesday afternoon sessions at no cost as space allows.)

Proficiency-Based Diploma Overview: Where Are We Now? What’s Ahead of Us?, Maine Education Commissioner Jim Rier (General session)

Proficiency-Based Diploma Extensions, Maine DOE Staff (General session)
• Participants will understand and discuss criteria for extensions
• Participants will identify challenges and critical needs regarding implementing proficiency-based diplomas to inform local and State planning

Developing Local Policies: Their Implications, Implementation and Timelines, MSMA and Maine DOE Staff (General session and facilitated table discussions)
• Participants will discuss policy implications of proficiency-based education
• Participants will discuss draft policies prepared by MSMA
• Participants will develop a timeline for policy revision in their own districts

Concurrent sessions (choose two)
Establishing Systems of Support in a Proficiency-Based System, Maine DOE Staff
• Participants will gain understanding of a variety of existing support mechanisms available (e.g., RTI, Special Education – classroom interventions and differentiated learning)
• Participants will use their completed district self-assessment and develop action steps for providing student supports
• Participants will learn from other districts who have implemented student support systems

Proficiency-Based Education in Action: Supporting Changes in Instructional Practice, Maine DOE Staff and Representatives from Maine Schools
• Participants will understand the changes in instructional practice that support the transition to proficiency-based learning

Multiple Pathways: Demonstrating and Verifying Proficiency, Maine DOE Staff and Local Career and Technical Education (CTE) Program Representative
• Participants will understand the concept and basic requirements of “multiple pathways”
• Participants will discuss possible processes for approving alternative pathways and certifying proficiency
• Participants will see a crosswalk of how multiple pathways could work with CTE

Dinner and Keynote: “The Journey to Transform a College Into a Performance-Based System,” Linda Schott, University of Maine at Presque Isle, President

Wednesday, June 25 (Conference adjourns at noon, MPA Leadership Institute continues through Thursday, June 26)

MSSA Business Meeting

Focusing on Educator Effectiveness, Maine DOE Staff (General session with discussion)
• Participants will be updated on the rule and key details
• Participants will understand and discuss the State model
• Participants will identify challenges and critical needs regarding implementing educator evaluations to inform local and State planning
• Participants will become familiar with data management systems employed by selected districts

Technical Assistance Opportunities from the Maine DOE, Maine DOE Staff (General session)

Commissioner’s Closing, Maine Education Commissioner Jim Rier (General session)

We believe this is an exciting agenda that will engage district leaders during the three days of the conference and effectively prepare them for the coming year and beyond. We hope you agree. In the meantime, presenters will be working to prepare conference materials so we can get them to you in advance. In addition to registering, there is also work you should be doing locally to prepare, including completing the proficiency-based diploma transition district self-assessment released for your use last summer.

To register for the conference, please click here today. The fee for superintendents to attend Monday through Wednesday is $165 and includes all sessions, meals and materials. For additional registration options including partial conference attendance and guest meals as well as information on lodging (which must be arranged directly through Point Lookout and is expected to fill quickly), please click here.

We look forward to working with you June 23-25 in Northport.


Jim Rier, Commissioner
Maine Department of Education

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