Report cards, improvement resources released to Maine schools

The following Priority Notice was distributed by the Department today to school and district administrators to let them know their 2014 school report cards were available for review, as was a series of school improvement resources provided by the Maine DOE:

Dear Superintendents and Principals,

On Thursday, our Department will release the 2014 school report cards to the public.

As part of our commitment to grading system transparency, this year we pledged to provide schools/districts their report cards in advance of them being made available to the public and press. Your final report card can now be found in the secure production portal of our Data Warehouse under Data Tables/School Grades/Preliminary School Grade Data. Just as you did last month when we provided you an opportunity to do a final review of your data being used to calculate your school grade, please work with your district’s Data Warehouse Administrator to access your report card. If you need access assistance or would like more information on how you can use this valuable free tool offered by the Maine DOE for your local data-driven improvement efforts, please contact SLDS.DOE@maine.gov.

On behalf of the entire Department, I want to congratulate the 93 schools who improved by at least one letter grade (and as many as three) on their 2014 report card. As so many Maine schools are, these schools in particular have been working hard this past year to continuously improve the outcomes of all students. This week (and as my schedule allows throughout the rest of the academic year), I will be visiting several of these schools to celebrate their outstanding performance gains and learn more about what they are doing to effectively inspire students and raise achievement levels. I look forward to sharing with you what I learn.

As I noted to you earlier this month, I know school improvement doesn’t happen overnight and that many schools may be discouraged that their grade is the same or has even dropped. Our Department is committed to supporting schools. Over the past year, we have increased professional development, provided expanded resources for local use and had our school improvement consultants working directly in dozens of Maine schools. We intend to continue building on that improvement support in the year ahead.

Additionally, in conjunction with the release of this year’s school grades, we are pleased to share with you a school improvement webinar series we’ve just recorded based on the needs surfaced by the latest grades and our improvement-related discussions with you. You can find webinars on the following topics as well as other school improvement resources here on our website.

  • Conversations about School Improvement: Strategies that Work
  • Attendance Matters! Lessons Learned
  • Strategies to Improve Instruction and Student Performance: Understanding and Responding to NECAP Data Mathematics
  • Strategies to Improve Instruction and Student Performance: Understanding and Responding to NECAP Data English Language Arts/Literacy
  • Instructional Leadership: Improving Student through Coaching
  • Strategies to Improve Instruction and Student Performance: Understanding and Responding to MEA Data Science

We hope you find these new improvement resources helpful. We also hope you’ll find the 2014 school report cards and the community conversations they spark constructive, especially with the additional school, district and state information we’ve added including percentage of students who qualify for free or reduced lunch, teacher experience and educational levels, amount spent on regular instruction and average daily attendance. As I’ve said before, I think these enhancements make the report cards an even more valuable tool to help the public and education leaders easily identify school strengths and weaknesses and make comparisons between schools that will drive the improvements Maine kids deserve

Please keep up the good work putting students first, and know our Department is always here to support you in that. If you have any additional questions or comments, please email me at commish.doe@maine.gov.

Sincerely,

Jim Rier, Commissioner
Maine Department of Education