Commissioner’s Update – June 5, 2014

From the Maine DOE

It’s high school graduation season and while the commitment of Maine K-12 public education system to proficiency-based diplomas starting in 2018 is clear, one of the questions I’m most frequently asked is whether colleges share that belief in the great value of this approach.

Actions like the University of Maine at Presque Isle’s transition to proficiency-based learning and college acceptances of graduates from Maine schools that have already gone to proficiency-based education reflect higher education’s support, which is not surprising given this shift ensures greater college and career readiness. But Maine students and their families rightfully want more guarantees that post-secondary institutions will understand and embrace their proficiency-based diplomas.  

That’s why I am pleased to share that earlier this week, the New England Secondary School Consortium (NESSC) announced that all of the public institutions of higher education in five New England states including Maine have endorsed proficiency-based education and graduation.

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News & Views

Maine DOE announces preview period for Smarter Balanced digital educator resources

The Smarter Balanced Digital Library preview launched on June 3.These on-demand materials are aligned to the Smarter Balanced assessment targets and will be an important resource for Maine teachers to understand progress in student learning.  | More

Downeast students earn passing grade from Marine Resources Commissioner for Winter flounder project

More than 50 students from coastal high schools presented their preliminary findings on their winter flounder project to Maine Commissioner of Marine Resources Patrick Keliher last week. | More

Nominations open for Maine technology educator awards

The Association for Computer Technology Educators of Maine (ACTEM) is accepting nominations for the Maine Educator of the Year and the Maine Leader of the Year awards to be announced at their 2014 Conference held in Augusta in October. | More

New toll-free fax number for MEDMS helpdesk

The Maine DOE is pleased to share that the Maine Education Data Management System (MEDMS) Helpdesk has a new toll-free fax number: 866-219-8344. | More

Maine DOE to implement new school staff survey

Maine school administrative units (SAUs) have been completing the Educator Quality and Effectiveness Survey initiated by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) annually since 2010. The survey data has been collected through the Maine Education Data Management System (MEDMS). | More

Maine mathematics educators honored

The Portland Sea Dogs recently recognized the current and several past recipients of the Jacqueline Mitchell Mathematics Educator Award. | More

Maine music teachers hold conference

Maine music teachers and students gathered at the University of Maine in Orono for the Maine Music Educators Association’s (MMEA) In-Service Conference last month. The conference offered performances from chorus, band, strings and jazz, and also provided professional development opportunities on proficiency and student assessment methods specific to each area of instruction. | More

Youth health survey to be administered next February

The Maine DOE, in collaboration with the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, is pleased to announce the fourth administration of the Maine Integrated Youth Health Survey (MIYHS) will be next February. | More

Maine FFA student officers receive leadership training

Trainers from the National FFA Organization (formerly known as “Future Farmers of America”) traveled to Aroostook County last week to prepare the new team of Maine FFA State Officers for their responsibilities in overseeing the duties of the student-run leadership organization for secondary and middle school students enrolled in agriculture and natural resource classes. | More

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