Maine DOE Monthly – June 24, 2014

Welcome to the June issue of the Maine DOE Monthly.

As you receive this, 125 district leaders from across the state are convening in Northport at our 103rd Annual Commissioner’s Conference for Superintendents. In developing the conference agenda, the Department wanted to provide superintendents with the information and practical tools they need to be effective leaders in addressing the important initiatives we know they will be most challenged by in the year ahead.  Not surprisingly, much of our three days together is focused on the transition Maine districts are making to awarding proficiency-based diplomas starting in 2018. That shift is perhaps the most significant one ever undertaken by Maine’s K-12 public education system, but if done right, there is no greater opportunity to ensure our students graduate college and career ready. That’s why this month, our Department released six options by which districts could apply for extensions that would give them more time to thoughtfully make this transition and announced we would again be distributing targeted funds to districts to support costs related to the shift not otherwise subsidized by the State.

The Maine DOE and our state’s K-12 schools aren’t the only ones committed to proficiency. This month, we also shared that all of the public institutions of higher education in five New England states including Maine have endorsed proficiency-based education and graduation.

As always, read on for a roundup of other recent updates from the Department, including about our $1.6 million School Improvement Grant recipient, and stay tuned to our Newsroom and weekly Commissioner’s Updates (publishing biweekly during the summer months) for the latest news you can use from the Maine DOE.


Presumpscot1
Education Commissioner Jim Rier continued his visits to improving Maine schools this month with a stop at Presumpscot School in Portland, which has been recognized for high achievement on both the State (school report cards) and federal (ESEA) accountability systems. Here he shares a laugh with a fourth grade student about rocks that float while discussing her geology learning expedition.

Dispatches & Press Releases

State supports proficiency-based diplomas, offers districts implementation flexibility

AUGUSTA – The Maine Department of Education affirmed its commitment to the state’s students being awarded diplomas based on proficiency but announced today it would give school districts more flexibility in meeting a requirement to do so by 2018.  | More

Commissioner Rier: Extension options ensure proficiency-based diplomas done right

There is perhaps no greater opportunity to ensure Maine students graduate college and career ready than the transition to proficiency-based diplomas now underway in our state. That’s why earlier this month, the Department previewed the options it was offering Maine school administrative units (SAUs) who need more time in meeting this requirement. | More

State awards South Portland’s Kaler Elementary $1.6 million for school improvement

SOUTH PORTLAND – A South Portland elementary school will use $1.6 million awarded today by the Maine Department of Education to raise student proficiency in math and reading by 10 percent annually over the next three years. | More

Commissioner Rier: Adult Education graduation truly a new beginning

Though they don’t make the front pages like their traditional high school or collegiate counterparts, the stories of the graduates I have seen receive their high school diploma or its equivalent through adult education have been especially humbling and serve as a reminder of adult education’s critical role in our communities. | More

Maine higher ed institutions endorse proficiency-based learning

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. | More

Maine DOE to distribute funds to support proficiency-based diploma transition

Maine school administrative units (SAUs) will receive targeted funds to support the transition to a proficiency-based diploma again this year. Beginning in the fall, the Maine DOE will distribute to each SAU a grant in the amount of 1/10th of 1 percent of that SAU’s total cost of education. | More

Charter commission seeks proposals for 2015 school opening

The Maine Charter School Commission is currently soliciting proposals for new public charter schools that would begin serving students in the fall of 2015. | More

Maine DOE’s legislative summary posted

Maine DOE has prepared a summary of major laws related to education enacted by the Second Regular Session of the 126th Maine Legislature. This information may prove helpful to educators when planning for the 2014-15 school year. | More

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Dispatches
Press Releases
From the Commissioner