Earlier this year, the Department released six options by which districts could apply for extensions to fully implementing systems to support the awarding of proficiency-based diplomas starting in 2018.
I continue to be appreciative of the positive feedback we regularly receive in response to offering that flexibility. Many educators and district leaders have commented that while they had initially been uncertain about the extension application process, it ended up being a valuable opportunity for reflection that helped focus local efforts moving forward to best ensure quality implementation.
But nothing has been more encouraging than seeing the high number of extension applications and confirmations of readiness that the Department received by the Oct. 18 final deadline. To date, 95 applications/confirmations representing 99 high schools have been submitted and we have been contacted by superintendents representing seven other high schools that their applications are forthcoming following local school board approval.
This overwhelming response reflects the statewide commitment to better preparing our students for college and career success. While very few high schools are ready to begin awarding proficiency-based diplomas demonstrating mastery of all eight content areas and the Guiding Principles by 2018, Maine districts should be proud of the thoughtful planning and incredible work they have already done to work toward doing so by at least 2021.
As I saw when I recently visited Bangor schools, educators and students alike are increasingly being engaged and empowered in their teaching and learning within these student-centered, standards-based systems. That district was one of the first to have their extension request to issue proficiency-based diplomas by 2019 granted but regardless of where your local district is in its implementation, all of us agree this is the right thing to do for Maine kids and our state’s future.
In the coming weeks, our team will be reviewing each request/confirmation and working with districts to make any needed adjustments. Eventually, we plan to post all of the applications received so other districts and the public can review and learn from them. The detail in the applications will also be informative to our Department as we plan how to most effectively support districts in their work moving forward.
In the meantime, here is an overview of the requests received:
|Readiness/extension options||Number of high schools requesting this option|
|Confirmation of Readiness (2018 proficiency diploma in all 8 content areas and the Guiding Principles)||7|
|Extension Option 1 (Proficiency diploma in 8 content areas in 2018; proficiency diploma will include the Guiding Principles by 2021)||5|
|Extension Option 2 (Proficiency diploma by 2019)||14|
|Extension Option 3 (Proficiency diploma by 2021)||11|
|Extension Option 4 (Proficiency diploma in ELA and mathematics in 2018; proficiency diploma in 8 content areas and Guiding Principles by 2021)||15|
|Extension Option 5 (Proficiency diploma by 2021)||37|
|Extension Option 6 (Proficiency diploma by 2021)||10|
For more information or technical assistance related to proficiency-based diplomas or implementation extensions, visit www.maine.gov/doe/proficiency or contact the Department’s Standards-Based Education Specialist Diana Doiron at firstname.lastname@example.org or 624-6823.