Maine DOE Monthly – January 26, 2016

Commissioner’s Comments

Beardsley-web
Acting Education Commissioner Bill Beardsley

The preliminary State subsidy printouts (ED 279s) that many have been asking about, will be coming out in a few days. The Department has been dedicated to completing the preliminary, estimated State subsidy printouts, and as soon as those are finalized, the information will be posted on our website at http://www.maine.gov/doe/eps/. Also at that time, superintendents and business managers will be alerted via a Priority Notice. It will be important for districts to remember that those initial printouts will reflect the currently enacted biennial budget, and will likely be adjusted as the Legislature responds to current and projected budget shortfalls.

All eyes are on February for another reason as many of us will be challenged.

Next week, the Governor and First Lady launch Maine DOE’s Read to ME Challenge, and that means I will be challenging others to read aloud with a child for 15 minutes a day, so watch the Maine DOE Facebook page. The Department hopes the month long challenge will go viral via social media and build a greater awareness around the benefits of reading with children and sharing literacy in any way we can. The simplest ways to build early literacy foundations is by reading aloud, exposing children to words, language patterns, and help with listening skills while building bonds. Thank you in advance for taking the challenge and extending the challenge using social media with the hashtag #ReadtoME or #ReadaloudME.

Other news this past month

Changes at Maine DOE have ranged from transfers, promotions and rehires. From November through this month, there have been over 15 people coming and going in the Department and the naming of a new acting deputy commissioner.

As we move closer to this spring’s statewide assessment, the Department released the following notices to help prepare for a successful administration:

In technology news, Maine’s Learning Through Technology team hosted the Move the Needle Summit and shared news about Brightbytes, a useful planning tool for districts.

This past month, 2016 Maine Teacher of the Year shared her views on teaching 21st century skills, Maine Agriculture in the Classroom (MAITC) announced the 2016 Agricultural Teachers of the Year. Also, the Department shared nominations are now open for next year’s Teacher of the Year and Maine’s History Teacher of the Year.

NCLB report cards were made available this month in the Maine DOE Data Warehouse.

The fourth annual winter wellness workshop “Building Partnerships for Wellness Success” is next week.

Maine is one of four states leading efforts to create innovative opportunities in public school classrooms around the country through the Next State of Learning project.

Also this month, Maine DOE shared news about a series of webinars primarily designed to showcase one particular aspect of a league school’s personalized learning efforts.

Reporting window for Special Education is now open.

Under Maine’s approved Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) flexibility waiver, the Maine DOE has committed to the U.S. Department of Education to submit new lists of priority and focus schools in January 2016 based on the most recent data. Moving forward, states were presented with two options from the USDOE. Read more here.

The Department’s Office of Special Services issued parental consent for evaluation guidance regarding initial evaluations and reevaluations. Plus, read here to learn more about annual review of IEP transition plans.

And finally, this past Saturday, Acting Commissioner Beardsley was a guest on Maine Public Broadcasting’s “The Maine Event.” A recording of the show is available here.