Transportation EFT-21 Safety and Training Report and EFT-24 Vehicle Mileage and Operations Report due dates extended

The due date for FY16 year-end EFT-21 Transportation Safety and Training Report and EFT-24 Vehicle Mileage and Operations Report have been extended to January 31, 2017.

School transportation information is available on the Department’s website at http://maine.gov/doe/transportation/ . For policy questions regarding the EFT-21 and EFT-24 reports, contact the Department’s Transportation and Facilities Administrator Pat Hinckley at pat.hinckley@maine.gov .

For assistance with access to the NEO data system, contact the Maine DOE helpdesk at medms.helpdesk@maine.gov.

MSAA Test Coordinators

A Survey Monkey to designate district Test Coordinator(s) is available at http://www.maine.gov/doe/paap/administration/index.html.  All districts are required to designate the number of Test Coordinators (TCs) needed in each district, according to their individual needs.  TCs should hold an administrative position, be available to monitor all Test Administrators through the on-line MSAA System and physically monitor each Test Administrator at least once during student testing.

All surveys must be submitted by January 17th to be enrolled in the MSAA System.  All questions may be directed to Sue Nay at sue.nay@maine.gov, or 624-6774.

Read to ME Challenge Set to Kick-off February 2nd

Year two of the Read to ME Challenge is scheduled to begin on February 2, 2017.  Again this year, First Lady Ann LePage will launch the campaign by reading to children of military families at the Blaine House.  She will follow up her reading by issuing a challenge to all Mainers to participate in the 2017 campaign.  This simple but powerful campaign challenges adults to read to children for 15 minutes, to capture that reading episode via a photo and then post it on social media to challenge others to do the same.  The Read to ME Challenge will run for the month leading up to Read Across America Day on March 2, 2017.

Reading aloud to children is one of the most cost effective and highly beneficial methods of building children’s literate abilities.  The simple act of reading aloud to a child 15 minutes a day for five years results in 27,375 minutes of language exposure which can put children on the path to high literacy achievement.  Reading aloud exposes children to the world around them, helps them see reading as an enjoyable and valuable activity and often strengthens bonds with trusted adults.

Schools and organizations are invited to join the challenge and to encourage community members to do the same.  The collective voice of many key partners, leaders and those in respected positions will send a clear message about the vital importance reading to children plays in the social and economic well-being of Maine.   Maine DOE also encourages partners to be creative and to use this opportunity to enhance ongoing literacy education outreach efforts.

If your organization is willing and able to promote the Read to ME Challenge, please follow this link to provide us with your contact information: Read to ME Challenge Partner 2017Read to ME Challenge resources, including a guidance document, public service announcements in a variety of languages, fliers and a list of engaging ways to incorporate the challenge are available on the Read to ME Challenge webpage.

Thanks for your consideration of this opportunity, and don’t hesitate to contact leeann.larsen@maine.gov (624-6628) with any questions.

Chapter 124: Public Preschool Program Standards go into effect July 1, 2017

As you will recall, the Maine Department of Education Regulation, Chapter 124: Public Preschool Program Standards go into effect July 1, 2017 for all SAUs.  In order to ensure that your local child count in the public preschool program is included in the NEO system for the 2017-18 school year you will need to complete an application located at this link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ExistingPublicPreK

The Maine DOE is asking all superintendents to complete this application (unless you are submitting an application for a new program or have had an application approved for the 2015-16 or 2016-17 school year).  The information included in the application will demonstrate how the district complies with the new standards and will collect data on potential challenges in aligning programs with Chapter 124 regulation.   This information will help the DOE determine the types of support that may be needed in order to assist districts in addressing these issues.

Please make sure you complete the entire application; at the end you will find a list of areas where you can indicate where there are alignment challenges for your preschool program. For more information please contact Sue Reed, Early Childhood Specialist, susan.d.reed@maine.gov  624-6632.

This application is due by March 31, 2017.

**Clarification:  Please note that only districts with existing preschool programs need to complete the application.  If your district does not have a preschool program, please disregard this notice.

Revisions to Chapter 126/ 261 Regulation:

Immunization Requirements for School Children were adopted on December 21, 2016. These rule changes ensure a safe and healthy school environment for all Maine students by requiring all children attending public or private schools in the State of Maine to receive the required vaccines recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).  The update to the number of Varicella exclusion days aligns with recommendations issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (US CDC) and removes outdated implementation language. In addition, these updates of terms more clearly reflect the DHHS Office names and structure, to reduce confusion in following the rules.  In recent years, new vaccines against pertussis have been introduced to the routine immunization schedule for children and adolescents, recommended for youths aged 11 to 12 years; specifically Tdap. Pertussis is a highly contagious infection, often causing school or community outbreaks. Maine is one of only three states in the nation without a current Tdap school requirement. Changes to the joint rule include updating the vaccine dosage requirement to include 1 dose of Tdap vaccine for 7th grade entry, which will align with the CDC and ACIP current recommendations. Additionally, the required number of exclusion dates for Varicella disease will change from 16 days to 21 days to reflect the current US CDC school exclusion guidelines, an oversight from the previous change to this rule. The link to the rule is:   http://www.maine.gov/doe/rule/changes/index.html

For further information, contact Jaci Holmes at 624-6669 or by email at jaci.holmes@maine.gov.