The Maine Department of Education (DOE) is seeking 30 days of public comment from May 22 – June 20, 2019, on a Tydings amendment waiver application (waiver from §421(b) of the General Provisions Act) to the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE). The Tydings amendment waiver seeks an extension to the availability of Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) §1003(a) funds awarded during Federal fiscal year (FY) 2017.
Maine DOE Leadership participated in a call with USDOE program staff on Friday, May 10, 2019. During this call, the USDOE outlined next steps regarding Maine’s submission of an amendment to the Maine ESSA State Plan. The Maine DOE is working to provide the necessary information as expeditiously as possible. During this time of pause, the Maine DOE is unable to utilize 1003(a) funds. USDOE approval of the Tydings amendment waiver would allow the Maine DOE to make available 1003(a) funds to Maine schools identified for tiered supports, once the pause is lifted.
The U.S. Department of Education requires state educational agencies, when seeking waivers from statutory or regulatory requirements, solicit public comment on the application, respond to public comments, and provide evidence of the available comment period. The Maine Department is requesting the period of availability for $2,578,500.00 of 1003(a) funds be extended from September 30, 2019 to September 30, 2020.
A copy of the letter seeking waiver from §421(b) of the General Provisions Act can be downloaded with key elements of the request included below.
Federal program affected by the requested waiver
Maine’s Model of Support for eligible Tier III (Comprehensive Supports and Intervention or CSI) and Tier I (Additional Targeted Supports and Intervention or ATSI) support under section 1003(a) of ESEA, as amended by the ESSA of 2015, is immediately impacted by the Department’s waiver request. This request is seeking to extend the availability of $2,578,500.00 to support eligible Maine schools. The funding will assist schools in engaging in whole-school reform by meeting school and student needs.
Impact to Student Achievement
Waiving §421(b) of the General Provisions Act (Tydings waiver) will directly impact student achievement by allowing the Maine Department of Education to provide increased support for school and classroom leaders during the 2019-2020 school year. Maine is committed to providing a differentiated method of support to struggling schools. Maine’s Model of Support includes coaching and mentoring for school leaders, evidence-based professional learning for educators, and content-specific instructional coaching in classrooms. This process requires all eligible Tier III schools to annually partner with educators, families, and community members to complete a comprehensive needs assessment (CNA). During this process each school team analyzes local academic and non-academic data, identifies promising practices and concerning trends, determines root cause,and creates meaningful goals and a plan for continuous improvement.
The Department will continue to work with schools eligible to receive Tier III (CSI) and Tier I (ATSI) support to ensure funds are utilized in a manner that is reasonable, necessary and allowable under the ESEA, as amended by the ESSA of 2015. The Maine Department of Education will continue to ensure proposed uses of funds align with the school’s completed CNA. Schools eligible to receive Tier III (CSI) supports will continue to document all school improvement related work within DirigoStar (Indistar), the Department’s online project management tool. Each school is also supported and monitored by an assigned school leadership coach. Maine DOE leadership and instructional coaches visit each Tier III eligible school several times throughout the school year.
Continuity of Services to Students
Schools will continue to utilize their completed CNAs to direct and implement the work without negative impact to specific student populations. The extension to the period of availability of funds will ensure schools will have an increased opportunity to access funds to further target supports and meet the needs and goals of the schools, students, and educators as determined in the CNA. Schools will continue to share and engage with communities and families in ways they have found beneficial, and which meet the needs of schools and their communities.
Comments may be submitted to: ESSA.DOE@maine.gov