PRIORITY NOTICE: Seeking Public Comment for English Language Arts, Mathematics, and Career and Education Development Education Standards

As part of the scheduled periodic review of the Maine Learning Results, the Maine Department of Education is seeking public comments regarding the current English language arts, mathematics, and career and education development standards. Find links to each of the current standards below along with details for submitting comments.

Current Standards:

The standards review process opens with a public comment period and a public hearing prior to the convening of steering committees who are charged with reviewing all submitted comments and with developing blueprints for the revision of the state standards in their assigned content area. Once the blueprints are created, writing teams, consisting of pk-12 teachers who represent Maine’s cultural and geographical diversity, will assemble to draft the standards revisions.

Anyone may speak at the public hearings which will be live-streamed. People wishing to speak will be asked to sign in and it will be helpful, but not mandatory, to provide a written copy of comments.

Public hearings will occur on November 7th in room 103 at the Cross Building, 111 Sewell Street, Augusta, at the following times:

  • 2-4pm: Career and Education Development
  • 4-6pm: Mathematics
  • 6-8pm: English Language Arts

A link to the live-streamed hearings will be available prior to the public hearings.

Anyone unable to attend the public hearing may send written comments by 5 pm on December 1st, 2018. Written comments may be sent to Standards Review at sis.doe@maine.gov, or mailed to Beth Lambert, 23 SHS Station, Augusta, ME 04333.

New certification system has opened to 6 additional pilot districts

The Maine Department of Education’s new certification system began the pilot phase of its launch on April 27, 2018. The initial 4 pilot districts have reported that the system as intuitive and have found the Department’s directions easy to use and helpful. More than 200 recommendations have been processed using the new system as of today, May 3, 2018.

Following the success of the initial 4 pilot districts, the Department has opened the pilot to an additional 6 districts:

  • RSU 06/MSAD 06
  • Augusta Public Schools
  • RSU 01 – LKRSU
  • RSU 11/MSAD 11
  • Brewer Public Schools
  • RSU 74/MSAD 74

These districts have been contacted by Maine DOE’s Certification office with instructions and log in credentials to access the district portal allowing support chairs to begin verifying renewal requirements for educators in their districts.

Pending the success of the added pilot districts, the Department will continue to open the district portal to more districts, until all districts have access. This approach will help ease the load on the system, while also allowing districts time to login, get help if needed, and become familiar with the system.

The educator portal has not yet been released to pilot districts. Once districts complete verifications, the educator portal will begin a phased rollout in the same fashion as the district portal. Again, this will ease the load on the system and allow Department staff to answer questions in a timely manner as educators state-wide start logging in to submit renewals.

Superintendents should expect direct contact from Certification Coordinator, Stephanie Fyfe when the system will open to their district/s.

Further communications and updates will be posted on a weekly basis through the Maine Department of Education Certification Webpage well as on Maine DOE’s official Facebook and Twitter pages, in addition to the DOE newsroom.

Media Release: National 2017 “State of Preschool Report” shows progress in Maine

A new national state-by-state report shows more young children enrolled in public Pre-K programs nationwide, with Maine investing more in Pre-K, serving nearly 40 percent of 4 year olds in high-quality pre-K.

The State of Preschool 2017 annual report reflects that Maine pre-K served 39 percent of the state’s 4-year-old population, above the nationwide average. Maine boosted pre-K funding by more than $1.1 million and continued to implement policies supporting both high-quality pre-K and young Dual Language Learners.

“This is the first-time Maine has met 9 out of 10 benchmarks for public preschool,” said Maine Education Commissioner, Robert G. Hasson, Jr. “The Department has dedicated the extra time and resources needed to support Maine Pre-K programs in their work toward meeting these high-quality national standards. We are committed to continuing the work so that students can benefit from access to quality Pre-K programing state-wide.”

This year’s report includes a special section on policies affecting Dual Language Learners (DLLs) and highlights changes since 2002, when National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) began tracking state pre-K. Read more about Maine’s report below.

Maine 2016–2017 fast facts:

  • Maine met 9 of 10 new quality standards benchmarks
  • Enrolled 5,440 children, a decrease of two from 2015–16
  • Total state funding = $18,775,709, an increase of $1,181,702 from 2015–16
  • State spending-per-child = $3,451, compared to $3,233 in 2015–16
  • Maine collects data on preschoolers’ home language; several policies to support preschool DLLs

Enrollment in state-funded preschool programs has more than doubled since 2002, according to the report. Nationally, 43 states, D.C. and Guam now provide publicly funded preschool to more than 1.5 million children.

For more information about the State of Preschool report and detailed state-by-state profiles on quality access, and funding, please visit www.nieer.org.

PRIORITY NOTICE: Widespread Influenza in Maine

The following message has been provided by the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Influenza activity in Maine is widespread with laboratory confirmed influenza reported in all counties. Influenza A/H3, and influenza B have been confirmed in Maine indicating both strains are circulating.  Maine CDC has followed up on 52 outbreaks of influenza as of Thursday January 25, 2018. Influenza vaccination is still strongly encouraged and is widely available, especially to protect those persons at risk of severe disease.  The vaccine appears to be a good match to three strains (A/H1, B/Yamagata, B/Victoria) this year, and it is not too late to get vaccinated.  Nationally, the majority of the circulating A/H3 strains are not a good match to the vaccine.  Maine specific data is not available at this time, but it is assumed to be similar to the national picture.  Vaccination is still recommended as it will protect against the other three strains, and it may offer cross protection and decrease the severity of illness.

What can Maine schools do to prevent and control influenza?

  • Report outbreaks: Report outbreaks of any illness, defined as student absenteeism rates >15%, immediately to Maine CDC.  Submit > 15% absenteeism reports through the Department of Education NEO Dashboard Absenteeism Reporting application (for more information, see http://maine.gov/education/sh/contents/AbsenteeReportingNEOSHM.3.2017.pdf).  Field epidemiologists are available to provide consultation on infection control.  Reports may also be called to 1-800-821-5821.
  • Promote health among students and staff: Encourage students, parents, teachers and staff to be aware of their health and to identify early if they have influenza-like illness (defined as fever of 100 degrees or greater, plus sore throat and/or cough).  Promote four steps to prevent flu: wash hands, cover cough, stay home if sick, and get vaccinated.   Individuals should stay home until 24 hours after fever resolves without the use of fever reducing medications.
  • Increase environmental cleaning: Frequently clean high touch surfaces, like door knobs, desks, and light switches – this helps break down the presence of the virus in the environment.
  • Review school policy on sickness and health: Review with staff your school policy on illness among students and staff.  Invite the school nurse or physician to speak at a staff meeting or school board meeting to promote prevention of influenza.  Consider steps the school will take in the event of continued elevated absenteeism.

Where can I find more information? 

New State expectations for SAT essays set to help improve student writing

The Maine Department of Education (DOE) will start using a “cut score” that includes State expectations for the essay portion of the SAT for the first time. A cut score is the minimum score required for performance at each State expectation level. The essay cut scores are expected to help educators further enhance student writing.

The essay cut score was researched and determined as a collaborative effort among the Maine DOE, Maine educators, technical support from assessment experts, the Delaware Department of Education and approval by Maine’s Technical Advisory Committee (TAC).

While essay scores have previously been reported to the State, no expectation has been provided for satisfactory performance until now. Starting in 2018, the SAT essay score will have a designation of “Meets Expectations” or “Does Not Meet Expectations.” There are no changes to the State expectations for student performance in the SAT mathematics and reading score metrics.

In order to meet expectations for the essay cut score, students must score at least 3 out of 8 points on each of the three sub scores, and they must achieve an overall essay score of at least 13. Schools and districts will be provided with data that includes the percentage of students that meet the SAT expectation.

In addition to providing school officials with a measurement of the over-all student achievement level in writing, the new essay cut scores will also provide educators with an opportunity to seek improvement in teaching students analytical writing techniques.

While the goal may be a challenge for some Maine students, the Maine DOE is eager to assist educators in helping students achieve these expectations through professional development opportunities. A set of workshops took place in the fall of 2017 and materials are available on the Maine DOE Website. For questions or to discuss future professional development opportunities contact Morgan Dunton, English Language Arts Specialist at morgan.dunton@maine.gov or (207) 624-6625.

The SAT essay cut scores will also be one of the factors that contribute to performance in the federal Every Students Succeeds Act Accountability System. For more information about ESSA contact Chelsea Fortin-Trimble, ESEA Federal Programs & Title I Director at Chelsey.A.Fortin@maine.gov or (207)-624-6815.

For more information about Maine Education Assessments including the SATs contact Andrew Hudacs, Director of Assessment at Andrew.Hudacs@maine.gov or (207) 624-6636.