Priority Notice: Seeking Public Comment to Waive Requirements Related to Accountability and Public Reporting.   

In a US Department of Education (USDOE)  Dear Colleague letter to state chiefs on February 22nd, 2021, USDOE provided guidance and invited states to apply for waivers granting significant flexibility in the areas of accountability and reporting for the 2020-2021 school yearFollowing this guidance and flexibility, the Maine Department of Education (DOE) is requesting accountability and reporting waivers pursuant to §8401(b) from requirements within the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) of 2015)USDOE requires state educational agencies, when seeking waivers from statutory or regulatory requirements, to solicit and respond to public comment on the request and provide evidence of the available comment period. This 14-day public comment period will be available from April 27, 2021- May 10, 2021.  

A full copy of the waiver request can be located on the Maine DOE’s ESSA webpage.  In summary, the Maine Department of Education will be requesting waivers from the following requirements:  

  • Accountability and school identification requirements in ESEA sections 1111(c)(4) and 1111(d)(2)(C)-(D): the requirements that a State measure progress toward long-term goals and measurements of interim progress; meaningfully differentiate, on an annual basis, all public schools, including by adjusting the Academic Achievement indicator based on a participation rate below 95 percent; and identify schools for comprehensive, targeted, and additional targeted support and improvement based on data from the 2020- 2021 school year. 
  • Report card provisions related to accountability in ESEA section 1111(h) based on data from the 2020-2021 school year. These include: 
  • Section 1111(h)(1)(C)(i)(I)-(IV) and (VI) (Accountability system description, other than the list of comprehensive, targeted, and additional targeted support and improvement schools).
  • Section 1111(h)(1)(C)(iii)(I) (Other Academic indicator results for schools that are not high schools). 
  • Section 1111(h)(1)(C)(v) (School Quality or Student Success indicator results). 
  • Section 1111(h)(1)(C)(vi) (Progress toward meeting long-terms goals and measurements of interim progress). 
  • Section 1111(h)(2)(C) with respect, at the local educational agency (LEA) anschool levels, to all waived requirements in section 1111(h)(1)(C). 

Public Comment may be submitted to: ESSA.DOE@maine.gov. Additional questions can be directed to Janette Kirk, Chief of Learning Systems.  

Priority Notice: DOE Embarks on a Revolutionary Redesign of Assessment 

As the nation  explores the future of education and embraces opportunities for new and innovative approaches to student instruction and assessment, the Maine Department Of Education(DOE) is excited to develop a more meaningful approach to assessment.  

The federally-mandated State summative assessment is an essential component of an equitable instructional cycle. The assessment serves multiple purposes for educators, students, parents, policy makers, and community members, all with the shared goal of supporting student growth for lifelong learning.

The COVID-19 global pandemic has afforded educators the opportunity to meaningfully reflect on instructional practice, outcomes and student learning. As educators continue to explore opportunities for authentic learning, we are observing an increase in  interdisciplinary/integrated instruction and the ability of students to apply their learning in a real-world context. With this in mind, and to ensure we are assessing student learning in a similar and authentic manner, the redesign of state assessment is underway.  

The Maine DOE is seeking individuals interested in being involved in role specific assessment redesign focus groups. These focus groups will serve as collaborative thought partners as Maine’s approach to assessment and accountability is redefined, reframed and redesigned.

From these role alike focus groups, an ESSA Advisory/Maine TAC will be established. The ESSA Advisory/Maine TAC will represent the geographic and demographic diversity across the state and will be responsible for assisting the Department in synthesizing focus group feedback, suggestions, and best practice approaches to develop a cohesive assessment and accountability plan that addresses and supports the needs of Maine students while assisting Maine in meeting ESEA Federal assessment and accountability requirements 

In the coming months, role specific focus groups will meet for a half day on a bi-monthly basis. Additionally, those nominated from within focus groups to serve on the  ESSA Advisory/Maine TAC will meet for ninety (90) minutes once per month for an extended period of time.  If you are interested in being a part of this work, please complete the intent to participate form by February 26.  

EF-S-214 Data Entry Deadline Extended to May 15.

The Department’s School Finance Team needs the EF-S-214 data in order to calculate and apply any adjustments to the ED 279s prior to year-end.

The EF-S-214 was opened to Maine School Administrative Units (SAUs) on March 1st for data entry.  We are providing as much time as we can to SAUs to get this data entry completed, but it MUST be entered no later than May 15th. This timeline will allow us to apply eligible adjustments to the current year High Cost Out-of-District allocation prior to the end of the fiscal year.

Given the uniqueness of the current situation, the School Finance Team is providing SAUs two options when filling out their EF-S-214.

  • If the SAU is continuing to pay for the out of district placement, it would report cost up to the end of the fiscal year, as they would under normal circumstances.
  • If a SAU has stopped paying tuition for out of district placements, they would report what they have spent up to this point in the fiscal year, instead of estimating the cost to the end of the year.

Only students that meet the threshold for being high cost and where the SAU is not reimbursed should be reported on the EF-S-214.

The EF-S-214 report may be found by logging into NEO at:  https://neo.maine.gov/DOE/NEO/Accounts/Account/Login

Please contact Stephanie Clark, Fiscal Review and Compliance Consultant at: Stephanie.Clark@maine.gov or 207-624-6807.

50+ School and District Leaders Come Together to Enhance Student Support and Instructional Practice

Collaboration and support was the primary focus of three recent technical assistance session held in Ellsworth, Brewer, and Augusta between 50+ school and district leadership teams and the Maine DOE ESEA Federal Program team members.

During the half day sessions, the 100+ participants worked alongside DOE staff, including school leadership coaches, to explore innovative approaches to leveraging federal funds through blending and braiding of ESEA Federal Program allocations, school-wide authority, and additional Title I school improvement funds to supplement and enhance current student support and instructional practice.

“We had great turnout, great conversation, and enthusiasm at these meetings and we are encouraged as we move forward,” said Janette Kirk, Maine DOE Chief of Learning Systems.

MaineCare Seed adjustments to be made, review Q1-20 reports by January 15, 2020

The recovery of Q1-20 MaineCare Seed will occur in the January 2020 subsidy payment, and the Maine Department of Education (MDOE) is asking School Administrative Units (SAUs) to review their reports by January 15, 2020 to ensure accurate adjustments to subsidy. SAU staff must review student by student claims on both the public and private MaineCare reports for Q1-20 by January 15, 2020.

To access the MaineCare Seed reports, please follow the instructions below.

  1. Log into NEO using the link below

https://neo.maine.gov/DOE/neo/Dashboard

Anyone who currently has Special Education Director permissions to the Special Education module will automatically have permissions to access MaineCare reports.

As in the past, if a new staff member needs permission to access this module, a request from the Superintendent to the Maine DOE helpdesk will be necessary. The helpdesk contact information is medms.helpdesk@maine.gov or 207-624-6896.

  1. Click on the Student Data tab
  2. Click on the Student Report tab
  3. Select MaineCare in the Reporting Area drop-down
  4. Choose the quarterly Seed report and the report type (private/public)
  5. Click view report button
  6. Once the report appears on the screen, choose the export button.

You may export the reports to Excel, but please be aware that there may be multiple worksheet tabs within the workbook. Save the file to your computer.

If you disagree that a particular student or time period should be on the report, please provide the reason that you disagree, along with the following, to Denise.towers@maine.gov.

  • Identify the type of report (public or private) and the quarter in which the claims are located.
  • State Student ID
  • Service provided dates (From and To)
  • Total amount of Seed being disputed

Summer services: Students must be enrolled for the time period they are receiving educational services. This means that students that are receiving extended school year services in district, or extended school year services in an out of district placement, must have a primary enrollment for that time period in order for the MDOE to have the most accurate enrollment data to determine SAU responsibility for MaineCare Seed.

For more information or technical assistance related to MaineCare Seed, please contact Denise.towers@maine.gov.