Priority Notice: Proposed Revisions to Ch. 125, School Approval Standards

The State Board and the Department of Education are proposing the repeal and replacement of Chapter 125: Basic School Approval Standards: Public Schools and School Administrative Units.

The last repeal and replace of State Board of Education/Maine Department of Education Rule Chapter 125 was in 2002. The resulting language was highly duplicative of statute. The proposed replacement eliminates redundancy when possible, and minimizes to include only what is required in law.

To this end, the proposed Rule is written to address school approval standards and requirements in a linear fashion, reflecting requirements in the order they appear in statute when possible, and providing detail where necessary. For clarity, a chart referenced in Section 4 of the proposed Rule resides on the Department web page and contains a comprehensive list of requirements and citations.

Specific revisions to the Rule are as follows:

  • Based on a cross-walk conducted by the Department, language which is duplicative of statute or is outdated has been updated or eliminated;
  • The definition of school has been revised;
  • Unnecessary definitions have been eliminated;
  • Certain requirement exceptions for SAUs that tuition all or whole populations of students out of the resident unit have been added;
  • Certain requirement exceptions for Career and Technical Regions have been added;
  • The Comprehensive Education Plan format determination remains with the SAU, but must equally include and reflect all schools within the unit;
  • The minimum requirements as required by M.R.S. 20-A Section 4502(5) are listed in Section 5:
    • 5.01 – Grade K now has a minimum instructional day of 3 hours;
    • 5.03 – added “Areas used for the provision of student services and health services shall be adequate to provide for the privacy and confidentiality of such services;”
    • 5.08 – revised language regarding school counseling program;
    • 5.12 – revised language regarding time out areas to reference Restraint and Seclusion;
    • 5.15 – added family outreach requirement, per statute;
    • 5.16 – added language around Promotion, Retention, Acceleration and Graduation of Students;
    • 5.18 – added requirement for Multi-tiered System of Support, per LD 651; and
  • Section 7.01 outlining the initial approval process for SAUs was revised to reflect current practice.

Public Hearing Information for Rule Chapter 125:

  • December 16, 2019 from 1:00-3:00 PM
  • Room 500 in the Cross State Office Building, 111 Sewall Street, Augusta, Maine
  • All are welcome to attend, and no RSVP is required.  Anyone unable to attend the public hearing may send written comments via email to jaci.holmes@maine.gov or by mailing comments to:

Maine Department of Education
attention: Jaci Holmes
23 State House Station
Augusta, ME  04333-0023
Comment Period Deadline: December 27, 2019

Open Comment Period for Required Civil Rights Data Collection Revisions: Closes November 18!

The Maine Department of Education has just learned that the United States Department of Education (USED) has released proposed revisions to the data required as part of the Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC), and that the comment period for the proposed revisions closes on Monday, November 18.  We wanted all school administrative unit (SAU) and school leaders, and any other interested parties, to be aware of this open comment period, and to have the opportunity to review the proposed revisions and provide feedback directly to the  USED.

The most clear documentation of changes we could find are located at the following link or by entering:

https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=ED-2019-ICCD-0119-0003

In particular, the files titled Data Groups, Data Categories and Directional Categories provide references to the proposed changes and new expectations for data submission by SAUs and schools.

October 31 DATA DEADLINES-

Is YOUR data done?

We are thrilled to share that 74% of our SAUs made the October 31 deadline, and have their student data submitted!  This helps all of us, as it impacts the accuracy and timeliness of the ED 279.

We appreciate that SAUs have been working diligently to ensure the accuracy of their staff data prior to submitting; we are still waiting to receive about 50% of SAU staffing data currently.  Please be sure to check that your staff information is updated in NEO, and call us if we can help!

Also, the truancy, attendance and behavior data for Quarter 1 is due, and the bullying reporting window is now open through November 30th. As we are looking at model policies and identifying what supports and resources we can provide for schools as they work to ensure a safe school climate, this data is helpful for the conversation.

THANK YOU to all of our SAU staff who have worked so hard to ensure the data is submitted.

And remember, if we can help please, contact our helpdesk at medms.helpdesk@maine.gov 
or call 207 624-6896.

MAARS Workshop and Overview of Approved Changes to Maine’s Model of School Support

Online Registration Portal for 2019 MAARS Workshop, including an overview of key changes to Maine’s Model of School Support (Accountability) is now available.

FocalPoint K12, in conjunction with the Maine Department of Education Assessment Team, will be holding a workshop for the Maine Assessment and Accountability Reporting System (MAARS). Topics during the session include an overview of the MAARS system, information on User Account management, revised Individual Student Reports (ISRs) formats, New Features, and a Q & A session.  Members from Maine’s ESEA Federal Programs team will provide an overview of key changes to Maine’s Model of School Support, as a result of the approval of the amendment submitted to Maine’s ESSA State Plan in December 2018. Each day long session is scheduled from 9 am to 3:30 pm. Lunch will be provided.

Venue and Registration Information

November 19, 2019
Abromson Community Education Center
88 Bedford St
Portland, ME 04101

Click here to register for the November 19, 2019 session.

November 20, 2019
Wells Conference Center
131 Munson Road
University of Maine
Orono, ME 04469

Click here to register for the November 20, 2019 session.

November 21, 2019
University of Maine – Presque Isle
Grand Ballroom – Aroostook Room
181 Main St
Presque Isle, ME 04769

Click here to register for the November 21, 2019 session.

Additionally, the assessment team and our reporting vendor FocalPointK12 will also be providing a MAARS webinar on November 13, 2019, 2:30 in preparation for the November 19 and 20 training sessions.  MAARS Webinar .  The audience for this session is returning and new District Assessment Coordinators (DACs) and Career and Technical Education (CTE) Directors. The updated roles within MAARS will be a critical element to prepare for the upcoming November 19 & 20 MAARS Workshops.

The content of the webinar will include:

  • Role of DACs
  • MAARS Confidential Reports Overview
  • How to add/delete/change MAARS roles and permissions (‘districtadmin’, ‘districtuser’ ‘schooluser’ ‘rosteruser’)

To access the November 13, 2019 webinar please use this link.

Please direct any additional questions regarding registrations to these sessions to Eric Buckhalter at (207) 624-6770 or eric.buckhalter@maine.gov

Public Comment Period for Alternative Science Waiver Application Now Open

The Maine Department of Education (DOE) is seeking 30 days of public comment from October 31 – November 29, 2019, on a waiver application (waiver from §8401(b) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) of 2015) to the U.S. Department of Education (USED). The request seeks a waiver from publicly reporting student alternate science test data from the Spring 2020 assessment administration.

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. A copy of the letter seeking waiver from §8401(b) of the ESEA as amended by ESSA can be downloaded with key elements of the request included below:

Federal program affected by the requested waiver

Section 1111(h) of the ESEA, as amended by the ESSA, requires State and LEA report cards to include information on student achievement on the academic assessments in reading/language arts, mathematics, and science described in section 1111(b)(2) at each level of achievement (as determined by the State under section 1111(b)(1)) for all students.

Maine’s 2020-2021 ESEA Data Dashboard (Report card) will continue to publicly report general state assessment results for mathematics, English language arts, and science and will publicly report alternate assessment results for mathematics and English language arts. Maine is seeking a waiver from public reporting for the alternate science assessment only. Maine will continue to report the alternate science assessment results to parents through individualized student reports (ISRs).

Maine will continue to meet all other reporting requirements. Maine specifically requests a waiver from the public reporting of alternate science assessment performance only.

Sections impacted include:

  • Section 1111(b)(2)(B)(iv)
  • Section 1111(b)(2)(B)(xi) (disaggregation of alt. science data by subgroup)
  • Section 1111(h)(1)(A)
  • Section 1111(h)(2)(iii)

Impact to Student Achievement

There will be no impact to assessing student achievement as all eligible students will continue to participate in the alternate science assessment where applicable. The waiver will permit Maine to not publicly release student alternate science assessment achievement scores. The Maine Department of Education will only report participation rates related to the administration of the alternate assessment in grades 5, 8, and the third-year high school during the 2020 spring administration. Maine is committed to moving towards increased compliance with the assessment peer review for an alternate assessment.  During the 2021 spring assessment administration, Maine will participate in the MSAA on-line Operational alternate assessment.  Standard setting and post equating in the summer of 2021 would allow for reportable student achievement levels and scores that fall.

Monitoring

The Department will actively monitor the delivery of the paper-based assessment through an established monitoring process. Test administration will follow all test administration policies and protocols. Schools will be provided ISRs available for bulk download in order to share student performance with parents/guardians or caretakers.

 Continuity of Services to Students

The vendor for MSAA will provide  Expanded Performance Expectations (EPEs) based on the Next Generation Science Standards for grades 5, 8, and third-year high school.  Teachers will have an opportunity to begin implementing the EPEs during the 2019-2020 school year, in preparation for the on-line Operational Field Test in 2021.

 Public Comment

Maine has solicited public comment regarding a request for a waiver from public reporting. This public comment was announced through the Departments Newsroom, social media accounts and through relevant Listservs. Public comment was solicited between October 31st and November 29th, 2019 for a period of 30 days. A summary of comments and the Department’s response is attached with the waiver request. All comments, in support of or against the waiver request should be submitted to Janette Kirk at Janette.Kirk@maine.gov.

Timeline for Implementation

Date General Science Alternate Science
September 2019 Survey educators regarding science assessment modes
October 2019 Convene RFP Writing Team
November 2019 Develop contract for Science Alternate Assessment paper-based test (2020 administration) with MSAA.
December 2019 Execute Science Alt. Assessment contract with MSAA.
January 2020 Release general Science assessment RFP
Spring 2020 Administer MEA Science assessment Administer paper-based Alt. Science assessment
Summer 2020 Proposed award of general science contract
SY 2020-2021 Item Development
Spring 2021 Field test new general science assessment Implement operational field test of online assessment
Submit waiver for public reporting of science data Submit waiver for public reporting of alt. science data
Summer 2021 Completion of post equating and standard setting
SY 2021-2022 Item Development
Spring 2022 Field Test (year 2) Implementation of operational alt. assessment
Spring 2023 Operational assessment Operational alt. assessment (year 2)

Further information related to this notice can be obtained from Janette Kirk, Chief of Learning Systems at Janette.Kirk@maine.gov.