Guidance on Determining English Learner Status

Students who are English learners (ELs) are considered former ELs when they reach an overall composite proficiency score of 4.5 on ACCESS for ELLs or level P2 on Alternate ACCESS. Former ELs are fully mainstreamed, no longer receive English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) services, and are no longer administered ACCESS for ELLs/Alternate ACCESS each year.  

In the past, districts were required to closely monitor the performance of former ELs for a minimum of two years, per federal guidance, in order to ensure that they were able to succeed academically without ESOL services. If a former EL demonstrated a continued need for ESOL services, districts were required under civil rights law to provide such services, but students did not officially reenter EL status in the state student data system.  

Starting in school year 2019-2020, students who were formerly ELs may be eligible to officially re-enter EL status if they demonstrate a need for continued English language learning support. To determine if a former EL needs to be reentered into EL status, districts must have a clear protocol for monitoring during the two-year intensive monitoring period and beyond. To effectively monitor, all general education teachers must have an awareness of how language learning needs may manifest in the classroom, as well as an understanding of how non-linguistic factors may affect student performance. To assist districts in developing a strong monitoring protocol, the US Department of Education’s Office of English Language Acquisition has produced Chapter 8 of the EL Tool Kit: Tools and Resources for Monitoring and Exiting English Learners from EL Programs and Services. It includes sample monitoring forms, information about digital monitoring systems, and a self-assessment. 

When a continued need for ESOL services is suspected, teachers should refer the student to the ESOL teacher/coordinator for rescreening. The student should be administered the WIDA Screener Online. When a former EL scores below an overall proficiency level of 4.5, the district must submit an online request to officially reenter the student into EL status in the state student data system. Note that students who were screened for EL status upon enrollment, but did not qualify at that time, may be rescreened at any time if a potential need for ESOL services becomes apparent. 

Essential Provisions and Services (EPS) funding for the next school year is based on the previous school year’s October 1 enrollment counts. Students who are reentered into EL status are eligible for an additional weighted EPS funding amount, like all other students who are ELs. 

If you have any questions about this notice or would like any assistance, please contact April Perkins at april.perkins@maine.gov or (207)624-6627. 

PRIORITY NOTICE: Notice from Maine Charter School Commission- Public Input for Proposed New Public Charter School

Maine Charter School Commission Banner

The Maine Charter School Commission has received applications from two entities proposing a new public charter school opening in the fall of 2020. There are 9 public charter schools operating in the state of Maine. Current law allows for a maximum of 10.

Applications were received for:

  • Ecology Learning Center, located in Montville. will serve grades 9-12 with a target population of high school-aged youth seeking experiential, community-based learning. The catchment area of the school will be Waldo County.
  • Sheffwood Academy, located in Topsham, will serve grades 6-12 with a target population of students with a passion for the arts and/or technology. The catchment area of the school will be a 20-mile radius around Topsham.

At its August 6, 2019 Business Meeting, the Maine Charter School Commission determined whether the application(s) appear to demonstrate the applicant’s competence in each element of the Commission’s published approval criteria and appears to demonstrate that the applicant is likely to open and operate a successful public charter school in the state of Maine. The Maine Charter School Commission denied the application for Sheffwood Academy, with no further action recommended. The Maine Charter School Commission has moved the Ecology Learning Center application forward, and a public hearing will be held on August 7th for the Ecology Learning Center from 4:00pm-6:00pm in the Washington/York Room of the Augusta Civic Center.  The purpose of the hearing is to elicit public comment on the expected impact of the proposed charter school on students, parents, the community to be served by the school, and public education in the State. It’s important to note that if a school is approved for a charter, all students in the state of Maine are welcome to enroll.

If you are unable to attend a public hearing in person, written comments will be accepted through 5:00pm on Friday, August 23rd. Written comments can be mailed to the Maine Charter School Commission at 182 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333 or emailed to mcsc@maine.gov.

Information will be provided on the Commission’s website www.maine.gov/csc.

Conference: Collaborating to Address the Complex Mental and Behavioral Health Needs of Maine Youth

The Maine American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), Maine Department of Education (DOE) and Maine Association of School Nurses (MASN) are collaborating to bring you best practices and current research on a variety of critical mental and physical health related topics facing adolescents. Recognizing that we are all supporting the needs of Maine children in different locations and ways we are bringing experts together to receive collaborative professional learning.

Hosted by: The Maine AAP, Department of Education and Maine Association of School Nurses

Intended audience: Those interested in the mental health of students (school nurses, medical providers, school counselors, social workers, and administrators)

Some topics covered: 

  • Identification and treatment of anxiety and depression in children and adults: How can we do better?
  • Addressing the Complex Mental and Behavioral Health Needs of Maine Youth: The Key Role of Adverse Childhood Experiences and Trauma Informed Care
  • Creating an Inclusive Environment for LGBTQ Youth
  • Tools for Screening and Safety for Youth at Risk of Suicide
  • Substance Use Disorder:  Impact on Youth and Families

Date: August 16, 2019

Time: 8:00 AM – 3:15 PM

Location: The program is being held in the Talbot Hall/Bonney Auditorium at the University of Southern Maine, located at 92 Bedford Street in Portland.

Cost: $50.00

Register here.

For questions or additional information, please contact Emily Poland at emily.poland@maine.gov.

Next Think Tank Scheduled for September 30!

In the ongoing effort to engage with all stakeholders, the Department of Education will hold its next Think Tank at the Schoodic Institute in Winter Harbor on September 30.  Participants can choose  from four topics, and can attend morning or afternoon sessions only on one topic, or attend both sessions and discuss two topics! Topics include special education, defining school success, educator excellence (recruiting and retaining) and MLTI.  Lunch will be provided, and the think tank is FREE, however we do ask for participants to register, for planning purposes.  Please see the Registration Link for more information and to register. We look forward to hearing from you!

Maine Officially Adopts English Language Development Standards

Each of the eight content areas taught in Maine schools has its own set of standards, collectively known as the Maine Learning Results. Since 1997, the Maine Learning Results have provided a framework from which educators can build their curriculum, instruction, and assessments. Alongside these content standards, students learning English have been supported with a cohesive set of English language development (ELD) standards, aligned to the academic content they are learning.

This year Maine participated in the US Department of Education’s assessment peer review process for the English language proficiency assessment, through which the need for officially adopted ELD standards was emphasized. Therefore, the Maine Department of Education is officially adopting the WIDA ELD Standards as the foundation for language instruction for students who are English learners (ELs).

In use in Maine since 2007, the WIDA ELD Standards are an essential tool for student learning. WIDA is a non-profit educational consortium with 40 members, including the Maine Department of Education. In addition to the WIDA ELD Standards, WIDA provides Maine educators with a suite of high-quality instructional and assessment tools for students who are ELs, as well as professional learning for educators.

The five ELD standards support all Maine educators to engage students who are ELs in the academic language needed to access the Maine Learning Results. Both the Maine Learning Results and the WIDA ELD Standards were developed through extensive educator collaboration and have been regularly reviewed and updated to reflect the changing demands of college and career readiness.

  • Standard 1: Social and Instructional Language- communicate for social and instructional purposes within a school setting
  • Standard 2: Language of Language Arts- communicate information, ideas, and concepts necessary for academic success in the content area of language arts
  • Standard 3: Language of Mathematics- communicate information, ideas, and concepts necessary for academic success in the content area of mathematics
  • Standard 4: Language of Science- communicate information, ideas, and concepts necessary for academic success in the content area of science
  • Standard 5: Language of Social Studies- communicate information, ideas, and concepts necessary for academic success in the content area of social studies

For more information about the WIDA ELD Standards, or for support in implementing them effectively in your district, please contact April Perkins, Director of ESOL/Bilingual Programs & Title III, at april.perkins@maine.gov or (207)624-6627. For information about English language proficiency assessments please contact Sue Nay, ACCESS Assessment Coordinator at Sue.Nay@maine.gov or (207) 624-6774.