Certification Updates and Reminders

The certification team is happy to report out that more than 15,000 applications have been processed since mid-June. Processing time is currently 10 weeks – an impressive national statistic for this time of year and a significant change from recent years in Maine.  The MEIS system continues to create efficiencies and the Department looks forward to being able to release initial applications into the new online system shortly.

Reminders:

  • Renewal applicants that have not yet been processed still maintain their current credentials throughout the duration of the renewal process.
  • Please ensure applicants are using the most recent applications found on the certification website. Older applications do need to be mailed back.

Please note that applications are processed in the order in which they are received; however, there are many items an applicant can do in order to be processed as quickly as possible:

  • Send complete applications with everything needed in one package.
  • Be sure to sign the applications, answer all questions, remember the expiration date if paying with credit card, and include the correct fee.
  • The certification team is on the phone support line for seven hours a day. If questions can be easily answered on the new website, please check there first to allow for more processing time each day.
  • If it has not been 10 weeks since sending in the application, please do not call or email asking for a status update as that dramatically slows down the process.

The certification office will be posting updates on the Certification home page as well as on Facebook, Twitter, and in the DOE newsroom.

National Board Certified Teacher Scholarship Funds Available

State law, 20-A MRSA Section 13013-A subsection 5 & 6; as amended by PL 2012 c. 702, established the National Board Certification Scholarship Fund to encourage teachers to apply to and enroll in the certification program offered by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, or its successor organization.

A school administrative unit or a publicly supported secondary school or Career and Technical Education (CTE) region, may request scholarship funds on behalf of its teachers who meet the requirements.

In fiscal year 2018-19, Maine DOE will allocate $75,000 to the scholarship fund and shall award an amount equal to the cost of the certification program, less any other funds received by the applicant, on a first-come first-served basis to teachers accepted into the certification program.

For more information and eligibility requirements please go to National Board Certification Scholarship.

If you have questions, please contact Denise Towers at Denise.towers@maine.gov or by phone at 624-6863.

Further Certification Updates: Increase in Processing Times, and Temporary Change in Call Hours

The Certification team would like to thank the education field for their assistance in helping to reduce phone calls to the office. The reduction in calls over the past week has allowed the team to input substantially more applications into the system as well as processing applications currently in the system.

This increased efficiency has allowed the amount of open applications to be reduced from 3,000 to 2,300. As school is starting, the certification team would like to alert you that next week between September 4th through September 7th the phone hours will be reduced from 6.5 hours per day to 3 hours per day.  This will allow the team additional time to process applications to meet the needs of both educators and districts.

Phone times for September 4 – 7 will be 9AM – 12PM.

On September 10th, phone coverage will resume the typical 6.5 hours a day, from 9AM to 3:30 PM. 

Further updates will be available in the Maine DOE Newsroom, on the Certification webpage, and on Maine DOE’s official Facebook and Twitter pages.

Certification Updates

Please help share the following notice with all Maine educators.

The Maine Department of Education has now received 10,000 renewal applications since releasing the new online certification system, Maine Educator Information System (MEIS), to educators in June. There are currently 3,000 of those applications in queue, with an approximate eight-week processing time.

Approximately 70% of all Maine educators needing renewal have now applied. For those that have applied for renewal, it is important to note the following renewal procedure as outlined in Chapter 115 Part 1:

In the case of a complete application for the renewal of a credential that has not lapsed, the existing credential shall remain in effect until the application is approved or denied, and a renewal subsequently issued shall be deemed effective as of the expiration date of the previous certificate.

More than 50% of all certification related calls to the Department are applicants requesting updates of their application status. To decrease these calls and consequently process applications at a faster rate, please note the following:

  • Current processing times can be found on the Certification webpage.
  • Processing times begin on the date the complete application is received.
  • Applicants – Please do not call unless you applied more than eight weeks ago.

To increase support, a concerted effort has and will continue to be made to keep the Certification webpages up to date with current information, support documentation, and answers to frequently asked questions.  If educators have additional questions not answered on the website, they can call 207-324-6603 or can email the certification department at cert.doe@maine.gov.

Further communications and updates are available on the Maine Department of Education Certification Webpage, Maine DOE’s official Facebook and Twitter pages, and the DOE newsroom.

 

Updates and FAQs Regarding New Online Certification System

The Maine Department of Education is pleased to provide an update on the progress of the new online certification system.

  • 8,474 individual renewal applications have been received (many of those with multiple endorsement renewals)
  • 64% of teachers whose certificates expire have applied for renewal
  • 6,995 endorsements have been auto issued back to applicants within minutes of submission
  • An additional 2,205 applications have been processed by the certification team
  • There are currently 2,700 applications in queue to be worked on

The Department’s certification team is fielding more than 500 calls a day and wait times can be significant. Many of the questions asked via phone have been addressed in the “Things to Know/Frequently Asked Questions” list below in this notification.  In addition to the FAQ, please be sure to use the resources available on the Certification Webpage to help reduce the amount of calls for both wait time purposes and to enable the team to process additional applications.

Things to Know/Frequently Asked Questions:

  • One contact point is sufficient – your inquiry will be answered as soon as possible. The certification team has noticed there are multiple emails in addition to multiple calls from the same individual at the same time. When applicants are reaching out in multiple ways to multiple department staff it causes longer wait times and inefficacies in the ability to get to everyone.
  • Not all renewals will be auto issued. If yours is not auto issued, there is no need to call. The receipt you received during the renewal process shows that it was received and the website also indicates current processing times.
  • If you need to have your fingerprints done, please select “new hire” and not “renewal” on the IdentoGo website. If you select renewal, you will be instructed to call the certification department unnecessarily.
  • If you see that you are “missing” a transcript, please know that there are hundreds of thousands of files that all have historical scanned files in the new online system. Transcripts are in the historical file; therefore, educators will not be able to see them in the system but those transcripts are still utilized for any processing.
  • The Certification Department is no longer accepting walk-in appointments. With this policy change, certification staff can increase the number of educators assisted by 80%.
  • During the renewal process:
    • Please do not use Firefox Internet Browser.  Use Chrome, Safari or Internet Explorer.
    • If you are prompted to upload documents and you have nothing to upload, please select “Next”.
    • If you are having trouble uploading documents, please ensure the file is in PDF format and that your computer can support Adobe.
    • If you are uploading contact hours, please upload those under the “Other Documentation” screen and not under the transcript screen.

Further communications and updates are available on the Maine Department of Education Certification Webpage, Maine DOE’s official Facebook and Twitter pages, and the DOE newsroom.