Certificates and Fingerprint Clearance Cards are now paperless

Certificates and Fingerprint Clearance Cards will now be available in a paperless form through the NEO Portal. As part of the streamline process for launching the new online certification system and to promote a more secure environment with less manual process and excess paper, certificates and fingerprint clearance cards will no longer be mailed to applicants.

Applicants and school districts can visit the NEO portal to confirm and check the status of credentials. Additionally, applicants can log in and print their status if necessary.

Here is a direct link to the NEO Portal where status can be checked. This page can also be accessed from the Certification webpage under, “What is my Status”, the “Check Application Status” link on the Certification home page, or on the “Authority, Forms and FAQs” page.

If you have questions regarding this change in process or recent enhancements to the website, please contact Stephanie Fyfe, Education Team Coordinator at stephanie.fyfe@maine.gov

PRIORITY NOTICE: Educational Technician certification renewal date extended to July 1, 2018

As many of you are aware, Maine Department of Education (DOE) Commissioner Robert G. Hasson, Jr. approved a one-year extension for all certificates with an expiration date of July 1, 2017.  Those impacted teachers, educational specialists, and administrators with certificates that would have expired on July 1, 2017, now have an expiration date of July 1, 2018.

The 2018 extension will also be applied to Educational Technicians whose expiration date is February 1, 2018.  Those impacted Educational Technicians will now have an expiration date of July 1, 2018.

The purpose for this extension is to allow the Department of Education time to implement the new online certification system.  The new online system is currently in the security testing phase and is being used by Department staff before launching to select pilot schools. Staff have already created great efficiencies; however extra time is needed to ensure all security requirements have been met.

To track further progress of the online certification system, please visit the Maine DOE Certification webpage.

To check your certification and/or administrative credentialing status please visit the NEO Portal.

For further questions, contact the Certification office at (207) 624-6603 or cert.doe@maine.gov.

PRIORITY NOTICE: Proposed changes for Certification and PEPG Rules; Hearings on Dec. 27

As part of the Maine Department of Education’s efforts to streamline certification processes for Maine educators; align certification rules with current statute; and ensure that new and conditionally certified teachers have access to high quality peer support, the Department is proposing revisions to Rule Chapter 180: Performance Evaluation and Professional Growth Systems, revisions Rule Chapter 115: Certification Authorization and Approval of Educational Personnel; and repeal of Chapter 118: Purposes, Standards and Procedures for Educational Personnel Support Systems.

Find the details for proposed changes for Rule Chapters 115, 118, and 180 on the Maine DOE Website. Provided below are hearing dates, details about the comment period and highlights about the proposed changes.

Hearing for Rule Chapters 115 and 118:
December 27, 2017 from 12:00 – 2:00 PM.
Room 103 A and B in the Cross State Office Building, 111 Sewall Street, Augusta, Maine
Comment periods:
Chapter 115 Proposed Section 14: November 17, 2017 – December 18, 2017
Full revisions for Chapter 115 and Rule Chapter 118: December 6, 2017 – January 18, 2018

Hearing for Rule Chapter 180:
December 27, 2017 from 2:00 – 3:00 PM.
Room 103 A and B in the Cross State Office Building, 111 Sewall Street, Augusta, Maine
Comment period:
Rule Chapter 180: December 6, 2017 – January 18, 2018.

Comments can be submitted to Jaci Holmes at jaci.holmes@maine.gov

Highlights:

Chapter 180
Some of the more significant changes are contained in a new Section (11): Peer Support and Feedback, and accomplish the following:

  1. Retain a peer level of peer support and feedback for all teachers and principals.
  2. Establish a mentor/coach component for all newly hired and conditionally certified teachers.
  3. Differentiate peer support requirements to provide greater support for new and conditionally certified teachers.
  4. Provide greater, more structured support for conditionally certified special education teachers.
  5. Provide the SAU with flexibility in establishing mentor and coach qualifications as well as assigning mentors and coaches to better target educator needs.
  6. Sharpen the line between peer support components and evaluation components

Chapter 115
The Department has updated the rules consistent with recent statutory changes and removed redundancy and unnecessary language. The format is being refined to be clear and concise. In brief, the following are some of the more significant changes:

  • Consolidates the number of credentials available to three: a clearance, a certificate, and a conditional certificate.
  • Eliminates Rule Chapter 118: Education Personnel Support System. Rather than having two different support systems under two different rules, there will just be one under Rule Chapter 180. Also, some aspects of Rule Chapter 118 will be merged into Rule Chapter 115.
  • Creates a pathway to become a teacher based on work experience. A person will be able to use work experience to address knowledge areas that are required for an endorsement.
  • Refines and reformats the rule to be more logical and sequential. There has been confusion about sections of the rule and this should help to make it more clear and efficient.
  • Part I will be repealed and replaced, Part II will be revised in legislative format

Chapter 115 (Regarding Administrative Hold)
This rule creates a category within Section 14 of Chapter 115, Part I for Administrative Hold. The agency proposed rule would require all credential holders to provide the Department with an address at which the Department may contact them with respect to their credential. An administrative hold will be used in cases where information about certified individuals comes to the attention of the Department and the Department contacts the credential holder at the address on file and receives no response.  In those situations, the Department will place the credential on administrative hold until such time as the holder responds. Emergency Rulemaking for Chapter 115 (Regarding Administrative Hold) went into effect November 20, 2017.

 

Federal Funds and Teacher Qualifications

As a direct result of the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) of 2015 (2015) teacher certification language was revised and amended. Current education law, requires educators to achieve full State certification and licensure.

The enactment of the ESSA removed the federal Highly Qualified Teacher (HQT) requirements.  Although no longer a requirement in general for the majority of educators, HQT continues to be a requirement for special educators in Maine. This is due to the language contained within Chapter 101 of Maine Unified Special Education Regulations (MUSER).   The Maine DOE is planning to remove HQT language when the rule is revised again , likely during the 2018-19 legislative session.  In the meantime, NEO, Maine’s Data System will continue to ask for HQT information.

School Administrative Units (SAUs) are required under §  1112 of ESSA to inform parents of their right to know and request professional teacher qualifications for all teachers and paraprofessionals in all public SAU’s in the State of Maine.

If requested SAU’s are to provide the following information :

  1. if the teacher has met State certification and licensing requirements for the grade levels and subjects for which the teacher provides instruction:
  2. if state certification and licensing requirements have been waived (is not being required at this time) for the teacher under emergency or temporary status;
  3. if the teacher is teaching in the field of discipline for which they are certified or licensed;
  4. if the teacher has met State-approved or State-recognized certification, licensing, registration, or other comparable requirements These requirements apply to the professional discipline in which the teacher is working and may include providing English language instruction to English learners, special education or related services to students with disabilities, or both; and
  5. if your child is receiving Title I or Special Education services from paraprofessionals, his or her qualifications.
HQT Required Comment
Yes No
Teacher Must meet full certification requirements
Paraprofessional If working with Title I students OR a Title I Schoolwide Program
Special Education Teacher

If you have questions regarding Highly Qualified Status or Teacher qualifications please contact Jan Breton, Director of Special Services at jan.breton@maine.gov  or Charles Lomonte, Title II Coordinator/ State Ombudsman at charles.lomonte@maine.gov

PRIORITY NOTICE: Certification office closed 10/16 – 10/27 to work on new online system

As a reminder, the Maine Department of Education’s new online certification system, Maine Certification Information System (MCIS), is scheduled for a soft release to staff and educators at pilot schools, and will be available to administrators, and local support system chair people statewide on Monday, October 30th. MCIS is targeted to be available to all educators and the general public by mid-November.

MCIS will completely replace the Maine DOE’s current paper certification application system. Highlights include a simple account creation process, electronic notifications about actionable items for both educators and administrators, and the ability to pay fees online.

To help with the transition, the certification office will be closed to educators from 10/16/2017 – 10/27/2017. The office will re-open on Monday, October 30th with MCIS fully operational for all staff at pilot schools, and to administrators, and local support system chair people statewide.

As a reminder, once MCIS is in place, educators and administrators will need to create an account in order to use the system. The Maine DOE’s Certification team will be sending out individual notices to the email addresses that are on file in the NEO staff system to initiate this process. Additional training and guidance will be forthcoming.

For more information contact Ángel Martínez Loredo at 207-624-6603 or email cert.doe@maine.gov.

PRIORITY NOTICE: New certification system set to open for pilot schools and admins on 10/30

The Maine DOE’s new online certification system, Maine Certification Information System (MCIS), is scheduled for a soft release to staff and educators at pilot schools, and will be available to administrators, and local support system chair people statewide on Monday, October 30th. MCIS is targeted to be available to all educators and the general public by mid-November.

MCIS will completely replace the Maine DOE’s current paper certification application system. Highlights include a simple account creation process, electronic notifications about actionable items for both educators and administrators, and the ability to pay fees online.

The certification office will be closed to educators from 10/16/2017 – 10/27/2017. The office will re-open on Monday, October 30th with MCIS fully operational for all staff at pilot schools, and to administrators, and local support system chair people statewide.

As a reminder, once MCIS is in place, educators and administrators will need to create an account in order to use the system. The Maine DOE’s Certification team will be sending out individual notices to the email addresses that are on file in the NEO staff system to initiate this process. Additional training and guidance will be forthcoming.

For more information contact Ángel Martínez Loredo at 207-624-6603 or email cert.doe@maine.gov.

Revised certification rules: guidance and clarification (Chapter 115)

The revised Chapter 115 certification rules have arrived and the Maine Department of Education (DOE) is providing the following clarifications: 

  • Part I of Chapter 115 goes into effect August 12th, 2017.
     
  • Part II does not go into effect until July 1, 2019, including the revisions to grade spans.  For now we will continue to use the K-3, K-8, 7-12 or K-12 grade spans for certification purposes.
     
  • For future reference a decision has been made by the Maine Department of Education to allow individuals who have a K-8 certification to continue with that credential, as long as the credential does not lapse.   

During the fall, the Maine DOE will be making more recommendations to certification rules to further accommodate the needs of, and feedback from the educational field.

For more information contact the Maine DOE Certification office at 207-624-6603 or cert.doe@maine.gov.