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.

PRIORITY NOTICE: Maine DOE Certification Office Eliminates Walk-in Appointments Effective July 9, 2018

As part of the Maine Department of Education’s goal of ensuring accurate and efficient educator credentialing, we are asking educators to manage their Maine teacher credentials electronically. The Department is transitioning to the new online certification system, and effective July 9, 2018, the Certification office will eliminate walk-in office hours in order to increase productivity and better serve the tens of thousands of educators in the State of Maine.

Previously, to accommodate the paper-based application system, educators could travel to the Department in Augusta and walk-in on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays to drop off applications and materials, or meet with certification specialists to ask specific questions.

Now that the online certification system is available and application materials can be submitted and managed electronically (either through the online system or via email), and questions can be answered more efficiently using the website, over the phone, or via email, the Department will be eliminating the walk-in office hours effective July 9, 2018.

In-person processing of applications can be lengthy and inconvenient for educators, and significantly reduces the number of applicants the Department can serve. By eliminating the walk-in office hours, the Department will decrease application processing times, be better able to answer questions with significantly lower wait times, and better assist educators using the new online system.

The Department will continue to keep the certification website up-to-date with current information, support documentation, and answers to frequently asked questions.

If educators have additional or more specific questions, they can call 207-624-6603 or email the certification office 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.

 

Seeking comments for proposed Rule Chapter 13: Qualifying Examinations for Teachers, Educational Specialists and Administrators

Rulemaking for Chapter 13: Qualifying Examinations for Teacher, Educational Specialists and Administrators been filed as a proposed routine technical rule. A hearing date and comment period have been scheduled. The proposed rule has been posted on the Proposed Rule web page of the Maine DOE website. Proposed rules can be found in order of chapter number.

Purpose of the rule revision: This rule outlines passing scores on Education Testing Service (ETS) tests necessary for professional educator certification. Proposed changes include updated test numbers to align with ETS changes and revised language to align recently passed Chapter 115 changes that go into effect July 14, 2018.

Hearing Date: July 16, 2018 at 10:00 – 11:00 AM Room 500 of the Cross State Office Building, 111 Sewell Street, Augusta, Maine.

Comment period: ends on July 30, 2018.

Comments may be submitted in person at the time of the scheduled hearing or in writing via email to Jaci Holmes at jaci.holmes@maine.gov.

Update on Educator Portal of New Online Certification System

The Maine Department of Education launched the educator portal of the new online certification system yesterday, June 14, 2018. Following the release of the educator portal, the Department is sharing the results of the release, including some helpful times for those who have yet to log-in and renew:

  • On the first day 2,564 educators created their accounts and 1,605 applications were submitted through the new online system. From those applications, 1,498 endorsements were auto issued immediately.
  • As of June 21, 2018, more than 7,300 educator accounts have been created, the Department has received more than 4,500 applications and 2,800 of those applicants have received one or more auto issued endorsements (more than 4,100 endorsements have been auto issued so far).

Items to know:

  • The renewal process is customized to each individual educator’s file and steps in the process will be skipped depending on what is needed from the educator.
  • If educators are renewing a professional or a provisional certificate and no fingerprint checks are required, the certificate will be auto renewed immediately.
    • For all other certificates or if anything needs to be checked, the renewal will be placed in a queue for evaluators to analyze.
  • If educators have been recommended by their certification chair, there is no need to upload documentation and those steps will be skipped in the process.
  • If you are having issues using the internet browser Firefox, please try a different browser (for example, Chrome or Internet Explorer).
  • The system will not accept American Express as a payment.
  • During payment, when you are asked to input the address it is asking for your billing address, not the address of your credit card company.

Reminder from yesterday’s initial launch communication:

  • Download Instructions on How to Create an Account.
  • Once your account is created, you may log-in and complete the steps necessary to renew your credential. Please download the step by step instructions on How to Submit a Renewal Application.
  • If you are currently working in a Maine public school district and have not been recommended by your certification committee, please confer with your certification chair and/or superintendent.

The Certification Office is available to answer questions by phone at 207-624-6603, Monday through Friday from 9:00AM – 3:30PM.

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.