Yarmouth Wins Maine DOE 2018 Farm to School Cook-off

Congratulations to the school food service teams that participated in the 2018 Farm to School Cook-off: RSU 54, RSU 3, Cherryfield, Falmouth, Yarmouth, and Lewiston. Teams competed in different locations on April 5th, 9th and May 14th.

The annual cook-off is a voluntary, skills-based competition offered to school food service staff from all school districts across the State of Maine. The goal of the program is to recognize school nutrition staff for their skills and creativity while producing high-quality meals that can be replicated in a school kitchen. Read more about the events.

Below are some images captured during the final cook-off.

Maine DOE Releases Chronic Absenteeism Data in an Effort to Support Student Success

The Maine Department of Education (Department) has collected chronic absenteeism for the 2016/17 school year as a non-academic indicator of school success. Absenteeism for any reason, excused or unexcused, has potential negative consequences on student learning and it is important for schools, districts, and the Department to have this broader measure of student attendance so that we can measure student success. Previously, the Department collected Average Daily Attendance (ADA), and truancy data. ADA measures the average number of students who attend school on any given day. Truancy is a measure of unexcused absences.

Research shows a statistically strong link between school attendance, the development of academic skills, and the likelihood of high school graduation. Research also shows that when a large percentage of students are chronically absent, even the progress their peers, who have better attendance, may suffer.

Below are some additional facts to help answer questions about the shift in chronic absenteeism data collection:

Why is this important?

Chronic absenteeism is a new indicator in Maine’s Accountability system which was designed as part of the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Current research shows chronic absenteeism has a clear relationship to negative consequences for students, including lower achievement, disengagement from school, course failure, and increased risk of dropping out.

How is chronic absenteeism defined?

Chronic absenteeism is a measure of how many students miss a defined number of school days for any reason. In Maine, this equates to missing 10% of school days or 18 days (based upon 175 school days). As part of Maine’s accountability system, student information will be compiled into an overall school measure indicating the percentage of students at the school who have missed 10% or more of school days. For further information about how chronic absenteeism data is collected visit http://www.maine.gov/doe/data/student/attendance.html.

Where can I find the data?

The 2016/17 chronic absenteeism data is available here. The percentage of Maine students missing 10% or more school days is higher than anticipated as this is the first year school districts have reported this data to the State.

What can schools and districts expect now?

The Department is already working to develop a system of supports available to newly identified Tier II and Tier III schools, with resources to address challenges of attendance. These supports are part of the differentiated tiered model of support under the new ESSA Accountability model with identifications being made in January 2019.

Chronic absenteeism data will be collected annually through the Maine Department of Education’s Synergy Student Information System at the end of the academic year going forward.

The Department will continue collecting truancy data, as required by Maine statute.

For further information about the Department’s ESSA Accountability Model and needed supports, contact Janette Kirk at Janette.Kirk@maine.gov or (207) 624-6707.

Washington County Title I: School Improvement Initiative

On May 8 and 14, a total of 41 classroom, Title 1, and special education educators completed a 3 -part literacy professional development series on Guided Reading with a focus on differentiation, acceleration, and classroom focus. The two cohorts, are the result of a year-long pilot sponsored by the Maine Department of Education’s ESEA Title I: School Improvement Team.

The professional development was provided by Darlene Bassett, Literacy Coach for the Maine DOE, and was based on Jan Richardson’s nationally recognized book, The Next Step Forward in Guided Reading. Al Pfeiffer, Leadership Coach for the Maine DOE, facilitated the pilot with local schools.

Due to the geographical and economic challenges in Washington County, the Department provided these high-quality professional development sessions right in Machias.

Washington County Title I School Improvement Initiative cohort 1
Cohort 1

As part of this work, the Department’s literacy consultant collaborated with Pembroke Elementary School Principal Deb Jameson and three Pembroke Elementary Teachers, Karin Lingley (grades 3 & 4); Beckery Renaud (grades 5 & 6); and Rosie Griffith (7 & 8) to implement guided reading in their classrooms, and also create a “hub school” at Pembroke that has served as a site for other teachers and administrators in the area to visit and reflect as they implement guided reading.

Due to the interest in the area, and accompanying student assessment data, the Department’s Title I School Improvement Team offered a series of professional development sessions to provide teachers with an understanding of present day research and the classroom practices that are linked to the basis of Richardson’s new Guided Reading Model. This collaboration and involvement has lead to staff development for 14 schools in the area.

The Department’s Title I: School Improvement Team plans to continue this meaningful and targeted work with Washington County educators in the fall. One of the schools in the cohort will be identified as the hub school and will receive on-going services and become a resource for all teachers in the region to observe instruction.

Washington County Title I School Improvement Initiative cohort 2
Cohort 2

If you have any questions, please contact ESEA Federal Programs and Title I Director, Chelsey Fortin-Trimble at chelsey.a.fortin@maine.gov.

New and Updated Fact Sheets Highlight Key MIYHS Survey Results

There are 6 new and updated fact sheets available that highlight key survey results from 2017 Maine Integrated Youth Health Survey (MIYHS).  Each topic specific-fact sheet includes, key statistics and data from the 2017 survey, links for “Who Can Help,” and additional resources for schools, community and parents.

New and updated fact sheets include:

  • Health Disparities faced by Transgender Youth in Maine (NEW!! HS Level Data)
  • 2017 Health and Risk Factors among LGBT youth in Maine (NEW!! HS Level Data)
  • What Youth in Maine are Eating (MS and HS Data)
  • Bullying and Harassment in Maine High Schools
  • Daily Activity and Health Behaviors of Youth in Maine (MS and HS data)
  • Mental Health among Maine High School Students

The new fact sheets can be found on the MIYHS webpage.

Over 61,000 students from 300+ schools participated in the 2017 Maine Integrated Youth Health Survey (MIYHS), including about 80 percent of all Maine middle and high schools, and the 2017 data is now publicly available. For the first time, all Geographic Public Health Districts and County level data are reportable. All results can all be found on the MIYHS website

The MIYHS staff would like to extend many thanks to the principals and superintendents who chose to participate in the MIYHS over the years, to the teachers and school staff who supported the effort, and to the community organizations whose help was vital to the success of the survey. Most importantly, we would like to thank the students and parents who took the time and effort to share their experiences with us. The MIYHS will be administered again in 2019.

For questions or more information, Please visit the website or contact Reid Plimpton at reid.plimpton@maine.gov  or Jean Zimmerman at jean.zimmerman@maine.gov

School Custodian Award for Excellence Nominations

Each year the Maine Department of Education partners with Educational Plant Maintenance Association of Maine to host the Custodial and Maintenance Conference at Waterville Senior High School.  One highlight of the conference is awarding the A. Burleigh Oxton Award for Excellence for a school custodial maintenance employee.

Please consider honoring a deserving colleague by submitting a nomination for the 2018 the A. Burleigh Oxton Award for Excellence.

The award provides recognition to an individual who demonstrates exemplary job performance, is passionate about maintaining and operating the local school building to ensure clean, safe, and healthy learning and working environment, and serves as a role model for students; a dedicated employee who is known for going the extra mile to help students, staff, and visitors to the facility.

This is an opportunity to showcase your school custodian’s accomplishments and nominate!  The individual selected will receive an award plaque and a $300 college scholarship that will be awarded in their name to a deserving graduate in their district.  The award winner and the three finalists will be invited to attend the 50th Annual Custodial and Maintenance Conference as a special guest.

Applications are being accepted now.  Below you can find the nomination information necessary to begin the this process:

The application due date is June 8, 2018.

For further information contact Maine DOE Transportation and Facilities Administrator, Pat Hinckley at pat.hinckley@maine.gov or (207) 624-6886.