Update on Maine Department of Education’s MLTI Plan- Post June 2020

The Maine Department of Education, through the Maine Learning Technology Initiative (MLTI), has been providing 7th and 8th grade students and teachers access to, and support for, educational technology since 2002. While the goal has remained constant – provide State support for access to technology-enhanced education experiences for all students – the program has changed in many ways, and will continue to grow and evolve in the future. The Department remains committed to this goal.

As many school administrative units (SAUs) are aware, the final contracts for the MLTI program are set to expire on June 30, 2020. Included in the Department’s biennium budget package, which is currently being considered by the Legislature’s Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee, are funds to support a “bridge year” for the 2020-2021 school year.

The Department is actively working with current vendors to secure agreements for this “bridge year,” which will enable SAUs to maintain existing levels of technology support. The details of these agreements are still being developed, so the following information is very preliminary:

  • SAUs in cohort 4 (lease begun in 2016) for 7th & 8th grade and staff devices will keep their current devices for SY 2020-2021. They will continue to receive the software, wireless networks, technical support, and professional development they have been receiving. After SY 2020-2021, these SAUs will have the option to buy out their devices at the 2015 rates, $28/ iPad and $48/ laptop.
  • SAUs who are currently leasing additional devices (elementary or high school student and staff devices) from the Department will continue to lease those devices from the Department at a reduced cost of $73/ iPad; $118/ laptop. They will continue to receive the software, wireless networks, technical support, and professional development they have been receiving. After SY 2020-2021, these SAUs will have the option to buy out their devices at the 2015 rates, $28/ iPad and $48/ laptop.
  • SAUs who are currently receiving MLTI grants from the Department that are set to expire in June of 2020 will be granted an additional year of the same grant award as the previous 4 years.

The Department would use the additional time afforded by the “bridge year” to meet with stakeholders throughout the state, collecting feedback on what has worked well in the past, as well as innovative ideas about the future of MLTI. Discussions would include topics such as portable computer devices, device management and deployment, software, wireless networking, technical support, and professional development, as well as financial models to support these efforts. The Department would also convene a workgroup to synthesize this information and help to create a plan for the State.

Below is the estimated timeline for MLTI through 2021.

  • May 2019 – August 2020: The Department holds meetings with stakeholders regarding the future of MLTI (post SY 2020-2021) and convenes a workgroup to develop a State plan
  • July 2020 – June 30, 2021: Bridge Year
  • October 2020: The Department announces plan for MLTI post SY 2020-2021 (including the release of any necessary RFPs)
  • July 2021: SAUs have the option to buy out devices; launch of the future MLTI

For more information about the Maine Learning Technology Initiative, contact Beth Lambert, beth.lambert@maine.gov, 207-624-6642.

Input Sought for Teacher Shortage Areas

As part of a federal requirement, the Maine Department of Education submits to the U.S. Department of Education teacher shortage areas for designation, based on collected data and public input.  The U.S. DOE annually designates teacher shortage areas for purposes of deferment of loan repayments or reductions of teaching obligation.

The Department intends to propose the following as K-12 teacher shortage areas during the 2019-2020 school year:

  • Early Childhood (0-5)
  • Early Elementary (K-3)
  • English as a Second Language
  • Gifted/Talented
  • World Languages (French, Spanish, Italian, Chinese, German)
  • Special Education (Teacher of Students with Disabilities, Teacher of Severely Impaired Students)
  • Science (Grades 5-8, Physical Sciences 7-12)
  • Theater
  • CTE (Automotive Mechanic, Carpentry, Computer Information Services, Machine Tool Operator, Weld Braze Solder, Plumbing, Law Enforcement, Co-Op Industrial Training, Agricultural Production, Forestry Products and Processing, Food Production Management, Business Administration, Child Care-Guidance)

The Maine Department of Education is committed to working with our schools to most accurately represent the needs and shortage areas across our state. We recognize the diverse geographic regions and varying conditions that comprise our public education system, and strive for equitable and accurate representation.

To provide input regarding a specific shortage area, or to propose additional shortage areas, please contact Emily Gribben with supporting materials by May 10, 2019.

2019-2020 Maine Education Financial System (MEFS) Budget Upload now open

It is school budget time of year again for each school administrative unit (SAU) and Career & Technical Regions. School district budget uploads are due within 30 days of the school budget passing, or by August 2, whichever comes later. This is in accordance with 20-A M.R.S. Chapter 606-B.

Municipal school units and Charter Schools must upload the budget expenditure and revenue files to MEFS, submit the school budgets warrant articles, budget meeting minutes, and vote declaration of the referendum (if required) to the department.

Regional School Units, School Administrative Districts, Community School Districts must upload the budget expenditure and revenue files to MEFS, submit the school budget warrant articles, budget meeting minutes, vote declaration of the referendum (if required), and fill out the EF-M-46 in NEO.

Career & Technical Regions must upload the budget expenditure and revenue files to MEFS along with meeting minutes of the meeting where the budget was approved and fill out the EF-M-46V in NEO.

Budget uploads to MEFS must reconcile to the budget warrant articles and other supporting documents.

For more information or assistance please contact Denise Towers, 624-6863 or Tyler Backus, 624-6635.

PRIORITY NOTICE: Updates Regarding ESEA Dashboard, Data Correction, and Federal Accountability under ESSA

This notice provides an update to the original timeline released in the DOE newsroom on March 11, 2019 regarding School Year (SY) 2018/19 data correction requests, the timeline for the release of the ESEA Dashboard, and the implementation of the federal accountability model under ESSA.

Data requests submitted to the Maine DOE by the February 8, 2019 deadline were reviewed, amended if necessary with the updated data sets, and uploaded to the ESEA Dashboard. The original timeline indicated the Data Dashboards would be provided to Superintendents for review on Monday, April 15, 2019.  The Department is currently in the process of conducting Quality Assurance (QA), ensuring the accuracy of presented data sets, and therefore the Dashboards were not available for District and School review on April 15, 2019. Once the QA process has concluded, district and school leaders will be notified and provided two (2) weeks to review the information provided. The ESEA Dashboard will become available prior to the conclusion of SY 2018-19.

As a result of a Maine DOE leadership phone conversation with the US Department of Education (USDE) on December 12, 2018, a subsequent phone call on March 8, 2019, and written feedback provided to the Maine DOE on March 15, 2019 related to Maine’s ESSA amendment, the Maine DOE was directed to resubmit clarifying information on April 8, 2019 to the USDE for review.  USDE has verified receipt of the clarifying information, and the Maine DOE awaits their feedback so that the process can proceed.

During this time of pause, the Maine DOE has secured state funding to support the provision of virtual coaching to schools that the Maine DOE anticipates will be eligible to receive additional support when amendments to Maine’s ESSA State plan are approved.  Participation in the virtual coaching is currently optional, with many eligible schools taking advantage of this support.

Maine DOE has requested an extension, until August 31, 2019, to officially make school identifications, and has requested the period of availability of 1003(a) funds be extended until September 30, 2020. These extensions will allow the Maine DOE to ensure the Department is able to align available federal funds to the identification timeline, therefore ensuring the availability of financial supports to schools.

Please know that the Maine DOE continues to do everything conceivable to ensure Maine has an equitable federal accountability model that honors stakeholder feedback and Maine’s small, rural context.

 

 

 

Important federal grants for local communities on school safety and security just opened, apply soon!

The Department of Education is committed to providing timely information and support to school communities, including federal grant opportunities, in the ongoing efforts to ensure safe schools in the State of Maine. Please see below for new grant information; further questions about the grants and requirements should be directed to the grant providers.

Community Policing Development (CPD) Program

The 2019 Community Policing Development Program is a competitive grant program designed to advance the practice of community policing by providing guidance on promising practices through the development and testing of innovative strategies; building knowledge about effective practices and outcomes; and supporting new, creative approaches to preventing crime and promoting safe communities. The CPD solicitation is open to all public governmental agencies, for-profit and nonprofit organizations, institutions of higher education, community groups, and faith-based organizations.

Applications are due by May 28, 2019 at 7:59 PM EDT.

Please click here for more information on the 2019 Community Policing Development Program.

Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act (LEMHWA) Program

The 2019 Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act Program is a competitive grant program that provides funding to improve the delivery of and access to mental health and wellness services for law enforcement through training and technical assistance, demonstration projects, and implementation of promising practices related to peer mentoring programs that are national in scope. The LEMHWA solicitation is open to all public governmental agencies, for-profit and nonprofit organizations, institutions of higher education, community groups, and faith-based organizations.  This grant may be of interest to school districts with a dedicated police force.

Applications are due by May 28, 2019 at 7:59 PM EDT.

Please click here for more information on the 2019 Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act Program.

School Violence Prevention Program (SVPP)

The 2019 School Violence Prevention Program (SVPP) is a competitive grant program that provides funding directly to states, units of local government, Indian tribes, and public agencies (including school districts and local law enforcement agencies) to be used to improve security at schools and on school grounds. Awards may include funding for coordination with local law enforcement; training for local law enforcement officers to prevent school violence against others and self; placement and use of metal detectors, locks, lighting, and other deterrent measures; acquisition and installation of technology for expedited notification of local law enforcement during an emergency; and/or any other measure that may provide a significant improvement in security.  Special eligibility notice for school districts:  Applications for SVPP must be submitted by a state, tribe, or local unit of ‘general government (city, county, township, etc.), or public agencies (school districts, police departments, sheriff’s departments).

Applications are due by May 31, 2019 at 7:59 PM EDT.

Please click here for more information on the 2019 School Violence Prevention Program.