MEDIA ADVISORY: Education Leaders Convening at UMF for 2nd Annual Teach to Lead Conference

What:

The 2nd annual Powered by Maine Teach to Lead® conference is taking place as a chance for educators and school administrators to network with other leaders throughout the state and to provide participants with the unique opportunity to collaborate with fellow teachers and school administrators on an action plan to accomplish common goals and solve identified issues for the coming school year.

Teach to Lead® is a collaborative statewide effort that unites educators, policy-makers, and the greater community around the common vision that every Maine student will benefit from the purposeful involvement of teacher leaders who collaborate in guiding the continuous improvement of schools and the teaching profession.

Teacher leadership systems can also help state, district, and school leaders capitalize on the talents and insights of teachers currently working in local schools. Over time, infusing teacher leadership roles and opportunities throughout educational systems may help to develop, recruit, and retain a greater and even more effective educator workforce.

Who:

Teacher leaders, principals, superintendents, and other school administrators from around the state, educators from Maine’s Teacher of the Year program, and representatives from Maine Principals Association (MPA), Maine Education Association (MEA), University of Maine at Farmington, and the Maine Department of Education, including Deputy Commissioner Daniel Chuhta.

When:

Friday, August 16th
8:30am to 3:30pm – Remarks from Maine DOE Deputy Commissioner Dan Chuhta will take place just before the lunch break.

Where:

University of Maine at Farmington, North Dining Hall

For more information contact Kelli Deveaux, Maine DOE Director of Communications at kelli.deveaux@maine.gov or (207) 624-6747.

Next Think Tank Scheduled for September 30!

In the ongoing effort to engage with all stakeholders, the Department of Education will hold its next Think Tank at the Schoodic Institute in Winter Harbor on September 30.  Participants can choose  from four topics, and can attend morning or afternoon sessions only on one topic, or attend both sessions and discuss two topics! Topics include special education, defining school success, educator excellence (recruiting and retaining) and MLTI.  Lunch will be provided, and the think tank is FREE, however we do ask for participants to register, for planning purposes.  Please see the Registration Link for more information and to register. We look forward to hearing from you!

Maine DOE Engages Stakeholder Input Through Regional Think Tank Series

Drawing its largest gathering of stakeholders, the Maine Department of Education (DOE) hosted its 5th event in a series of Think Tanks held at various locations throughout the state this spring and summer. The Think Tanks are a way for the Department to discuss various topics and gain feedback from stakeholders about ongoing initiatives, long term programming, and to inform future decision-making.

In this first round of Think Tanks, the following topics were discussed: redefining school success, the Maine Learning Through Technology Initiative (MLTI), educator readiness, educator excellence, and special education.

The July 8th event held in Augusta started off with a warm introduction from Deputy Commissioner Daniel Chuhta thanking participants for making the trek to Augusta, in some cases from as far away as Washington County. Shortly after, attendees split off into three large groups to discuss specific topics for the day.

The discussion about MLTI, hosted by Beth Lambert, Maine DOE Coordinator of Secondary Education and Integrated Instruction, was introduced with an explanation of the 20 year history of MTLI, an acknowledgement that information will be forthcoming in regards to the recent passage of the budget and the coming school year, and that the day’s feedback will aid in the planning of the future of MLTI beyond 2021 when all of the current contracts have come to an end.

“Before we begin, I want to mention that there is only one thing that is off the table for today’s discussion,” said Lambert in her opening remarks. “We will not be talking about whether or not to end the MLTI Program,” she noted. “MLTI has been around for 20 years, and we would like it to be around for many, many more years to come.”

Stakeholder presenting feedback

Over the course of the next few hours the group was split off into four smaller groups, each tasked with identifying values, concerns, and suggestions on large sheets of chart paper. A summary of those lists was then shared out with the entire group before the session ended prior to lunch.

Meanwhile in another session, a group was discussing the answers to a specific set of questions posed by Maine DOE Deputy Director of the Office of Special Services, Ann Belanger:

  • What is the most challenging aspect of the special education process?
  • Do you find the Maine Unified Special Education Regulations (MUSER) user friendly? What would make them more user friendly?
  • How can the Maine Department of Education support districts and parents in providing services to students with disabilities?
  • Are there topics/issues about which you feel that more information and/or training is needed? What are they?
  • Are there practices and/or policies that create barriers for students with disabilities?

Stakeholders engaged in worksessionParticipants then shared their collaborative responses with the entire group, working together to carefully record all the responses in notes. The group then worked together to create the ideal special education program, detailing the processes that would need to be involved to create this type of ideal setting.

For the session about redefining school success, Mary Paine, the Director of a new Office of School Success, introduced an initiative that engages educators, students, parents, and communities in conversations about what they think makes a school successful. Her session worked to further engage with stakeholders on this topic. The framework that results from the Maine Defines School Success statewide dialog will eventually complement Maine’s Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) plan by providing a broader set of indicators of success in Maine’s schools. In addition to being part of the Think Tanks series, the school success discussion will continue in school communities throughout the state over the course of the next school year.

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Led by Maine DOE’s Office of Higher Education and Educator Support Services, the educator readiness session prompted participants to discuss talent needs that are ideal for teacher candidates including pre-service and in-service, as well as what is needed to ensure teachers are prepared for equity and diversity in the classroom.

Each session resulted in walls of chart paper filled with written notes detailing suggestions, ideas, concerns, values, and much more. “We are pleased with the participation and appreciate that folks were willing to join us in these discussions across the State,” said Deputy Commissioner Chuhta.

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Following the July 8th event there will be an additional Think Tank held in Winter Harbor this fall to discuss the same topics and the Department is also planning to release a survey for those unable to participate in discussion topics at the Think Tanks already held.

“In the works is a new section of the Maine DOE website dedicated to the Think Tanks where the transcribed notes from each of the sessions will be available along with other information,” said Chuhta. “In the coming months, the notes will be synthesized to help us determine next steps and guide decision making on the topics discussed,” he added.

In a continuation of the Think Tank Series, the Department is expecting to launch another round of Think Tanks on a different set of topics over the course of the coming school year.

ADMINISTRATIVE LETTER: Amendments to Educator Evaluation Requirements

Administrative Letter:  #25
Policy Code:   BGE
To: Public School Administrators, Teachers
From: Pender Makin, Commissioner
Date:  11 June 2019
Subject: Amendments to Title 20-A, Chapter 508, Educator Effectiveness

On April 11, 2019, Governor Mills signed a law that makes important changes to Performance  Evaluation and Professional Growth (PEPG) systems. The new law will go into effect 90 days after the current legislative session ends. Chapter 27, An Act to Amend Educator Evaluation Requirements, includes a number of changes.

  1. Under the new law, school administrative units may choose to identify and include student learning and growth measures that they deem valuable in summative effectiveness ratings, but they are no longer required to do so.
  2. SAUs must ensure or reconfigure their steering committee membership, such that a majority are teachers who are chosen by a representative of the applicable collective bargaining unit.
  3. The law states that, “revisions to the performance evaluation and professional growth system made by the steering committee must be reached by consensus.”

Implementation Guidance

  • The steering committee composition required in Chapter 27 will go into effect 90 days after the current legislative session comes to an end, likely near the start of the 2019-2020 school year.
  • The Department of Education is committed to a transparent and inclusive rule-making process for Chapter 180 that will begin in early fall of 2019, in preparation for the submission of the draft rules for consideration to the Committee for Education and Cultural Affairs in January, 2020.
  • Current law requires that student learning and growth measures must be a factor in a summative effectiveness rating until September 1, 2021.  PEPG steering committees are encouraged to review their current PEPG systems, and the vision, mission, and goals of the district, to determine the measures of effectiveness they will implement beginning with the 2021-2022 school year. In addition, the committee should develop reasonable transition plans and timelines for any changes to the PEPG system, as determined by the steering committee, taking into consideration the existing evaluation cycle, and when summative evaluations will be completed.

For more information, please contact Emily Gribben at Emily.gribben@maine.gov.

FREE Facilitated School Team Problem Solving Opportunity!

We are very excited to announce that the Maine Teacher Leadership Committee (Teach to Lead® Maine), in collaboration with the Maine Department of Education, United States Department of Education, and the University of Maine Farmington, will be hosting the second annual Powered By Teach to Lead® Summit on August 16, 2019.   This event encourages teams of teachers and administrators to identify a problem of practice or area of need in their school/district and develop a concrete plan to solve the identified problem/issue at their school.  Each team will be paired with a critical friend who will serve as a facilitator throughout the day.  All active Maine educators are welcome to submit ideas as individuals, but we strongly encourage schools/districts to bring a team of stakeholders to make the best progress at the Powered By Teach to Lead® Summit.  Examples of problems of practice that teams identified for the 2018 summit included: trauma-informed schools, development of a makerspace, teacher-led professional development, arts education, and more!

Please consider joining us for this FREE event on August 16th, 2019 at University of Maine Farmington.  As space is limited for this event, idea submissions will be reviewed by a team of education professionals, and invitations for participation, with registration details, will be emailed to those accepted.

Teach to Lead® Maine is a statewide effort, uniting educators, policy-makers, and the greater community around the common vision that every Maine student will benefit from the purposeful involvement of teacher leaders who collaborate in guiding the continuous improvement of schools and the teaching profession.  For more information about teacher leadership, please visit the Maine Department of Education’s website.

Application Link: http://tinyurl.com/poweredbymaine
Flier PDF: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1OAoAx94jopzyGiss5GJISMu9-8lyo0A5/view?usp=sharing
Twitter Handle: @TeachtoLeadME

Emily Gribben
Educator Effectiveness Coordinator
Maine Department of Education
(207) 624-6748