Maine DOE to Host Focus Groups for New Educators

Are you a first or second year educator (teacher, administrator, education technician)?  If so, thank you–AND we would love to hear from you!

Please join us at one of our virtual New Educator Focus Groups (June 17 6:00 – 7:00 pm or June 23, 9:00 – 10:00 am). Upon registration, participants will receive a Zoom link.

This will be an opportunity for you to connect with other new educators throughout Maine, to share challenges and successes, and for us to celebrate you! As a new educator during these unprecedent school years, your experiences are invaluable and will help inform our ongoing educator recruitment and retention efforts! If you plan to attend, please complete and submit the registration form for the date that works best for you.

June 17th Focus Group
6:00 – 7:00 pm
Register here
Upon registration, participants will receive a zoom link.
June 23rd Focus Group
9:00 – 10:00 am
Register here
Upon registration, participants will receive a zoom link.

Questions? Please contact Tamara Ranger: Tamara.Ranger@Maine.Gov or Emily Doughty at Emily.Doughty@Maine.Gov

Priority Notice: Seeking Public Comment to Waive Requirements Related to Accountability and Public Reporting.   

In a US Department of Education (USDOE)  Dear Colleague letter to state chiefs on February 22nd, 2021, USDOE provided guidance and invited states to apply for waivers granting significant flexibility in the areas of accountability and reporting for the 2020-2021 school yearFollowing this guidance and flexibility, the Maine Department of Education (DOE) is requesting accountability and reporting waivers pursuant to §8401(b) from requirements within the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) of 2015)USDOE requires state educational agencies, when seeking waivers from statutory or regulatory requirements, to solicit and respond to public comment on the request and provide evidence of the available comment period. This 14-day public comment period will be available from April 27, 2021- May 10, 2021.  

A full copy of the waiver request can be located on the Maine DOE’s ESSA webpage.  In summary, the Maine Department of Education will be requesting waivers from the following requirements:  

  • Accountability and school identification requirements in ESEA sections 1111(c)(4) and 1111(d)(2)(C)-(D): the requirements that a State measure progress toward long-term goals and measurements of interim progress; meaningfully differentiate, on an annual basis, all public schools, including by adjusting the Academic Achievement indicator based on a participation rate below 95 percent; and identify schools for comprehensive, targeted, and additional targeted support and improvement based on data from the 2020- 2021 school year. 
  • Report card provisions related to accountability in ESEA section 1111(h) based on data from the 2020-2021 school year. These include: 
  • Section 1111(h)(1)(C)(i)(I)-(IV) and (VI) (Accountability system description, other than the list of comprehensive, targeted, and additional targeted support and improvement schools).
  • Section 1111(h)(1)(C)(iii)(I) (Other Academic indicator results for schools that are not high schools). 
  • Section 1111(h)(1)(C)(v) (School Quality or Student Success indicator results). 
  • Section 1111(h)(1)(C)(vi) (Progress toward meeting long-terms goals and measurements of interim progress). 
  • Section 1111(h)(2)(C) with respect, at the local educational agency (LEA) anschool levels, to all waived requirements in section 1111(h)(1)(C). 

Public Comment may be submitted to: ESSA.DOE@maine.gov. Additional questions can be directed to Janette Kirk, Chief of Learning Systems.  

Two Maine Educators Honored with 2020-2021 Financial Educator of the Year Award

The Maine Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy has awarded two Maine educators for their outstanding work in financial education. The Maine Jump$tart Financial Educator of the Year Award, established in 2012, was created to recognize an individual who has distinguished themselves through their efforts to improve the financial capability of the students and families they serve. The Maine Jump$tart Coalition is pleased to honor Sheree Inman and Joe Schmidt as the 2020-2021 recipients of the Financial Educator of the Year Award for their leadership and accomplishments in personal finance education.

Sheree Inman is a teacher at South Portland High School, where she wears many hats as the Career Prep Teacher, School to Work Coordinator, and Career Fair Coordinator. Sheree is a leader in her school, and consistently pursues professional development opportunities in personal finance education.

Sheree has played an active role in trainings and events held by Maine Jump$tart, as well as participated in weekly conversations with other Maine personal finance teachers during the transition to distance learning this past spring.

Joe Schmidt is the Social Studies Specialist at the Maine Department of Education, where he provides technical support and professional development to Maine teachers. Joe also led the review of the social studies standards, which includes personal finance and economics, within the Maine Learning Results.

Prior to his role at the Maine DOE, Joe spent nine years as a high school social studies teacher in Wisconsin and three years as a teacher leader for social studies curriculum and instruction for the Madison, Wisconsin public school district. Joe currently serves on the national advisory boards for iCivics and Teaching Tolerance, chairs the National Council for the Social Studies Government and Public Relations committee, and has completed multiple fellowships and leadership opportunities.

Joe’s support, knowledge, and expertise has been an invaluable resource to Maine social studies teachers, particularly this past spring. Mary Dyer, president of the Maine Jump$tart Coalition, says, “Joe’s work in support of Maine educators, particularly during the transition to distance learning as a result of COVID-19, was simply extraordinary. Joe has served as an important voice for personal finance and economics educators in Maine and we are truly blessed to have him in our ranks.”

As recipients of the Financial Educator of the Year Award, Ms. Inman and Mr. Schmidt will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to the National Jump$tart Educator Conference in 2021, where they will network with financial educators from across the country. Ms. Inman and Mr. Schmidt will also be formally honored at the 2021 Fostering Financial Education in Maine Schools Conference.

Learning Facilitator Program- Great Resource for Schools, Free for Trainees!

In order to be responsive to critical staff shortages in Maine schools as a result of the pandemic, Governor Mills created additional flexibilities and opportunities for educators in Executive Order #7. Based on the Executive Order, the Maine Department of Education, in collaboration with Maine Community College System and Eastern Maine Community College, has developed the Learning Facilitator Program, a fast-track training program for paraprofessional level educators to expand, strengthen and support a high quality educator workforce.

The program, which is offered at no cost to the participants, is completed in two phases in one academic year with the ongoing support of Eastern Maine Community College faculty.

  • A week-long 3-credit course “boot camp” with foundational elements of classroom management and school culture. Additionally, the core boot camp curriculum includes training in COVID readiness, bloodborne pathogens, suicide awareness and prevention, mandated reporter training, and fingerprint clearance in order to address both substitute teacher and long-term support staff preparedness.
  • The second phase of the program consists of a combination of online work, professional learning community meetings, and a structured teaching apprenticeship (315 hours).

Upon completion of the 3-credit course “boot camp,” participants will have the foundational skills necessary to fill short- and long-term substitute educator roles, as well as all paraprofessional positions. They can support instruction and provide guidance to learners in the classroom under the supervision of a mentor teacher or teaching team. Mentor teachers or teaching teams may be working remotely or in-person. Special coding for Learning Facilitators has been created within NEO for schools, so that subsidy will not be impacted.

Educators who complete all elements of the Learning Facilitator Program, as outlined above, will qualify for an Educational Technician III certification.

For more information related to the program, please visit the EMMC website, here.

National Board Certified Teacher Salary Supplement Request Due November 6, 2020

Do you have National Board Certified Teachers on your staff? Awesome! We are sending along a reminder to those fortunate superintendents, or directors of a publicly-supported secondary school or CTE region, with eligible staff who have attained National Board for Professional Teaching Standards Certification prior to July 1, 2020. Please let us know so we can provide you with their legislatively allocated salary supplement.

In order to qualify for the salary supplement, eligible staff must be currently employed by a Maine public school, or by a publicly-supported secondary school or CTE region in Maine. Eligible position titles include classroom teacher, special education teacher, literacy specialist, long-term substitute teacher, library media specialist, guidance counselor, and teacher leaders with certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, or its successor organization.

Salary Supplement amount: Despite enacting language regarding a $5,000 supplement for those teaching in a school with a Free and Reduced Lunch Rate (FRLR) 50% and higher, no additional funds were appropriated to provide full funding for that, or full funding of the $3,000 for those under the 50% FRLR; therefore, both supplements will need to be prorated. Estimated* prorated amounts:

Teaching in a school with a Free and Reduced Lunch rate 50% and higher:  $3,350

Teaching in a school with a Free and Reduced Lunch rate below 50%: $2,022

*Please note these are estimated amounts. Final salary supplement totals will depend on the number of qualifying teachers in each category. We expect to have that information published on our web site the week of Dec. 7. The submission form and further information is available on our National Board Certification Salary Supplement web page: https://www.maine.gov/doe/educators/cert/nationalstandards/salary

National Board Scholarship Information:

Information will be available on November 10 on our National Board Certification Scholarship web page: https://www.maine.gov/doe/cert/nationalstandards/scholarship

Thank you for your patience regarding the delay in releasing information. Due to the pandemic, we are navigating a very different school year.

If you have questions, please contact Tamara Ranger at Tamara.Ranger@maine.gov.