PRIORITY NOTICE: Proposed Revisions for Rule Chapter 180 (Educator Effectiveness Rules); Hearing on October 28, 2019

The Department is proposing revisions to Rule Chapter 180: Performance Evaluation and Professional Growth Systems to reflect recent statutory changes and feedback from conceptual conversations.

This proposed rulemaking provides a sunset for Section 7, Student Learning and Growth Measures, which are no longer a requirement. School administrative units will have flexibility in developing multiple measures on the local level. Section 13, subsection 3 has been revised to reflect, “A majority of the steering committee members must be teachers and must be chosen by the local representative of the applicable collective bargaining unit if the teachers in the school administrative unit are covered by a collective bargaining agreement.” Redundant and unnecessary language has been deleted.

The Department will be developing guidance to be available on the PEPG General Resources web page.

Find the details for proposed changes for Rule Chapter 180 on the Maine DOE Proposed Rule & Rule Changes webpage (proposed rules are listed in order by rule number).

Public Hearing Information for Rule Chapter 180:
October 28, 2019 from 10:00am- 11:30am
Room 500 in the Cross State Office Building, 111 Sewall Street, Augusta, Maine
All are welcome to attend and no RSVP is required.  Anyone unable to attend the public hearing may send written comments.

Comment Period Deadline: November 22, 2019

Comments can be submitted to Jaci Holmes at jaci.holmes@maine.gov

National Board Certified Teacher Scholarship Funds Available!

Are you a secondary school teacher who is interested in becoming National Board Certified? Are you a district who is eager to offer this rigorous professional learning opportunity to your teachers?  State law, 20-A MRSA Section 13013-A subsection 5 & 6; as amended by PL 2012 c. 702, established the National Board Certification Scholarship Fund to encourage teachers to apply to, and enroll in, the certification program offered by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, or its successor organization.

A school administrative unit, or a publicly supported secondary school or CTE region, may request scholarship funds on behalf of its teachers who meet the requirements.

In fiscal year 2019-20, Maine DOE will allocate $75,000 to the scholarship fund, and shall award an amount equal to the cost of the certification program, less any other funds received by the applicant, on a first-come, first-served basis to teachers accepted into the certification program.

For more information and eligibility requirements please go to National Board Certification Scholarship.

 If you have questions, please contact Denise Towers at Denise.towers@maine.gov  or by phone at 624-6863.

Multi-tiered Systems of Support Professional Learning Opportunity for Maine Schools

The Maine Department of Education is pleased to share a year-long professional learning opportunity for Maine schools, designed to help school leadership teams develop and implement Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) frameworks in their schools.

What is MTSS? 

Multi-tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) are comprehensive frameworks designed to address the academic, behavioral, and social-emotional needs of each student in the most inclusive and equitable learning environment.   The MTSS framework is driven by strong leadership, policies and practices, family and community engagement, staff collaboration, and data-informed decision-making. Through the implementation of a MTSS framework, districts and schools increase attendance, elevate student engagement, lessen concern about behavior, improve school climate, and boost academic performance.

OBJECTIVE OF MTSS SERIES:

The professional development sessions in this series will provide educators a common understanding of an integrated MTSS Framework to support both academics and behavior.  This series builds on the success of several Maine schools, and offers ongoing statewide technical assistance. With the support of the presenters, participating school teams will:

  • Become familiar with the essential components of the MTSS framework;
  • Be guided through developing their own MTSS framework;
  • Be provided tools to use within their own school for professional development; and
  • Have a plan to implement their MTSS framework in the 2020-2021 school year.

The school leadership teams attending this series will work between sessions with their school faculty.  This will ensure that school faculty is informed and has a voice in the creation of this framework.  The facilitators will also be checking in with the team between sessions to lend support and to be a resource for the continued development of their MTSS framework.

OVERVIEW OF SESSIONS

Session 1:  October 22nd and October 23rd at Jeff’s Catering in Brewer Maine.
Day One:  LEADERSHIP
– Overview of MTSS
– Roles of Shared Leadership and Shared Responsibility
– Exploring the Why
– Equity and Cultural Shifts
– Role of Data
– Layered Continued Support
– Presentation by Garret Schenck Leadership Team

Day Two:  FOUNDATIONAL SUPPORTS for Academic and Behavior
– Tier 1:  Core Curriculum
– Universal Screener
– Progress Monitoring
– Assessment Reasoning
– Equity for all

Session 2:  Regional Groups- November 2019
DATA, LITERACY AND SUPPORTS
– Data Literacy by Shelly Simpson
– Tier 2 and Tier 3
– Interventions
– Introduction to Individual Learning Plans
– Equity and Data

Session 3:  Regional Groups February 2020
EVIDENCE BASED PRACTICES
– What and When
– Individual Learning Plan update
– Supports in creating a master schedule
– Examination of Professional Development
– Equity and Progress Monitoring
– Assessment Reasoning
– Equity and Time

SESSION 4:  March 2020
FAMILY/COMMUNITY/SCHOOL ENGAGEMENT
– Engagement Strategies
– Implementation
– Creating the process
– Equity within the Framework

SESSION 5:    May 2020
SHARING FRAMEWORK
– Schools share their MTSS Framework

The Maine DOE is committed to working with all Maine schools who wish to improve teaching and learning.  As such, DOE will cover costs for the actual MTSS sessions, texts, and materials that will be used throughout the year. Schools or districts are responsible for travel costs and a fee of $125 per person to help defray expenses for refreshments and lunches for all sessions. For recertification purposes, contact hours will be awarded to MTSS participants.

If interested in joining other schools in creating a Multi-Tiered System of Supports for your school or district, please submit your application  by October 15, 2019.

Meet the First Cohort of Maine’s Leadership Development Program 

The Maine Department of Education (DOE) recently launched a new leadership program called Maine’s Leadership Development Program (Maine LDP). The initiative aims to build and strengthen instructional leadership skills among Maine’s educational leaders at schools, districts, and across the state.  

A group of 18 education leaders in Maine, including superintendents, assistant superintendents, curriculum and instructional leaders, regional education leaders, Maine DOE staff, and other school and district level staff are among the first cohort of candidates on track to become certified trainers and facilitators of future cohorts. The names, pictures, and biographies of the group of Fellows in the 1st cohort of the Maine LPD can be found here. 

The Maine LDP is a partnership among the Maine DOE and its successful Transformation Leaders’ Network, along with the National Institute for School Leaders (NISL) and their nationally recognized Executive Development Program (EDP). NISL experts are delivering the Maine LDP curriculum and will provide additional training for Maine LDP facilitators. The cohort has already begun its trainings with a session about strategic thinking within systems, and high quality aligned instructional systems in classrooms, schools, and at the state level. The program is a full year commitment. 

LDP Fellow Al Pfeiffer, Superintendent of Vassalboro School Department, had this to say about the training so far, “ Some of the richest, most robust and rewarding professional learning that I have experienced in recent memory. Powerful readings, case studies reinforced with video snapshots, and engaging conversations have left me eager for the next session and future sessions over the coming year.” 

Paul Knowles, an educational leadership lecturer at the University of Maine and the UMaine Liaison to the Maine DOE for this initiative added that, “The University of Maine and the Educational Leadership Department are pleased to partner with the Department of Education for this important work. Personally, I am impressed with the caliber, diversity, passion, and commitment of the leaders participating in Maine’s Leadership Development Program.” 

Maine’s LDP is delivered through a blended learning model and includes study, inquiry, and hands-on activities with practical applications that meet the rigorous expectations for today’s educational leaders. Some graduates from this cohort will deliver the Maine LDP curriculum to future cohorts regionally.  The Department will be releasing an application for those interested in applying to be in the 2nd cohort of the LDP in March of 2020.

ECET2 in Maine: Celebrating Effective Teachers and Teaching!

In her opening remarks to the York and Downeast convenings of Elevating and Celebrating Effective Teachers and Teaching (ECET2), Maine Education Association (MEA) president Grace Leavitt told those assembled, “teaching is not a profession you leave at the door when the bell rings, it is always on your mind.” For the teachers packed into the Pratt & Whitney Building at York County Community College on August 7, and the Science Building at the University of Maine at Machias on August 15, summertime professional learning was certainly alive and well!

This summer marked the fifth anniversary of ECET2 in Maine and the first summer of regional Maine ECET2 convenings. Karen MacDonald and Jennifer Dorman (2014 & 2015 Maine Teachers of the Year) hosted the first ECET2 for 150 teachers at Colby College in August of 2015.

two educators posing together smiling
Karen MacDonald and Jennifer Dorman

MacDonald and Dorman wrote grants, sought sponsors, and spent countless hours (!!) handling the numerous logistics involved in planning and hosting a free, overnight conference for 150 Maine teachers. Why? They wanted to share the professional learning, leadership, and respect they experienced during their national Teacher of the Year travels with teachers here in Maine. They also wanted to highlight the role teacher leaders can play in our state. Dorman and MacDonald’s efforts were enthusiastically embraced by Maine teachers not only during that first summer, but in each subsequent year.  As rave reviews of ECET2 spread, more teachers joined the planning process, including Diana Allen (Sanford Schools) as another co-chair, and the conference became so popular there was not only a waitlist for attendees, but the number of presentation proposals exceeded the available session slots! These factors led to ECET2 branching out to the regional convenings that took place this summer.

Why is ECET2 so popular?  Let’s start with the title—this conference is all about celebrating effective teaching and teachers—and it is, from start to finish, put on by teachers for teachers.  It was born out of a desire to provide a forum for exceptional teachers to learn from one another and to celebrate the teaching profession, and seeks to realize a teacher’s potential by ensuring each convening includes these six elements:

  • Nurtures trust among teachers
  • Focuses on each teacher’s potential for growth
  • Inspires both the intellect and the passion that drives teachers in their work
  • Provides time for collaboration and learning
  • Puts teachers in the lead
  • Recognizes teachers as talented professionals

Inspired from their own experiences at ECET2, Pamela Starkey (Marshwood Great Works School, 2016 Oxford County Teacher of the Year), and Devan Weber (Eliot Elementary School) co-chaired ECET2 York, and Marielle Edgecomb (Peninsula School, 2017 Hancock County Teacher of the Year) chaired ECET2 Downeast. Both convenings featured breakout sessions on best teaching practices in content areas, as well as sessions on social-emotional learning and mindfulness in the classroom. Teacher leadership and innovation were embedded throughout the gatherings. Keeping in mind the importance of collaboration, inspiration, and celebration, the convenings also included these components:

Cultivating the Calling:

These inspirational talks are given by teachers on why they chose to teach, or what inspires them to continue teaching. In York, Katie Toothaker, 2018 Androscoggin Teacher of the Year, told the audience, “each school year is a new beginning for you and your students.” Toothaker shared how her teachers demonstrated the ability of public educators to nurture self-worth in their students and the difference that made for her and how she pays that forward with her own students. Teresa Gaetjens, National Board Certified Teacher, shared the importance of growth mindset, contextualizing her topic around the passing of her young daughter. This heart-wrenching story underscored the importance of perseverance both in and out of the classroom. At ECET2 Downeast, Marielle Edgecomb shared the importance of professional learning –teacher to teacher—being brave enough to open our classroom doors and teaching practices for others to see, learn from, and celebrate. Marielle challenged educators to see their students and colleagues through “eyes of appreciation.”

Colleague Circles:

This is a dedicated time for teachers to collaborate on “problems of practice” and generate possible solutions. Topics this year included: teacher shortages, school improvement, mental and physical wellness, school safety, diversity, and culturally responsive teaching. In York, teachers recorded goals or action steps on a post card and gave them to the ECET2 organizers, with the understanding that they will receive them in the mail sometime this fall as a reminder/check-in on their summer work and goals.

Educator Shark Tank—a fabulous idea that was shared from another state’s ECET2!

Just like on TV—except the prize money, $1000 generously donated by the Maine Education Association, was awarded to two innovative education projects that will positively impact student learning. Educators at ECET2 Downeast submitted many compelling proposals to the Sharks, four of which made the final round. The four finalists had three minutes each to present their best “pitch” to the Sharks. After a lively round of presentations and lots of laugher, followed by clarifying questions from the Sharks, the two $500 cash awards went to the Rose Gaffney School for their proposal to use technology to increase community and collaboration, and the Brooklin School for their work on diversity and literacy. Congratulations to all who submitted proposals—the Sharks had a tough task choosing just two!

The verdict is in on the first summer of regional ECET2 convenings: resounding success! As with their central Maine ECET2 predecessors, the regional convenings provided a platform for optimistic and personal professional learning—and a true celebration of teachers and the teaching profession! As teachers were preparing to leave, many of their comments echoed Paula Bourque’s (Instructional Coach, NBCT, Augusta Schools) reflection of her ECET2 experience:

“Each of us left the conference feeling inspired, empowered, and connected.  We are charged with going out and sharing what we experienced and learned with our colleagues and cultivating the calling of teacher leadership. We left with a stronger network to lean on and collaborate with as we navigate the challenges of teaching. We are dedicated to promoting teacher leadership, positive school culture, and the advocacy for what is best for our students.”

ECET2: A perfect way for educators to recharge in preparation for a new school year!

ECET2 origin and resources: https://www.teacher2teacher.education/ecet2/