What is Chronic Absenteeism? #success4ME

Maine’s student success indicator, chronic absenteeism is one of four (4) indicators utilized in Maine’s Model of School Supports and is used for all grades, K-12. Chronic absenteeism in Maine is defined as missing ten percent (10%) of enrolled school days where the student has been enrolled in the school for at least ten (10) days.

Is chronic absenteeism new?

At the state, district, school, and classroom levels Maine educators are committed to creating a culture of support and encouragement for families with children experiencing challenges with consistently attending school. In the past, Maine has focused on Average Daily Attendance (ADA). Average daily attendance records the number of students on average, who are in attendance at school on a daily basis. Although ADA data is beneficial to track, when conducting a more detailed analysis of data, ADA often masks students who are regularly or chronically absent from school. Maine has therefore determined that chronic absenteeism would be a data point collected beginning in the  2016/17 school year.

What does this look like in Maine?

Schools in Maine are examining their attendance data. On a daily basis, students are marked present or absent from school. In order to be present, the student must have attended 50% of their scheduled school day. One important item to note: excused absences (absences where a parent/guardian sends a note into school explaining the absence) and unexcused absences (absences where a parent/guardian provides no communication regarding the absence) both count as an absence.

Why is Maine using chronic absenteeism?

Research indicates a high correlation between chronic absenteeism and academic achievement however, the negative impact of being chronically absent isn’t only felt by the student who is absent, it can also impact the student who is present. Absent students lose valuable instruction time during the school day however, when students are chronically absent, teachers must reteach the same material during the school day, to students who missed out. This takes away from key instructional time and may impact overall student engagement and student achievement. In short, all learners in a school or classroom environment are impacted by chronic absenteeism.

How does this impact parents, students and schools and what can they do?

Parents

As schools examine chronic absenteeism data in more detail:

  • If your child is frequently absent from school, you may receive increased communication regarding your child’s attendance behavior and increased availability for support.
  • You may see increased district communication regarding attendance; every day counts.
  • You may see an increased focus and emphasis on family engagement and relationship building between the school and the family .

What can you do?

Ensure your child is in school every day. Obviously there are days when your child is sick and should remain home; however, scheduling personal appointments outside of the school day and taking vacations during school vacation breaks are two strategies that parents can immediately address to promote and encourage daily attendance. Communicate with the school should your child or the family experience issues that may impact their attendance or where you may require support.

Students

  • Individual students will not be identified publicly as being chronically absent.
  • There may be an Increased emphasis on relationship building between students and school staff.

What can students do?

Be engaged – develop relationships/friendships with peers and school staff. Share with parents and school staff when you are experiencing challenges or issues at school. Communicate.

Schools

  • Student data will be collected and combined to determine the percentage of students who are absent for more than 10% of enrolled school days.
  • This data will be utilized as an indicator within Maine’s Model of School Supports and will assist the Maine DOE in providing supports to schools experiencing challenges in the area of chronic absenteeism.
  • Availability of professional development and learning opportunities to provide best practice strategies in assisting schools address challenges related to chronic absenteeism.

What can schools do?

Continue to build engagement and relationships with families and students with frequent, sustained two-way communication. The school leadership team should examine data on a regular basis at the school, classroom, and individual student level and make a determination on how the school will inform parents of current absence rates. Seek supports and professional learning from the Maine DOE and other agencies and organizations.

How will chronic absenteeism data be presented on the school report card?

The school as a whole will receive a performance measure related to the percentage of students who are missing more than 10% of their scheduled school days. Chronic absenteeism rates will never be reported at the student level. The Maine DOE or the school will never identify your child publicly as being chronically absent.

The school level descriptors for chronic absenteeism are as follows:

School Level Indicator Descriptors

Chronic Absenteeism

Emerging Developing Meeting Excelling
All eligible student group populations have a chronic absenteeism rate of 10% or higher One or more eligible student group populations have a chronic absenteeism rate of less than 10% All eligible student group populations have a chronic absenteeism rate of less than 10% All eligible student group populations have a chronic absenteeism rate of less than 5%

Where eligible student groups include: Asian, Black, Hispanic/Latino, Two or More Races, White, Students with Disabilities, Economically Disadvantaged, Migrant students, Homeless students, English Learners and Parent in Military on Active Duty.

Chronic absenteeism data will be presented on the initial page of the report card in the following way:

reportCard

To assist parents and community members in understanding chronic absenteeism, the report card provides “hover over” features that explain the definition of the performance level.

chronicabreportcard

Parents, educators and community members also have the opportunity to examine chronic absenteeism data by student group and to see the progress the school is making in reducing instances of chronic absenteeism school wide.

report card 2

Download the Maine DOE’s Chronic Absenteeism Info Graphic as an additional resource.

For further information or questions contact, Interim Director of Learning Systems Janette Kirk at (207) 624-6707 or Janette.Kirk@maine.gov.

Upcoming Maine Assessment Literacy Professional Development Opportunities

As part of the Maine DOE Assessment Literacy Professional Development series, a MAARS webinar and three in-person sessions focused on the eMPowerME assessment (grades 3-8) and science assessment (K-12) have been scheduled.

MAARS Webinar

October 31, 2018
10:00 – 11:00 am

The audience for this session is returning and new District Assessment Coordinators (DACs) and Career and Technical Education (CTE) Directors. The content of the webinar will include:

  • Role of DACs
  • MAARS Public Reports Overview
  • MAARS Confidential Reports Overview
  • How to add/delete/change MAARS roles and permissions (‘districtadmin’, ‘districtuser’ ‘schooluser’ ‘rosteruser’)

The updated above listed roles within MAARS will be a critical element to prepare for the upcoming November MAARS Workshops.

To access the October 31, webinar please use this link.

State Assessment & Released Items Professional Development

As part of the Maine DOE Assessment Literacy Professional Development series the Maine DOE will be hosting three regional sessions in Presque Isle, Bangor and Portland on November 13, 14 and 15, 2018 respectively. Where applicable, the DOE encourages that a team representative across grade spans be in attendance at the session. An opportunity for team time will be incorporated into the days agenda.

Each of the three (3) sessions will focus on the eMPowerME assessment (grades 3-8) and science assessment (K-12) and will include:

  • AM session will primarily focus on Confidential Reports in MAARS
    • Navigation within MAARS* to access data
    • Overview of the state assessment data
  • PM session will primarily focus on the utilization of released items
    • Review of released item data
    • An advanced session for data analysis
      • How this analysis can impact curriculum development and instructional practices

* DACs should ensure that staff attending have necessary permissions and log-in information to access MAARS.

The audience for this session is District Assessment Coordinators (DACs), teachers, principals, and central office staff. Registration begins at 8:30 am with the session beginning promptly at 9 am (until 3:30pm). Lunch will be provided.

Presque Isle – November 13, 2018

University of Maine at Presque Isle
Campus Center – Multipurpose Room
Parking map

Bangor – Orono – November 14, 2018

University of Maine
Wells Conference Center, Orono

Portland – November 15, 2018

Keeley’s Banquet Center
178 Warren Ave
Portland, ME 04103

To register for any of the regional MAARS Review and Released Item sessions please click here.

For questions contact Maine DOE’s Assessment Team at (207) 624-6770 or eric.buckhalter@maine.gov

MEDIA RELEASE: Piscataquis Community High School Teacher Named Maine 2019 Teacher of the Year

Guilford, Maine – In an all-school assembly today at Piscataquis Community High School, Maine Department of Education Commissioner Robert G. Hasson, Jr. named English teacher Joseph Hennessey Maine’s 2019 Teacher of the Year.

Hennessey was selected earlier this year as the 2018 Piscataquis County Teacher of the Year. He began his teaching career in 2012 and has held teaching positions as both an English teacher and a teacher for at-risk youth ever since. He specializes in English literature and composition and has taught speech and debate as well. In his current position at Piscataquis Community High School, Hennessey has implemented a college prep, literature based interdisciplinary course that focuses on students’ interests and aims to prepare them for life after graduation.

“Mr. Hennessey is a unique and highly effective teacher. His formal manner and personality combined with a dry sense of humor and setting high standards for his students, make him an icon of our school,” said Piscataquis Community High School Principal John Keane in a written statement nominating Hennessey for 2019 Teacher of the Year. “With only four years with us, he has become legendary amongst his students and their families. Watching him in class is truly watching a person who has honed his craft to perfection,” he added.

Hennessey was selected from more than 300 teachers who were nominated by a member of their community earlier this year. The Teacher of the Year Program is a year-long process that involves educator portfolio and resume submissions, interviews, oral presentations, and classroom visits made by a selection panel comprised of State Board of Education members, school administrators, Maine Department of Education staff, former Teachers of the Year, and other Maine business partners.

“Joe sees every student as a learner and an intellectual, and he truly strives to ensure that every student sees themselves that way too,” said Emily Gribben, Maine Department of Education Educator Effectiveness Coordinator and member of the 2019 Teacher of the Year Selection Panel. “I think it is also of note that not one student has failed his class and it is obviously not for lack of rigor,” she added.

As the 2019 Maine Teacher of the Year, Hennessey will travel throughout the state and country collaborating with other educators to support the efforts underway to prepare all students for college, work, and civic life. He is Maine’s representative in the National Teacher of the Year program which includes a national forum with other State Teachers of the Year, a week at a NASA Space Camp, and a visit to the White House.

The Maine Teacher of the Year program is administered by Educate Maine, a business-led advocacy organization, in partnership with the Maine Department of Education and the Maine State Board of Education. Funding for the program is generously provided by Bangor Savings Bank, Dead River, Geiger, Hannaford, Maine Lottery, and Pratt and Whitney.

For more information about the Maine Teacher of the Year program, visit www.mainetoy.org.

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Seeking Districts to Participate in Free Pilot of NBC Learn K-12 Product

NBC Learn is collaborating with the Maine Department of Education to offer all districts in Maine the opportunity to participate in a free pilot of their K-12 product.

The pilot will include access to thousands of videos curated for educational purposes, as well as technical and professional learning support. NBC Learn will promote district integration of the tool into a variety of different Learning Management Systems and will offer school leaders support as they align the resources to their local curriculum.

Districts who choose to participate will be asked to name one point of contact. This point of contact should be in a leadership role (curriculum coordinator, library media specialist, technology integrator, principal, teacher leader, etc.) and able to commit to helping other educators in the district or school to purposefully integrate the resources into their teaching and learning practice. That point of contact will also be asked to participate in an introductory webinar and a pilot evaluation facilitated by NBC Learn and the Department, which will include two surveys.

Additional information about NBC Learn and the pilot opportunity can be accessed through the:

Pilot Brochure (PDF)

Pilot Overview (PDF)

In order to ready to fully participate in the pilot from December 2018 through June 2019, districts can sign up for the pilot now. To join the pilot, please sign up here.

For additional information or answers to questions, please contact: Grace Kane, Manager, Partnerships and Sales, NBC Learn at grace.kane@nbcuni.com or Amanda Nguyen, Digital Learning Specialist, Maine Department of Education at Amanda.Nguyen@maine.gov

October is Dyslexia Awareness Month

Maine Department of Education and RSU 5 have begun a teacher-training project for the 2018-2019 school year. Twelve teachers including reading interventionists, special educators, and district special education director, Bonnie Violette will receive extensive Structured Literacy training provided by dyslexia specialists from the Children’s Dyslexia Center in Portland.

Structured literacy is a teacher-led approach characterized by the provision of systematic, explicit instruction of language and reading.  The skills taught are helpful for all students; but they are especially critical for students with language-learning weaknesses, including dyslexia.

The teachers began their training in June with a fifteen-hour seminar and have recently completed an additional fifteen hours of seminar training.  They have just begun to apply new skills and knowledge with their students.  The teachers will receive extensive practicum supervision throughout the year.

Pownal Elementary Teacher
Hillary Massicotte delivers her first Structured Literacy lesson to a fourth-grade student at Pownal Elementary School.

Lisa Whitis, Dyslexia Coordinator for the Maine DOE, recently visited Pownal Elementary School to observe the teachers in action. “The students are loving it, especially the kinesthetic piece, I’ve already begun to see improvement,” shared Hillary Massicotte.

Special Education Director, Bonnie Violette, noted that she has a talented group of dedicated teachers and they are excited to be part of this project.

For further information contact Lisa Whitis,  Dyslexia Coordinator for the Maine DOE at Lisa.Whitis@maine.gov or (207) 624-6643