Application Deadline Extended for Maine’s Leadership Development Program  

The Maine Department of Education (DOE) is pleased to announce the opportunity for Maine leaders to participate in the 2020-2021 Maine Leadership Development Program (LDP) cohort!  The Maine LDP is an initiative designed to build and strengthen instructional leadership skills among Maine’s educational leaders at the school, district, and state levels. In our ongoing efforts to support and foster the educational expertise in Maine, educators who aspire to do the same are invited to take advantage of this high impact opportunity!

The Department will re-open the application process for a limited time.  Applications will be due by September 28, 2020 in order to ensure that selected participants are prepared to participate in Unit 1 on October 19 and October 20. A link to access more information and application materials can be found below.

During the 2019-2020 school year, the Maine DOE partnered with the National Institute for School Leadership (NISL) to prepare the first cohort of candidates to become certified trainers and facilitators of future cohorts.  The 2020-2021 cohort will be led by Maine leaders committed to excellence in education.

Maine’s LDP is delivered through a blended learning model including case studies, inquiry, and hands-on activities with practical applications that meet the rigorous expectations for today’s educational leaders.  Successful completion of the LDP may contribute to credit hours for participants pursuing an advanced degree or contact hours for re-certification purposes.

Benefits for Maine Schools

  • Prepares educational leaders to lead for excellence and equity
  • Increases student achievement, and fosters a culture of high expectations
  • Enhances teacher recruitment, retention, and quality

Program Curriculum

  • Nationally researched, evidenced-based, and locally delivered in a cohort model
  • Improves the practice of leadership, transforms instruction and student achievement in schools
  • Consists of 12 two-day units, delivered in 12 months
  • Bridged with online coursework, readings, and job-embedded application of key concepts through action learning

Characteristics of Ideal Candidates

  • A belief in and commitment to improving instruction and increasing achievement for all students
  • Experience in a leadership role at the school, district, and/or state level with background as a classroom teacher. Ideal candidates include, but are not limited to, teachers, principals, assistant principals, instructional coaches, deans, Title I directors, department leaders, ESEA coordinators, special education directors, English Learner directors, assistant superintendents, instruction and curriculum directors, CTE instructors, CTE directors, and superintendents. Priority will be given to educational leaders from schools identified to receive Tier III support throughout Maine.
  • Excellent communications skills; able to effectively facilitate professional development for peers
  • Demonstrated skills in mentoring and coaching
  • Experience as a successful practitioner who is able to translate concepts to actions, theory to practice, and programs to craft
  • Able to participate in the entire Maine LDP Program and deeply engage in action learning
  • Likely to live and work in Maine for the next five years

Please visit http://www.maine.gov/doe/educators/maineldp to hear from participants and for more information.

To view the program schedule and download the application visit:  https://www.maine.gov/doe/educators/maineldp/application.

The Department encourages educational leaders to consider applying for this exciting opportunity!

For more information please email emily.doughty@maine.gov.

Teach in Maine! Specially-designed Webinar for Out-of-State Educators #TeachMaine #LiveAndWorkInMaine  

Are you interested in teaching in one of the most healthy, healthful, beautiful, and interesting states in the nation? One that values autonomy, innovation, and creativity in teaching? One that values equity and diversity? Then this is the session for you! Our team is excited to share information with you regarding Maine’s certification process, tips for successful searches for current openings, avenues for completing coursework, supports in place for newly-hired educators, and the benefits of teaching in Maine!  #TeachMaine #LiveAndWorkInMaine

Date: August 11, 1:00 PM (EST)

Host: Maine Department of Education: Office of Higher Education and Educator Support Services (Session will be recorded and available on the MDOE web site)

Contact: For more information contact Emily Doughty at Emily.doughty@maine.gov or 207-592-0314

Register now for this webinar   

MEDIA RELEASE: College Board Releases Free Parent Resources for Upcoming AP Exams

The College Board has released the new AP® Exam (Advanced Placement) schedule, which includes optional free, online AP classes and take-at-home AP Exams to support the challenges that students and families are facing because of the coronavirus pandemic. In addition, the Collage Board is also offering the opportunity for families to apply for help securing an internet connection and a device in order to take the exams.

Advanced Placement (AP), a program implemented by the College Board, allows high schoolers to take high school courses that can earn them college credit and/or qualify them for more advanced classes when they begin college. Many of Maine’s high schoolers were amid AP classes when they transitioned to remote learning. In a response to this drastic change in learning, the College Board has released additional resources for families and educators.

It is recommended by the College Board that parents and teachers whose students are planning on taking any of the AP exams take the weeks of April 13 and April 20th to help students work through the remaining course content and/or encourage them to participate in the live online classes and review sessions. Find them here: FREE AP Online Classes and Review Sessions

In addition, the College Board has also asked parents to let students know about the technology they’ll need to take the AP tests and to contact the College Board by April 24 if they need devices or connectivity. Here is where you can find information about getting internet connection and devices for AP exams: Information about getting Internet or a Device for AP Classes and Exams

You can find more information about the AP exams and the College Board’s response to the coronavirus on their website. In addition to the parent resources, College Board is also offering a listing of webinars among other resources for AP educators to help answer questions about the upcoming tests.

PRIORITY NOTICE:  Unified Guidance Regarding Executive Orders and School Personnel:  All School Services and Employees are Essential

As our state and nation face unprecedented challenges due to the COVID-19 state of emergency, it is more critical than ever that Maine schools and school employees work together to provide the deeply needed services of continuity of education, communications, connectivity, payroll, other administrative activities, custodial services, transportation/deliveries,  and student nutrition. The Governor has directed SAUs to pay hourly employees for their previously contracted hours throughout the remainder of this school year, and this decision was predicated on the understanding that all school employees would continue to have important roles in limited, alternative, ongoing operations. The Department of Education has also stated that all school employees are essential.  The Priority Notice from the Dept of Education on 3/27/20 says: “All school employees are considered to be ‘essential’ under the Governor’s Executive Order #19 and should be expected to complete all duties and tasks assigned to them.”

On March 31st, Governor Mills instituted Executive Order 28 further restricting public contact and movement, schools, vehicle travel and retail business operations.  In addition, cities and towns are also putting new provisions in place, which restrict operations of non-essential businesses, new questions have arisen about the definition and what it means for public-school employees to be essential.

Although school employees are essential, their physical presence at school is not always necessary during this emergency, as there are many tasks and trainings that could be completed remotely.  In light of the Governor’s “Stay Healthy At Home” order at this critical juncture to flatten the curve, physical presence in schools should be restricted to a bare minimum in order to provide essential functions – such as providing educational and nutritional services to students, payroll, certain cleaning and maintenance staff, certain administrative assistant staff where communications cannot occur remotely, IT staff to support remote learning functions, transportation staff  – and only as long as social distancing and other CDC recommendations (including hand washing protocols) are being implemented. The fewest numbers of employees possible should be on premises, and only during the necessary time frame required for conducting such services. All functions that do not require in-person staff in schools should be done remotely.

It is possible that some hourly staff members will not have enough immediately purposeful work to do (either on site or remotely) to fill the contracted hours for which they are paid. In that case, these employees should be considered to be “on standby”, ready to assist as work does become available for them. Administrators and supervisors should determine when/if certain positions are needed to perform tasks.  While on standby, employees will continue to receive hourly wages as contracted prior to the COVID emergency.

Given the Governor’s most recent Executive Order, the Department of Education (DOE), Maine School Board Association/Maine School Superintendents Association (MSBA/MSSA), Maine Principals Association (MPA), Maine Education Association (MEA), Maine Administrators of Services for Children with Disabilities (MADSEC) and Maine Curriculum Leaders Association (MCLA), would like to clarify the roles and responsibilities of public-school employees during this time.

  • Employees who are able and assigned by supervisors to work remotely should continue to do so, and raise any concerns they may have with their local district leadership.  Administrators and staff are encouraged to collaborate and problem-solve to foster telework options during this crisis.

  •  School employees should continue to go to work if they  must be there to perform essential functions. CDC guidelines should be strictly followed including social distancing of at least 6 feet from all other people.  School employees working onsite should be kept to the bare minimum necessary to execute the functions that require their physical presence.

  • Employees  whose services are not immediately needed, as determined by supervisors, or whose work cannot be done remotely, should continue to receive their regular wages and should remain ready to perform tasks as they become necessary and assigned by supervisors.    Employees on standby leave should be ready to help schools meet their basic needs, and may be assigned to participate in a rotation of duties during this time.

  • Any  school employees who are sick, in a high risk group, or feel unsafe for any reason, should have access to their own sick leave, the new federal leave program, a district sick leave bank, if applicable, or any other paid leave that a district may be providing.

We can all take common sense steps to ensure that only staff whose physical presence is required  to provide services and who are engaged in immediately necessary services are in our schools, and that those who are in our schools are being protected by following the most current CDC guidelines for social distancing, cleaning, hand washing, and ventilation.

We so appreciate all the work being done to help students during these challenging times.  We know our public schools are wonderful places filled with amazing, hard-working and dedicated staff.  Please be sure to take care of each other during this crisis.

PRIORITY NOTICE: Update and Guidance From Commissioner Makin: April 1, 2020

Dear Champions of Education, 

Yesterday, Governor Mills issued a “stay at home” order, offering specific guidance around curtailing non-essential activities, gatherings, and travel. She also ordered schools to refrain from in-person, classroom instruction practices until after May 1st (or until further orders are issued).  

As we close in on the third week of remote instruction, please know that your resilient leadership and ongoing efforts are making a huge difference for Maine students and families. While everything is so suddenly chaotic and unfamiliar to everyone, our schools continue to shine like a beacon of hope. I have received countless emails and messages from legislators, parents, community members, and students sharing their gratitude for the steady support, the nutritional services, and the deeply human connections that are provided by educators, counselors, and school administrators. I’ve heard anecdotes from teachers who have noticed increased participation and engagement from students who had previously been among the most disconnected and apathetic. The lesson in this phenomenon is an important one… they’re counting on you even when their outward behaviors disguise this fact. 

Updates and information: 

  • Essential employees:   PreK-12 educational and. Child nutrition staff are all considered essential during this crisis. We are currently working with our educational organizations’ leadership to develop clarified and unified guidance in light of the Governor’s most recent Executive Order.  
  • Nutrition programs and April vacation: Maine DOE’s Child Nutrition team continues to seek flexibilities and waivers for our SAUs and communities. We are thrilled to share that there have been waivers granted for schools with fewer than 50% free/reduced meal students and bulk service provisions. Read more here.  We have applied for a waiver that will allow meal programs to be Reimbursed For the meals served during April vacation- currently not reimbursable. We will provide an update as soon as we hear from USDA. 
  • The CARES Act federal relief package will provide schools/SAU’s with funding to mitigate some of the financial impacts of the COVID-related disruption. Much more on this coming very soon! 
  • Remote Learning Plans/Sharing: Although we’re not requiring districts to share their remote learning plans, some have shared theirs with us and offered them as a resource to others that are still developing their plans! We will be happy to collect and share in a protected way with colleagues. Thank you to all who have shared their well-developed plans! If you’d like to offer your districts plan as a guide for others, please email Chief Innovation Officer, Page Nichols at page.nichols@maine.gov. 
  • Home Instruction: The Department recognizes that disruption due to COVID-19 may impact a home instruction family’s ability to maintain the required number of instructional days, and is therefore including home instruction in the statewide waiver granted for the minimum of 175 days of instruction for 2019-2020 school year.  Demonstration of satisfactory academic progress is still required to be submitted to superintendents by September 1st.  
  • School Budget, voting, etc:  We have been working with MSMA, the AG’s office, and the Governor’s office to develop an executive order that will provide the various flexibilities that have been requested. Please stay tuned – solutions are imminent.  (The Legislature did vote our GPA budget IN and intact, so your ED279 printouts provide an accurate basis for what you’ll receive in state subsidy).  
  • DOE is open for business – including CERTIFICATION office!  The system is up and running, the phones are being monitored by our knowledgeable and helpful team of experts, and we are eager to get your completed applications for renewal or initial certification processed as soon as possible! We have had some state level issues with phone system overload, so don’t hesitate to use email also!  As mentioned in an earlier notice, we do intend to provide extensions for those who have had education, testing, fingerprinting, or practicum/internship disruptions due to the COVID emergency – but for those of you who have completed the necessary steps, please submit necessary documentation and move ahead with your renewal application!   

Silver Linings: 

  • It’s possible that we’re demonstrating capacity for never having to make up “snow days” in the future!  
  • We have a perfect opportunity to redesign our state assessment system! 
  • Every time we do something kind or selfless to benefit someone else, we get a bump of serotonin … It even works when we simply observe someone being kind to someone else!  
  • Amid the fear and loss and physical disconnection, watch empathy, compassion, and humanity shining like the North Star – far above the fray.  
  • We will emerge from this better than we’ve ever been. 

Thank you for all you are doing on behalf of your students, staff, and communities.  

 Pender