MEDIA RELEASE: Maine’s Every Student Succeeds Act approved by U.S. Dept. of Education

In a letter from the United States Department of Education last week, the Maine Department of Education was notified of the approval of Maine’s consolidated state plan under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

Signed by President Obama in 2015, ESSA is a bipartisan measure that reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the nation’s national education law and longstanding commitment to equal opportunity for all students. Maine’s ESSA plan provides alternative measures for many of the regulations put into place by No Child Left Behind.

“Maine’s ESSA plan is moving away from compliance and regulation toward a model that supports and assists schools and educators, especially in areas where students are at a disadvantage,” said Maine Department of Education Commissioner, Robert G. Hasson, Jr.

Highlights of Maine’s Plan:

  • Creates a three-tiered system of support for schools based on performance, with the highest level of support offering coaching and mentoring to teach effective strategies for school turnaround, in addition to increased funding for staff professional development.
  • Plans to reduce the number of non-proficient students in half by 2030.
  • Leverages requirements across Federal programs and state statute to implement a single comprehensive needs assessment/SAU Consolidated Plan template to assist and support local school districts in the blending and braiding local, state and federal funds to increase the achievement and growth of students.
  • Provides a collaborative cross Department approach to promote and encourage the integration and alignment between state and local initiatives to support local school districts.

The approval letter, other correspondence, and the final consolidated plan can be found on the U.S. Department of Education’s website.


Learning Through Technology Update

The Learning Through Technology Team at the Maine Department of Education is committed to helping teachers integrate technology into their classrooms in a way that improves student learning outcomes and achievement. We have three new ways to engage with educators this year that are designed to gather input and build capacity.

Professional Learning Survey

We are looking for input from all Maine educators as we develop a schedule of offerings for professional learning during the 2017 – 2018 school year. We want to know which topics are of most interest to you and the format in which you’d like to see the professional learning offered. The survey should take 5 – 10 minutes to complete. We’ll begin reviewing responses on September 18th! Please complete the survey today and share the link with any other educators in Maine that you know!

Link to survey:

School Visits

We have a new model for school visits. The goal has shifted from looking at MLTI implementation to recognizing the positive efforts of educators who are integrating technology into their learning environments and providing support to schools as they continue to leverage their technology for better student outcomes. Please reach out to Amanda Nguyen, Digital Learning Specialist at the Maine Department of Education ( if you’d like to schedule a school visit.

Link to school visit information:

Learning Narratives Blog

We have a new blog that captures the stories of Maine educators who are leveraging technology for learning. Stories come from individual educators and also from our new school visits. The goal is to share models with other schools and educators. If you want to share your story, or recommend educators who we could contact to share their stories, please reach out to Amanda Nguyen, Digital Learning Specialist at the Maine Department of Education (

Link to Learning Narratives blog:


Fostering Music and Movement in Early Childhood Classrooms

The Maine Department of Education invites you to be part of a brand new professional development opportunity, “Fostering Music and Movement in Early Childhood Classrooms”. Early Childhood Specialist, Sue Reed, and Visual and Performing Arts Specialist, Beth Lambert, are looking for teachers who want to energize their teaching and learning through focusing on music and movement in the public preschool classroom.  Applicants must apply in teams of two: one Public Preschool teacher and one music or performing arts teacher from the same district. The music/performing arts teacher must currently teach at the elementary level.

Under the expertise of Early Childhood facilitator, Ellie Libby, and Early Childhood Arts facilitator, Judy Fricke, teams will work on building a collaborative partnership to ensure that preschool students receive a musical and movement filled learning experience. Public preschool teachers will learn the research as to why music and movement is important in a preschool classroom and how it encompasses Maine’s Early Learning and Development Standards and how to include music and movement into their daily routines. Music and performing arts teachers will learn developmentally appropriate pedagogical approaches to teaching music and movement to our youngest learners. Teams will be expected to practice new pedagogy in between sessions and document their experience. As a culmination of their work, participants will create a presentation to share with their school community.

The training is free and each team selected will receive $650 worth of equipment and supplies for their classroom. The cohort will meet at Educare in Waterville on October 17th, January 10th, March 6th, and May 15th 8:30-3pm.

If you are interested in participating fill out an application. Only one application is necessary per team. If you have any questions contact Visual and Performing Arts Specialist, Beth Lambert at or Early Childhood Specialist, Sue Reed at

Educational programing on Constitution Day

On September 17, the nation celebrates Constitution Day. Per Constitution and Citizenship Day legislation passed by the United States Congress in 2005, “Each educational institution that receives Federal funds for a fiscal year shall hold an educational program on the United States Constitution on September 17 of such year for the students served by the educational institution.”

This year, September 17 falls on a Sunday, so the Constitutional programming should take place on Monday, September 18, as it is the “adjacent weekday”.

For more information about the history of Constitution and Citizenship Day check visit the Library of Congress website. For additional resources visit the Maine DOE – Social Studies resources page or contact Joe Schmidt, Social Studies Specialist for the Maine Department of Education at (207) 624-6828 or


Maine DOE welcomes educators and students back to school

As many Maine schools welcome students back on campus and into the classroom over the coming weeks, the Maine Department of Education would like to wish every student and educator an exhilarating start to the 2017 – 2018 school year.

We hope the coming year is filled with new aspirations, fascinating challenges, and exciting learning.

For more information about how Maine DOE can support educators and students please visit the following links or contact the Department at (207) 624-6600.



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Maine DOE Literacy Links newsletter is now available as a blog

As the dog days of summer come to an end and the new school year begins, we look forward to continuing what we have begun and making a few changes.

Perhaps one of the biggest changes for the Maine DOE English Language Arts (ELA) team is moving their newsletter, Literacy Links, from a static document to a blog format. We will still provide the same essential elements: a feature article, relative resources, suggestions for children’s and adolescent literature, as well as a link to news and events. The blog format allows for discussion to continue in the form of comments. It also gives us some flexibility in presentation as it is easier to embed video or other media.

Please check out the Literacy Links Blog at You can still access the archives of all the past newsletters at this site as well.

Topics we will address this year include;

  • Text complexity: why it matters
  • Assessment: reading, evidence, complexity
  • Assessment: writing, evidence, language
  • Language standards and disciplinary literacy
  • Text Sets: why and how to use multiple texts

For further questions about Literacy Links please contact, Morgan Dunton English Language Arts Specialist or Lee Anne Larsen Literacy Specialist


Workshops to support SAT

The Maine Department of Education and College Board are pleased to provide Maine educators with three opportunities to learn more about the updated SAT and tools available to inform instruction. College Board will present its annual Fall Counselor Workshop to share updates, tools, tips and resources to support students as they move along the college and career path.

Maine DOE and College Board will present half day workshops for administrators to explore tools that inform instruction and curriculum. Maine DOE and College Board will also present full day workshops for teachers to better understand SAT data, analysis tools, and instructional responses relative to implementing Maine’s ELA and math standards.

 Annual Fall Counselor Workshops, Presented by the College Board

The College Board will present Annual Fall Counselor Workshop in five locations. These sessions will focus on enhancements to programs and changes to protocols in ordering and administering the SAT Suite of Assessments. Sessions begin at 8:30 and will end at 11:00.

Date Site City Registration
Sept.12 University of Maine at Presque Isle Presque Isle UMPI
Sept. 13 University of Southern Maine Portland USM
Sept. 19 Husson University Bangor HUSSON
Sept. 20 University of Maine Farmington Farmington UMF
Sept. 26 Thomas College Waterville THOMAS

Do More With Your SAT Scores! Presented by The Maine Department of Education and College Board

Making meaning of assessment data is a critical component of providing support for teachers, for students, and for families. Perhaps the most powerful tool available to teachers is the Question Analysis tool. This digital tool includes every question on the annual common form and allows sorting by a variety of options. In this session, we will explore methods of making effective use of the College Board’s Assessment Reporting for K12 Educators.  Sessions will begin at noon and end at 2:30. Please plan lunch on your own as lunch will not be provided.

You will need a user name and password for the K12 Score Reports portal at College Board.

(Please note that you must register even if you have already registered for the morning session)

Date Site City Registration
Sept.12 University of Maine at Presque Isle Presque Isle UMPI
Sept. 13 University of Southern Maine Portland USM
Sept. 19 Husson University Bangor HUSSON
Sept. 26 Thomas College Waterville THOMAS

SAT: Standards, Instruction, and Responding to SAT Data

During full day workshops, teachers will take a deep dive into either ELA (Evidence-based Reading and Writing along with the essay) or math to better understand how the SAT measures our learning standards, how to use data from the SAT results to inform instruction, and what instructional moves reflect the deeper learning necessary to demonstrate achievement on the Updated SAT.  Participants in this day-long workshop will learn about the updated SAT and how to use the system of supports to benefit student learning and teacher instructional strategies.

  • The ELA (ERW) session will include strategies for identifying instructional priorities based on data, a deeper understanding of the standards and how they are assessed, and an exploration of essay data and instructional strategies for on-demand writing.
  • The participants in the math session will identify common errors and misconceptions in student responses and will experience instructional strategies to support student learning.

Participants will have to register for either ELA or math sessions for the full day.  Schools are encouraged to send teams consisting of content teacher leaders at grades 9/10 and 11/12 as well as a building administrator or curriculum coordinator.

Please note that you will have to enter each person separately.

Date Site City Registration
10/17/2017 University of Maine at Farmington Farmington UMF
10/18/2017 University of Southern Maine Portland USM
10/20/2017 Black Bear Inn & Conference Center Orono BLACK BEAR INN
11/14/2017 University of Maine at Presque Isle Presque Isle UMPI


For more information about these workshops, contact, math specialist, or, ELA specialist.


2018 Teacher of the Year State Finalists Selected

The Maine Department of Education, in partnership with Educate Maine, announced the state finalists for Maine’s 2018 Teacher of the Year. They were chosen from this year’s County Teachers of the Year who were named in May at a celebration at the State House Hall of Flags.

The state finalists are:

  • Kasie Giallombardo, Nokomis Regional High School (Penobscot County)
  • Kaitlin Young, SeDoMoCha Elementary School (Piscataquis County)
  • Jennifer England, Noble High School (York County)

The process going forward for the state finalists include personal interviews and a school site visit before the 2018 Maine Teacher of the Year is selected. Review panels during the selection process consist of past Teachers of the Year, school administrators, Department staff, members of professional education organizations and the business community. The 2018 Maine Teacher of the Year will be announced at a surprise all-school assembly in October and will represent Maine in the National Teacher of the Year program.

The Maine Teacher of the Year is a program of the Maine Department of Education and is administered and managed by Educate Maine, a business-led organization working to advance education policies and practices that prepare Maine students to be the next generation of productive, engaged citizens. The program has a longtime partnership with the Maine State Board of Education and the Maine State Teacher of the Year Association. You can view an overview of the Maine Teacher of the Year program here.

Maine’s Teacher of the Year program receives financial support from Bangor Savings Bank, Dead River, Geiger, Hannaford, Maine State Lottery and Thomas College. The program also received a one year grant from Walmart to support professional development and classroom innovation.

Biographical information and photos of the 16 County Teachers of the Year can be found at:

For more information about the Teacher of the Year program, please contact Dolly Sullivan at Educate Maine at 207-631-3385 or

Maine educators learn techniques in identifying and teaching children with dyslexia

IMG_0656 (2)Earlier this month, educators from around the state completed the six week graduate course, Introduction to Dyslexia. The course was offered through a partnership between the Maine Department of Education’s (DOE) Office of Special Services and the University of Maine at Farmington (UMF).

The online and in-class course introduced educators to current research in cognitive neuroscience and evidence- based teaching practices and how the two may interact to help children with dyslexia.

The class learned the benefits of early identification of students at-risk for reading failure. Through early screening, dyslexia can be predicted and the severity can be reduced using evidence-based intervention. Appropriate intervention brings the majority of at-risk children to grade-level reading levels. Presently, it cannot be predicted which children will respond to intervention. Additionally, early intervention reduces the risk of the difficult-to-remediate fluency deficit that often emerges in 4th grade.

After being introduced to concepts regarding the neuroscience of reading, the class took part in 3 full-day workshops to learn practical classroom techniques that work well for all learners.

The course was taught by Lisa Whitis, MEd, JD who serves as the Dyslexia Coordinator at the Maine DOE. Contact Ms. Whitis at Lisa.Whitis@Maine.Gov to discuss professional development opportunities for your district or technical assistance for issues regarding dyslexia.

Maine teachers learn about agriculture

Maine Agriculture in the Classroom Summer Institute participants enjoy a final group gathering outside their classroom at the University of Maine at FarmingtonJuly 31st through August 4th, 23 educators grades K-12, along with other participants at the Maine Agriculture in the Classroom (MAITC) Summer Institute, hosted at the University of Maine, learned how to incorporate information on Maine agriculture into their classrooms.

(Pictured above: Maine Agriculture in the Classroom Summer Institute participants enjoy a final group gathering outside their classroom at the University of Maine at Farmington)

Through local farm tours and creative lesson plans, educators gained additional insights into agriculture and its importance to the Maine economy and to Maine’s rich culture and history, as well as how to connect agriculture with the academics they teach at their home schools.

Bonnie Brown instructs teachers about growing flowers at Shaky Barn Farm Gardens in Livermore(Pictured left: Bonnie Brown instructs teachers about growing flowers at Shaky Barn Farm Gardens in Livermore.)

The Summer Institute was supported in part through the proceeds from Maine’s Agricultural license plate.  Farm tours in the Farmington area included a goat/cheese farm, sheep/wool farm, apple orchard, dairy farm, flower nurseries and other exciting highlights.

Participants left with not only an increased appreciation for the role and work of the Maine farmer, but also with many ideas on how to impart agricultural information to their students in the coming year.

(Pictured below: Teachers enjoy the dairy goats at York Hill Farm in New Sharon.)

Teachers enjoy the dairy goats at York Hill Farm in New SharonFor more information on Maine Agriculture in the Classroom and training/grant opportunities available to teachers, please contact Willie Sawyer Grenier, Executive Director, Maine Agriculture in the Classroom,  (207) 287-5522