ADMINISTRATIVE LETTER: Amendments to Educator Evaluation Requirements

Administrative Letter:  #25
Policy Code:   BGE
To: Public School Administrators, Teachers
From: Pender Makin, Commissioner
Date:  11 June 2019
Subject: Amendments to Title 20-A, Chapter 508, Educator Effectiveness

On April 11, 2019, Governor Mills signed a law that makes important changes to Performance  Evaluation and Professional Growth (PEPG) systems. The new law will go into effect 90 days after the current legislative session ends. Chapter 27, An Act to Amend Educator Evaluation Requirements, includes a number of changes.

  1. Under the new law, school administrative units may choose to identify and include student learning and growth measures that they deem valuable in summative effectiveness ratings, but they are no longer required to do so.
  2. SAUs must ensure or reconfigure their steering committee membership, such that a majority are teachers who are chosen by a representative of the applicable collective bargaining unit.
  3. The law states that, “revisions to the performance evaluation and professional growth system made by the steering committee must be reached by consensus.”

Implementation Guidance

  • The steering committee composition required in Chapter 27 will go into effect 90 days after the current legislative session comes to an end, likely near the start of the 2019-2020 school year.
  • The Department of Education is committed to a transparent and inclusive rule-making process for Chapter 180 that will begin in early fall of 2019, in preparation for the submission of the draft rules for consideration to the Committee for Education and Cultural Affairs in January, 2020.
  • Current law requires that student learning and growth measures must be a factor in a summative effectiveness rating until September 1, 2021.  PEPG steering committees are encouraged to review their current PEPG systems, and the vision, mission, and goals of the district, to determine the measures of effectiveness they will implement beginning with the 2021-2022 school year. In addition, the committee should develop reasonable transition plans and timelines for any changes to the PEPG system, as determined by the steering committee, taking into consideration the existing evaluation cycle, and when summative evaluations will be completed.

For more information, please contact Emily Gribben at Emily.gribben@maine.gov.

Certification Update- Are YOU Due July 1, 2019?

Maine Department of Education is proud to share that our certification team continues to process a number of new certificates for those joining the education profession or who are seeking new endorsements. In addition, they have processed and issued renewed certificates to 48% of those whose certification is set to expire July 1, 2019.  While their turnaround time is currently, and amazingly, around three weeks, we are concerned that there are still 2,869 certificate holders who have not yet submitted the required documentation and payment, and whose certification will lapse July 1!  Please note that anyone renewing certification MUST fill out an online form and provide payment.  Information on how to create an account or for instructions on how to submit the renewal application is provided here for your convenience.

FMI or for any questions, please contact our Certification Team at cert.doe@maine.gov.

 

 

 

 

Successes Shared by Districts at Closing Event of 4-Year Preschool Expansion Grant

(Pictured: Kindergarten teacher Heidi Sturgeon, pre-k teacher Olesia Pazdro, and Curriculum Director Suzanne Day from MSAD 55- Sacopee Valley, talk to the audience about their goals for their Birth – Third Grade Action Plan.)

The Maine Department of Education hosted a closing event of the 4-year Preschool Expansion Grant (PEG) that was awarded to Maine DOE in December 2014 by the US Department of Education.  Eighteen states were awarded grants to support local school districts in the development of new preschool classrooms, and to expand access to high-quality, full-day pre-k programs for children whose families were at or below 200%  Federal Poverty Level.

Maine used the grant to launch and expand pre-k programs for 13 districts in Maine, 8 of which used the opportunity to partner with local Head Start programs. The districts included RSU 12, RSU 13, MSAD 17, RSU 23, SAD 37, SAD 44, RSU 55, RSU 74, Cornville Regional Charter School, Cherryfield, Lewiston (Longley Elementary), Millinocket, Vassalboro. The 13 districts were chosen for their percentage of students with an economic disadvantage and willingness and availability to embark on the effort.

The grant allowed these districts to add or expand their pre-k classroom spaces and resources, hire and train needed teachers in using evidence based curricula and instructional practices, align appropriate assessment of pre-k students with kindergarten assessments, develop a plan for kindergarten transition, and form a community literacy team, all as part of a long-term “Birth to Third Grade plan” that aligns with the districts’ strategic goals. The grant implementation was supported by grant coordinators at each of the participating districts, and trained coaches, all of whom were former Maine educators.

A cross-section of state employees from Maine DOE, Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and Child Development Services (CDS) worked collaboratively on this project,  with facilitation provided by the Education Development Center (EDC).

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(Left to right) Sarah Adkins, Kathryn Zwicker, Nena Cunningham, Karen Bergeron, Nicole Madore, Lee Anne Larsen, Dee Saucier, Sue Reed, Crystal Arbour, Jessica Nixon, Rich Meserve, David Jacobson.

Three years into the 4-year grant, tremendous improvements in child outcomes were celebrated, including:

  • 76%-86% of children moved out of the high-risk identification in all developmental domains
  • 76%-96% of children moved out of high-risk identification in literacy skills (predictive of kindergarten success)
  • 53% of children moved out of high-risk identification in the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test, which assesses receptive language and is a predictor of later reading success

The end of the year event was an opportunity for each of the participating districts to present their Birth to Third plans to their peers and to reflect on their successes, lessons learned, and plans moving forward.

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RSU 12 Curriculum Coordinator, Deb Taylor (right) and Southern Kennebec Child Development Center Head Start Director Cristina Salois (left) shared details of their  action plan with the full audience which included a “ghost walk” to each pre-k classroom across the district’s 4 elementary schools. This was an opportunity for pre-k teachers to share and collaborate on environmental design and instructional practices and learn from one another.

The gathering included presentations by each participating district, who all began by sharing varied and often-times unique community challenges. For example, while some experienced a lack of licensed child care providers to connect with and engage families early on, another had migrant families with students in and out of school frequently. There were many other unique community characteristics shared, yet all of the districts had the common challenge of a high percentage of families facing economic disadvantage.

The common areas of focus for each Birth to Third Grade action plan included a focus on quality, shared teaching and learning practices, family engagement starting before children enter pre-k, a focus on positive transitions from pre-k to kindergarten, social emotional learning and trauma informed teaching.

The closing event was a successful day of presenting, idea sharing, and collaboration by early childhood educators from across the state who will now be able to continue their research based, and collaborative birth to third grade plans for district-wide success and beyond.

 

Still Time to Register for 4th Annual Read to Ride Summer Reading Challenge

(Pictured: Display from Turner Primary for Read to Ride)

Summer vacation is a welcome break from the daily school routine for children and parents alike, but the summer months can be detrimental to students’ learning if young minds do not remain active. Summer learning loss is a well-documented phenomenon, particularly with respect to reading achievement.  Students can lose up to three months of reading progress during the summer if they don’t keep reading.  When combined across a child’s PK-8 school career, this can result in 1-2 years of lost reading progress.

Fortunately, the summer slide can be prevented or greatly reduced when students continue to read on a regular basis. By encouraging children to read for enjoyment from a variety of resources and to explore topics of interest, they continue to practice applying the skills they have learned, build their vocabulary, and widen their knowledge of the world.  For students who are not yet reading independently, or just beginning to read, reading to and with parents is equally beneficial.

Once again this year, the Maine Department of Education is collaborating with the Freemasons of Maine to sponsor the Read to Ride Summer Reading Challenge for students in grades PK-8.  The Maine Freemasons have generously donated 48 bikes with helmets as prizes for the Read to Ride Summer Reading Challenge.  During the first three years of this initiative, thousands of Maine children completed the challenge of reading 500 minutes during the summer vacation.  Maine DOE hopes to see this number grow even higher during the summer of 2019.

Any school with students in the PK-8 grade span may register to participate. Participating schools will collect documentation from students who have completed the challenge. They will hold school level drawings to select two students (one boy and one girl) whose names will be entered into the state level drawing to be held on September 25, 2019.   Schools are encouraged to participate in this challenge, to coordinate it with any other summer reading challenges/programs they offer, and to consider soliciting their own local level prizes for students who complete the challenge.  Find details and the link to register your school at the Read to Ride Challenge website.

Questions may be directed to Maine DOE’s Elementary Literacy Specialist, Danielle Saucier at danielle.m.saucier@maine.gov.

Seeking Innovative Educational Leaders to join Maine’s Leadership Development Program

The Maine Department of Education is excited to announce the launch of Maine’s Leadership Development Program (Maine LDP), 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 launch phase will focus on building a strong foundation for making the program widely accessible. The Maine DOE has partnered with the National Institute for School Leaders (NISL) to prepare the first cohort of candidates to become certified trainers and facilitators of future cohorts, providing a unique and rewarding leadership opportunity. The Maine DOE’s ESEA Federal Programs, School Turnaround, and Higher Education and Educator Support Services teams are collaborating to provide the executive leadership training to instructional leaders across Maine. Maine’s LDP brings together the Maine DOE’s successful Transformational Leaders’ Network with NISL’s nationally recognized Executive Development Program (EDP).

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. In the first cohort, NISL experts will deliver the Maine LDP curriculum and provide additional training for Maine LDP facilitators. Successful graduates from the initial cohort will deliver the Maine LDP curriculum to future cohorts regionally. Completion of the program can 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, 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 to 15 months
  • Bridged with online coursework, readings and job-embedded application of key concepts

Characteristics of Ideal Candidates

  • A belief in and commitment to improving instruction and increasing student achievement
  • Experience (five years) in a leadership role at the school, district, and/or state level and background as a classroom teacher. Ideal candidates include, but are not limited to, 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, and superintendents.
  • Excellent communications skills; able to effectively facilitate professional development for peers
  • Demonstrated skills in mentoring and coaching
  • Experience as a successful practitioner—able to translate concepts to actions, theory to practice, and programs to craft
  • Able to participate in the entire NISL program and become certified as a Maine LDP facilitator
  • Likely to live and work in Maine for the next five years

The Department encourages experienced educational leaders to consider applying to join the initial cohort of candidates to become certified Maine LDP facilitators of future cohorts. Please visit http://www.maine.gov/doe/educators/maineldp for more information and email nisledp.doe@maine.gov  with any questions. The schedule and application can be found here.