Recording & Materials from Presentation About ESSA & Report Cards

The Maine Department of Education held a presentation on Monday, December 10 about the details of Maine’s Model of School Support under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) which includes the release of the new, user-friendly, public Report Cards in early January. Below is a link to a recording of the session and links to the PowerPoint Presentation, in addition to all of the handouts from the presentation.

Further questions about Maine’s ESSA Plan, Maine’s Model of School Support, and the Report Cards should be directed to Acting Director of Learning Systems, Janette Kirk or ESEA Federal Programs & School Turnaround Director Chelsey Fortin-Trimble

What Is Progress in English Language Proficiency? #success4ME

Maine defines English language proficiency (ELP) as sufficient skill in English necessary to meaningfully access the curriculum. As part of Maine’s Model of School Support, part of Maine’s rollout of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), this indicator of school success focuses on English learners and measures the progress they make toward English language proficiency each school year. ESSA requires that each state include an indicator that gauges, “progress in achieving English language proficiency as defined by the State and measured by the assessments within a State-determined timeline for all English learners.”

What does this look like in Maine?

English learners are students who have a primary or home language other than English and are in the process of learning English. Around 3% of Maine’s students are English learners and their schools support them in learning English to succeed academically. They may receive English language support services inside or outside of their regular classes, through programs specifically for English language development, or through a variety of other supports. It usually takes 4-7 years for an English learner to become proficient in English, but this can vary depending on many factors.

Each year, English learners are administered ACCESS for ELLs, an assessment that measures a student’s ability to listen, speak, read, and write in English. A student’s overall score ranges from 1.0-6.0. In Maine, English language proficiency is defined as level 4.5, so the progress in English language proficiency indicator measures how much progress a student makes each year toward reaching level 4.5. A school’s score for progress in English language proficiency is based on the average percentage made towards the annual target for each student, where there are at least ten (10) English learners.

School level descriptors for progress in ELP is as follows:

Emerging Developing Meeting Excelling
The average progress towards the students’ annual target is less than 65% The average progress towards the students’ annual target is between 65% and 80% The average progress towards the students’ annual target is between 80% and 95% The average progress towards the students’ annual target is greater than 95%

How progress in ELP will be presented on the report card:


In the example provided below, there are less than 5 students who are English learners and therefore the data has been suppressed (notated by a *).




11/6/18 TransACT Training in Machias Cancelled

The TransACT training scheduled for November 6, 2018 in Machias, as described in this DOE newsroom article, has been cancelled due to low registration. Please note that the trainings scheduled for November 5, 2018 in Portland and Bangor are still happening as planned.

If you would like further information about TransACT Parent Notices, especially as it pertains to their use as a parent and family engagement tool, please contact April Perkins, Director of ESOL/Bilingual Programs & Title III at (207)624-6627 or


MEDIA RELEASE: Maine DOE to Recognize Bilingual Students Upon Graduation

Maine Department of Education makes Seal of Biliteracy available to all qualifying students

During a special announcement at the Maine State House on October 29, 2018, Commissioner Robert G. Hasson, Jr of the Maine Department of Education announced a new opportunity called the Seal of Biliteracy that will be available to qualifying students upon graduation, starting in June of 2019.

The Seal of Biliteracy is an award given at graduation in recognition of students who have studied and attained a high degree of skill in English and at least one other language by high school graduation.  For the first time, Maine will be offering all students an opportunity to graduate with the Seal in June 2019. The Seal seeks to encourage students to pursue biliteracy, recognizes the positive cognitive and academic benefits of being bilingual, and can serve as evidence of academic and workplace readiness.

There are two pathways to earn the Seal of Biliteracy. To qualify, all students must maintain a high degree of skill in their first language.  Students, whose first language is English, can earn the Seal by attaining a high degree of skill in another language.  Students whose first language is not English, can earn the Seal by attaining a high degree of skill in English.

In previous years, the Seal of Biliteracy has been offered to students in Portland Public Schools thanks to the work of Carlos Gomez, Director of Language Development. This Department of Education initiative will provide the opportunity to every student in Maine.  The Seal of Biliteracy started in California in 2008 and is now offered by 32 states and the District of Columbia.

Earning the Seal of Biliteracy comes with tangible academic and workplace benefits for students. Those students who choose to pursue post-secondary education can show the Seal of Biliteracy designation to select universities to earn college credit.  For those students who choose to enter the workforce after graduation, the Seal brings potential employers attention to the additional work ready skills they possess.

For more information please visit the Maine Department of Education website.





Administrative Letter: Change in English Learner Identification and Exit Criteria

Administrative Letter: 20
Policy Code: IHBEA
To: Public School Administrators
From: Robert G. Hasson, Jr., Ed. D. Commissioner
Date:  October 29, 2018
Subject: Change in English Learner Identification and Exit Criteria

Under the Every Student Succeeds Act, states are required to develop uniform statewide policies for identifying and exiting English learners (ELs). In light of this requirement, the Maine Department of Education has sought to review and refine its policies in order to best meet the needs of its students. Over the past year and a half, the Department has collected stakeholder input from around the state regarding its definition of English language proficiency. Additionally, the Department has conducted extensive analysis of assessment data to determine the level of English language proficiency needed in order to succeed academically on par with non-EL peers.

Following the completion of the review and analysis, Maine’s definition of English language proficiency is now a composite proficiency level (CPL) of 4.5, as measured by WIDA ACCESS for ELLs and WIDA Screener Online. All ELs who attain a composite proficiency level of 4.5 or higher on ACCESS for ELLs will be exited from English learner status. Students who achieved a CPL of 4.5-4.9 in 2017 or 2018 will be retroactively exited as of November 1, 2018. Districts will not need to take any action to exit these students, as the Department will do so automatically.

However, districts must take action to exit recently identified students who are no longer eligible for EL services based on the change in identification criteria. Any student who was identified as an English learner with a WIDA Screener Online CPL of 4.5 must be removed from EL status. To change a student’s status in the state student data system, the student’s district superintendent must submit a request for change in English learner identification, including the student’s Language Use Survey and WIDA Screener Online score report. All requests for change in English learner identification must be submitted by November 9, 2018 to ensure accuracy of 2018-19 ACCESS testing rosters. Please note that if a student identified as an EL has already been administered ACCESS for ELLs, he/she must achieve a CPL of 4.5 or higher on ACCESS for ELLs in order to exit.

ELs with significant cognitive disabilities who qualify for the state alternate academic assessment are administered Alternate ACCESS for ELLs. Please note that the exit threshold for Alternate ACCESS for ELLs has not changed and remains a CPL of P2.

After an EL demonstrates English language proficiency by attaining a CPL of 4.5 or higher on ACCESS for ELLs, federal and state regulations require that schools monitor the student’s academic progress for two years. If during that two-year period a continued need for English language acquisition services becomes apparent, the student must be provided services. Note that in such cases the student will not be designated as an EL in the state student data system and will not be administered ACCESS for ELs.

This Administrative Letter is a supplemental update to Administrative Letter 11, which provides more extensive information about the requirements for serving ELs, including more details on Maine’s EL identification policy.

To assist districts in communicating with students and families about Maine’s new definition of English language proficiency, the Department has developed a student and family guide, translated into the state’s top ten languages.

If you have questions or would like further information regarding serving ELs, please contact April Perkins, ESOL/Bilingual Programs, at, (207)624-6627.