Job Opening: Continuous School Improvement Leader

The Maine Department of Education’s ESEA Federal Programs Team is seeking an energetic and experienced individual to serve in the role as a Continuous School Improvement Leader. As a member of the ESEA Federal Programs Team, the selected candidate will provide support, research- and evidence-based guidance to a team of leadership coaches serving principals of identified schools; support the formation of school leadership teams with necessary stakeholder representation; support the review and update of the consolidated needs assessment (CNA); guide the utilization of the updated CNA to create a strategic plan to inform areas of focus, support and additional funding; and utilize the continuous improvement cycle to conduct data analysis for intentional decision making in order to provide on-going support . This is a professional service position that directs and coordinates Maine’s Model of School Support as required within Title I under the Elementary & Secondary Education Act of 2015 (ESSA). The position is responsible for the administration, management, and evaluation of  Maine’s Model of School Support as approved under federal Title I statutory regulations. This work will include policy review, input and development as related to Maine’s Model of School Support under federal statutory requirements and adherence to. This is a contracted position.


  • Approve school strategic plan applications submitted for review/feedback in utilizing awarded funds in a necessary, reasonable, and allowable way;
  • Approve all school leadership coach timecards and travel reimbursement requests;
  • Determine on-going support and resources for School Leadership Coaches, building principals, and School Leadership Teams, based on policy and guidance for Title I School Improvement;
  • Identify agenda items and facilitate monthly meetings with school leadership coaches to develop resources and trainings to support identified schools;
  • Identify specific insight to guide the collaborations in decision making regarding the administration of the Maine’s Model of School Support for identified schools;
  • Determine specific data collection and analysis to identify on-going program refinement and continued improvement;
  • Determine specific policies and procedures directly aligned to Continuous School Improvement research- and evidence-based practices and suggest changes to these policies and/or procedures based on date-driven decision making;
  • Communicate directly and frequently with principals, district staff, and Maine DOE school improvement coaches, as needed, on issues related to the school and the district level support being providing by Maine DOE;
  • Monitor school improvement budget to include review and approval of school improvement project requests and invoices;
  • Review and analyze student achievement data, and use the results to assist principals, leadership teams, and school improvement coaches to improve and develop comprehensive school improvement plans as needed or requested by school leaders and coaches;
  • Provide support, conduct performance reviews, and provide self evaluations for Maine DOE school leadership coaches;
  • Visit identified comprehensive schools to provide technical assistance, collect data regarding program effectiveness, attend leadership team meetings with coach, and meet one-on-one with school leaders, as determined necessary.

KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS AND ABILITIES REQUIRED: These are among the requirements to successfully perform the work assigned

  • Knowledge of current research- and evidence-based best practices and exemplary educational practice in the education of the disadvantaged and the ability to interpret and apply information to current programs;
  • Knowledge of current and emerging federal laws, policies, rules and regulations regarding the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in particular School Improvement under Title I, including funding, compliance issues and evaluation issues;
  • Knowledge of the State’s assessment and accountability system including Maine’s Model of School Support;
  • Knowledge of continuous quality improvement and systems change concepts, practices, and tools;
  • Ability to assist in managing complex program and federal program budgets;
  • Ability to provide leadership to school leadership coaches and the Tier III identified schools they serve;
  • Ability to communicate clearly and effectively, both in written and oral form;
  • Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships;
  • Ability to analyze, interpret, articulate, and present technical information, concepts, policies, procedures, and practices;
  • Ability to communicate complex information effectively, orally and in writing, to technical and non-technical audiences.

MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS:  To qualify, candidates must have a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership or a field related to the position and experience in educational leadership. Preferred candidates will have experience in successfully supporting the administration of federal programs and budgets aligning to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).

APPLICATION:  Please submit a letter of interest, resume, and three current letters of recommendation to Cheryl Lang at on or before July 1, 2022.


Seeking Public Comments for a Tydings Amendment Waiver of FY21 ESEA funds and FY22 Carryover of Excess Title I, Part A Funds

Pursuant to the authority granted under section 8401(b) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the Maine Department of Education (DOE) intends to submit an application for waivers to the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE).  As required, the Maine DOE is seeking 15 days of public comment from June 7, 2022 – June 21, 2022, on the request to waive the period of availability for Elementary & Secondary Education Act funds and Title I, Part A carryover limitations.

Requirements from which Maine will be seeking a waiver include:

  • A Tydings amendment waiver from Section 421(b) of the General Provisions Act to the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE). The Tydings amendment waiver seeks an extension to the availability of Federal Fiscal Year 2020/State Fiscal Year 2021 Elementary and Secondary Education funds.  Programs affected by this waiver:
    • Title I, Part A of the ESEA (Improving Basic Programs Operated by LEAs), including the portions of the SEA’s Title I, Part A award used to carry out section 1003 school improvement, section 1003A direct student services, if applicable, and Title I, Part D, Subpart 2
    • Title I, Part B of the ESEA (State Assessment Formula Grants)
    • Title I, Part C of the ESEA (Education of Migratory Children)
    • Title I, Part D, Subpart 1 of the ESEA (Prevention and Intervention Programs for Children and Youth Who Are Neglected, Delinquent, or At Risk)
    • Title II, Part A of the ESEA (Supporting Effective Instruction)
    • Title III, Part A of the ESEA (English Language Acquisition, Language Enhancement, and Academic Achievement)
    • Title IV, Part A of the ESEA (Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants)
    • Title IV, Part B of the ESEA (21st Century Community Learning Centers)
    • Title V, Part B, Subpart 2 of the ESEA (Rural and Low-Income School Program)
    • McKinney-Vento Education for Homeless Children and Youth Programs
  • A carryover limitation waiver from Section 1127(a) of the Elementary & Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended for Federal Fiscal Year 2021/State Fiscal Year 2022 Title I, Part A funds. The carryover limitation waiver seeks to waive the requirement that limits the Maine DOE’s ability to grant to its local educational agencies (LEAs) a waiver of the 15 percent Title I, Part A carryover limitation of more than once every three years.

The Maine DOE must solicit and respond to public comment on its waiver request as well as provide evidence of the available comment period.  As the Maine DOE moves forward to provide as much flexibility as possible and continued support for expending ESEA federal funds, comments can be submitted to Rita Pello at 

Priority Notice: Seeking Public Comment to Waive Requirements Related to Accountability and Public Reporting.   

In a US Department of Education (USDOE)  Dear Colleague letter to state chiefs on February 22nd, 2021, USDOE provided guidance and invited states to apply for waivers granting significant flexibility in the areas of accountability and reporting for the 2020-2021 school yearFollowing this guidance and flexibility, the Maine Department of Education (DOE) is requesting accountability and reporting waivers pursuant to §8401(b) from requirements within the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) of 2015)USDOE requires state educational agencies, when seeking waivers from statutory or regulatory requirements, to solicit and respond to public comment on the request and provide evidence of the available comment period. This 14-day public comment period will be available from April 27, 2021- May 10, 2021.  

A full copy of the waiver request can be located on the Maine DOE’s ESSA webpage.  In summary, the Maine Department of Education will be requesting waivers from the following requirements:  

  • Accountability and school identification requirements in ESEA sections 1111(c)(4) and 1111(d)(2)(C)-(D): the requirements that a State measure progress toward long-term goals and measurements of interim progress; meaningfully differentiate, on an annual basis, all public schools, including by adjusting the Academic Achievement indicator based on a participation rate below 95 percent; and identify schools for comprehensive, targeted, and additional targeted support and improvement based on data from the 2020- 2021 school year. 
  • Report card provisions related to accountability in ESEA section 1111(h) based on data from the 2020-2021 school year. These include: 
  • Section 1111(h)(1)(C)(i)(I)-(IV) and (VI) (Accountability system description, other than the list of comprehensive, targeted, and additional targeted support and improvement schools).
  • Section 1111(h)(1)(C)(iii)(I) (Other Academic indicator results for schools that are not high schools). 
  • Section 1111(h)(1)(C)(v) (School Quality or Student Success indicator results). 
  • Section 1111(h)(1)(C)(vi) (Progress toward meeting long-terms goals and measurements of interim progress). 
  • Section 1111(h)(2)(C) with respect, at the local educational agency (LEA) anschool levels, to all waived requirements in section 1111(h)(1)(C). 

Public Comment may be submitted to: Additional questions can be directed to Janette Kirk, Chief of Learning Systems.  

Priority Notice: DOE Embarks on a Revolutionary Redesign of Assessment 

As the nation  explores the future of education and embraces opportunities for new and innovative approaches to student instruction and assessment, the Maine Department Of Education(DOE) is excited to develop a more meaningful approach to assessment.  

The federally-mandated State summative assessment is an essential component of an equitable instructional cycle. The assessment serves multiple purposes for educators, students, parents, policy makers, and community members, all with the shared goal of supporting student growth for lifelong learning.

The COVID-19 global pandemic has afforded educators the opportunity to meaningfully reflect on instructional practice, outcomes and student learning. As educators continue to explore opportunities for authentic learning, we are observing an increase in  interdisciplinary/integrated instruction and the ability of students to apply their learning in a real-world context. With this in mind, and to ensure we are assessing student learning in a similar and authentic manner, the redesign of state assessment is underway.  

The Maine DOE is seeking individuals interested in being involved in role specific assessment redesign focus groups. These focus groups will serve as collaborative thought partners as Maine’s approach to assessment and accountability is redefined, reframed and redesigned.

From these role alike focus groups, an ESSA Advisory/Maine TAC will be established. The ESSA Advisory/Maine TAC will represent the geographic and demographic diversity across the state and will be responsible for assisting the Department in synthesizing focus group feedback, suggestions, and best practice approaches to develop a cohesive assessment and accountability plan that addresses and supports the needs of Maine students while assisting Maine in meeting ESEA Federal assessment and accountability requirements 

In the coming months, role specific focus groups will meet for a half day on a bi-monthly basis. Additionally, those nominated from within focus groups to serve on the  ESSA Advisory/Maine TAC will meet for ninety (90) minutes once per month for an extended period of time.  If you are interested in being a part of this work, please complete the intent to participate form by February 26.  

MAARS Workshop and Overview of Approved Changes to Maine’s Model of School Support

Online Registration Portal for 2019 MAARS Workshop, including an overview of key changes to Maine’s Model of School Support (Accountability) is now available.

FocalPoint K12, in conjunction with the Maine Department of Education Assessment Team, will be holding a workshop for the Maine Assessment and Accountability Reporting System (MAARS). Topics during the session include an overview of the MAARS system, information on User Account management, revised Individual Student Reports (ISRs) formats, New Features, and a Q & A session.  Members from Maine’s ESEA Federal Programs team will provide an overview of key changes to Maine’s Model of School Support, as a result of the approval of the amendment submitted to Maine’s ESSA State Plan in December 2018. Each day long session is scheduled from 9 am to 3:30 pm. Lunch will be provided.

Venue and Registration Information

November 19, 2019
Abromson Community Education Center
88 Bedford St
Portland, ME 04101

Click here to register for the November 19, 2019 session.

November 20, 2019
Wells Conference Center
131 Munson Road
University of Maine
Orono, ME 04469

Click here to register for the November 20, 2019 session.

November 21, 2019
University of Maine – Presque Isle
Grand Ballroom – Aroostook Room
181 Main St
Presque Isle, ME 04769

Click here to register for the November 21, 2019 session.

Additionally, the assessment team and our reporting vendor FocalPointK12 will also be providing a MAARS webinar on November 13, 2019, 2:30 in preparation for the November 19 and 20 training sessions.  MAARS Webinar .  The audience for this session is returning and new District Assessment Coordinators (DACs) and Career and Technical Education (CTE) Directors. The updated roles within MAARS will be a critical element to prepare for the upcoming November 19 & 20 MAARS Workshops.

The content of the webinar will include:

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

To access the November 13, 2019 webinar please use this link.

Please direct any additional questions regarding registrations to these sessions to Eric Buckhalter at (207) 624-6770 or