What is Graduation Rate? #success4ME

The graduation rate indicator is one of four indicators used in Maine’s Model of School Support. It will be used as an indicator of success for high schools only. Graduation is defined as graduating within four years after entering ninth grade. In Maine, the graduation rate indicator reflects the number of students graduating “on-time”, as well as the graduating students who progressed at a different rate and graduated in either five or six years.

In the past, graduation rate was never utilized when making determinations of schools eligible to receive support. Under Maine’s Model of School Support, the graduation rate for students meeting graduation requirements in four years in addition to the graduation rate of students meeting graduation requirements in five or six years will be utilized.

graduation rate 4 yr (blue)
4 Year Graduation Rate

What does this look like in Maine?

Achieving a diploma is a major accomplishment and marks a significant milestone in a student’s life. It is important to highlight the number of students achieving a diploma, whether it takes some students four years or longer to do so. As it relates to Maine’s Model of School Support, the Graduation Rate indicator is split into two rates of graduation:

  • graduation 5_6 yr (blue)
    5 and 6 Year Graduation Rate

    The 4-year rate is the number of students who graduate in four years with a high school diploma, divided by the number of students who form the adjusted cohort for the graduating class.

  • The 5 and 6 year rates reflect the number of graduating students who took 5 and 6 years, respectively to graduate from high school.

How will graduation rate data be presented on the school report card?

The school as a whole will receive a performance measure related to individual student groups meeting the annual graduation target.

Graduation Performance Descriptors:

Graduation – 4 Year

Emerging Developing Meeting Excelling
No eligible student group made their annual graduation target At least one eligible student group made their annual graduation target All eligible student groups made their annual graduation target All eligible student groups have met or exceeded the long-term goal of 90%

Graduation – Combined 5/6 Year

Emerging Developing Meeting Excelling
No eligible student group made their annual graduation target At least one eligible student group made their annual graduation target All eligible student groups made their annual graduation target All eligible student groups have met or exceeded the long-term goal of 92%

Eligible student groups include: Asian, Black, Hispanic/Latino, Two or More Races, White, Students with Disabilities, Economically Disadvantaged, Migrant Students, and English Learners.

Goals for four year adjusted cohort graduation rate:

Subgroup Baseline (Data and Year) Long-term Goal (Data and Year) 2030
All students 86.83% 2016 90% or maintain current 2016, whichever is greater, graduation percentages by 2030
Economically disadvantaged students 77.77% 2016
Children with disabilities 72.19% 2016
English learners 78.14% 2016
Race – Hispanic/Latino 83.46% 2016
Race – American Indian 84.91% 2016
Race – Asian 90.68 % 2016
Race – Black or African American 76.77% 2016
Race – Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander 88.24% 2016
Race – White 87.29% 2016

The measurements of progress are based on increases in the percentage of all students in Maine who make progress toward the long-term goals on a three-year basis. Long-term goals were developed to reduce the percentage of non-graduating students to result in student groups all meeting the goal of 90% by 2030. The calculation process, for example, is as follows:

Subgroup: All Students

  • Step 1: 2016 Graduation Rate = 86.83%
  • Step 2: 90% (goal) – 86.83% (baseline) = 3.17%
  • Step 3: Differential for each 3-year step is 3.17 divided by 5 = .61%
  • Step 4: Add to the baseline .61 % and add the .61% to each subsequent step to reach the goal of 90% by 2030.

Goals for extended- year cohort graduation rate

Subgroup Baseline (Data and Year) Long-term Goal (Data and Year) 2030
All students 88.61% 2016 92% or maintain current 2016, whichever is greater, graduation percentages by 2030
Economically disadvantaged students 80.82% 2016
Children with disabilities 77.27% 2016
English learners 86.12% 2016
Asian 94.27% 2016
American Indian 83.49% 2016
Black 83.47% 2016
Hispanic 84.13% 2016
Native Hawaiian 93.33% 2016
White 88.84% 2016
Multiple Races 86.62% 2016

Graduation rate will be presented on the initial page of the report card in the following way:





For further information please contact Janette Kirk, Acting Director, Office of Learning Systems at Janette.Kirk@maine.gov.

WIDA Early Years Online Learning Modules (to Support Multilingual Children) Now Available at No Cost to Teachers and Administrators

The Maine Department of Education is excited to announce that Maine’s early care and education community is now able to access to the WIDA Early Years online learning modules. These modules focus on supporting young multilingual children, ages 2.5 to 5.5 years and are available at no cost to teachers and administrators. Multilingual children, commonly referred to as dual language learners, are children who are developing more than one language.

Each self-paced, interactive module provides opportunities for reflection and offers suggestions for applying content to local practice. The following modules are available:

  • Dual Language Learners and their Families
  • WIDA Early English Language Development Standards Framework
  • Dual Language Learners with Disabilities
  • Scaffolding Language Learning
  • Promising Practices

A description of each module, frequently asked questions, and instructions for creating a user account and registering for the modules can be found in the documents listed below:

Access the modules: WIDA Early Years online modules (visit and create your user account)

If you are a program leader, administrator, trainer, or coach, we hope you will utilize these modules as a resource to support the professional learning needs of those serving multilingual children. The modules can be used in staff development sessions and/or shared with individual educators or teams of educators, such as professional learning communities.

Contact hours are available upon completion of a module. To receive a contact hours certificate, please download the certificate of completion generated by the WIDA Early Years online system and email it to april.perkins@maine.gov.

Additionally, the Department has purchased a set of WIDA Early Years Promising Practices Implementation Kits to assist districts in refining their programs for young multilingual children. These kits serve as a program self-evaluation tool, highlighting several evidence-based, highly effective strategies for supporting children’s development of multiple languages. Several districts with a significant number of dual language learners will receive these kits. A district that does not receive its own kit may request to borrow one from the Maine Department of Education.

WIDA Early Years resources have been provided to Maine educators through Title III, CDS, Head Start and public pre-k funds.

If you have any questions about these resources, or to request to borrow a WIDA Early Years Promising Practices Implementation Kit, please contact Maine DOE Director of ESOL/Bilingual Programs & Title III April Perkins at april.perkins@maine.gov or (207)624-6627.

What is Chronic Absenteeism? #success4ME

Maine’s student success indicator, chronic absenteeism is one of four (4) indicators utilized in Maine’s Model of School Supports and is used for all grades, K-12. Chronic absenteeism in Maine is defined as missing ten percent (10%) of enrolled school days where the student has been enrolled in the school for at least ten (10) days.

Is chronic absenteeism new?

At the state, district, school, and classroom levels Maine educators are committed to creating a culture of support and encouragement for families with children experiencing challenges with consistently attending school. In the past, Maine has focused on Average Daily Attendance (ADA). Average daily attendance records the number of students on average, who are in attendance at school on a daily basis. Although ADA data is beneficial to track, when conducting a more detailed analysis of data, ADA often masks students who are regularly or chronically absent from school. Maine has therefore determined that chronic absenteeism would be a data point collected beginning in the  2016/17 school year.

What does this look like in Maine?

Schools in Maine are examining their attendance data. On a daily basis, students are marked present or absent from school. In order to be present, the student must have attended 50% of their scheduled school day. One important item to note: excused absences (absences where a parent/guardian sends a note into school explaining the absence) and unexcused absences (absences where a parent/guardian provides no communication regarding the absence) both count as an absence.

Why is Maine using chronic absenteeism?

Research indicates a high correlation between chronic absenteeism and academic achievement however, the negative impact of being chronically absent isn’t only felt by the student who is absent, it can also impact the student who is present. Absent students lose valuable instruction time during the school day however, when students are chronically absent, teachers must reteach the same material during the school day, to students who missed out. This takes away from key instructional time and may impact overall student engagement and student achievement. In short, all learners in a school or classroom environment are impacted by chronic absenteeism.

How does this impact parents, students and schools and what can they do?


As schools examine chronic absenteeism data in more detail:

  • If your child is frequently absent from school, you may receive increased communication regarding your child’s attendance behavior and increased availability for support.
  • You may see increased district communication regarding attendance; every day counts.
  • You may see an increased focus and emphasis on family engagement and relationship building between the school and the family .

What can you do?

Ensure your child is in school every day. Obviously there are days when your child is sick and should remain home; however, scheduling personal appointments outside of the school day and taking vacations during school vacation breaks are two strategies that parents can immediately address to promote and encourage daily attendance. Communicate with the school should your child or the family experience issues that may impact their attendance or where you may require support.


  • Individual students will not be identified publicly as being chronically absent.
  • There may be an Increased emphasis on relationship building between students and school staff.

What can students do?

Be engaged – develop relationships/friendships with peers and school staff. Share with parents and school staff when you are experiencing challenges or issues at school. Communicate.


  • Student data will be collected and combined to determine the percentage of students who are absent for more than 10% of enrolled school days.
  • This data will be utilized as an indicator within Maine’s Model of School Supports and will assist the Maine DOE in providing supports to schools experiencing challenges in the area of chronic absenteeism.
  • Availability of professional development and learning opportunities to provide best practice strategies in assisting schools address challenges related to chronic absenteeism.

What can schools do?

Continue to build engagement and relationships with families and students with frequent, sustained two-way communication. The school leadership team should examine data on a regular basis at the school, classroom, and individual student level and make a determination on how the school will inform parents of current absence rates. Seek supports and professional learning from the Maine DOE and other agencies and organizations.

How will chronic absenteeism data be presented on the school report card?

The school as a whole will receive a performance measure related to the percentage of students who are missing more than 10% of their scheduled school days. Chronic absenteeism rates will never be reported at the student level. The Maine DOE or the school will never identify your child publicly as being chronically absent.

The school level descriptors for chronic absenteeism are as follows:

School Level Indicator Descriptors

Chronic Absenteeism

Emerging Developing Meeting Excelling
All eligible student group populations have a chronic absenteeism rate of 10% or higher One or more eligible student group populations have a chronic absenteeism rate of less than 10% All eligible student group populations have a chronic absenteeism rate of less than 10% All eligible student group populations have a chronic absenteeism rate of 5% or less

Where eligible student groups include: Asian, Black, Hispanic/Latino, Two or More Races, White, Students with Disabilities, Economically Disadvantaged, Migrant students, Homeless students, English Learners and Parent in Military on Active Duty.

Chronic absenteeism data will be presented on the initial page of the report card in the following way:


To assist parents and community members in understanding chronic absenteeism, the report card provides “hover over” features that explain the definition of the performance level.


Parents, educators and community members also have the opportunity to examine chronic absenteeism data by student group and to see the progress the school is making in reducing instances of chronic absenteeism school wide.

report card 2

Download the Maine DOE’s Chronic Absenteeism Info Graphic as an additional resource.

For further information or questions contact, Interim Director of Learning Systems Janette Kirk at (207) 624-6707 or Janette.Kirk@maine.gov.

Training Opportunity: TransACT Parent Notifications – Part of Your Parent and Family Engagement Planning

The Maine Department of Education will be hosting three trainings across the state to assist districts in using TransACT, a resource that supports parent and family engagement. Use of TransACT is provided to Maine districts at no cost, sponsored by the Department’s Office of ESEA Federal Programs.


Research has shown that when parents and families engage in the education of their children, the children tend to perform better academically. TransACT’s Parent Notices are an important tool to engage parents and families, especially those with limited proficiency in English. This presentation provides:

  • Information about the TransACT Parent Notices purchased for you by the Maine Department of Education;
  • Directions for how to access those Parent Notices in English and other languages;
  • Highlights of the importance of communicating in a language that parents and family members can understand;
  • Information on how to identify important notices that need to be sent, who to send them to, and when they need to be sent; and
  • Information about other resources available from TransACT.

Facilitator Bio:

Dr. David Holbrook earned his Ph.D. in linguistics at the University of the West Indies in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago and has over 20 years experience working with speakers of other languages. He has lived in five countries and worked in more than 15. He taught ESL at Colorado State University for approximately two years. He spent nearly six years at the Wyoming Department of Education, where he held positions as Federal Programs Division Director, Title I Director, and Title III Director. He trained with the U.S. Department of Education and participated in federal monitoring of Title III in five states. He served nine years with the National Council of State Title III Directors, two years as President. He was designated as their first Honorary Member and now serves as their Executive Director. His current position is as Executive Director, Federal Compliance and State Relationships for TransACT Communications.

November 5, 2018
1945 Congress St, Portland, ME 04102

November 5, 2018
Elks Lodge
108 Odlin Rd, Bangor, ME 04401

November 6, 2018
University of Maine at Machias
116 Obrien Ave, Machias, ME 04654


ESSA & Accountability: Why does accountability matter? #success4ME

Every element of our education system, including our expectations for students, how we understand if students are meeting those expectations, and how we are working with and supporting teachers and leaders, work toward the goal of ensuring all students are prepared for success after high school. Accountability is one piece of that system.

Accountability systems are intended to help us focus on what matters most, give us a better understanding of what is working well, and determine where we need to make improvements so we can help all students succeed. Just as state standards and assessments set expectations for what students should know and be able to do, state accountability systems set expectations for school performance helping schools determine next steps in accessing available supports from the state.

Statewide accountability systems set goals for achievement and growth for all schools regardless of race, income and zip code, and provide an opportunity for all stakeholders to understand school and district profile, and performance information.

Maine’s accountability system is now known as Maine’s Model of School Support. Through the implementation of the model,  Maine will identify schools eligible to receive additional supports in January 2019.

What is Maine’s Model of School Support?

Maine has moved towards a more purposeful approach to supporting Maine Schools. Maine’s Model of School Supports utilizes the following indicators:

Elementary/Middle Schools High Schools
Chronic Absenteeism Chronic Absenteeism
Academic Progress English Language Proficiency
English Language Proficiency Academic Achievement
Academic Achievement Graduation Rate

As you can see, the indicators remain a constant across grade spans with the exception of academic progress and graduation rate. Graduation rate only applies to high schools and as such is a high school model indicator. Progress can only be calculated when there are multiple years of data and this is currently only possible between grades 3-8 or Elementary/Middle level, therefore, progress is utilized in Elementary/Middle schools.

Data related to these indicators will be utilized to determine performance levels for each student population. Student populations include: white, Asian, black, two or more races, Hispanic, Native American, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, economically disadvantaged, English language learners, migrant, homeless, foster care and students with disabilities (data for bolded student groups is included in the model. Data for non-bolded student groups is used for reporting purposes only).

In order for a school to receive a performance level within the above indicators, there must be a minimum count of 10 students. If there are less than 10 students in a student group, the data is not utilized, is suppressed, and the indicator will not be applicable for that specific student group.

The method by which 2018/2019 determinations are made is a new process to Maine containing many new indicators (listed above). The Department in collaboration with stakeholders, believe the inclusion of a wide variety of indicators will provide a more comprehensive view of school success. Maine uses performance on these indicators to determine schools who would benefit from the provision of school supports. Schools determined eligible to receive supports will receive additional assistance from the state and their districts. Additional assistance and support through the Maine Department of Education will include professional development and learning, regional leadership coaching, and other supports as determined by the tier of support.

Comprehensive Supports and Interventions (CSI) or Tier III supports are determined as a result of all student populations within Title I schools experiencing challenges across all indicators within Maine’s Model of School Supports. This comprehensive support assists in accelerating  improvement schoolwide. Schools will receive supports for a period of three (3) years. These are schools similar to those identified as priority schools in Maine’s previous accountability model.

Targeted Supports and Interventions (TSI) or Tier II Supports – are determined as a result of specific student populations experiencing challenges in a specific indicator consistently for three(3) years.  These schools are similar to schools that were previously identified as Focus schools; however, under ESSA, Maine  now must identify any school with a consistently underperforming subgroup of students. Maine will not be making determinations for schools eligible for Tier II supports until the 2019/20 school year and then annually thereafter as four (4) years of data is required in order to determine three (3) years of consistently underperforming.

Additional Targeted Supports and Interventions (ATSI) or Tier I Supports – are determined as a result of a single student population(s) experiencing challenges across all indicators. These determinations will be made on an annual basis. Support is provided to schools due to a need based on the performance of at least one student group.

Upcoming articles in the DOE Newsroom will focus specifically on each of the five (5) indicators.

Questions regarding the above information can be sent to ESSA.DOE@maine.gov or Janette Kirk via email at janette.kirk@maine.gov or 624-6707.