Update about revisions to Rule Chapter 232, expansion of CTE to middle school

Public Law Chapter 171, “An Act To Enable Earlier Introduction of Career and Technical Education in Maine Schools,” was enacted in June to expand career and technical education opportunities by requiring Maine schools to provide access to developmentally-appropriate career and technical education for middle school students (grades 6-8). The expansion of Career and Technical Education (CTE) to middle school builds on a long history of providing high-quality and industry-relevant CTE to students in high school grades 9-12.

Revision of Department of Education Rule Chapter 232, currently underway in accordance with the Administrative Procedures Act (APA) process, will provide a framework to develop and implement middle school career and technical education.

CTE centers and regions will collaborate with all schools serving students in grades 6-8 to provide CTE experiences and will be active partners in how these programs are structured and offered in the best interests of middle school students.

The Department is developing a funding plan for 2018-19 to present to the Legislature designed to ensure adequate resources for this expansion.

Once the proposed rules are adopted and the Legislature has taken action on funding, a timeline for implementation, including program approval and funding, will be made available. Schools will not be required to offer CTE for middle school students in the 2017-2018 school year but they are free to do so if they choose.

Questions may be directed to Margaret Harvey, State Director of Career and Technical Education, at 624-6739 or at Margaret.harvey@maine.gov.

Repeal and replacement of Chapter 81: Uniform School Bus Standards for Pupil Transportation in Maine

The enacted new regulations that replaced Chapter 81: Uniform School Bus Standards for Pupil Transportation in Maine and became effective on 9/16/17 can be found on the following link: http://maine.gov/doe/transportation/laws/index.html

In order to provide increased clarity and durability to its regulations relating to student transportation, the Department broke the existing Chapter 81 into six shorter regulations, Chapters 81-86. Most of the language of the former Chapter 81, with the exception of specifications, remains; however, minor changes to existing regulatory language were made in order to modernize the regulations with technical, language, and process updates to make it easier for all to understand and use.  The enacted new rules include the following updates:

  • Chapter 81 School Transportation Safety identifies uniform safety requirements that include student riding safety practices training, school bus driver entry-level training, transportation employee in-service safety training, prohibitions, school bus daily inspections, contracts, year-end transportation reports, and records retention.
  • Chapter 82 School Bus Driver Fitness Determination retains the requirement of an annual physical and adapts to federal changes by moving to use of the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Medical Examination Report Form and National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners. Please note annual physical renewal date will remain the same.
  • Chapter 83 School Transportation Operations Program establishes requirements for access to transportation operations software made available by the Department at no cost to public schools, including public charter schools, and private schools approved for the receipt of public funds.
  • Chapter 84 School Bus Refurbishment Program contains requirements derived from the existing Memorandum of Understanding between the Department and the Maine Military Authority for participation in the School Bus Refurbishment Program.
  • Chapter 85 School Bus Purchase Program retains most of the language while modernizing the regulation with technical, language, and process updates.
  • Chapter 86 Maine Uniform School Bus Specifications updates school bus specifications to align with both state and federal standards by adopting, with exceptions, the National School Transportation Specifications and Procedures 2015 as enacted by the National Congress on School Transportation.

Questions should be directed to Pat Hinckley, Transportation and Facilities Administration, at 624-6886 or pat.hinckley@maine.gov .

Revised certification rules: guidance and clarification (Chapter 115)

The revised Chapter 115 certification rules have arrived and the Maine Department of Education (DOE) is providing the following clarifications: 

  • Part I of Chapter 115 goes into effect August 12th, 2017.
  • Part II does not go into effect until July 1, 2019, including the revisions to grade spans.  For now we will continue to use the K-3, K-8, 7-12 or K-12 grade spans for certification purposes.
  • For future reference a decision has been made by the Maine Department of Education to allow individuals who have a K-8 certification to continue with that credential, as long as the credential does not lapse.   

During the fall, the Maine DOE will be making more recommendations to certification rules to further accommodate the needs of, and feedback from the educational field.

For more information contact the Maine DOE Certification office at 207-624-6603 or cert.doe@maine.gov. 

Upcoming Rulemaking to Support the Implementation of a Diploma Based on Proficiency

The Maine DOE recently submitted to the Secretary of State proposed regulation, Chapter 134, pursuant to 20-A MRS § 4722-A (Regulations for Awarding a High School Diploma). This rule chapter supports the implementation of a diploma based on proficiency, and fosters the culture of learning that makes it possible for each learner to graduate ready for next steps after secondary school.

We anticipate that a formal notice for the rulemaking will be published on July 26 (in the Bangor Daily News, Kennebec Journal, Portland Press Herald, Lewiston Sun-Journal and the Central Maine Morning Sentinel).

A public hearing will be held on August 14th in room 500 at the Cross State Office Building from 9-11 am with the deadline for public comment closing on September 8th at 5 pm.

The development of Chapter 134 has been underway since the summer of 2016 guided by the rule making requirements of the proficiency diploma law. This rule must:

  • Allow flexibility and innovation at the school and district level for  the development of  consistent graduation standards,
  • Identify the manner in which multiple pathways in career and technical education can provide evidence of proficiency in the disciplines of the content areas and Guiding Principles of Maine’s system of learning results
  • Establish criteria for the placement in career and technical education programs while ensuring all students are exposed to all content areas of the system of learning results.

For more information on the diploma based on proficiency, contact Maine Department of Education Proficiency-Based Education Specialist, Diana Doiron at diana.doiron@maine.gov or 624-6823.

Notice of proposed rule changes to Chapter 81: Uniform School Bus Standards for Pupil Transportation in Maine

The Maine Department of Education is proposing to repeal and replace Chapter 81: Uniform School Bus Standards for Pupil Transportation in Maine in order to modernize the rule.

The proposal involves four major changes:

  1. Change the format of the rule to separate the rule into shorter and cleaner regulations.
  2. Remove forms from the rule making it easier to adapt to national changes and align with the federal medical examination regulations.
  3. Update the bus specifications to meet current bus technology, standards, and specifications.
  4. Clarify safety, training, and program language to make the rule easier to interpret.

Proposed language of rule Chapters 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, and 86 can be found on the Department’s website. Written comments should be mailed to: Maine Department of Education, Attn: Pat Hinckley, 23 State House Station, Augusta, ME  04333-0023, or emailed to pat.hinckley@maine.gov. The comment deadline is Friday, Jun. 16, 2017 at 5:00 p.m.

Spring ESEA Training and Updates for ESEA Coordinators, Title Administrators and Private Schools

The Maine DOE will be providing training for Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) Coordinators and individual Title administrators who manage Federal ESEA programs and funds with responsibilities for the ESEA Consolidated Application and Performance Report. Business managers are welcome to attend.

The training day will focus on changes to Title programs and private school equitable services as a result of the implementation of Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and changes to the annual ESEA Consolidated application for funding.

The training will include:

  • Introductory program overview for each ESEA Title contained within the ESEA Consolidated Application and Performance Report
  • Guidance regarding project construction and the development of measurable outcomes
  • Allowable costs
  • Fiscal compliance
  • Private school consultation and equitable service requirements; and
  • Important reporting dates.

Tentative agenda:

8:30                      Check In – (Refreshments unavailable)

9:00                      ESEA Program Updates with Q & A

12 noon               Working Lunch (Provided with the exception of the Augusta location)

1:00                      Annual ESEA Consolidated application overview with Q & A

3:00                      Adjourn

There will be four (4) opportunities to attend the training. Please register for only one (1) date.

May 3, 2017       Jeff’s Catering, 15 Littlefield Rd, Brewer

May 4, 2017       Hampton Inn, 768 Main Street Presque Isle

May 17, 2017    Best Western Merry Manor Inn, 700 Main Street, South Portland

May 18, 2017    Augusta Armory, 179 Western Avenue, Augusta


Please register by clicking the following link: https://goo.gl/forms/Y52sIS0xUJtIUEh02  Registrations must be received by April 28, 2017

Additional questions regarding the training should be directed to Eric Buckhalter at Eric.Buckhalter@maine.gov or (207) 624- 6770.

PRIORITY NOTICE: Seeking Public Comment for the Maine Department of Education Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Consolidated State Plan

The Maine Department of Education is seeking 30 days of public comment on Maine’s ESSA State Consolidated Plan from March 1 – 30, 2017

The passage of the Every Students Succeeds Act in 2015 shifted the former Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 from a federally driven, highly prescriptive set of programs and regulations to a state determined plan to ensure a focus on equity and excellence for all students.

The U.S. Department of Education is requiring every state educational agency to submit a Consolidated State Plan. “When developing its consolidated State plan, the Department encourages each State Educational Agency to reflect on its overall vision and how the different sections of the consolidated State plan work together to create one comprehensive approach to improving outcomes for all students.”

As a result, the Maine Department of Education ESSA State Plan is based on prioritized needs identified in Maine’s existing strategic plan. This plan was stakeholder informed and driven in 2012 and correlates with the five overarching elements of the federal Consolidated Plan, which are as follows:

  1. Long-Term Goals
  2. Consultation and Performance Management
  3. Academic Assessments
  4. Accountability, Support, and Improvement for Schools
  5. Supporting Excellent Educators
  6. Supporting All Students

By this integration the Department is utilizing the ESSA Plan as the enhancement mechanism to move Maine’s educational priorities forward.

The Department engaged over 40 Maine educators representing different stakeholder groups to serve as members of the ESSA Advisory and Workgroup teams to examine the components of the consolidated application pertinent to their focus area and to discuss potential recommendations for each specific component.

 Please note the changes which may affect the final format of  plan:

  • Possible changes in the ESSA Accountability federal regulations
  • Changes to the Consolidated Plan template indicated by the U. S Department of Education Secretary Devos on February 13, 2017 to reflect only those components that are “absolutely necessary”.

The Full Maine Consolidated State Plan
The Executive Summary (Includes an introductory letter from Acting Commissioner Hasson)

Comments may be submitted to: ESSA.DOE@maine.gov

Guidance on general education interventions for public preschool children

The Maine Department of Education (DOE) is providing this guidance to ensure that all Maine school administrative units (SAU) receive direction on general education interventions for public preschool children.

As required by Maine DOE rules, Code of Maine Regulations (05-071 CMR Chapter 101, II, 2015) all SAUs shall develop and implement general education interventions. It is the Department’s interpretation that these requirements are for all children enrolled in your SAU, including children in your public preschool program(s). The Maine DOE also expects that general education interventions are utilized prior to making a referral to Child Development Services (CDS) and that any general education intervention data is shared when making a referral to CDS.

For more information, please contact the Department’s Director of Special Services Janice Breton at janice.breton@maine.gov or 624-6676.

Proposed changes to Chapter 115, “Certification, Authorization and Approval of Education Personnel”

On April 6, 2016 the Maine Department of Education received a letter from the US Department of Education, Office of Special Education which reflected the impact of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) on the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Part B application. ESSA reactivated an IDEA statutory provision which requires that special education teachers be fully certified. The Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) is requiring that Maine amend the Chapter 115 regulations by June 30, 2017 to come into compliance with the reactivated IDEA statutory provision. As Department staff began to address the OSEP concerns it became evident that there were components of Chapter 115 that need to be revised for all educators. The State Board of Education voted unanimously at its Oct. 12 meeting to initiate the joint rulemaking process with the Department.

Continue reading “Proposed changes to Chapter 115, “Certification, Authorization and Approval of Education Personnel””

Blue Ribbon Commission To Meet Monday, October 17

Augusta – The next meeting of the Commission to Reform Public Education Funding and Improve Student Performance in Maine will be held on Monday, Oct. 17 at 9:00 a.m. at the Lewiston Regional Technical Center. The Lewiston Regional Technical Center is located at 156 East Avenue in Lewiston. A copy of the meeting agenda and documents relating to the Commission’s work will be posted here as they are made available.

Continue reading “Blue Ribbon Commission To Meet Monday, October 17”