Maine’s Comprehensive Needs Assessment and SAU Consolidated Plan Template announced – regional training sessions available

The Maine Department of Education now has available a template for School Administrative Units (SAU) and schools to utilize when completing a Comprehensive Needs Assessment (CNA) and School Administrative Unit (SAU) Consolidated Plan as required under the recently reauthorized Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).

The intent of the Comprehensive Needs Assessment and SAU Consolidated Plan template document is to prevent the duplication of work and reporting to the Maine Department of Education from SAUs while meeting necessary requirements under Elementary and Secondary Education (ESEA) Federal Programs, SAU Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Consolidated Plans, and Schoolwide Application for Title I Schools.  This revised process will make for a more purposeful and meaningful approach to leveraging state, local and federal funding, inform data driven decisions and move away from a compliance mindset.

The template document has been constructed with representatives from Special Services, School Improvement, Student & School Supports and Federal Programs to ensure alignment and collaboration across programs. Section 1112 (a-b) of the ESEA as amended by the ESSA in conjunction with Chapter 125, Section 4 of Maine Statute stipulates a SAU Consolidated Plan is required to be submitted to the Maine Department of Education for approval.

Completed SAU Consolidated Plans must be submitted to the Maine Department of Education on or before July 1, 2018. The utilization of the CNA and SAU Consolidated Plan template will ensure all required elements are included.

In order to support SAUs with the completion of the SAU Consolidated Plan, the Department has developed the following Regional Training Schedule to support the SAU completion of the Comprehensive Needs Assessment. Registration can be completed through the session title hyperlinks below.

Introduction to the Needs Assessment Process

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

8 AM – 11:30 AM Lewiston School Department Central Office, Dingley Building

1 PM – 4 PM Augusta, Cross State Office Building, Room 103

Friday, September 29, 2017

10 AM – 2 PM Brewer, Jeff’s Catering

Data Support

Monday, October 2, 2017

8AM – 11:30 AM Lewiston School Department Central Office, Dingley Building

1 PM – 4 PM Augusta, Cross State Office Building, Room 103

Thursday, October 19, 2018

10 AM – 2 PM Brewer, Jeff’s Catering

A guidance document is also available to SAUs. This document provides guiding questions for SAUs to ponder and respond to when completing the CNA. The SAU Consolidated Plan will be developed after the CNA is completed. A copy of the Comprehensive Needs Assessment and SAU Consolidated Plan template and the guidance document can be accessed on Maine’s ESSA webpage at the following location: http://maine.gov/doe/essa/

In order to register for the upcoming professional development sessions, please click on the hyperlinks included below. By clicking on the appropriate link you will be brought to a registration form.

Introduction to the Needs Assessment Process

Data Support

For further information please contact:

Janette Kirk

Federal Programs & Title I Director

(207) 624-6707

Janette.Kirk@maine.gov

Update about participation in the Multi-State Alternate Assessment (MSAA)

Using the October 1, 2017 enrollment counts, the Maine Department of Education will calculate the percentage of students in each district that have been identified as students eligible to take Multi-State Alternate Assessment (MSAA), Maine’s MEA Alternate Mathematics and English language arts/literacy assessment.

Districts are encouraged to use the participating guidelines http://www.maine.gov/doe/alternate/resources.html to ensure all students identified meet the criteria to participate in alternate assessments.  All districts with more than one percent of their students identified in the testing grades, 3 – 8 and third year high school will be notified by the Department as being above the current Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) 1% cap and given an opportunity to reassess their numbers.

The final date for resubmission of student identification or justification for a district above the 1% is November 15th.

Assistance to look at student’s achievement levels in MAARS, identifying a student’s status in Synergy and an overview of the participation criteria for the alternate assessment will be given at the MADSEC conference on Friday, November 3, 2017.

For more information on participation in alternate assessments contact Sue Nay at sue.nay@maine.gov or 624-6774.

MaineCare Q417 Seed report review delayed

The MaineCare Q417 Seed reports that are regularly scheduled for School Administrative Units (SAU) to review claims for accuracy will be delayed.

Currently the Department is working to move all MaineCare reports to Maine DOE’s NEO MaineCare modular as part of the other Maine DOE system wide changes. Once the reports have been moved to NEO, additional communication will be forthcoming and will include new instructions for SAUs to access the quarterly MaineCare reports.

This will change the scheduled MaineCare Seed recovery from October to November 2017.

Please direct any questions to Denise Towers at Denise.towers@maine.gov.

Free research-based curriculum regarding transition services to students with emotional disabilities

For those interested, there is a unique opportunity for schools to receive a free research-based curriculum regarding transition services to students with emotional disabilities.  This curriculum is being offered by the National Technical Assistance Center on Transition and UMass Medical School. Participating schools will receive a stipend for utilizing and evaluating the program. 

More detailed information about this opportunity click on this link to download an information sheet: http://www.maine.gov/doe/specialed/support/technical/documents/TransitionCurriculaInfoSheetfromNTACT.docx or contact Roberta Lucas, Maine DOE Federal Program Coordinator at Roberta.Lucas@maine.gov.

New Resource for Discussions about Special Education Services

The Maine Department of Education is notifying educators, parents and others about a new resource, Five Questions Parents and Educators Can Ask to Start Conversations About Using Terms like Learning Disabilities, Dyslexia, Dyscalculia, and Dysgraphia that might be especially useful for those who talk with parents about children with specific learning disabilities.

This resource is designed to help with terms used in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) to describe children who have a disability in reading, writing, or math – also sometimes referred to as dyslexia, dyscalculia, and dysgraphia.  The guidance might assist parents and educators when discussing eligibility for special education services.

For more information, contact Janice E. Breton, Director of Special Services Birth – 20, Maine Department of Education  janice.breton@maine.gov.

U.S. Senate Youth Program Application Deadline is Oct. 6

U.S. Senate Youth Program Application Deadline is Oct. 6

The United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP), established in 1962, is a unique educational experience for outstanding high school students. Each year, two student leaders from each state, the District of Columbia and the Department of Defense Education Activity spend a week in Washington, D.C., experiencing their national government in action. Student delegates hear major policy addresses by senators, cabinet members, officials from the Departments of State and Defense and directors of other federal agencies. Delegates also participate in a meeting with a justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. In addition, each delegate will be awarded a $10,000 college scholarship. All transportation, hotel and meal expenses are provided by the Hearst Foundations.

Maine delegates are nominated by their principal and must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  1. Students are permanent residents of the U.S., and one of their parents or guardians is a legal resident of Maine.
  2. Students are juniors or seniors in a Maine school.
  3. Students must have been elected or appointed to one of the following posts for the current school year:
    • Member or officer of student council, student senate or equivalent student government organization
    • Class officer – president, vice president, secretary or treasurer
    • Student representative on a district-, regional- or state-level civic and/or educational organization

Informational packets and specific instructions were mailed to high school principals and headmasters in August. Each principal may nominate one eligible student for consideration.

Oct. 6 is the deadline for completed applications to be sent via postal mail to: Joe Schmidt, USSYP Coordinator; Maine Department of Education; 23 State House Station; Augusta, Maine 04333.

On Oct. 20 up to 10 finalists will be notified of advancement to the final round, then in November the 10 finalists will convene at the Margaret Chase Smith Library in Skowhegan for interviews with a selection committee. The two finalists and two alternates will be announced in December.

Find Application materials and more information about the USSYP.

MEDIA RELEASE: Maine DOE announces $5 million available for regional grant opportunities

The State of Maine has announced a competitive grant opportunity for the Fund for Efficient Delivery of Educational Services (FEDES) to assist in financing the cost of local and regional initiatives to improve educational opportunity and student achievement through more efficient delivery of education programs and services.

The FEDES grant opportunity is part of the Maine DOE’s ongoing EMBRACE initiative which provides new opportunities for regionalization.

“Our goal is to provide more opportunities to students and increase their chances for achievement and success. We hope this funding opportunity will give districts the chance to get creative in thinking about new possibilities for students in their area,” said Maine Department of Education Commissioner, Robert G. Hasson, Jr.

$5 million in funding is available in 2017. An additional $5 million will be available in 2018– at this time a separate application will be available.

Important information about FEDES:

  • RFP # 201708145 – Fund for the Efficient Delivery of Educational Services can be downloaded from the Division of Purchases website.
  • An online/telephone Information Session will be held on September 26, 2017 at 3:00pm – connection details are listed in the RFP.

In addition to the FEDES grant, the Maine DOE is also offering other supports for districts who want to form a regional service center. Through a regional service center, districts can share a set of services and get direct funding from the State for the center.

For more information about FEDES and regional service centers visit: http://www.maine.gov/doe/embrace/Funding.html

For further questions contact Maine DOE Regionalization Project Manager, Jennifer Pooler Jennifer.G.Pooler@maine.gov.

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MEDIA RELEASE: Maine’s Every Student Succeeds Act approved by U.S. Dept. of Education

In a letter from the United States Department of Education last week, the Maine Department of Education was notified of the approval of Maine’s consolidated state plan under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

Signed by President Obama in 2015, ESSA is a bipartisan measure that reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the nation’s national education law and longstanding commitment to equal opportunity for all students. Maine’s ESSA plan provides alternative measures for many of the regulations put into place by No Child Left Behind.

“Maine’s ESSA plan is moving away from compliance and regulation toward a model that supports and assists schools and educators, especially in areas where students are at a disadvantage,” said Maine Department of Education Commissioner, Robert G. Hasson, Jr.

Highlights of Maine’s Plan:

  • Creates a three-tiered system of support for schools based on performance, with the highest level of support offering coaching and mentoring to teach effective strategies for school turnaround, in addition to increased funding for staff professional development.
  • Plans to reduce the number of non-proficient students in half by 2030.
  • Leverages requirements across Federal programs and state statute to implement a single comprehensive needs assessment/SAU Consolidated Plan template to assist and support local school districts in the blending and braiding local, state and federal funds to increase the achievement and growth of students.
  • Provides a collaborative cross Department approach to promote and encourage the integration and alignment between state and local initiatives to support local school districts.

The approval letter, other correspondence, and the final consolidated plan can be found on the U.S. Department of Education’s website.

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Schoolwide Programs and Consolidation of Funds

To facilitate the inclusion of students with disabilities in schoolwide programs, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and its implementing regulations  allow school administrative units (SAUs) to use a portion of the funds they receive under Part B of IDEA to fund schoolwide programs. In accordance with Title I, Part A, as amended by ESSA, schoolwide programs are comprehensive reform strategies aimed at raising the achievement levels of all students.

Those schools that have an approved schoolwide plan in accordance with Title I, part A, and have poverty rates of at least 40 percent, may wish to utilize Part B funds for their schoolwide plans. The amount of Part B funding used for a schoolwide program must be calculated. Those funds may not exceed the amount of Part B funds received by the SAU for that fiscal year, divided by the number of children with disabilities in the SAU, and multiplied by the number of children with disabilities participating in the schoolwide program. Additionally, children with disabilities in the schoolwide funding must receive services in accordance with their IEPs and be afforded all the rights and services guaranteed to children with disabilities under the IDEA.

For more information, contact Janette Kirk, ESEA Director-Title I at janette.kirk@maine.gov,, Jackie Godbout, Title I Consultant at Jackie.Godbout@maine.gov or Janice E. Breton, State Director of Special Services Birth to 20, at Janice.Breton@maine.gov.

Fostering Music and Movement in Early Childhood Classrooms

The Maine Department of Education invites you to be part of a brand new professional development opportunity, “Fostering Music and Movement in Early Childhood Classrooms”. Early Childhood Specialist, Sue Reed, and Visual and Performing Arts Specialist, Beth Lambert, are looking for teachers who want to energize their teaching and learning through focusing on music and movement in the public preschool classroom.  Applicants must apply in teams of two: one Public Preschool teacher and one music or performing arts teacher from the same district. The music/performing arts teacher must currently teach at the elementary level.

Under the expertise of Early Childhood facilitator, Ellie Libby, and Early Childhood Arts facilitator, Judy Fricke, teams will work on building a collaborative partnership to ensure that preschool students receive a musical and movement filled learning experience. Public preschool teachers will learn the research as to why music and movement is important in a preschool classroom and how it encompasses Maine’s Early Learning and Development Standards and how to include music and movement into their daily routines. Music and performing arts teachers will learn developmentally appropriate pedagogical approaches to teaching music and movement to our youngest learners. Teams will be expected to practice new pedagogy in between sessions and document their experience. As a culmination of their work, participants will create a presentation to share with their school community.

The training is free and each team selected will receive $650 worth of equipment and supplies for their classroom. The cohort will meet at Educare in Waterville on October 17th, January 10th, March 6th, and May 15th 8:30-3pm.

If you are interested in participating fill out an application. Only one application is necessary per team. If you have any questions contact Visual and Performing Arts Specialist, Beth Lambert at beth.lambert@maine.gov or Early Childhood Specialist, Sue Reed at susan.d.reed@maine.gov.