Edward Little High School teacher selected for Grosvenor Teacher Fellowship Program

Erin Towns
National Geographic Grosvenor Teacher Fellow. Erin Towns from Edward Little High School in Auburn, Maine

High School teacher Erin Towns from Edward Little High School in Auburn, Maine has been selected as one of this year’s Lindblad Expeditions and National Geographic Grosvenor Teacher Fellows in recognition of her commitment to geographic education. The 2018 Fellows, a group of 40 highly respected educators from the United States and Canada, will embark on global expeditions on board the Lindblad Expedition ships for a hands-on experience for professional development.

Starting later this year, the 2018 Fellows will begin their 10 to 17 day expeditions to locations including the Canadian High Arctic, Antarctica, Southeast Alaska, Arctic Svalbard, Norway, Iceland, Greenland and the Galápagos Islands. Accompanied by Lindblad-National Geographic expedition experts, ranging from undersea specialists to National Geographic photographers, the Fellows will experience landscapes, cultures and wildlife unique to their regions of exploration.

For more information about Ms. Towns and the other fellows, check out the Grosvenor Teacher Fellows website.

Supports for Advanced Placement and College Board assessments

As part of a notification provided in September 2015, the Maine Department of Education provided guidance regarding the removal of supports provided for some assessments administered by the College Board. This included the ACCUPLACER, PSAT/NMSQT and the former Readistep.

The reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) of 2015, removed previously designated funding to support subsidies for Advanced Placement assessments.

In collaboration with the Title I Committee of Practitioners, the Department has determined that setting aside an additional 3% of Title I funds (beyond the mandated 7% for School Improvement and 1% for State Administration) was not in the best interest of all Maine students. This approach would have removed funding from each Title I school district, making it more challenging to support students in need. Maine receives the minimum Title IV allocation from the federal government, therefore State level activity funds available under Section 4104 are also not sufficient to support all students currently enrolled in Advanced Placement courses (Section 1003A and Section 4104).

The Department encourages local education agencies look to federal funds awarded to them under Titles I and IV to support students taking Advanced Placement courses and examinations. Below are options available:

  • Under ESSA, locally received ESEA Title I federal funds can be utilized to support Advanced Placement courses and assessments in Title I schools for the appropriately identified population as outlined in a comprehensive needs assessment, SAU consolidated plans or schoolwide plans.
  • Similarly, local education agencies receiving an allocation of funding under Title IV, Part A of ESSA may also utilize funds to support the costs associated with access to accelerated learning opportunities. Section 1112(b)(12) & 1112 (b) (13) Section 1114(b) (7)(A) (iii)(II) Section 4107(a)(3)(D).

Should you have further questions, please contact Janette Kirk, Deputy Director, Office of Learning Systems at 624-6707 or Janette.Kirk@maine.gov.

Due Date for Graduation and Dropout Reporting Extended to 12/21

The Department of Education has extended the due date for the Graduation and Dropout report to December 21, 2017.

Districts will gain access to the graduation module in NEO on December 4, 2017 and will have access to complete Graduation and Dropout report through December 21, 2017. Please note that there will be multiple districts that are required to submit these reports for the first time. If your district has never completed this report, be sure to check DC & R to see if it is now required.

Instructions for completing this report:

  • The reports can be accessed through DC & R or through NEO directly.
  • As a reminder, along with the attending district reporting requirements there are now responsible district reporting requirements as well.
  • Login issues: If you can log in to NEO but do not see the graduation tab or if you find that you cannot login; you will need a NEO access request form to be filled out and then signed by the superintendent. Send completed forms to the MEDMS help desk.

If you need assistance with the Graduation reports or have questions you may email Travis Wood, or call 624-6742; or email Leda Cunningham, or call 624-6897.

For other questions about NEO or the Graduation module contact Maine DOE Help Desk at MEDMS.Helpdesk@maine.gov or 207-624-6896.

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.

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.