Category Archives: Elementary School

Read to Ride Summer Reading Challenge

Summer vacation is a welcome break from the daily school routine for children and parents alike, but the summer months can be a significant interruption to students’ learning if young minds are not kept active while school is out of session. Summer learning loss is a well-documented phenomenon, particularly with respect to reading achievement. Students can lose up to three months of reading progress during the summer. When all of the summers in a child’s PK-8 school career are combined, this can result in 1-2 years of lost reading progress.

Fortunately, preventing the summer slide can be greatly reduced when students continue to read on a regular basis. When children are encouraged to read from a variety of resources for fun and the pleasure of learning, they continue to practice applying the skills they have learned, build their vocabulary and widen their knowledge of the world. For students who are not yet reading independently or just beginning to read, reading to and with them is equally beneficial.

In an effort to promote summer reading, the Maine Department of Education is collaborating with the Freemasons of Maine to sponsor the Read to Ride Summer Reading Challenge for students in grades PK-8. The 18,000 Freemasons of Maine are pleased to expand their popular statewide Bikes for Books student reading incentive program to now encourage children to read during the summer. The Bikes for Books program provides over 2,000 bikes to Maine schoolchildren each year to promote literacy. The Maine Freemasons have generously donated 48 bikes with helmets as prizes for the Read to Ride Summer Reading Challenge.

To earn a chance to be entered into the State level drawing, students must meet the challenge of reading at least 500 minutes during the summer vacation period. Any school with students in the PK-8 grade span may register to participate. Participating schools will collect documentation of students who have completed the challenge. They will hold school level drawings to select two students (one boy and one girl) whose names will be entered into the state level drawing to be held on September 22, 2017.  Schools are encouraged to participate in this challenge, to coordinate it with any other summer reading challenges/programs they offer and to consider soliciting their own local level prizes for students who complete the challenge. Details about the Read to Ride Challenge and about how principals can register schools can be found at: http://www.maine.gov/doe/literacy-for-me/summer-literacy.html. Please forward this information to your school principal to make them aware of this opportunity.

Questions may be directed to Maine DOE’s Literacy Specialist, Lee Anne Larsen, through email (leeann.larsen@maine.gov) or phone (624-6628).

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

REGISTRATION

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

Attendance Matters: Connecting For Student Success Regional Meetings

Attendance Matters! The Spring Connecting For Student Success regional meetings sponsored by ME Department of Education and Count ME In are happening statewide. You can attend a regional meeting that is convenient for you.

Lewiston -Tuesday, March 14
Portland –  Wednesday, March 22
Bangor – Monday, March 27
Caribou – Tuesday, March 28
Augusta – Thursday, April 6

Attendees will hear schools share effective strategies as well as a presentation on effective approaches to address bias and harassment . Sessions are free but registration is required.  To learn more go to www.countmeinmaine.org

Attendance Matters because early absences can affect later achievement, since students can miss some of the key building blocks for learning.  Absences add up- just two days a month can mean 18 absences a year.

To register: http://countmeinmaine.org/site/?page_id=168   For more information, please contact Sarah Ricker at sarah.ricker@maine.gov or Susan Lieberman at slieberman@countmeinmaine.org

Take the ‘Read to ME Challenge’

Augusta – Maine’s First Lady launched the Read to ME Challenge today at the Blaine House. Reflecting on how she and her husband, Governor Paul LePage, raised their children by reading to them and exploring the world through reading, Mrs. LePage shared, “I knew that when a child learns to read, there is nothing they can’t learn, imagine, or accomplish in life.”

First Lady Ann LePage reads to military children as she kicks off Maine's Read To Me Challenge

First Lady Ann LePage reads to children of military families as she kicks off Maine’s Read To Me Challenge

Reading to children of military families, the First Lady shared two books, Groovy Joe: Ice Cream and Dinosaurs and Baxter in the Blaine House, with her captive audience. Once the children studied the brilliant illustrations of the Blaine House, they were offered the chance to explore and see some of the rooms depicted in the story book. First Lady LePage challenged Brigadier General Douglas Farnum of the Maine National Guard.

Baxter in the Blaine House

Baxter in the Blaine House

The Maine DOE’s Read to ME Challenge runs through March 2, Read Across America Day. Maine DOE Literacy Specialist Lee Anne Larsen wants the momentum to last all month long. “Our goal is to promote the critical importance of reading to and with children from birth through their childhoods. When children are read to regularly, their vocabulary grows, they build knowledge of the world, they stimulate their imaginations, and they discover how words communicate ideas.”

The challenge is simple. Read with a child for at least 15 minutes, capture a photo or video, post it on social media with the hash tags #ReadtoME or #ReadaloudME, and nominate others to do the same. Creative ways of completing the challenge are encouraged – for example, read to a child using FaceTime or Skype. If preferred, you can complete the challenge by listening to audiobooks with a child.

“The enthusiasm has been building since before the launch with schools, libraries and other organizations planning innovative ways of promoting the challenge. All Mainers are encouraged to get involved,” said Larsen.

You can reach Lee Anne Larsen at leeann.larsen@maine.gov to learn more about Maine DOE’s Read to ME Challenge. Go ahead, take the challenge!

Maine DOE Prepares for Year 2 of Read to ME Challenge Campaign

During February of 2016, the Maine Department of Education’s Literacy for ME  initiative organized and promoted the Read to ME Challenge.  This simple but powerful campaign challenged adults to read to children for 15 minutes, to capture that reading episode via a photo and then post it on social media to challenge others to do the same.  Over 100 Maine schools, community literacy teams and other literacy-related organizations partnered in the 2016 campaign and the Maine DOE is hoping that many more organizations will partner in the 2017 campaign scheduled to kick off the first week of February.

Reading aloud to children is one of the most cost effective and highly beneficial methods of building children’s literate abilities.  The simple act of reading aloud to a child 15 minutes a day for five years results in 27,375 minutes of language exposure which can put children on the path to high literacy achievement.  Reading aloud exposes children to the world around them, helps them see reading as an enjoyable and valuable activity and often strengthens bonds with trusted adults.

We invite your school or organization to join the challenge and to encourage community members to do the same.  The collective voice of many key partners, leaders and those in respected positions will send a clear message about the vital importance reading to children plays in the social and economic well-being of Maine.  Maine DOE also encourages partners to be creative and to use this opportunity to enhance ongoing literacy education outreach efforts.

If your organization is willing and able to promote the Read to ME Challenge, please follow this link to provide us with your contact information: Read to ME Challenge Partner 2017Read to ME Challenge resources, including a guidance document, public service announcements, fliers and a list of engaging ways to incorporate the challenge will be available online in mid-December.

School officials and organizations with inquiries about participating in the Read to ME Challenge should contact Lee Anne Larsen at leeann.larsen@maine.gov or 624-6628.

State Assessment Results for 2015-16 Now Publicly Available

Augusta – The Maine Department of Education today released state assessment results for the 2015-2016 school year.

“We are confident in this year’s test results, and hope parents, teachers, administrators, and other interested parties will value and utilize the data gathered through the assessment process,” said Dr. Charlene Tucker, Maine DOE’s Assessment and Accountability Team Coordinator.

The public may access the results at https://lms.backpack.education/public/maine.

Key results include:

  • Assessment participation improved substantially in 2015-16.
  • 50.58% of Maine’s test takers scored At State Expectations (Level 3) or Above State Expectations (Level 4) in English language arts/literacy.
  • 38.31% of Maine’s test takers scored At State Expectations (Level 3) or Above State Expectations (Level 4) in mathematics.
  • 60.97% of Maine’s test takers scored At State Expectations (Level 3) or Above State Expectations (Level 4) in science.

For ELA/literacy and mathematics, 2015-16 is a new baseline year and should not be compared to previous years when different assessments were administered.  Based on changes made during the 127th Maine Legislature, the state used a new assessment partner to administer a different state assessment of English language arts/literacy and mathematics in 2015-16.

The new assessments adopted for 2015-2016, eMPowerME (grades 3-8) and SAT (3rd year high school), measure Maine’s college and readiness standards established in 2011. The eMPowerME assessment was delivered by computer.

Results were released later this year than initially planned due to the time necessary to establish achievement levels and process data for brand new assessments, as well as the time it takes to build a new reporting platform. Maine will use the same assessments and the same reporting system for the 2016-17 year and it is planned for results to be available in the summer of 2017.

Further detailed information on the results is available below.

_______________________________________________________
2015-16 Statewide Results for English Language Arts/Literacy

The general ELA/literacy assessment, eMPowerME, was taken by most students in grades 3-8.  Most students in the third year of high school were assessed using the SAT, which has been adopted as Maine’s ELA/literacy high school assessment.  Students with the most significant cognitive disabilities were assessed on the Multi-State Alternate Assessment (MSAA).  More information about the ELA/literacy assessments can be found here:  http://maine.gov/doe/assessment/math-ela/home.html.

2015-16 Participation (ELA/Literacy)
Of the 93,554  students eligible to participate in state assessment of ELA/literacy, 91,208 participated.  The participation rate of 97.49% is an improvement over the 2014-15 participation rate of 89.92%.  Participation is summarized here:

Eligible to Participate 93,554
Participated General (eMPowerME) 77,443
Participated General (SAT) 12,534
Participated Alternate (MSAA) 1,231
Total Participants 91,208
Participation Rate 97.49%
Percent of Participants Who Took Alternate 1.35%

2015-16 Performance (ELA/Literacy)

  Participants Well Below State Expectations Below State Expectations At State Expectations Above State Expectations
  Number Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent
eMPowerME 77,443 15,656 20.22% 23,779 30.71% 25,346 32.73% 12,662 16.35%
SAT 12,534 2,731 21.79% 2,342 18.69% 5,820 46.43% 1,641 13.09%
MSAA 1,231 345 28.03% 217 17.63% 372 30.22% 297 24.13%
TOTAL 91,208 18,732 20.54% 26,338 28.88% 31,538 34.58% 14,600 16.01%

The Maine Assessment & Accountability Reporting System (MAARS) provides additional information about the 2015-16 ELA/literacy assessment results for each school and each district, as well as for student subgroups.

MAARS is publicly accessible at:  https://lms.backpack.education/public/maine.

2015-16 Statewide Results for Mathematics

The general mathematics assessment, eMPowerME, was taken by most students in grades 3-8.  Most students in the third year of high school were assessed using the SAT.  Students with the most significant cognitive disabilities were assessed on the Multi-State Alternate Assessment (MSAA).  More information about the mathematics assessments can be found here:  http://maine.gov/doe/assessment/math-ela/home.html.

Participation (Mathematics)
Of the 93,915 students eligible to participate in state assessment of mathematics, 91,541 participated.  The participation rate of 97.47% is an improvement over the 2014-15 participation rate of 89.53%.  Participation is summarized here:

Eligible to Participate 93,915
Participated General (eMPowerME) 77,741
Participated General (SAT) 12,567
Participated Alternate (MSAA) 1,233
Total Participants 91,541
Participation Rate 97.47%
Percent of Participants Who Took Alternate 1.35%

Performance (Mathematics)

  Participants Well Below State Expectations Below State Expectations At State Expectations Above State Expectations
  Number Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent
eMPowerME 77,741 20,678 26.60% 27,049 34.79% 22,207 28.56% 7,807 10.04%
SAT 12,567 3,292 26.20% 4,885 38.87% 3,370 26.82% 1,020 8.12%
MSAA 1,233 321 26.03% 248 20.11% 367 29.76% 297 24.09%
TOTAL 91,541 24,291 26.54% 32,182 35.15% 25,944 28.34% 9,124 9.97%

The Maine Assessment & Accountability Reporting System (MAARS) provides additional information about the 2015-16 mathematics assessment results for each school and each district, as well as for student subgroups.  MAARS is publicly accessible at:  https://lms.backpack.education/public/maine.

2015-16 Statewide Results for Science

The general science assessment, MEA Science, was taken by most students in grades 3-8 and in the third year of high school. The science assessment in grades 5, 8 and the third year of high school remained unchanged for 2015-16.  The Maine Educational Assessment (MEA) for science and its alternate for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities, Personalized Alternate Assessment Portfolio (PAAP), have both assessed the progress of Maine’s students in science for many years.

More information about the science assessments can be found here:  http://maine.gov/doe/assessment/science/index.html.

Participation (Science)
Of the 40,423 students eligible to participate in state assessment of science, 38,568 participated.  The participation rate of 95.41% is an improvement over the 2014-15 participation rate of 90.36%.  Participation is summarized here:

Eligible to Participate 40,423
Participated General (MEA Science) 38,107
Participated Alternate (PAAP) 461
Total Participants 38,568
Participation Rate 95.41%
Percent of Participants Who Took Alternate 1.19%

Performance (Science)

  Participants Well Below State Expectations Below State Expectations At State Expectations Above State Expectations
  Number Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent
MEA Science 38,107 4,831 12.68% 10,022 26.30% 19,018 49.91% 4,236 11.12%
PAAP 461 74 16.05% 125 27.11% 215 46.64% 47 10.20%
TOTAL 38,568 4,905 12.72% 10,147 26.31% 19,233 49.87% 4,283 11.10%

The Maine Assessment & Accountability Reporting System (MAARS) provides additional information about the 2015-16 science assessment results for each school and each district, as well as for student subgroups.

MAARS is publicly accessible at:  https://lms.backpack.education/public/maine.

Comparing 2015-16 Results to Previous Years

  • For mathematics and ELA/literacy at grades 3-8, direct comparisons should not be made across years. While every effort was made to ensure that the 2015-16 achievement levels are at a similar level of rigor to that of the 2014-15 Smarter Balanced assessment, the tests are different in many ways, and it is unpredictable how different features of the assessments may have impacted the performance of different populations of students.
  • At the high school level, there is no comparability between the 2015-16 SAT results and the 2014-15 Smarter Balanced results.  First, the group of high school students tested in 2014-15 was seriously impacted by an opt-out trend, which was resolved in 2015-16.  Second, Maine’s SAT achievement levels were determined by a collaborative process with other states that also used the SAT as their statewide assessment in 2015-16.  Utilizing several sources of data, including the input of educators from each state, the consensus across states was to use the College Board’s College and Career Readiness Benchmark as the cut score to define the threshold between Level 2 (Below State Expectations) and Level 3 (At State Expectations).  The scores of 530 in mathematics and 480 in ELA/literacy (Evidence-Based Reading and Writing) are benchmarks that the College Board has determined predict success in college as follows:
    • Students with an SAT Math section score that meets or exceeds the benchmark have a 75 percent chance of earning at least a C in first-semester, credit-bearing college courses in algebra, statistics, pre-calculus, or calculus.
    • Students with an SAT Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (ERW) section score that meets or exceeds the benchmark have a 75 percent chance of earning at least a C in first-semester, credit-bearing college courses in history, literature, social sciences, or writing classes.
  • Science results (both PAAP and MEA Science) are fully comparable to years past.  MEA Science results over time follow:
Science Trends:  Percentage of Students Scoring at Level 3 or 4
Year Grade 5 Grade 8 3rd Year High School
2008-09 55.83% 61.99% 41.00%
2009-10 63.82% 71.83% 41.00%
2010-11 64.59% 70.82% 44.00%
2011-12 62.50% 72.10% 44.41%
2012-13 69.54% 69.98% 41.03%
2013-14 62.86% 73.12% 43.77%
2014-15 64.89% 71.06% 43.00%
2015-16 62.88% 72.97% 46.59%

Conclusions

  • Assessment participation improved substantially in 2015-16.  Science participation increased from 90.36% in 2014-15 to 95.41% in 2015-16.  ELA/literacy participation improved from 89.92% in 2014-15 to 97.49% in 2015-16.  Mathematics participation improved from 89.53% in 2014-15 to 97.47% in 2015-16.  Based on federal and state expectations, we strive for 95% participation in our assessment.
  •  For ELA/literacy and mathematics, 2015-16 is a new baseline year and should not be compared to previous years when different assessments were administered.
  • Alternate assessments are intended for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities.  The 2015-2016 alternate assessment for Maine students with the most significant cognitive disabilities, Multi-State Alternate Assessment (MSAA), was the same assessment administered in 2014-15, known then as the National Center and State Collaborative (NCSC). Under the Every Student Succeeds Act, the state is expected keep participation in alternate assessment to no more than 1.0% of the students assessed beginning with the 2016-17 assessment administration.  Maine’s 2015-16 percentages of 1.19% in science, 1.35% in mathematics, and 1.35% in ELA/literacy exceed the limit under ESSA.  The Maine DOE has provided increased training in the proper identification of students who are eligible for participation in alternate asssessments in order to improve that rate in 2015-16.
  • 50.58% of Maine’s test takers scored At State Expectations (Level 3) or Above State Expectations (Level 4) in English language arts/literacy.  This is a new baseline from which we will measure the growth of Maine’s students.
  • 38.31% of Maine’s test takers scored At State Expectations (Level 3) or Above State Expectations (Level 4) in mathematics.  This is a new baseline from which we will measure the growth of Maine’s students.
  • 60.97% of Maine’s test takers scored At State Expectations (Level 3) or Above State Expectations (Level 4) in science.  This is essentially the same as the 61% who scored at Level 3 or 4 in 2014-15.
  • The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) of 2015 provides an opportunity for Maine to rethink how supports to schools are determined and how to provide supports that are proportional to district and/or school needs. The Maine DOE is currently working with a diverse group of stakeholders to design a new accountability/school review system.  Further information regarding this process can be located at: http://maine.gov/doe/essa.
  • The data in this report is assessment data which includes all tested students.  It is not intended for accountability purposes.  Accountability reporting will follow.

Questions
Media inquiries: jamie.e.logan@maine.gov.

General assessments (eMPowerME, SAT, MEA Science):  nancy.godfrey@maine.gov

Alternate assessments (MSAA, PAAP):  sue.nay@maine.gov

Assessment policy:  charlene.tucker@maine.gov

Navigating MAARS system:  varun.motay@maine.gov

Districts asked to designate assessment coordinator

The following Priority Notice was distributed on Wednesday, Sept. 7 to superintendents requesting they identify a district assessment coordinator to coordinator and ensure a successful administration of the 2016-17 State assessments.

Dear Superintendents,

As we begin another school year, your district will again identify individuals in key roles in the NEO Staff System. On behalf of the assessment team, I am asking you to consider carefully your choice of the individual designated as the District Assessment Coordinator (DAC). While the DAC may not be directly responsible for all the details associated with the various assessments, the Maine DOE will count on this individual to be familiar with all State assessments in order to help address any issues that may occur.

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Putting Reading First in Maine videos now available online

The Putting Reading First in Maine instructional video collection, a key resource featuring reading instruction and assessment practices happening in Maine schools, is now available online. Maine educators, especially those who work in the K-5 grade span or with secondary level students in need extra assistance with reading, are encouraged to access this collection of resources for professional learning.

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Maine educators receive presidential recognition for excellence in math and science

Four Maine educators are among 213 mathematics and science teachers recognized by President Obama as recipients of the prestigious Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science (PAEMST). The educators will receive their awards at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. on September 8.

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