Maine DOE Monthly – October 27, 2015

Welcome to the October issue of the Maine DOE Monthly, which provides a recap of some of the month’s most important updates from the Department.

The fall kicked off with news of Governor LePage’s appointment of Acting Education Commissioner, a conditional assessment awardee, technology micro-credentials, and the 2016 Teacher of the Year, to highlight a few.

Continue reading “Maine DOE Monthly – October 27, 2015”

Maine DOE Monthly – September 29, 2015

Welcome to the September issue of the Maine DOE Monthly, which provides a recap of some of the month’s news from the Department.

Acting Commissioner Tom Desjardin and Communications Director Anne Gabbianelli in the Cabinet Room of the State House on Sept. 23
Acting Commissioner Tom Desjardin and Communications Director Anne Gabbianelli in the Cabinet Room of the State House on Sept. 23

On Sept. 21, Acting Commissioner Tom Desjardin wrote to staff expressing his gratitude for all the well wishes he received following his accident Sept. 13.

“As you may already know, I managed to fall through the second floor of our barn and broke my back… the great news is I will likely only need to wear a big brace, sort of a cast, for about eight weeks to give my spine some time to heal. No surgery is needed. It makes my healing much easier knowing the work of DOE will continue as usual thanks to the great staff there…I can’t wait to get back to “the floor” and to working with you all again soon. See you all soon!”

-Tom Desjardin

Dispatches & Press Releases

Learning that is accessible, free and takes students into the future

The Maine Department of Education and the University of Maine at Fort Kent have announced a first-of-a-kind partnership to expand the number of options Maine students have to earn college credit while still in high school. This partnership was celebrated Wednesday, Sept. 23 at 3 p.m. in the Cabinet Room at the State House. | More

Standardized Assessment Scores for 2014-15

As Maine shifts to a proficiency-based system by 2018, the 2014-15 Smarter Balanced Assessment scores in English language arts and mathematics for grades 3 through 8 and the third year of high school are the first statewide assessment of our students’ accomplishments in meeting Maine’s college and career readiness standards. | More

Maine is one of 16 states to gain federal approval on Educator Equity Plan

The U. S. Department of Education has approved Maine’s Educator Equity Plan aimed at increasing access to excellent educators. Maine is one of only 16 states to receive approval of the required state Educator Equity Plan, filed with USDOE last month. | More

Numbers of CTE students earning postsecondary credit increases

Approximately 250 high school students enrolled in a Career and Technical Education (CTE) program will earn nearly 3,000 postsecondary credits during the 2015-16 school year. | More

Grants awarded in adult education

Making close to 500 adult students hirable is the focus of $319,000 Integrated Education and Training Pilot Grant that will be evenly split between five adult education programs spanning from Androscoggin County to Hancock and Aroostook Counties. | More

Maine DOE provides $1M in grant funds to CTE schools

Maine DOE is pleased to announce 27 Career and Technical Education schools will receive their share of $1 million in grant funds in FY 2016. | More

Cross Disciplinary Literacy Network registration now open

Maine educators are invited to register for the 2015-16 school year. This year’s CDLN plans include four webinar strands developed by Maine educators as well as two in-person opportunities offered at four regional locations. | More

Registration open for ACTEM conference

The Association of Computer Technology Educators of Maine (ACTEM) will be holding its annual statewide conference Oct. 15-16 at the Cross Center in Bangor. | More


Press Releases
From the Commissioner

Maine DOE Monthly – August 25, 2015

Welcome to the August issue of the Maine DOE Monthly, which provides a recap of some of the month’s news from the Department.

Dispatches & Press Releases

Implementing proficiency survey due

August 27 ends the month-long window for completing the 2014-2015 Progress Report: Implementing Proficiency-Based Learning and Proficiency-Based Diplomas. The Department’s goal is 100 percent participation in this survey. | More

Narrowing down the process

The Standardized Assessment Task Force and a few hundred stakeholders and educators all weighed in as the Maine DOE crafted a Request for Proposals (RFP) seeking a new vendor for the 2015-16 administration of the MEA for math and ELA/literacy. The comments and feedback were crucial to the process and helped inform the writing of the document that is in its final stages. The finalized RFP goes to the Maine State Bureau of Purchases and Sales for approval, which includes securing the Governor’s approval. After that, Maine DOE will make the RFP publicly available. | More

September release for scores

Since mid-July, preliminary spring 2015 Maine Educational Assessment (MEA) for mathematics and English language arts/literacy results have been available to schools/SAU (School Administrative Units) in the Online Reporting System (ORS). Access to the site is overseen by district/system administrators (DSA). | More

Volumes of certifications

Nearly 10,000 certifications have been processed this summer at the Maine DOE and the certification team is not done yet. These certifications include all educators’ certifications and criminal history record checks on all those in food services, transportation, adult education, driver’s education and more. | More

A summer of NEO

Over 750 people have participated in the 13 NEO data system training workshops across the state with the final two sessions wrapping up this week. The training has been crucial because the Maine DOE Data Management System (MEDMS) staff data collection has been transferred into a new system called NEO Staff. | More

NCLB report cards

The 2014-15 NCLB Report Cards were made available last week through the Maine DOE Data Warehouse. These figures provide the current levels of performance of Maine schools. The data from 2013-14 shows Maine students’ standing right now and how much progress needs to be made to meet state goals. | More

ESEA three-year waiver

After labor intensive, fast-paced work on behalf of Maine DOE staff and our legislature, the Maine DOE received a three-year waiver allowing flexibility regarding specific requirements of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). | More

Other Maine DOE accomplishments

The first six months of 2015 saw great success for the Maine DOE. The accomplishments include: successful passage of legislation, recognition for the state’s success in the transition to a computer-based assessment aligned with Maine’s updated college and career readiness standards, earning college credits while in high school, and a steady increase in graduation rates, to name a few. | More


Press Releases
From the Commissioner

Maine DOE Monthly – July 28, 2015

Welcome to the July issue of the Maine DOE Monthly, which provides a recap of some of the month’s news from the Department.

What’s next?

While we await the final results from this past spring’s statewide assessment for math and English language arts/literacy, all eyes are on what’s next. As you may recall, the legislature passed LD1276 terminating Maine’s membership in the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium. In response, a Standardized Assessment Task Force was created of Maine educators which first met in June to discuss the successes and needed areas of improvement of the last assessment. The group has since been engaged in a question and answer exchange that will act as a guide to help the Department draft a Request for Proposals (RFP). These proposals will be scored according to the RFP to determine which vendor will administer next year’s assessment. Your comments are welcome by visiting the Department’s Standardized Assessment Task Force page. | More

Verifying results

Everyone is waiting for the 2015 assessments results. Some states have already released results, but Maine school districts just received preliminary data mid-July and at this time, all information is being verified. The goal is to release the final data by the end of next month. While we want to showcase student growth in proficiency, we need to keep in mind this past year’s testing was the first, more rigorous testing of the past few years of implementing Maine’s Learning Standards, preparing for college and career readiness. | More

Collecting district progress data

A survey for SAUs on proficiency-based implementation progress is currently underway. High schools have until August 27 to complete the survey. The information collected will help the Maine DOE chart progress toward the implementation of proficiency-based diplomas. This information will be shared with the public and with lawmakers and will inform the development of additional resources and supports for districts. The progress report will also create a moment-in-time snapshot of district progress. The Department expresses its gratitude to the Maine school districts that piloted this survey. Click here to complete the survey. | More

NEO workshops & account management

NEO may sound like a new summer flick, but it’s actually Maine DOE’s new data collection system. The New Educational Ontology (NEO) has the Department hosting 13 training sessions this summer across the state which began July 21 and wraps up August 26. The feedback from these sessions so far has been healthy as the agenda includes: changes in how student enrollment is uploaded, truancy, student security, and more. Two items of particular interest are the new procedure for graduation and drop out verification allowing districts to enter their data instead of the Department, and the new staff system. With the 2015-16 school year upon us, SAUs with new staff requiring access to NEO must contact the MEDMS Helpdesk.| More

Budget numbers

Early this month, Maine DOE posted updated FY 2016 (2015-16 school year) State subsidy printouts, known as ED 279s, here on our website. This was a quick turnaround by The Department once the biennial budget (PL 2015 Ch. 267) was approved by the legislature. Maine DOE continues to provide districts guidance in how school finance statues impact their budgetary process. The Department also assists with clarifying timelines for districts to pass their budgets and keeps districts appraised of legislative action that may affect the budget process at the local level. | More

A struggling school gets a financial boost

The Washburn Elementary School in Auburn has been awarded just over $1.63 million in a federal School Improvement Grant (SIG). The Maine DOE will monitor the school’s success in raising student proficiency in math and reading over the next five years. This grant will allow the struggling PreK-6 school to enhance educator effectiveness and instruction under the leadership of a new principal. The school will also hire two Instructional Coaches, three Ed Techs, a Pre-K Instructor, a Parent Liaison and a part-time Grant Coordinator. In addition, Washburn plans to provide upward of two additional days of structured staff time to review student data to inform interventions and instruction. | More

Deadlines ahead:

Just a few days remain for these reporting items:

And more housekeeping items, listed in the last Commissioner’s Update, are:


Press Releases
From the Commissioner