Maine DOE Monthly – June 23, 2015

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

Summer Calendar Items

Following the success of the February webinar and regional schoolwide information sessions, the Maine DOE continues to provide guidance to Title I schools as they complete their Annual Schoolwide Plan Review, due July 1. Read more

Beginning with the 2015-16 school year, all staff charged with data collection must attend a training session as MEDMS transitions to NEO. Register here

The 2015 MLTI Summer Institute is slated for July 21-23 at Bowdoin College in Brunswick. Don’t miss out. Register here

And planning into the fall, the Maine DOE will be offering an evidence-based practice IEP Goal Writing for College, Career and Community Readiness work shop. Read more

Aiming for a Healthy Summer

The Maine DOE is helping with nourishment for the brain and body this summer with its Literacy for ME and Summer Foods Program. A host of schools in low-income areas across the state are summer meal sites. Find a summer meal site

Avoid what’s called the “summer slide,” with a good book or two. The Maine DOE’s Literacy for ME initiative has resources to support summer literacy listed here.

Congratulations Are In Order

Accolades go to teachers and their students alike this past school year. Two state finalists were honored by Maine DOE for the 2014 Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching Mathematics and Science (PAEMST). Read more

A national nonprofit group devoted to the teaching and learning of American history named Cyndi Broyer of New Suncook Elementary School in Lovell, as the 2015 Maine History Teacher of the Year. Read more

Who will be named The 2016 Maine Teacher of the Year? Read about the semi-finalists here.

Twenty six of Maine’s top Career & Technical Education students were honored. Their names and fields of study are listed here.

Thirty three students were honored by the Maine Humanities Council for the 2015 Letters About Literature contest. Read more

Read on for a roundup of other recent updates from the Department and as always, stay tuned to our Newsroom and weekly Commissioner’s Updates for the latest news you can use from the Maine DOE.

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Maine DOE Monthly – April 30, 2015

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

There are incredible things happening in Maine schools, several of which we recently spotlighted as part of our commitment to celebrating the state’s students and educators. For the fifth straight year, our high school graduation rate was up and State and federal data shows Maine is closing achievement gaps as graduation rates among economically disadvantaged students, those with disabilities and some minorities are on the rise and above national averages. This month we also recognized 21 schools for their high performance or progress as measured by our federally required accountability system and honored 14 teen mentors and 21 student artists.

Read on for a roundup of other recent updates from the Department and as always, stay tuned to our Newsroom and weekly Commissioner’s Updates for the latest news you can use from the Maine DOE.

Dispatches & Press Releases

Maine high school graduation rates up, achievement gaps down

AUGUSTA – Maine’s high school graduation rate has hit an all-time high, as has the percentage of students who are either economically disadvantaged or have a disability and are earning their diploma in four years. | More

Maine DOE recognizes reward schools

Nearly two-thirds of the reward schools have more than 50 percent of their students qualifying for free or reduced price lunch, proving that all students are capable of achieving academic success when schools put in place the appropriate supports and strategies to help them overcome challenges. | More

Maine DOE specialists support improvement initiatives at newly identified schools

The Department’s School Improvement Team is continuing to provide support and technical assistance to help raise student achievement at the state’s schools, including those recently identified as priority, focus and monitor under Maine’s federally required accountability system. | More

Governor LePage and Barbara Bush Foundation For Family Literacy honor teen mentors

Governor Paul R. LePage and Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy President and CEO Liza McFadden honored 14 teen mentors with Excellence Awards in leadership and service during a recent recognition ceremony at the Blaine House. | More

Maine student artwork selected for MLTI screensavers

Twenty-one student artists will have an audience of more than 70,000 students and educators for their artwork starting this fall. | More

2015 Educator Talent Pool recommendations due May 1

The Maine DOE is accepting recommendations for the 2015 Maine Educator Talent Pool through May 1. | More

New early childhood learning and development standards released by Maine DOE, DHHS

The Maine Departments of Education and Health and Human Services have released Maine’s Early Learning and Development Standards (MELDS), which outline what children should know and be able to do by the end of preschool. | More

Maine DOE releases online public preschool application

The Maine DOE has created a new online application form that will make it easier for districts to apply for State approval of new or expanding public preschool programs. | More

Maine DOE seeks surrogate parents to support students with disabilities

The Maine DOE is seeking volunteers to serve as surrogate parents for children with disabilities in educational matters. | More

Maine DOE opens registration for 30th annual school wellness conference

Maine schools are invited to attend the 30th Annual Maine DOE Schoolsite Health Promotion & Wellness Conference from Wednesday, June 24 through Friday, June 26 at Sugarloaf. | More

May 20 workshop to focus on supporting young children with autism

The Maine DOE is encouraging educators to attend a May 20 workshop entitled Language and Communication for Young Children with Autism. | More

Migrant Education Program’s Blueberry Harvest School wins state environmental award

The Blueberry Harvest School has been named the winner of the Maine Environmental Education Association Excellence in Environmental Education Program Award. | More

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Maine DOE Monthly – February 24, 2015

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

This may be the shortest month but the Maine DOE got a lot done to better support Maine schools as they work to ensure every learner has the opportunity to reach their full potential. Just yesterday, we sent out a detailed letter to inform educators about our Department’s renewed efforts to support the continued quality implementation of key initiatives that will improve teaching and learning in Maine. Our daily work throughout February reinforced that commitment. We began technical assistance visits to more than 50 schools to help their transition to proficiency; released preliminary ED 279s for FY16 that reflect increased funding for education; and provided new resources to help schools prepare for the spring statewide assessment administration including training videos, a secure mobile browser and keyboard flexibility.

Read on for a roundup of other recent updates from the Department and as always, stay tuned to our Newsroom and weekly Commissioner’s Updates for the latest news you can use from the Maine DOE.

Dispatches & Press Releases

Maine DOE renews efforts to support local change

The Department is sensitive to the amount of work at the local level required to effectively implement initiatives that will better prepare students for success in college, career and civic life and outlines its commitments to make that implementation both high quality and manageable. | More

Commissioner visits Auburn schools

Maine’s Acting Education Commissioner returned earlier this month to the Auburn schools he once attended to learn about their efforts to improve outcomes and to inspire students with his own story. | More

Maine DOE recommends, rather than requires, assessment keyboards

The Maine DOE is pleased to announce that mechanical keyboards will no longer be required for the online administration of the new Maine Educational Assessment for Mathematics and English Language Arts/Literacy. | More

Maine DOE begins visits to schools to support proficiency-based diploma efforts

The Maine DOE will visit more than 50 districts to provide targeted technical assistance to schools preparing to award proficiency-based diplomas. | More

Preliminary FY2016 State subsidy printouts available

The Maine DOE has released preliminary FY 2016 (2015-16 school year) State subsidy printouts, known as ED 279s, on its website at www.maine.gov/doe/eps/. These preliminary amounts are based on Governor LePage’s proposed two-year budget that increases funding for Maine schools and students and assumes State payment directly to public charter schools as proposed in LD 235. | More

Department seeks feedback on ESEA waiver in advance of renewal

In preparation for Maine’s application for a renewal of its existing ESEA waiver, the Department is seeking feedback on how the State’s current accountability and improvement system is serving Maine’s students and schools. | More

Maine DOE posts video of assessment administration training

Maine educators who will be helping to administer the upcoming online State assessment but couldn’t attend one of the Department’s recent regional workshops can now see the entire training online. The Maine DOE has posted a four-hour video on its YouTube channel filmed at the southern Maine workshop session on Friday, Jan. 16. | More

iOS 8 compatible secure browser available for assessment administration

An iOS 8 compatible secure browser application that will be used for the upcoming administration of the Maine Educational Assessment for Mathematics and English Language Arts/Literacy is now available. | More

Governor LePage proclaims February Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month

Governor Paul R. LePage is requesting Mainers observe Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month this February. | More

Maine recognizes Career and Technical Education Month

Students and educators across Maine are joining those across the nation during the month of February to celebrate national Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month. | More

Outstanding educators sought for Maine talent pool

The Maine DOE is seeking recommendations through May 1 for the 2015 Maine Educator Talent Pool. | More

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Maine DOE Monthly – January 28, 2015

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

It’s been a busy start to 2015 here at the Maine DOE. With the administration window for the new Maine Educational Assessment for Mathematics and English Language Arts/Literacy developed by Smarter Balanced opening soon, we continue to release resources to ensure students and schools are prepared for success including practice and training tests and this video of our recent regional assessment administration workshops. We also announced our proposal to improve how Maine’s public charter schools are funded, shared the final report of the so-called EPS Commission and passed along new resources to support the local development of educator evaluation systems.

As we work toward ensuring there is a great teacher in every Maine classroom, it’s important to recognize the effective educators in our schools who are working tirelessly every day to help students reach their full potential. Last week the Department announced that through Feb. 20, Mainers can submit online nominations for the 2016 Maine Teacher of the Year. Last year we received a record number of nominations (nearly 400) and we hope to surpass that this year.

Finally this month, we welcomed educator, author and former Governor LePage Senior Policy Advisor Tom Desjardin as our new Acting Commissioner and veteran educator and Auburn School Department Multiple Pathways Director Mike Muir as our new Learning Through Technology Team Director.

Read on for a roundup of other recent updates from the Department and as always, stay tuned to our Newsroom and weekly Commissioner’s Updates for the latest news you can use from the Maine DOE.

Dispatches & Press Releases

Nominations sought for 2016 Maine Teacher of the Year

Members of the public can enter educators who demonstrate a commitment to excellence and nurturing the achievement of all students at www.mainetoy.org through Feb. 20. | More

LePage Administration proposes public charter school funding fix

The LePage Administration is proposing legislation that would have the Maine DOE make monthly payments directly to approved public charter schools starting in FY16, the same way the Department has long distributed funds to traditional public school districts. | More

EPS Commission releases final report

The Commission to Strengthen the Adequacy and Equity of Certain Cost Components of the School Funding Formula has released its final report. | More

Tom Desjardin named Acting Education Commissioner

Tom Desjardin has been appointed by Governor Paul R. LePage as Acting Education Commissioner. An 11th generation Mainer and a graduate of Edward Little High School, he earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Florida State University and has a Ph.D. in U.S. History from the University of Maine at Orono. | More

Mike Muir joins Maine DOE as Learning Through Technology Team Director

The Maine DOE has selected one of the state’s leading learning technology integrators and a 30-year veteran educator to head its Learning Through Technology Team, which administers the groundbreaking 1:1 Maine Learning Technology Initiative (MLTI). | More

Department releases new online resources to support spring MEA administration

The Maine DOE continues to support schools as they prepare for a successful spring administration of the new online Maine Educational Assessment for Mathematics and English Language Arts/Literacy and has recently added new resources to its website. | More

Smarter Balanced practice, training tests now available

Smarter Balanced practice and training tests are now available to help schools better prepare students for the statewide spring assessment. | More

Maine DOE releases new educator effectiveness resources

The Maine DOE is releasing additional new resources to support the development and implementation of Performance Evaluation and Professional Growth (PEPG) systems. The new resources build upon those released last month and include Leader Evaluation and Professional Growth (LEPG) modules and a presentation specifically for special educators. | More

Maine DOE adopts rules to strengthen public preschool programs

Rule Chapter 124: Basic Approval Standards: Public Preschool Programs has been formally adopted by the Department of Education and took effect Dec. 28. | More

Maine to develop plan to ensure equitable access to effective educators

The Maine DOE is continuing its work to ensure an effective teacher in every classroom and an effective leader in every school. In the coming months, the Department will engage stakeholders in conversations to inform the development of a four to seven year state plan to provide all students with effective educators. | More

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Maine DOE Monthly – December 30, 2014

Welcome to the December issue of the Maine DOE Monthly.

With the administration window for the new Maine Educational Assessment for Mathematics and English Language Arts/Literacy developed by Smarter Balanced just a few months away, the Department has been busy releasing resources to ensure students and schools are prepared for success. In December we announced that we’d hired one of Maine’s foremost learning technology leaders to provide assessment implementation technical support; launched a website and portal with administration calendars, tools, and practice and training tests; and scheduled regional workshops for district and school test administrators.

This month we also shared the good news that the Maine DOE had received $14.8 million to support the expansion of locally driven preschool programs and provided clarification on what the expectations are of local districts following the passage of preschool legislation earlier this year. And, in light of several high profile security threats, we reminded districts of the Department’s existing resources to keep schools safe.

Read on for a roundup of other recent updates from the Department and as always, stay tuned to our Newsroom and weekly Commissioner’s Updates for the latest news you can use from the Maine DOE.

Please note: The Department will not be distributing our weekly Commissioner’s Update this Thursday, Jan. 1 as our offices will be closed for the New Year’s holiday. Expect to receive the next Commissioner’s Update on Thursday, Jan. 8 and the next Maine DOE Monthly on Tuesday, Jan. 27.


Dispatches & Press Releases

Maine DOE awarded $14.8 million to help expand public preschool access

In total, 33 new classrooms will be created with the funding and most will open next September, adding to Maine’s existing 205 classrooms serving 4-year-old students. Another 23 classrooms already in operation will be expanded so students can attend five days a week for the full day. | More

Department offers clarification of public preschool program requirements

The Maine DOE has received many inquiries from school district personnel seeking clarification on the public preschool legislation passed last spring. | More

Maine DOE provides resources to help schools keep students safe

In light of several high profile incidents in Maine involving threats to schools, the Department is reminding districts of the many resources it has already available to support schools in their ongoing efforts to keep students safe. | More

Maine DOE hires learning technology leader to assist with online assessment implementation

Andy Wallace will work with the Department to develop technology related resources and provide support to schools to ensure they are ready to successfully administer the Maine Educational Assessment for Mathematics and English Language Arts/Literacy developed by the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC). | More

Maine DOE launches web resources for assessment

The Maine DOE has launched a new section on its website with resources related to the new online Maine Educational Assessment for Mathematics and English Language Arts/Literacy as well as a portal developed by its vendor for assessment administration. | More

Maine DOE offers regional assessment administration workshops in January

The Maine DOE is offering four regional workshops in January to support school districts as they prepare for the spring administration of the Maine Educational Assessment for Mathematics and English Language Arts/Literacy developed by the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium. | More

Interim assessments available next month

The new Maine Educational Assessment (MEA) for Mathematics and English Language Arts/Literacy developed by the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) is part of a comprehensive assessment system with multiple components, including  two types of interim assessments for optional classroom use that will be available on Jan. 27. | More

Maine DOE releases scheduling guidance for new State assessment

To support district and school testing coordinators in their planning for the spring 2015 administration of the Maine Educational Assessment in Mathematics and English Language Arts/Literacy, the Maine DOE has posted scheduling guidelines on the assessment section of its website. | More

Consortium sets new assessment achievement levels

These initial achievement levels establish a new baseline for measuring college and career readiness and were developed with input from thousands of educators and members of the public including many from Maine. | More

Maine DOE releases resources to support new educator evaluation system development

The Maine DOE has released new online resources to support school administrative units (SAUs) in designing and implementing Performance Evaluation and Professional Growth (PEPG) systems. | More

Department provides resources from principals as instructional leaders workshops

The resources provided by the Maine DOE during its November regional workshops focused on principals as instructional leaders are now available on the Department’s website. | More

Collaboration continues to develop policies to support implementation of proficiency-based diplomas

Collaborations begun last year to develop sample policies that can be used by districts to support their local implementation of systems that support the awarding of proficiency-based diplomas are continuing across Maine. | More

Maine joins New England states to create common system for reporting on educational performance

A consortium of states including Maine has released two years of reports created under a first of its kind regional common data project. | More

Student art submissions sought for MLTI screensaver contest

The Maine DOE is seeking artwork created by students to feature next year on the screensavers of the thousands of devices it provides to Maine schools through the Maine Learning Technology Initiative (MLTI). | More

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