Category Archives: News & Views

Greater Technology Grant Flexibility Proposed

The Department announced on March 15th that many of the schools ending their 2013 MLTI participation in June would be eligible for grants to continue providing 1:1 mobile computer devices to their students and staff.

The grants are available for:

  • Students and staff in 7th and 8th grades, where the school did not refresh its devices in 2016 students;
  • High school staff in schools where students are provided 1:1 mobile devices at local expense, provided their MLTI participation ends in June; and
  • High school staff in schools that have not participated in MLTI before, if they provide 1:1 mobile devices for their students at local expense.

The prior announcement focused on grants to continue 1:1 device programs, which is the intent of the program. In response to inquiries from technology directors and schools that wish to pursue more innovative approaches to achieving the same objectives as a 1:1 program, the Department is refining our guidance.

With this announcement, the Department is expanding the types of educational technology that can be funded by the grants.

The Department is seeking a statutory change that will allow more flexible use of these grant funds. Pending that change, the Department will fund 1:1 programs as well as programs that do not provide devices on a 1:1 basis. The focus of the programs must be on integrating technology into the classroom, for the purpose of enhancing student outcomes, and may include hardware, software, educational materials and support for educators in the use of technology in teaching.  Schools will be asked to explain how student learning will be enhanced by the program, and how they will measure that enhancement.

Eligible schools may apply for the 1:1 program or the alternate program (not limited to 1:1). If the statutory change needed to authorize use of funds for the alternate program is not approved, those schools may re-apply for a grant for a 1:1 program.

Application materials are posted on the MLTI Website. For additional information; contact Deb Friedman, MLTI Project Manager at 624-6834 or deborah.friedman@maine.gov.

MEDIA ADVISORY: 2017 Maine Farm to School Cook-Off FINALS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Rachel Paling (207) 624-6747 or rachel.paling@maine.gov

What: 2017 Maine Farm to School Cook-Off is a Maine Department of Education event that is part of the State’s child nutrition projects and follows legislation to support healthy meals in schools. During the event local school food service teams prepare a breakfast and lunch meal within a specific time frame using at least two ingredients that are grown, raised, caught, or manufactured in the State of Maine and meet National School Breakfast and Lunch Program requirements as well as one USDA food. As an added twist Maine wild blueberries and Maine potatoes will be used as “challenge” ingredients in the competition. This is the final event of the 2017 Farm to School Cook-Off.

Who: School food service teams from RSU 52 (Turner) and Yarmouth will be competing. Judges include a Freeport High School student, a school nutrition director and a professional chef.

Where/When:
Wednesday, April 26th
Freeport High School
1:00pm start time (cooking begins at 1:30pm)

Members of the media are welcome to attend the competition but are asked to notify Maine DOE Director of Communications, Rachel Paling at rachel.paling@maine.gov or call 624-6747 ahead of time. These competitions are NOT open to the public.

MEDIA ADVISORY – Maine Visual and Performing Arts Education Celebration at 2:00 PM on April 25th

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Rachel Paling (207) 624-6747 or rachel.paling@maine.gov

What: The Maine Department of Education (DOE), First Lady Ann LePage, and the Maine Arts Commission are hosting an event to celebrate Maine arts education and honor students whose artwork has been selected to be displayed in and around the Maine State Capital as part of a state-wide student exhibit. Event speakers include First Lady Ann LePage, Commissioner of Education Robert Hasson, and Maine Arts Commission Executive Director Julie Richard. Other highlights include student theatrical and musical performance, and student artists receiving certificates for their artwork.

When: Tuesday, April 25th, 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Where: Hall of Flags, Maine State Capital

Who: Students whose artwork is on display and their guests, First Lady Ann LePage, members of the State Board of Education, state legislators, Maine Arts Commission and Maine Department of Education.

For more information about the event contact Maine DOE Director of Communications, Rachel Paling at rachel.paling@maine.gov or call 624-6747. For more information about Maine Visual and Performing Arts visit: http://www.maine.gov/doe/arts/ or contact Beth Lambert at beth.lambert@maine.gov or 207-624-6642.

###

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).

MEA Alternate Science – PAAP submissions due April 30th

The Personalized Alternate Assessment Portfolio (PAAP) Science testing window is coming to a close. The PAAP assesses students with the most significant cognitive disabilities in grades 5, 8, and third year high school as an alternate to the MEA Science assessment.

All electronic PAAP submissions are due April 30th.  Measured Progress has provided return material kits for student portfolios to be returned. UPS will pick up all portfolios on MAY 2nd.  Please have the completed portfolios sealed in the envelopes provided by Measured Progress and in school offices by 8:00 am May 2nd.

All return mailing kits should contain individual student return envelopes, a student roster, directions for mailing the portfolio and directions for submitting an electronic Principal’s Certification of Proper Test Administration.

Those with questions regarding the return of PAAP portfolios should contact Measured Progress at 1-800-431-8901: Sarah Greene, x7344 or email greene.sarah@measuredprogress.org or Jimmy Hartman, x7406 or email hartman.jimmy@measuredprogress.org.

U.S. Department of Education New Title V Application Process and Funding

This message is for school administrative units that have received funding under the following grants under Rural Education Assistance Programs (REAP) including the Small, Rural School Achievement (SRSA) or Rural and Low Income Schools (RLIS). If your district has not received funds from these programs in the past, you may disregard this notice.

On April 3, the U.S. Department of Education sent a letter to local education agencies regarding the Rural Education Assistance Program (REAP) administered under Title VI of the Elementary Secondary Education Act. The U.S. Department of Education Letter outlines new provisions resulting from the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in December, 2015 and contains information regarding 2017 eligibility.  Please note the following important notes regarding SRSA grants.

  • Districts eligible for SRSA Funds must submit an application directly to www.grants.gov
  • The application window opens early May and will remain open for 60 days.
  • If no application is received and the district is NOT dually eligible for RLIS then no Title VI funds will be awarded to the district
    • If a district is dually eligible and no application is received then they will be considered for the RLIS grant automatically

For questions regarding the Rural Education Assistance Program and available grants, contact Daniel Weeks at Daniel.r.weeks@maine.gov or 207-624-6749.

ESSA requirement for full certification of special education teachers deadline extended

On May 16, 2016, the Maine Department of Education (Maine DOE) posted a notice regarding the issue of full certification of special education teachers under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). As the notice explained, ESSA amended the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act by reinstating a requirement that a person employed as a special education teacher in elementary, middle or secondary schools must have obtained full certification as a special education teacher. The teacher must not be working under certification requirements that are waived on an emergency, temporary or provisional basis. Maine schools were advised that effective July 1, 2017, the employment of a less than fully certified special education teacher would not be allowed.   

Since that time, the Maine DOE has worked diligently to resolve this issue in a way that allows schools to staff their classrooms, assists not-fully-certified teachers to become fully certified, is achievable, and complies with the requirements of the law. At the same time, the Maine Department of Education approached the federal Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) about its need for additional time to come into compliance. OSEP has granted that request, permitting Maine to have an additional year for this work. The ramification is that the information in the dispatch of May 16, 2016 in which we stated “. . . effective July 1, 2017, (SAUs) will not be able to employ a special education teacher who is not fully certified” is no longer applicable.

We will provide additional information as it becomes available. Questions may be directed to Janice E. Breton, Director of Special Services, Maine Department of Education (624-6676) or janice.breton@maine.gov.

 

Maine DOE Celebrates April as “The Month of the Military Child”

The Maine Department of Education along with the Military Interstate Children’s Compact Commission (MIC3), and Governor Paul R. LePage have declared April “The Month of the Military Child” as a month-long awareness and celebration of military children and the important role they play in the community.

The declaration is part of a national movement celebrating The Month of the Military Child in April as a time to applaud military families and their children for the daily sacrifices they make and the challenges they overcome.

“We are aware of the struggles and sacrifices children make when they move in and out of different schools as part of the life-style of a military family,” said Maine Department of Education Commissioner Robert G. Hasson, Jr. “Great efforts are taken by MIC3 and local school officials to ensure that military children receive a quality, and comprehensive education throughout the school year, no matter where they live,” he added.

On April 20th the Maine DOE, and the Military Interstate Children’s Compact Commission (MIC3) will be holding a proclamation and welcome event at the Maine State Library to honor children raised in military families. Present at the event will be a group of 12-15 children ages 8-18 who have been raised in military families and will be honorary guests at the Maine State Capitol as part of a day of actives to honor them.

April 20th will also be a day to wear the color purple in honor and support of military children. Local school districts are encouraged to join in the following week when they return from April vacation week and pick a day to wear purple.

For more information contact Rachel Paling at rachel.paling@maine.gov or (207) 624-6747 or Tyler Backus at tyler.backus@maine.gov or (207) 624-6727.

10 Maine school districts awarded instruments as part of Maine Kids Rock! pilot program

The Maine Department of Education (DOE), in partnership with Little Kids Rock, today announced the selection of 10 Maine school districts who will be awarded instruments and resources necessary to run modern band programs in their schools.

This project, Maine Kids Rock!, is a pilot program developed between the Maine DOE and Little Kids Rock, a national nonprofit that is dedicated to building a world where kids can live rich, purposeful lives by ensuring that all public school children have the opportunity to unlock their inner music makers.

The selected schools are:

  • Central Community Elementary School, RSU 64
  • Crescent Park and Woodstock Elementary Schools, RSU 44
  • East End Community School, Portland Public Schools
  • Houlton Middle/High School, RSU 29
  • Katahdin Elementary, Middle and High Schools, RSU 50
  • Medway Middle School, Medway School Department
  • Meroby and Rumford Elementary Schools, RSU 10
  • Penobscot Valley High School, RSU31
  • Troy Howard Middle School, RSU 71
  • Waterville Senior High School, AOS 92

Schools were chosen by review teams who scored applications based on need, sustainability, and quality of proposed programing. In order to be eligible for the pilot, school districts must serve 50% or more free or reduced lunch to eligible students, and agree to offer modern band during the 2017-2018 school year, taught by a certified music teachers.

 

Maine teacher certification moving to new online system

The Maine Department of Education (DOE) is in the process of building an online portal for a new web-based credentialing system. The new system, being put in place by Hupp Technologies, will be fully operational by the July 1st teacher, educational specialist and administrator renewal expiration date.

The online system will completely replace the Maine DOE’s current paper application system. Highlights include effortlessness in account creation, electronic notifications about actionable items for both teachers and administrators, and the ability to pay fees online.

Once the new system is in place, all teachers will need to create an account. The Maine DOE’s Certification team will be sending out individual notices to the email addresses that are on file in the NEO staff system.

Training will be made available soon for Superintendents and Support System Chairs. In addition, webinars will be available for educators to assist with account creation, and the renewal process.

It is important to note, allowances will be made if the system goes up later than expected. Current Maine State rules state that if a certificate is held up for any reason beyond the teachers’ control, then the previously held certificate is still valid. This addresses the concern some may have about not being eligible to sign teacher contracts.

For more information contact Ángel Martínez Loredo at 207-624-6603 or email cert.doe@maine.gov.