Category Archives: News & Views

ADMINISTRATIVE LETTER: Approval for Receipt of Public Funds by Private Schools Located Outside the State of Maine

Administrative Letter: # 9
Policy Code: DDA
TO: Public School Superintendents, Private School Administrators Outside the State of Maine
FROM: Robert G. Hasson, Jr., Ed.D., Commissioner
DATE: June 23, 2017
SUBJECT: Approval for Receipt of Public Funds by Private Schools Located Outside the State of Maine

Pursuant to 20-A M.R.S. § 2951, a private school may be approved for the receipt of public funds for tuition purposes only if it:

  1. Basic Approval. Meets the requirements for basic school approval under subchapter 1 (§§ 2901-2904);
  2. Nonsectarian. Is a nonsectarian school in accordance with the First Amendment of the United States Constitution;
  3. Incorporated. Is incorporated under the laws of the State of Maine or of the United States;
  4. Reports and audits. (repealed)
  5. Additional requirements. Complies with the reporting and auditing requirements in sections 2952 and 2953 and the requirements adopted pursuant to section 2954;
  6. Student assessment. Any school that enrolls 60% or more publicly funded students, as determined by the previous year’s October and April average enrollment, shall participate in the statewide assessment program to measure and evaluate the academic achievements of students; and
  7. Release of student records. Upon request of a school unit, release copies of all student records for students transferring from the private school to the school unit.

A review of the current procedures for the approval of private schools outside the State of Maine to receive public tuition funds revealed that these private schools were not being evaluated to determine whether they were meeting the requirements for basic school approval pursuant to section 2951(1). As a result of this finding, beginning with the 2017-18 school year, all private schools seeking approval to receive public tuition funds, both in and outside the State of Maine, will be required to meet the statutory requirements for basic school approval.  In order to ensure continuity of educational programming for students who have already made schooling arrangements for the 2017-2018 school year, the Department will allow those private schools outside of Maine that received approval in FY 17 and are on the approved list on the DOE website, to remain approved one year before they must adhere to the requirements noted above.  However, after the 2017-18 school year, they too must meet all the requirements of Title 20-A, §2951.  In addition, please remember that all private schools will still need to complete the Year-End Report of Private Schools (EF-M-240) for the 2017-18 school year to be eligible for approval to receive public tuition funds.

For information regarding the Private School Approval process, please go to, or contact Pamela Ford-Taylor, School Enrollment Specialist, at 207-624-6617 or

For information regarding the approval process for private schools to receive public tuition funds, please go to, or contact Paula Gravelle, School Finance Manager, at 207-624-6792 or

PRESS RELEASE: Maine DOE and MDOL launch bus driver hiring initiative for veterans

For Immediate Release For more information contact:
Rachel Paling at 207-624-6747 or or
Julie Rabinowitz at (207) 621-5009 or

Augusta, Maine – Maine Department of Labor (MDOL) is collaborating with the Maine Department of Education (DOE) for the 2017 Maine Hire-A-Vet campaign to offer free training for veterans interested in becoming a school bus driver.

The initiative, which is being offered to help fill an anticipated shortage of school bus drivers in Maine and nationally, offers free training available at local school districts statewide with varying schedules.

According to a 2015 jointly released report of the U.S. Department of Education, U.S. Department of Transportation, and U.S. Department of Labor, school bus drivers and special needs bus drivers hold the second highest number of job openings in the nation. The report also identifies the need for bus mechanics and diesel engine specialists.

Since there is already a high percentage of Maine school bus drivers who are veterans, it is hoped that the initiative will attract the attention of more veterans who may be transitioning from serving their country or perhaps enjoying the later years of their lives. A flexible schedule may be especially accommodating for veterans who are looking for a part-time job.  76% of Maine’s veterans are over age 50.

In Maine, there is expected to be about 50 school bus driver job openings available for the coming school year. There is also a need for school bus mechanics.

While the initiative is specifically geared towards veterans, the free training is available to anyone interested in becoming a school bus driver.

The pay range for school bus drivers in Maine is anywhere from $11–$25 per hour for licensed school bus drivers, including part-time schedules and benefits based on location. Some positions include pay while learning to drive and/or a hiring bonus.

Those interested should contact Maine DOE Transportation and Facilities Administrator, Pat Hinckley at (207)-624-6886 or or visit


PRIORITY NOTICE: MaineCare Seed payment adjustments to be made, review reports by July 7, 2017

The 2017-18 subsidy checks for General Purpose Aid for local schools will reflect adjustments in July 2017 for MaineCare Seed payments paid by the Maine DOE on behalf of school administrative units (SAUs) for the following:

  • 2017 Quarter 3 MaineCare payment adjustments

Detailed student reports for Quarter 3 are now available in Infinite Campus (State Edition). Instructions for accessing MaineCare Seed Payment Reports in Infinite Campus are available here. In July, the 2017-18 State subsidy printouts (ED279s) will be updated reflecting these adjustments and are available at Reporting issues: To ensure accurate adjustments to subsidy, SAU staff must review student-by-student reports for Quarter 3 and report any issues on these reports no later than July 7, 2017. Any questions regarding these reports should be addressed to If you disagree that a particular student or time period should be on the report, please provide the reason that you disagree along with supporting evidence and also include the following:

  • Identify the type of report (Public or Private) and the quarter in which the claims are located
  • Student’s State Student ID
  • Service provided dates (to and from)
  • Total amount of Seed being disputed

Summer services: The Department has found that a number of students are provided services during the summer. If the student was a resident of your SAU during those months, your SAU is still fiscally responsible for the MaineCare Seed as this is considered an extended school year for these students. Students in extended school years must be enrolled during these periods to ensure accurate adjustments.   For more information on MaineCare Seed payments including links to prior communications, accounting instructions and instructions for accessing MaineCare Seed Payment Reports in Infinite Campus, please click here. For more information or technical assistance related to MaineCare Seed, please contact Denise Towers at

Maine DOE Special Services Revised Forms

The Maine DOE Office of Special Services has revised the forms listed below. Revised forms are identified as Final Revision: Effective 08/01/2017.

  • Written Notice and all other required forms – updated identifying information for consistency
  • Individualized Education Program – changes include additions and updates. CDS has a required section separate from K-12 for goal writing. Results of all initial and most recent evaluations located in a separate section, no longer divided between academic, functional or developmental. Some minor changes under in the Considerations Section to reflect new language related to accessible education material.
  • Learning Disability Evaluation Report – based on updated MUSER revisions

The Office of Special Services has communicated all revised forms to vendors. We will also offer a webinar in September to further explain the form changes. All updated forms will be available on the Special Services forms page by 8/1/17.  In the meantime, questions may be directed to the Department of Special Services, Roberta Lucas at  or 624-6621.

Infinite Campus Data Entry for the 2016/2017 School Year Closes June 30, 2017

Any data modifications needed to all student enrollments for the 2016/17 school year must be completed by 5:00 pm on June 30, 2017.  Modifications can not be made after this date as Infinite Campus will no longer be used.

Exit Data for Students

The Infinite Campus State Edition Student Information System will be closing for the 2016/17 school year on June 30, 2017. Updates of student enrollment data for year-end reporting must be made by school units for the current reporting year before Infinite Campus State Edition is closed.

Homeless status in Infinite Campus:
Students who were homeless at any time during the current school year must have the “Homeless Night-time Residence ” field filled in on the Enrollments tab in Infinite Campus. Do not remove the homeless status in this field until the following school year, even if the student was homeless for only a short time during the year.

Importance of Exiting Students at the end of the school year:
The Department’s calculation of your school unit’s graduation and dropout rates for the current school year will be based on student enrollment data in ICSE.  To ensure a successful and timely transmission of data, and therefore accurate graduation and dropout reporting, it is important that school units take the following steps before Infinite Campus is closed:

  1. Check the Start Statuses for the current school year for students in grades 9 through 12. If a student was with you in 2015/16 and 2016/17, be sure the start status for the 2016/17 enrollment record is a code 02 (continuous in same school). Otherwise a Transfer-In could be added if the wrong start status was selected thereby hurting your graduation rate. We hope to have a new report added in ICSE which displays students with incorrect start statuses. More information on this as it becomes available.
  2. Exit all students who are known to be leaving their schools at the end of the current school year. This is especially important for students in grades seven (7) through twelve (12), in order to avoid issues related to the Dropouts report.
  3. For Home School students – exit all home school students who are currently enrolled as home-schooled with Exit Code 13 – Transfer to home schooling. If they return in the fall, use the appropriate Start Status to transfer in from Home School.
  4. Foreign exchange students should be exited with a code 10: Transfer to a school outside of the country.
  5. All students that were expelled during the year must be exited with a code 19. In addition, all students with this exit code must also have an entry of the expulsion in the Behavior Module of Infinite Campus State Edition.
  6. Exit high school seniors using the appropriate exit type codes including:
    • Graduated with Regular High School Diploma
      (Exit Code 15 – Completed – Graduated);
    • Students who receive an Adult Ed Diploma or High School Equivalency diploma should be exited with code 23.
    • Reached Maximum Age for Services
      (Exit Code 20 – Maximum Age for Services);

      1. Students who turn 20 years of age on or before July 1, 2017 must be exited with Exit Code 20.

NOTE: Maine Virtual Academy and Maine Connections Academy are two approved Public Charter Schools. Students that transfer to one of these schools must be exited with a code 12 – Transfer to a public charter school. Do not use exit code 26 in these two scenarios.

  1. For high school seniors who will be completing their graduation requirements during the summer and after Infinite Campus State Edition is closed, you will be able to fix these enrollments directly in NEO Graduation module later this summer.

Examples of appropriate exit type codes can be found on the MEDMS website at:

Questions specific to enrollments should be directed to the MEDMS Helpdesk at: or 207-624-6896.

Fostering Artful Classrooms for Early Childhood Students a Great Success

Five school districts participated in a professional development pilot from the Maine Department of Education this year to learn how to improve visual art offerings to public preschool students. Visual art and early childhood teachers from RSU 10, Lewiston School District, Glenburn School Department, MSAD 58 (Phillips), and MSAD 53 (Pittsfield) attended in teams for training three times during the 2016-2017 schoolyear. Guided during these session by early childhood expert, Terri Petnov, and early childhood arts specialist, Judy Fricke, teachers built collaborative partnerships as they broadened their skills in 2-D, 3-D, and Fiber Arts, as well as developmentally appropriate teaching for preschoolers. Both teachers learned strategies to be used in both in the early childhood classroom and the art room. This program was sponsored by Early Childhood Specialist, Sue Reed, and Visual and Performing Arts Specialist, Beth Lambert.

The training was aligned to Maine’s Early Learning and Development Standards and supported by research on the importance of art education being available every day in the early childhood classroom. Over the course of the three workshop days, teams learned a variety of visual art techniques and became more comfortable integrating art education into the other learning domains to support knowledge and development.

Here are some of the comments teachers had at the end of the experience:

“Children have become more engaged and have developed stamina to create and finish a project. It has created a calming effect on my room,” Lori Fowler, Preschool Teacher, Montello Elementary School.

“The collaboration and teamwork I now have with my art teacher has brought about valuable changes in my planning and instruction awareness of how the arts can connect and strengthen student learning opportunities,” Vicky Grotton, Preschool Teacher, Glenburn Elementary School.

“The value of this training, for me, was in learning the true and genuine connection between the arts and achievement across the curriculum. The foundation of learning and whole-student enrichment are clearest in prek, but persist throughout the entire academic career,” Adam Masterman, Art Teacher, SAD 58.

“(The prek teacher and I) have worked together to create a new space in her classroom where students are completely independent and encourage exploring materials…. I have gone into their classroom and taught lessons and group projects that would not be possible in my space,“  Karen Thayer, Art Teacher, RSU 10.

Due to the tremendous success of this pilot, the Maine Department of Education is exploring funding options to expand this training statewide during the 2017-2018 schoolyear as well as develop and offer music and performing arts in the early childhood classroom training.

For more information on this pilot you can visit our website

For more information on Early Childhood Education contact, Sue Reed, . For more information about Visual and Performing Arts Education, contact, Beth Lambert,

PRIORITY NOTICE: Deadline for Small, Rural School Achievement funding is June 30th

This is an urgent reminder for those districts that are eligible to receive Small, Rural School Achievement (SRSA) funding.  Please note that June 30, 2017 is the final date to submit your grant application.  Your FY 2017 Small, Rural School Achievement (SRSA) grant application must be completely entered in by 4:30 p.m. in order to receive funding for 2017-18. In past years this money had been automatically set aside for you and because of the changes with ESSA, now you must complete the application annually.

To complete the application, your district must have a DUNS number that is active and registered in the System for Award Management, and you must register in as an “Organization Applicant.” Additional details about the application process and requirements are available on the USDOE SRSA website’s Applicant Information page.

If you have not yet submitted your application, please do so as soon as possible before June 30. If you need assistance completing the application, consider attending one of the ongoing SRSA application walk-through web seminars sponsored by USDOE on the following dates:

For additional information, please contact Dan Weeks at or 207-624-6749.

Maine DOE Update – June 15, 2017

From the Maine Department of Education

Notices and Reporting Items

More Notices | Administrative Letters | Reporting Calendar

News & Views

Maine Department of Education Early Childhood Education Conference

Registration is now open for the Maine DOE’s Early Childhood Education Conference. The conference will be held at the Augusta Civic Center on August 14-16, 2017 and is intended for PreK and Kindergarten early childhood staff and administrators.| More

New Online Certification System Training for Superintendents and Support Chairs

The Maine Department of Education (DOE) will be offering training sessions for superintendents and support system chairs to learn the new online certification system this spring and summer (online training for educators will also be available later this summer). | More

Maine DOE Summer Training for NEO and Synergy

The Maine Department of Education is offering five half-day sessions for NEO updates and training and one half-day for Synergy Training. An additional full-day session will also be held for districts who manually enter information into the State level Student Information System..| More

More Dispatches | Press Releases | Priority Notices

Latest DOE Career/Project Opportunities

New Online Certification System Training for Superintendents and Support Chairs

The Maine Department of Education (DOE) will be offering training sessions for superintendents and support system chairs to learn the new online certification system this spring and summer (online training for educators will also be available later this summer).

At each training session participants can expect to learn how to log in, navigate the system, approve educator certifications, and manage their own certification. Participants will need to bring a lap top.

Training dates, times and locations are as follows:

June 19, 2017
8:30am – 12:00pm
University of Maine at Augusta, Jewett Hall, RM 190

June 20, 2017
1:00pm – 4:30pm
University of Maine at Augusta, Jewett Hall, RM 190

July 26, 2017
8:30am – 12:00pm
University of Maine at Orono, Donald P. Corbett Business Building, RM 100

July 27, 2017
1:00pm – 4:30pm
University of Maine at Orono, Donald P. Corbett Business Building, RM 100

Please RSVP to Brenda Vigue at or (207) 624-6852.

Maine DOE Summer Training Dates and Registration for NEO and Synergy

The Maine Department of Education is offering five half-day sessions for NEO updates and training and one half-day for Synergy Training. An additional full-day session will also be held for districts who manually enter information into the State level Student Information System.

During the NEO session, Maine DOE Helpdesk members will review changes to NEO, which include Maine State Reports previously located in Infinite Campus State Edition. Other changes to NEO include the new Data Collection and Reporting (DC&R) module, access to NEO, changes to NEO staff, and clarification of Staff and District Roles. There will also be a short session on Student Data Privacy. Attendees should include those who currently complete NEO Reports, those who previously worked with student reports in Infinite Campus State Edition, and those who will be doing these activities in the coming school year. Student data certifications will now be done in NEO, so Superintendents who certify reports may also want to attend.

A light lunch will be provided, and during this time, Maine DOE and Synergy staff will be available for questions.

For the Synergy session, participants will learn how to use Synergy DOE to upload student data required by the State of Maine. In addition, participants will learn how to use Synergy DOE to enter and validate student data that is not included in the upload process.

Upon completion of this session, participants will understand how to perform uploads and will be able to:

* Log in to Synergy and navigate the interface
* Use and understand Synergy concepts and terminology
* Change Focus to view other years/schools
* Create personal Navigation Menus
* View existing student information
* Find a single student or multiple students
* Enter and modify student data
* Truancy
* Discipline
* Use a Matrix to print student information or export student information to other desktop programs
* Create student filters
* Create Graph information
* Preview and Print common reports
* Save report settings

The August 1st, Manual Entry Session will be an all-day in-depth look at how to enter student information directly into the system. (NEO topics will not be covered at this session).

Dates and Registration

July 25
Houlton High School
7 Bird Street
Houlton, ME 04730

July 26
Ellsworth Elementary School/Middle School
20 Forest Avenue
Ellsworth, ME 04605

July 27
Orion Performing Arts Center
50 Republic Avenue
Topsham, ME 04086

July 31
Cony School
60 Pierce Drive
Augusta, ME 04330

August 1
MANUAL UPLOAD Schools only please. NEO not presented
Cony School
60 Pierce Drive
Augusta, ME 04330

August 2
Portland Arts & Technology High School
196 Allen Avenue
Portland, ME 04103

If you have any questions please contact Maine’s Data Systems Helpdesk Manager Shannon Bartash at (207) 624-6799.