Category Archives: Administrative Letters

Official correspondence. Letters from before July 1, 2010, are in the archive.

Maine DOE provides survey for SAUs to report proficiency-based implementation progress

The following Priority Notice was sent to Maine school administrative units (SAUs) on Monday, July 27.

As part of the implementation of Title 20-A Section 4722-A (proficiency-based diplomas) the Maine DOE is releasing a survey to collect data on implementation progress. High schools have until August 27 to complete the survey. The Department’s goal is 100 percent participation.

This survey, the 2014-2015 Progress Report: Implementing Proficiency-Based Learning and Proficiency-Based Diplomas, has 38 (mostly multiple choice) questions and is a way for Maine’s districts to report vital data to the Maine DOE regarding the progress made from July 1, 2014 – July 31, 2015. As such, this report generates a brief but important source of data for both districts and the State.

The information collected will help the Department 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 toward proficiency-based diplomas.

The Maine DOE will request additional evidence from a district when a district indicates it has completed the following and is ready to award proficiency-based diplomas:

  • Reporting standards are established for all eight content areas.
  • Summative assessments are used to collect evidence for reporting standards for each content area.
  • Evidence of proficiency is collected determining for the five Guiding Principles.
  • Multi-tiered systems of supports are in place for students (for those who struggle and for those who wish to accelerate to reach proficiency).

Any SAU who did not have their confirmation of readiness or extension request granted, is offered an opportunity to request a meeting with the Department to discuss the district’s preparedness to award proficiency-based diplomas. The Department will assume that any district/high school that does not have an approved extension plan or confirmation of readiness is be prepared to award proficiency-based diplomas after January 1, 2018.

The Department expresses its gratitude to the Maine school districts that piloted this survey.

The online survey for SAUs is available here and linked from the Maine DOE’s Getting to Proficiency Support web page. To download a pdf version of the questions ahead of time please click here.

For more information please contact the Department’s Standards-Based Education Specialist Diana Doiron at diana.doiron@maine.gov or 624-6823.

Maine DOE supports SAUs in reporting PEPG pilot plan with brief survey

The following Priority Notice was sent on Monday, June 8.

As part of the implementation of Performance Evaluation and Professional Growth (PEPG) systems, Rule Chapter 180 and Maine Revised Statute Title 20-A, Chapter 508 require that School Administrative Units (SAUs) test-run or pilot their PEPG systems for principals and teachers during the 2015-16 school year. In order to ensure that districts are on track for a pilot next year, the law requires each SAU to submit a “plan describing the intentions of its pilot project” by July 15.

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Committee votes to increase subsidy; cuts elsewhere

The following Priority Notice from Maine DOE Acting Commissioner Tom Desjardin was sent to schools on Tuesday, June 2.

Dear Educators,

In the midst of budget discussions in the legislature a lot of information and numbers are flying around and knowing you are in the midst of making your own local budgets, I wanted to give you this update which is current as of Tuesday, June 2 at noon.

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Notice regarding “opting-out” of statewide assessments

The following Priority Notice from Maine DOE Acting Commissioner Tom Desjardin was sent to schools on Wednesday, May 20.

Dear Educators,

On Monday (5/18/15) the legislature’s Joint Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs held a work session on LD 695 “An Act To Empower Parents in the Education of Their Children by Allowing an Opt-out from Standardized Assessments.” The end result was that 11 of the 13 committee members voted not to force local school districts to inform parents of their right to opt-out of statewide assessment. Two of the eleven voted to pass a version of the bill without that requirement. The bill now goes to the Maine House and Senate.

Discussion of the bill included a lot of information regarding the legal aspects of this potential action. This included legal opinions from attorneys with both the Office of the Maine Attorney General and the legislature’s Office of Policy and Legal Analysis.

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Governor LePage signs charter school funding fix

LD 131 “An Act To Amend the Laws Related to Public Funding of Charter Schools” was signed May 8, 2015 by Governor LePage. Under the new law  Maine DOE will 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.

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Department provides clarification on assessment read aloud function

The following Priority Notice was distributed on Wednesday, March 25 to Maine Educational Assessment for Math & ELA/Literacy District/System Administrators and School Test Coordinators providing them clarification on read aloud functions on Apple devices as well as a reminder about a weekly conference call during which the Department is providing an update on the test, answering questions and sharing best practices.

It has been brought to our Department’s attention that students working on Apple iPads and MacBooks have access to a read-aloud function known as “speak selection” or “speech” and have been taught to use it as an appropriate learning tool. This notice is to clarify the limits on this function specifically during testing. Continue reading

Maine DOE overviews updated educator effectiveness expectations

Maine’s educator evaluation expectations have changed as a result of legislative action initiated by the Department to ensure the state could maintain flexibility from burdensome federal requirements. Continue reading

Maine DOE provides final preparation guidance to assessment administrators

The following Priority Notice was sent to those overseeing the administration of the new statewide assessment at the district and school level to overview resources available from the Department to support their final local preparations.

Dear District/System Administrators and School Test Coordinators,

With just a few days until the test window opens for the Maine Educational Assessment (MEA) for Mathematics and English Language Arts/Literacy developed by Smarter Balanced, we wanted to provide some final guidance to help School Test Coordinators (SCs) prioritize their efforts to best prepare their Test Administrators (TAs) to successfully give the test. Continue reading

Maine DOE reminds educators of MEA administration resources, new trainings

The following Priority Notice was sent to District/System Administrators, School Test Coordinators and Technology Directors on March 2 to highlight resources from the Maine DOE to support the successful administration of the upcoming State assessment, as well as announce upcoming regional technical assistance sessions.

Dear District/System Administrators, School Test Coordinators and Technology Directors,

With the window for giving the new online Maine Educational Assessment (MEA) for Mathematics and English Language Arts/Literacy developed by Smarter Balanced opening in just two weeks, we want to make sure you have the resources you need to feel prepared for a successful test administration.

On our assessment website, you can find an extensive library of administration materials. With so many supports available, we wanted to draw your attention to a few including: Continue reading

Maine DOE renews efforts to support local change

The following Priority Notice was sent on Monday, Feb. 23 to inform Maine educators about the efforts of the Maine DOE to support the continued quality implementation of key initiatives that will improve teaching and learning in Maine, including the administration of new assessments, educator evaluation and the awarding of proficiency-based diplomas.

Dear Educators,

Welcome back from a well-deserved February break. As you know, in recent years the Department has successfully advocated for reforms that strengthen accountability, best practices and choice. The result is that our increasingly learner-centered schools will better prepare students for success in college, career and civic life.

Never before has more been expected of Maine students. The same could be said for our schools. Continue reading