Category Archives: Dispatches

Nominations open for Maine’s 2017 Curriculum Leader of the Year

The Maine Curriculum Leaders’ Association (MCLA) is seeking nominations for Maine’s 2017 Curriculum Leader of the Year through April 14.

The Curriculum Leader of the Year is someone who has successfully served as a curriculum leader (designated curriculum director, assistant superintendent or teacher leader) in public education for at least five years; is a proven champion of curriculum, instruction and assessment policies and practices that enhance learning both within and outside the district; promotes and provides opportunities to learn and to share learning; and develops partnerships and networks with other districts and organizations to support learning.

The Curriculum Leader of the Year is selected by previous awardees and by MCLA’s board of directors. Finalists will be invited to provide the selection committee with additional information. The 2017 Curriculum Leader of the Year will be named in June.

More information is available on MCLA’s web page or contact Heidi McGinley Executive Director, Maine Curriculum Leaders’ Association at director@mainecla.org.

New Online System for Certification Available Soon

The Certification Team at the Department of Education is in the process of building an online portal for a new web-based credentialing system through Hupp Technologies. The system will be fully operational by the July 1st teacher, educational specialist and administrator renewal expiration date. 

One of the system’s highlights is the effortlessness teachers will have in creating an account, receiving notification that a renewal is waiting, and paying the renewal fee online. Other features include notifications for the teacher’s support system when a teacher is waiting for recommendation, and the ease of a chairperson to simply click ‘recommend’ to recommend the teacher for renewal. Thereafter, the certificate will automatically renew. Please note that training will be available soon.

The Certification Team is very excited to get the new system up and running. Although the adjustment period may present some anxiety, please be assured that no one will be left hanging. Allowances will be made if the system goes up later than expected and rules state that if a certificate is held up for any reason beyond the teachers’ control, then the previously held certificate is still valid.

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

Webinar about Maine: 2017 ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 Score Changes

Maine: 2017 ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 Score Changes Webinar
Wednesday, March 29, 2017 at 3:00 pm

Event address for attendees

During the webinar WIDA will discuss the anticipated ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 score changes.

In 2017, you may notice a change to your students’ ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 proficiency level scores: some students’ scores may go down; and fewer students may exit program support.

Earlier this month, WIDA held webinars detailing expected changes to ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 scores in 2017, to explain the reasons for anticipated changes in students’ scores as well as suggestions for how to communicate with students and families, other educators, and administrators about how it might impact them. These two webinars were recorded and posted to the WIDA website.

During the March 29th webinar, WIDA will briefly summarize the key information shared on these earlier webinars. Participants in the March 29, 2017, webinar will have ample opportunity to ask questions of either WIDA or their state representative(s). The Maine March 29, 2017, webinar will also be recorded and posted on  https://www.wida.us/membership/states/Maine.aspx

For more information about the score changes visit https://www.wida.us/Assessment/ACCESS%202.0/proficiency.aspx

Direct questions about educational or English language acquisition services for English learners to ESL/Bilingual Programs, Nancy Mullins at nancy.mullins@maine.gov (207) 624-6788.

Maine DOE seeks peer reviewers for 21st CCLC grant proposals

The Maine Department of Education is seeking qualified peer reviewers to read, assess and score competitive grant proposals for the 21st Century Community Leaning Centers (21st CCLC) Program.  This federally-funded grant program provides opportunities for schools and communities to develop “community learning centers” that serve children and youth during out-of-school time.  Maine currently has 34 current grant-funded 21st CCLC programs operating 59 individual centers in communities across the state.  Grant proposals for the 21st CCLC program will be evaluated through a formal peer review process, which will ensure that quality applications are selected for funding.

This year’s Request for Proposals (RFP) for the 21st CCLC program was released to the public on February 21 and is available online at: https://www.4pcamaine.org/century21/FY2017/. The Department anticipates receiving applications for new, expansion, and continuation awards as a result of this competition.

Qualifications:

The most qualified reviewers will be individuals who are familiar and have experience with high-quality youth programs in schools and communities.  Examples of the experienced individuals sought include, but are not limited to:

  • Experts in expanded-learning opportunities
  • Teachers and principals
  • College and university faculty
  • Community educators
  • Community service providers
  • Staff from faith-based organizations
  • Staff from foundations and charitable organizations

Required Tasks:

Selected peer reviewers will work individually to read each assigned application and create detailed, objective, constructive, and well-written comments on approximately 10-15 applications on the basis of the criteria established in the RFP. These comments will be turned in to the Department prior to participating in on-site consensus scoring sessions.  Reviewers must be able to participate in an online training webinar and review grant applications through a web-based system.  It is anticipated that peer reviewers will have a two (2) week window in which to complete their individual review of assigned applications.  Following the individual review of applications, each peer reviewer will be required to travel to the Maine Department of Education for two scheduled scoring days.  It is during these consensus scoring sessions that each peer reviewer will work with the other members of the peer review team to score each application.

Selected peer reviewers must complete the following tasks during the following date(s):

Task Date(s)
Participate in an online training webinar April 25, 2017
Review grant applications through a web-based system and provide individual, written comments on each application (which MUST be turned in to the Department) May 5, 2017 – May 19, 2016
Participate in on-site consensus scoring sessions which will be located at the Maine Department of Education in Augusta, ME May 23 – 24, 2016

Compensation for Services: Peer reviewers who complete the required tasks will be reimbursed for travel costs to and from the consensus scoring sessions as well as provided a $75 honorarium per assigned application review, up to a maximum of 15 applications.

Previous peer reviewers have found that serving as a member of the peer review team is an excellent opportunity for professional development and growth. It is likely that, if selected, reviewers will be exposed to new program models, strategies, and practices.  These new concepts may provide ideas and support for ongoing work in the field as well as future grant writing efforts.  Most importantly, the time given to this effort will be of great benefit the children of Maine.

How to Apply: A peer reviewer application is available by contacting Travis Doughty at travis.w.doughty@maine.gov. The Maine Department of Education will accept applications and resumes on a rolling basis until the needed positions are filled.

Pursuant to Title IV, Part B of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015, peer reviewers may not include any applicant, or representative of an applicant, that has or will be submitting a proposal in response to the current competition.

Deadline:

All interested parties must submit a completed peer reviewer application and current resume or CV by April 12, 2017.

Contact: For more information, contact Federal Grant Coordinator, Travis Doughty at travis.w.doughty@maine.gov or 624-6709.0%

Maine DOE kicks off 2nd Annual Farm to School Cook-off

The Maine Department of Education is holding its 2nd annual Maine Farm to School Cook-off this month. The cook-off showcases the skills of local school food service staff, while promoting locally grown products in school meals.

School food service teams representing Falmouth, Yarmouth, RSU 14 – Windham/Raymond, Lewiston, RSU 52 – Turner, and RSU 54 – Skowhegan, will be participating in the event this year.

Last year’s participants were from Lewiston Public Schools, RSU 38 – Maranacook, Portland Public Schools, and RSU 61 – Lakes Region Schools, with the winning team from Five Town CSD/MSAD 28 & RSU 13 –Rockport, Camden, Rockland and surrounding towns.

For the competition, each team must 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. All recipes will later be shared in a Maine farm to school cook-off recipe book.

This year, the regional cook-offs will be held on the March 27 at the Westbrook Regional Vocational Center and on March 31 at the Capital Area Technical Center in Augusta.

The final cook-off on April 26th will be held at the Freeport High School’s newly renovated kitchen and dining area.

Westbrook and Augusta CTE centers are returning hosts for the cook-off, while Freeport High School joins in for the first time. The locations were chosen as cook-off sites for their well-equipped kitchens and cooking and presentation areas.

A panel of judges for the two regional cook-offs will consist of a CTE culinary arts student, school nutrition director, and professional chef. The dishes will be scored based on presentation, taste, creativity, and feasibility to be used in a school breakfast or lunch program. Other criteria will include food safety and time management.

Judges for the final event will include a Freeport High School student, a school nutrition director and a professional chef. The winning team will be awarded a plaque and have the opportunity to be spokespeople for the second annual cook off in 2018.

The cook-off is part of the State’s child nutrition projects and follows legislation to support healthy meals in schools. For more information on Maine’s Local Foods to Local Schools program, visit www.maine.gov/doe/nutrition/programs/localfoods/.

Members of the media are welcome to attend any the events. We ask that you confirm you are coming ahead of time by contacting Rachel Paling at rachel.paling@maine.gov or call 624-6747.

Learning Technology Grants Program Announced

The Department is announcing an evolution to our support of technology in public middle schools and high schools. Beginning July 1, 2017, MLTI Grants will be available to public middle schools and high schools to fund technology and support for 7th and 8th grade students and staff, and for staff in high schools with locally-funded student programs.

The grants will support programs that use technology to enhance teaching and learning in eligible schools and grades. The grant program takes the place of an “opt-in” to the programs offered in the past 3 years by HP and Apple, under a contract with the State.

Schools will apply to the Department of Education with a brief description of their proposed education technology programs, and a budget for the period of the grant.

The amount of the grant is up to $200 per eligible student or staff seat, each year, for up to 3 years. The length of the grant and the amount per seat will be based on the school’s proposed program and budget.

The grants provide flexibility to schools, but maintain some requirements designed to continue the basic structure of the current MLTI program. Any program funded by a grant must provide a personal digital computing device for each student, and must include professional development to support teachers’ use of technology to enhance student learning.

Further details for the grant program, including the application and the deadline for application submittal, will be provided as they are developed and posted on the MLTI website at http://maine.gov/doe/mlti/participation/index.html . MLTI programs in schools that opted in to HP or Apple solutions in 2014, 2015 or 2016 will continue as is, and are not affected by the grant program.

For additional information, contact the MLTI Office at mlti.project@maine.gov or call Deb Friedman, MLTI Project Manager at 624-6834.

Free computer science training opportunities available through Project>Login & MMSA

Project>Login mission is to engage Maine K-12 schools and provide support for Computer Science education. They recently became a regional partner, along with Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance, for Code.org. As a result of this partnership, they are able to provide high quality professional development to educators interested in Computer Science education for free.

They are currently offering a  professional learning program for middle and high school teachers which includes :

  • TeacherCon, a five-day summer training in Philadelphia taking place July 30 – August 4, 2017, which will fully prepare teachers to utilize Code.org curriculum and teacher supports. Code.org provides airfare, lodging, and meals during the conference, and teachers will receive a gift card to cover incidentals.
  • Four, one-day local workshops during the school year (normally on Saturdays), during which teachers will join other teachers from Maine for ongoing training and just-in-time support.

Learn more about the program and apply here:
http://www.projectlogin.com/education/code-org-partnership

Maine DOE Data Helpdesk Survey

The Maine Department of Education Data Helpdesk Team is here to assist you with access to your NEO, Infinite Campus and coming soon, Edupoint systems.  We can offer general guidance on individual models within the applications.  If you have called our helpdesk in the past or make a call to us in the future, please help us by taking a few minutes to tell us about the service that you have received. We appreciate your time and want to make sure we meet your expectations.   click here to take the survey.

For more information visit the DOE Data Helpdesk page.  http://www.maine.gov/doe/data/helpdesk.html

 

New School Absenteeism Reporting Form

When a potential outbreak, including those involving exposure to a communicable disease, toxic agent, environmental hazard, or a potential epidemic is identified, immediate notification to the Maine CDC should be made.  One of the ways these outbreaks can be identified is through elevated school absenteeism.  Schools have long partnered with the Maine Center for Disease Control (MeCDC) to report elevated absentee rates (>15%).  The Department of Education and MeCDC have collaborated to design this application in NEO to collect this information more efficiently. School nurses have be given access to the reporting tool.  If your school unit decides that it would be appropriate for another person to submit this report, you will need to fill out a NEO access request form located on the DOE Data Helpdesk page.  http://www.maine.gov/doe/data/helpdesk.html

 

EPS High-Cost Out-of-District Report (EF-S-214) open for reporting on March 13

The EF-S-214 will be open to Maine public schools on March 13. The report must be approved by the School Finance Team by April 15 to be used in the calculation for an adjustment.  School districts should sign into the report as early as possible, as some aspects of the report have changed.  Starting this year, the business manager will have to certify that the figures reported by the Special Education office are consistent with the data in the school district financial system.

This report is required to be submitted by all publically funded school districts.  School districts need to project the costs for the full fiscal year.  Only costs for tuition and board should be included in the report.  For Fiscal Year 2017 only students that have a total cost above $31,548 should be included on the report.  Those districts that have no students who meet that threshold are still required to submit a report.

We have made some changes for this year:

  • Students can have multiple lines if they have had more than one placement during the year
  • School districts will now have the option to see a summary sheet that will provide them the total adjustment if all costs are approved
  • An internal messaging system has been added if there are any questions
  • The form will auto-populate the school district contact based on information in the staff module and the person filling out the form based on the login information
  • The form will need to be certified by the business manager

The report can be located by logging into NEO at https://neo.maine.gov/DOE/NEO/Accounts/Account/Login

Questions about the report should be direct to Stephanie Clark at 624-6807.