Category Archives: Dispatches

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 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 curriculum and teacher supports. 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:

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.


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.


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

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

Maine DOE Child Nutrition Announces Change to the USDA Food Program Ordering

Maine DOE Child Nutrition announces the annual order opening date for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Program for School Administrative Units (SAU) is March 7, 2017. The SAU must order their USDA food products beginning on March 7, 2017 to March 20, 2017.  The deadline date has no flexibility.  This is the first year the annual order has been moved to March.  This federally required change allows the SAU to order the items they want and the amount they want, up to their entitlement level.

Once the SAU orders, Maine DOE Child Nutrition will place the order with USDA based on local orders. USDA will ship product to Maine’s contracted warehouse for distribution to the local SAU.  It is imperative the SAU order their product for next school year by the deadline date.  This will be the only time period the SAU can order product for the annual order.  There will be opportunities to pick up some limited items monthly, but 95% of the product will be ordered for the specific SAU.  The new March annual order has been promoted to SAU food service program staff at meetings, weekly updates and training over the last year.  This is a very tight schedule for ordering on the local and state level.  Maine must have all orders into USDA in March.  Different products have different USDA deadline dates, but all are in March.  Products are ordered in the Maine DOE NEO system as in prior years, but in March not August.  The deadline date to order is close of business on March 20, 2017.

Additionally, there will be changes to the USDA fresh product offering for School Year 2018.

For more information, contact Child Nutrition Director Walter Beesley at or call 624-6875 or Terri Fitzgerald at or call 624-6882.

Comments sought on Maine’s IDEA Part B application

The Maine Department of Education (DOE) is seeking public comments on its annual application for federal funds under Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which covers services to children with disabilities, ages 3-20.

The application, which covers Maine fiscal year 2018 (starting July 1, 2017) is posted on the Maine DOE’s webpage at The Part B budget is projected on the basis of Maine’s award for the current State fiscal year (2017), pending the State’s receipt of the finalized federal award for the coming year. Both documents will be posted from March 9th, 2017 through May 8th, 2017.

Written comments will be accepted from March 9th, 2017 until 4 p.m. on April 8th, 2017. Please send comments to Janice Breton at or 23 State House Station, Augusta, ME. 04333.


Attendance Matters: Connecting For Student Success Regional Meetings

Attendance Matters! The Spring Connecting For Student Success regional meetings sponsored by ME Department of Education and Count ME In are happening statewide. You can attend a regional meeting that is convenient for you.

Lewiston -Tuesday, March 14
Portland –  Wednesday, March 22
Bangor – Monday, March 27
Caribou – Tuesday, March 28
Augusta – Thursday, April 6

Attendees will hear schools share effective strategies as well as a presentation on effective approaches to address bias and harassment . Sessions are free but registration is required.  To learn more go to

Attendance Matters because early absences can affect later achievement, since students can miss some of the key building blocks for learning.  Absences add up- just two days a month can mean 18 absences a year.

To register:   For more information, please contact Sarah Ricker at or Susan Lieberman at

Media Advisory: Maine DOE welcomes new Director of Communications


CONTACT:  Debra Plowman, DOE, 624-6620

(Augusta)  Acting Commissioner of the Department of Education Robert Hasson has announced that Rachel Paling joined the team in the Department of Education as the Director of Communications on Tuesday, February 21, 2017. Rachel previously worked as the Communications Manager at the University of Maine, Augusta where she held that position for 5 years.

“Rachel’s experience in communications, messaging, web management, and graphics and design makes her a great addition to our team and we look forward to her contributions to our mission at the Department.”

Rachel lives in New Sharon with her husband and two children. We are so pleased to welcome her.  You can reach Rachel at or by calling 624-6747.

Media Advisory: (Updated) Maine Department of Education to Hold a Public Information Session in Bangor on February 27th concerning Regional School Construction


Acting Commissioner Robert G. Hasson will lead a public information session, accompanied by representatives from the Maine Department of Education and the Senior Education Policy Advisor to Governor LePage. The public session will be held from 6:00PM to 8:00PM on February 27th at Eastern Maine Community College in Bangor, in Rangeley Hall, room 107.

The information session will focus on providing answers to public questions concerning the recently announced 2017-2018 rating cycle for an innovative, regional school construction pilot. The “Integrated, Consolidated 9-16 School Construction 2017-2018 Rating Cycle Application” is now available on the Department of Education website.

An additional information session will be held on March 31st from 10:00AM to 12:00PM in Augusta at the Burton M. Cross State Office Building in room 103.

All questions and answers discussed at the session will be posted on the Department’s website.

Training offered for education technicians

Maine Department of Education’s Special Services Division is offering a professional development opportunity specifically for education technicians working with students with disabilities and challenging behaviors. Topics covered during this day-long session include: the roles and responsibilities of the educational technician; special education and the IEP process; implementing accommodations/modifications; and, supporting students to succeed in the classroom at all grade levels.

These no-cost sessions are offered in Augusta, Brewer, Houlton and Portland. For dates, locations, registration and other information, visit the Department’s professional development calendar.