New Webinar: Quarterly Attendance Reporting

To assist those who are responsible for the important task of reporting quarterly attendance data to the Maine Department of Education, the DOE Data Team will be holding a webinar on Wednesday September 16th, from 10am to 11am.

This webinar will be an open session for the DOE and the School Administrative Units (SAUs) to discuss quarterly attendance reporting. We will review frequently asked questions answered during previous reporting periods.  This is also an opportunity for SAUs to ask any questions, provide comments, and voice concerns regarding the quarterly attendance reporting process.

To register for the webinar, please click the following registration link and fill out the appropriate fields.

For assistance or more information, contact us at:  medms.helpdesk@maine.gov or (207)624-6896.

Get to Know the DOE Team: Meet Cristy Osier

Maine DOE Team member Cristy Osier is being highlighted this week as part of the Get to Know the Maine DOE Team Campaign. Learn a little more about Cristy in the question and answer below.

What are your roles with DOE?

I am the Management Analyst II for the ESEA Federal Programs team. I review and manage Title reimbursement requests from school districts state wide to ensure Federal and State compliance. My additional contributions include, but not limited to, managing the ESEA website and being the teams Advantage guru.

What do you like best about your job?

Working/collaborating with my ESEA team/family both in the department and in the school districts across our beautiful state, as they are some of the most driven, professional, supportive, and caring individuals.

What do you like to do outside of work for fun?

Exploring and experiencing the world with my children.

MEDIA RELEASE: Maine Department of Education Launches an Online Platform of PK-12 Modules as an Open-Access Learning Resource! 

AUGUSTA – The Maine Department of Education is excited to announce the official launch of our MOOSE (Maine Online Opportunities for Sustained Education) Learning Platform! MOOSE is live today and available as a resource to anyone who is interested.  

“We are so excited and proud to launch the MOOSE library today,” said Beth Lambert, DOE Director of Innovative Teaching and Learning. “These high quality, project-based, anytime/anywhere, interdisciplinary learning modules can be used and adapted by educators to foster engaging and meaningful learning experiences for all of Maine’s students.  

MOOSE features an online library of asynchronous, interdisciplinary, project-based modules aligned to the Maine Learning Results for grades PK-12. Over the summer, over two hundred Maine educators from across the state developed nearly one hundred modules to populate the first quarter of content available today! Embedded in the modules are elements of social, emotional, and behavioral learning as well as considerations for all learning styles. It is not a curriculum, but a library to choose from, based on interests, content standards, or topics.  MOOSE was designed as an optional, educational resource for students, educators, and families to include in their remote learning plans. The platform is open access and does not require users to register.  

“We are grateful to all of the educators who pioneered this innovative project with us over the summer,” said Commissioner of Education, Pender Makin. “We look forward to feedback from those using this resource as we continue to make it authentic and accessible for Maine students!” 

The Maine Department of Education, in partnership with Maine teachers, curriculum leaders, and educational organization leaders will begin developing modules for Phase II of MOOSE today; the second quarter of content and materials will be available by the end of November, 2020.  

For more information about MOOSE, please contact: 

Beth Lambert, Director of Innovative Teaching and Learning – beth.lambert@maine.gov 

Page Nichols, Chief Innovation Officer – page.nichols@maine.gov

 

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MCCS Offering Flexible, Free Early College Options

As high school administrators grapple with the question of whether there are enough teachers or space to provide the usual range of courses, there is another option – supporting or encouraging students to sign up for free, online, community college courses through Maine’s Community College System (MCCS). Students get a great education, they have support through the community college, and schools can conserve building resources for the education only they can provide.

Because of COVID-19, all general education courses are offered online, so students can enroll in courses offered at any of the seven MCCS colleges across the state, not just one nearby. That means students have a wider range of courses available, at different times. The community colleges also offer late starts – convenient since most high schools are starting up later than usual. The community colleges’ late starts range from late September to early November, so there’s still time to sign up for courses this fall.

Each college has an early college specialist ready to help school administrators and students with picking out classes, making sure the credits transfer, or any questions that arise.

The benefit to your school and district is immediate.

  • FREE: Schools and districts do not pay anything for MCCS early college courses, unlike some remote learning programs offered by other higher education institutions, such as Brigham Young University.
  • COLLEGE CREDIT: Students earn college credit if they pass – without a high stakes test like the Advanced Placement test. (In 2018-19, 43 percent of the 15,056 Maine students who took an AP test did not get a 3 or higher, so they did not receive any college credit for their work.)
  • OPTIONS:  Algebra, English Comp, Intro to Psychology, Statistics, U.S. History, Economics, Biology, foreign languages – a very wide range of classes are available.
  • TIMING: There’s time to register for late start fall classes, or plan ahead for the spring semester.
  • OPPORTUNITY: Studies consistently show that students who take early college courses are more likely to go to college and succeed in college. For many students, early college courses are a great low-risk way for them and their families to realize they can be successful in college – removing one of the biggest barriers to college enrollment: self-doubt.
  • CREDITS TRANSFER: Maine’s community colleges have a block transfer agreement with the University of Maine System, so all general education credits will transfer there and to many other colleges.
  • SUPPORT: Finally, Maine’s community colleges are committed to their students succeeding. With COVID, tutoring has moved online along with early e navigators who can answer questions and help them pick out classes.

Find out more about the early college options at mccs.me.edu/college-course.

 

 

MEDIA RELEASE: Mills Administration Updates COVID-19 School Health Advisory System

York County now categorized as yellow, other counties remain green

AUGUSTA — The Mills Administration today released a special update to its color-coded Health Advisory System that classifies counties’ relative risk of COVID-19 transmission by color, and is provided to assist schools as they continue with their plans to deliver instruction and support students safely this fall.

The Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recategorized York County from green to yellow as a result of increases in the number of cases per capita, a positivity rate three times above the state average (1.8% compared to 0.6%), and the five new outbreaks opened up in York County in the last two weeks. A number of new cases in York County are not readily traced to known outbreaks, suggesting increasing community transmission.

This change in classification is made out of an abundance of caution and for the consideration of school administrative units in York County in their decisions to deliver instruction. Maine DHHS and Maine CDC reassessed both York and Penobscot counties one week early due to recent, concerning trends. Penobscot County remains green, based on this assessment.

All York County school districts have already planned to start the school year under a locally developed hybrid model to ensure they are able to meet the six required health and safety measures for safely returning to in-person instruction. Under the “yellow” designation, which indicates an increased (moderate) level of community risk, schools may consider additional precautions, such as limiting numbers of people in school buildings at the same time, suspending extracurricular or co-curricular activities including competitions between schools, limiting interaction through cohorting, or other measures based on the unique needs of each school community.

It is essential that school districts in York County, and across the State of Maine, continue to implement plans that adhere to the six requirements for returning to in-person instruction, regardless of their county’s red, yellow, or green designation:

  1. Symptom Screening at Home Before Coming to School (for all Staff and Students) – Students (parents/caregivers) and staff members must conduct self-checks for symptoms prior to boarding buses or entering school buildings each day.  Schools should provide information to families in their primary language to support them in conducting this check.   Any person showing symptoms must report their symptoms and not be present at school.  Schools must provide clear and accessible directions to parents/caregivers and students for reporting symptoms and absences.
  2. Physical Distancing and Facilities – Adults must maintain 6 feet of distance from others to the extent possible. Maintaining 3 feet of distance is acceptable between and among students when combined with the other measures outlined in this list of safety requirements.  6 feet of physical distancing is required for students while eating breakfast and lunch, as students will be unable to wear masks at that time.   A “medical isolation space” (separate from the nurse’s office) must be designated for students/staff who exhibit COVID-19 symptoms during the school day. Adequate ventilation is required for classrooms, with schools having flexibility in implementation such as using properly working ventilation systems or outdoor air exchange using fans in open windows or doors. Groups in any one area, room, or classroom must not exceed the Governor’s gathering size limits.
  3. Masks/Face Coverings – Adults, including educators and staff, are required to wear a mask/face covering. Students age five and above are required to wear a mask/face covering that covers their nose and mouth. (Updated 7/31/20) Masks are recommended for children ages two to four, when developmentally appropriate. (Updated 7/31/20).  Masks/face coverings must be worn by all students on the bus. Face shields may be an alternative for those students with documented medical or behavioral challenges who are unable to wear masks/face coverings. (Updated 8/12/20). The same applies to staff with medical or other health reasons for being unable to wear face coverings. Face shields worn in place of a face covering must extend below the chin and back to the ears.
  4. Hand Hygiene – All students and staff in a school must receive training in proper hand hygiene. All students and staff must wash hands or use sanitizing gel upon entering the school, before and after eating, before and after donning or removing a face mask, after using the restroom, before and after use of playgrounds and shared equipment, and before and after riding school transportation.
  5. Personal Protective Equipment – Additional safety precautions are required for school nurses and/or any staff supporting students in close proximity, when distance is not possible, or when student require physical assistance. These precautions must at a minimum include eye protection (e.g., face shield or goggles) and a mask/face covering. Classrooms and/or areas that have been used by an individual diagnosed with Covid-19 must be closed off until thorough cleaning and sanitization takes place.
  6. Return to School after Illness – Sick staff members and students must use home isolation until they meet criteria for returning to school.

The Health Advisory System categorizations are defined as follows:

  • RED:Categorization as “red” suggests that the county has a high risk of COVID-19 spread and that in-person instruction is not advisable.
  • YELLOW:Categorization as “yellow” suggests that that the county has an elevated risk of COVID-19 spread and that schools may consider additional precautions and/or hybrid instructional models as a way to reduce the number of people in schools and classrooms at any one time.
  • GREEN:Categorization as “green” suggests that the county has a relatively low risk of COVID-19 spread and that schools may consider in-person instruction, as long as they are able to implement the required health and safety measures.  Schools in a “green” county may need to use hybrid instruction models if there is insufficient capacity or other factors (facilities, staffing, geography/transportation, etc.) that may prevent full implementation of the health and safety requirements.

The Health Advisory System is a collaboration among Maine DHHS, CDC, and the Department of Education. The county-level assessments are based on both quantitative and qualitative data, including but not limited to recent case rates, positivity rates, and syndromic data (e.g., symptoms of influenza or COVID-19). Those data are publicly posted every week on the Maine CDC website. DHHS and Maine CDC also consider qualitative factors, such as the presence of outbreaks that may potentially affect school-age children.

The Health Advisory System reflects ongoing analysis of evolving data and serves as one piece of information that school and district leaders can use to make decisions about how to deliver education this fall. It generally will be updated at 12:00 pm every other Friday, and can be found on the Maine DOE website in Part I of the Framework for Reopening Schools and Returning to In-Person Classroom Instructionhttps://www.maine.gov/doe/framework/part-I. The next update is scheduled for September 11, 2020.