Category Archives: News & Views

Revisions to Chapter 126/ 261 Regulation:

Immunization Requirements for School Children were adopted on December 21, 2016. These rule changes ensure a safe and healthy school environment for all Maine students by requiring all children attending public or private schools in the State of Maine to receive the required vaccines recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).  The update to the number of Varicella exclusion days aligns with recommendations issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (US CDC) and removes outdated implementation language. In addition, these updates of terms more clearly reflect the DHHS Office names and structure, to reduce confusion in following the rules.  In recent years, new vaccines against pertussis have been introduced to the routine immunization schedule for children and adolescents, recommended for youths aged 11 to 12 years; specifically Tdap. Pertussis is a highly contagious infection, often causing school or community outbreaks. Maine is one of only three states in the nation without a current Tdap school requirement. Changes to the joint rule include updating the vaccine dosage requirement to include 1 dose of Tdap vaccine for 7th grade entry, which will align with the CDC and ACIP current recommendations. Additionally, the required number of exclusion dates for Varicella disease will change from 16 days to 21 days to reflect the current US CDC school exclusion guidelines, an oversight from the previous change to this rule. The link to the rule is:   http://www.maine.gov/doe/rule/changes/index.html

For further information, contact Jaci Holmes at 624-6669 or by email at jaci.holmes@maine.gov.

Regional school calendars due by May 5

School administrative units and private schools approved for tuition purposes are expected to establish regional school calendars, in coordination with their local secondary career and technical education school, by May 5, 2017.

The Legislature enacted that requirement as part of Public Law 2011, Chapter 686, which expands access to career and technical education in Maine and ensures that students completing career and technical education (CTE) coursework have greater access to post-secondary opportunities.  Specifically, the law addresses scheduling conflicts that pose barriers to students by requiring that those school districts and private schools approved for tuition purposes that share a CTE school adopt a regional school calendar with no more than five dissimilar days. Furthermore, implementation of the law is intended to promote collaboration among local school administrative units that may benefit other forms of inter-administrative unit collaboration beyond CTE.  The law became effective Aug. 30, 2012, and establishing the regional calendar is a condition for eligibility for state subsidy.

For 2017-18, both regional school calendars and individual calendars for each school administrative unit must be submitted by the director of the local CTE Center/Region to the Commissioner of Education by May 5 for a decision on approval by June 2. Guidance and templates can be accessed electronically at www.maine.gov/doe/regionalcalendar/.

Given the coordination required for fulfillment of this law, the Maine DOE recommends that school districts initiate discussions as soon as possible, including representatives from all affected secondary schools and their associated career and technical education center or region.

For more information including guidance, templates, a waiver process and a link to the complete law, please visit  www.maine.gov/doe/regionalcalendar/ or contact Doug Robertson (doug.robertson@maine.gov) at 624-6744 or Margaret Harvey (margaret.harvey@maine.gov) at 624-6739.

MaineCare Seed payment adjustments to be made, report review by January 13, 2017

The 2016-17 subsidy checks for General Purpose Aid for local schools will reflect adjustments in January 2016 for MaineCare Seed payments paid by the Maine DOE on behalf of school administrative units (SAUs) for the following:

  • 2016 Quarter 4 MaineCare payment adjustments

Detailed student reports for Quarter 4 are now available in Infinite Campus (State Edition). Instructions for accessing MaineCare Seed Payment Reports in Infinite Campus are available here.

In January, the 2016-17 State subsidy printouts (ED279s) will be updated reflecting these adjustments and are available at www.maine.gov/doe/eps/.

Reporting issues: To ensure accurate adjustments to subsidy, SAU staff must review student-by-student reports for Quarter 4 and report any issues on these reports no later than January 13, 2016. Any questions regarding these reports should be addressed to denise.towers@maine.gov.

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 Denise.towers@maine.gov.

Maine DOE Prepares for Year 2 of Read to ME Challenge Campaign

During February of 2016, the Maine Department of Education’s Literacy for ME  initiative organized and promoted the Read to ME Challenge.  This simple but powerful campaign challenged adults to read to children for 15 minutes, to capture that reading episode via a photo and then post it on social media to challenge others to do the same.  Over 100 Maine schools, community literacy teams and other literacy-related organizations partnered in the 2016 campaign and the Maine DOE is hoping that many more organizations will partner in the 2017 campaign scheduled to kick off the first week of February.

Reading aloud to children is one of the most cost effective and highly beneficial methods of building children’s literate abilities.  The simple act of reading aloud to a child 15 minutes a day for five years results in 27,375 minutes of language exposure which can put children on the path to high literacy achievement.  Reading aloud exposes children to the world around them, helps them see reading as an enjoyable and valuable activity and often strengthens bonds with trusted adults.

We invite your school or organization to join the challenge and to encourage community members to do the same.  The collective voice of many key partners, leaders and those in respected positions will send a clear message about the vital importance reading to children plays in the social and economic well-being of Maine.  Maine DOE also encourages partners to be creative and to use this opportunity to enhance ongoing literacy education outreach efforts.

If your organization is willing and able to promote the Read to ME Challenge, please follow this link to provide us with your contact information: Read to ME Challenge Partner 2017Read to ME Challenge resources, including a guidance document, public service announcements, fliers and a list of engaging ways to incorporate the challenge will be available online in mid-December.

School officials and organizations with inquiries about participating in the Read to ME Challenge should contact Lee Anne Larsen at leeann.larsen@maine.gov or 624-6628.

State Assessment Results for 2015-16 Now Publicly Available

Augusta – The Maine Department of Education today released state assessment results for the 2015-2016 school year.

“We are confident in this year’s test results, and hope parents, teachers, administrators, and other interested parties will value and utilize the data gathered through the assessment process,” said Dr. Charlene Tucker, Maine DOE’s Assessment and Accountability Team Coordinator.

The public may access the results at https://lms.backpack.education/public/maine.

Key results include:

  • Assessment participation improved substantially in 2015-16.
  • 50.58% of Maine’s test takers scored At State Expectations (Level 3) or Above State Expectations (Level 4) in English language arts/literacy.
  • 38.31% of Maine’s test takers scored At State Expectations (Level 3) or Above State Expectations (Level 4) in mathematics.
  • 60.97% of Maine’s test takers scored At State Expectations (Level 3) or Above State Expectations (Level 4) in science.

For ELA/literacy and mathematics, 2015-16 is a new baseline year and should not be compared to previous years when different assessments were administered.  Based on changes made during the 127th Maine Legislature, the state used a new assessment partner to administer a different state assessment of English language arts/literacy and mathematics in 2015-16.

The new assessments adopted for 2015-2016, eMPowerME (grades 3-8) and SAT (3rd year high school), measure Maine’s college and readiness standards established in 2011. The eMPowerME assessment was delivered by computer.

Results were released later this year than initially planned due to the time necessary to establish achievement levels and process data for brand new assessments, as well as the time it takes to build a new reporting platform. Maine will use the same assessments and the same reporting system for the 2016-17 year and it is planned for results to be available in the summer of 2017.

Further detailed information on the results is available below.

_______________________________________________________
2015-16 Statewide Results for English Language Arts/Literacy

The general ELA/literacy assessment, eMPowerME, was taken by most students in grades 3-8.  Most students in the third year of high school were assessed using the SAT, which has been adopted as Maine’s ELA/literacy high school assessment.  Students with the most significant cognitive disabilities were assessed on the Multi-State Alternate Assessment (MSAA).  More information about the ELA/literacy assessments can be found here:  http://maine.gov/doe/assessment/math-ela/home.html.

2015-16 Participation (ELA/Literacy)
Of the 93,554  students eligible to participate in state assessment of ELA/literacy, 91,208 participated.  The participation rate of 97.49% is an improvement over the 2014-15 participation rate of 89.92%.  Participation is summarized here:

Eligible to Participate 93,554
Participated General (eMPowerME) 77,443
Participated General (SAT) 12,534
Participated Alternate (MSAA) 1,231
Total Participants 91,208
Participation Rate 97.49%
Percent of Participants Who Took Alternate 1.35%

2015-16 Performance (ELA/Literacy)

  Participants Well Below State Expectations Below State Expectations At State Expectations Above State Expectations
  Number Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent
eMPowerME 77,443 15,656 20.22% 23,779 30.71% 25,346 32.73% 12,662 16.35%
SAT 12,534 2,731 21.79% 2,342 18.69% 5,820 46.43% 1,641 13.09%
MSAA 1,231 345 28.03% 217 17.63% 372 30.22% 297 24.13%
TOTAL 91,208 18,732 20.54% 26,338 28.88% 31,538 34.58% 14,600 16.01%

The Maine Assessment & Accountability Reporting System (MAARS) provides additional information about the 2015-16 ELA/literacy assessment results for each school and each district, as well as for student subgroups.

MAARS is publicly accessible at:  https://lms.backpack.education/public/maine.

2015-16 Statewide Results for Mathematics

The general mathematics assessment, eMPowerME, was taken by most students in grades 3-8.  Most students in the third year of high school were assessed using the SAT.  Students with the most significant cognitive disabilities were assessed on the Multi-State Alternate Assessment (MSAA).  More information about the mathematics assessments can be found here:  http://maine.gov/doe/assessment/math-ela/home.html.

Participation (Mathematics)
Of the 93,915 students eligible to participate in state assessment of mathematics, 91,541 participated.  The participation rate of 97.47% is an improvement over the 2014-15 participation rate of 89.53%.  Participation is summarized here:

Eligible to Participate 93,915
Participated General (eMPowerME) 77,741
Participated General (SAT) 12,567
Participated Alternate (MSAA) 1,233
Total Participants 91,541
Participation Rate 97.47%
Percent of Participants Who Took Alternate 1.35%

Performance (Mathematics)

  Participants Well Below State Expectations Below State Expectations At State Expectations Above State Expectations
  Number Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent
eMPowerME 77,741 20,678 26.60% 27,049 34.79% 22,207 28.56% 7,807 10.04%
SAT 12,567 3,292 26.20% 4,885 38.87% 3,370 26.82% 1,020 8.12%
MSAA 1,233 321 26.03% 248 20.11% 367 29.76% 297 24.09%
TOTAL 91,541 24,291 26.54% 32,182 35.15% 25,944 28.34% 9,124 9.97%

The Maine Assessment & Accountability Reporting System (MAARS) provides additional information about the 2015-16 mathematics assessment results for each school and each district, as well as for student subgroups.  MAARS is publicly accessible at:  https://lms.backpack.education/public/maine.

2015-16 Statewide Results for Science

The general science assessment, MEA Science, was taken by most students in grades 3-8 and in the third year of high school. The science assessment in grades 5, 8 and the third year of high school remained unchanged for 2015-16.  The Maine Educational Assessment (MEA) for science and its alternate for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities, Personalized Alternate Assessment Portfolio (PAAP), have both assessed the progress of Maine’s students in science for many years.

More information about the science assessments can be found here:  http://maine.gov/doe/assessment/science/index.html.

Participation (Science)
Of the 40,423 students eligible to participate in state assessment of science, 38,568 participated.  The participation rate of 95.41% is an improvement over the 2014-15 participation rate of 90.36%.  Participation is summarized here:

Eligible to Participate 40,423
Participated General (MEA Science) 38,107
Participated Alternate (PAAP) 461
Total Participants 38,568
Participation Rate 95.41%
Percent of Participants Who Took Alternate 1.19%

Performance (Science)

  Participants Well Below State Expectations Below State Expectations At State Expectations Above State Expectations
  Number Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent
MEA Science 38,107 4,831 12.68% 10,022 26.30% 19,018 49.91% 4,236 11.12%
PAAP 461 74 16.05% 125 27.11% 215 46.64% 47 10.20%
TOTAL 38,568 4,905 12.72% 10,147 26.31% 19,233 49.87% 4,283 11.10%

The Maine Assessment & Accountability Reporting System (MAARS) provides additional information about the 2015-16 science assessment results for each school and each district, as well as for student subgroups.

MAARS is publicly accessible at:  https://lms.backpack.education/public/maine.

Comparing 2015-16 Results to Previous Years

  • For mathematics and ELA/literacy at grades 3-8, direct comparisons should not be made across years. While every effort was made to ensure that the 2015-16 achievement levels are at a similar level of rigor to that of the 2014-15 Smarter Balanced assessment, the tests are different in many ways, and it is unpredictable how different features of the assessments may have impacted the performance of different populations of students.
  • At the high school level, there is no comparability between the 2015-16 SAT results and the 2014-15 Smarter Balanced results.  First, the group of high school students tested in 2014-15 was seriously impacted by an opt-out trend, which was resolved in 2015-16.  Second, Maine’s SAT achievement levels were determined by a collaborative process with other states that also used the SAT as their statewide assessment in 2015-16.  Utilizing several sources of data, including the input of educators from each state, the consensus across states was to use the College Board’s College and Career Readiness Benchmark as the cut score to define the threshold between Level 2 (Below State Expectations) and Level 3 (At State Expectations).  The scores of 530 in mathematics and 480 in ELA/literacy (Evidence-Based Reading and Writing) are benchmarks that the College Board has determined predict success in college as follows:
    • Students with an SAT Math section score that meets or exceeds the benchmark have a 75 percent chance of earning at least a C in first-semester, credit-bearing college courses in algebra, statistics, pre-calculus, or calculus.
    • Students with an SAT Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (ERW) section score that meets or exceeds the benchmark have a 75 percent chance of earning at least a C in first-semester, credit-bearing college courses in history, literature, social sciences, or writing classes.
  • Science results (both PAAP and MEA Science) are fully comparable to years past.  MEA Science results over time follow:
Science Trends:  Percentage of Students Scoring at Level 3 or 4
Year Grade 5 Grade 8 3rd Year High School
2008-09 55.83% 61.99% 41.00%
2009-10 63.82% 71.83% 41.00%
2010-11 64.59% 70.82% 44.00%
2011-12 62.50% 72.10% 44.41%
2012-13 69.54% 69.98% 41.03%
2013-14 62.86% 73.12% 43.77%
2014-15 64.89% 71.06% 43.00%
2015-16 62.88% 72.97% 46.59%

Conclusions

  • Assessment participation improved substantially in 2015-16.  Science participation increased from 90.36% in 2014-15 to 95.41% in 2015-16.  ELA/literacy participation improved from 89.92% in 2014-15 to 97.49% in 2015-16.  Mathematics participation improved from 89.53% in 2014-15 to 97.47% in 2015-16.  Based on federal and state expectations, we strive for 95% participation in our assessment.
  •  For ELA/literacy and mathematics, 2015-16 is a new baseline year and should not be compared to previous years when different assessments were administered.
  • Alternate assessments are intended for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities.  The 2015-2016 alternate assessment for Maine students with the most significant cognitive disabilities, Multi-State Alternate Assessment (MSAA), was the same assessment administered in 2014-15, known then as the National Center and State Collaborative (NCSC). Under the Every Student Succeeds Act, the state is expected keep participation in alternate assessment to no more than 1.0% of the students assessed beginning with the 2016-17 assessment administration.  Maine’s 2015-16 percentages of 1.19% in science, 1.35% in mathematics, and 1.35% in ELA/literacy exceed the limit under ESSA.  The Maine DOE has provided increased training in the proper identification of students who are eligible for participation in alternate asssessments in order to improve that rate in 2015-16.
  • 50.58% of Maine’s test takers scored At State Expectations (Level 3) or Above State Expectations (Level 4) in English language arts/literacy.  This is a new baseline from which we will measure the growth of Maine’s students.
  • 38.31% of Maine’s test takers scored At State Expectations (Level 3) or Above State Expectations (Level 4) in mathematics.  This is a new baseline from which we will measure the growth of Maine’s students.
  • 60.97% of Maine’s test takers scored At State Expectations (Level 3) or Above State Expectations (Level 4) in science.  This is essentially the same as the 61% who scored at Level 3 or 4 in 2014-15.
  • The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) of 2015 provides an opportunity for Maine to rethink how supports to schools are determined and how to provide supports that are proportional to district and/or school needs. The Maine DOE is currently working with a diverse group of stakeholders to design a new accountability/school review system.  Further information regarding this process can be located at: http://maine.gov/doe/essa.
  • The data in this report is assessment data which includes all tested students.  It is not intended for accountability purposes.  Accountability reporting will follow.

Questions
Media inquiries: jamie.e.logan@maine.gov.

General assessments (eMPowerME, SAT, MEA Science):  nancy.godfrey@maine.gov

Alternate assessments (MSAA, PAAP):  sue.nay@maine.gov

Assessment policy:  charlene.tucker@maine.gov

Navigating MAARS system:  varun.motay@maine.gov

Priority Notice: Revisions Made to EF-M-39A and EF-M-39B Reports

The Maine Department of Education has revised the EF-M-39A due July 15th, and the EF-M-39B report due January 15th is now a one page report.

The EF-M-39A has been reduced to a one page form. The listing of the actual students has been eliminated, and the form has also been designed so it can be used for both the EF-M-39A and the EF-M-39B submissions. You will not need to download two separate spreadsheets. You will only be asked to provide the number of 16- to 20-year-old resident students who are enrolled in academic courses in adult education somewhere in Maine, and are no longer enrolled in “Regular Education.” Finally, the user is asked to provide the total number of adult education academic courses (not credits) that these same students were taking during this reporting period.

The reporting calendar lists all reports due to MDOE.

Find the EFM39B report here.

It is important to note that subsidy is estimated unless actual numbers are submitted.  The accuracy, completeness, and timeliness of the data sent for this report has a direct correlation to the subsidy that your district may receive.

If you have any questions about the new process please contact Travis Wood at travis.wood@maine.gov or call the MEDMS helpdesk at (207) 624-6896.

Notice: MaineCare Billing For Contracted Services

School administrative units who contract with a provider to provide special education related services for MaineCare eligible students with an IEP/IFSP should be aware of certain requirements concerning billing.

First, the contracted provider must be enrolled as a MaineCare school-based provider.  Second, the contracted provider must bill MaineCare according to the MaineCare school-based billing guide specifically indicating that the service was provided at a school location.

All school administrative units who contract with a provider of special education related services have responsibility for the seed portion of the claims.  This is handled as a deduction from state subsidy.  When contracted service providers are not correctly enrolled in MaineCare as school-based or are not correctly billing for school-based services, the “seed” is not correctly assessed and goes unpaid.

Please direct any questions regarding this matter to Denise.Towers@maine.gov.

Blue Ribbon Commission To Meet Monday, December 12

Augusta – The next meeting of the Commission to Reform Public Education Funding and Improve Student Performance in Maine will be held on Monday, December 12, 2016 at 9:00 AM. The meeting will be held at the Augusta Armory, located at 179 Western Avenue in Augusta.

A copy of the meeting agenda and documents relating to the Commission’s work will be posted here as they are made available.

Additionally, members of the public who wish to submit comments or ideas about public education issues for consideration by the Commission may do so here. Comments submitted through the website will be distributed to members of the Commission.

The Commission to Reform Public Education Funding and Improve Student Performance in Maine was created by LD 1641 which allocated an additional $15 million in education funding for local schools, bringing the State’s contribution to $1,000,961,515 for the 2016-17 school year. Based on the Commission’s work, a report to the Governor and the Legislature will be submitted by Jan. 10, 2017 that includes findings and recommendations for action to reform public education funding and improve student performance in the state.

________________

Contact:

Jamie Logan
Communications Director
624-6747
jamie.e.logan@maine.gov

Notice: MaineCare Seed payment adjustments made, report review by December 23, 2016

MaineCare Seed Adjustments

In consideration of the recent seed recovery issues, the Department will be changing the process of reviewing reports and the recovery of the seed for those reports.

Current Process:

  • Maine DOE adjusts SAU’s ED 279.
  • Maine DOE sends notification to SAUs that the quarterly reports are ready for review.
  • SAUs request corrections; those corrections (after verification) are adjusted in a future quarter.

New Process:

  • Maine DOE sends notification to SAUs that the quarterly reports are ready for review.
  • The Department allows approximately 30 days for SAU to review reports.
  • Any requests for corrections (after verification) will be adjusted.
  • Maine DOE adjusts SAU’s ED 279.

The new process will allow for a review of data and corrections to be made before the ED 279 is adjusted for seed recovery beginning with the Q416 adjustment scheduled in January.

MaineCare Seed payment adjustments made, report review by December 23, 2016

The 2016-17 subsidy checks for General Purpose Aid for local schools will reflect adjustments for MaineCare Seed payments paid by the Maine DOE on behalf of school administrative units (SAUs) for the following:

  • 2016 Quarter 3 revised 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.

Updated 2016-17 state subsidy printouts (ED279s) reflecting these adjustments are available at www.maine.gov/doe/eps/.

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 December 23, 2016. Any questions regarding these reports should be addressed to denise.towers@maine.gov.

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

Should this inquiry result in a change to the subsidy adjustment, the revision will be reflected in subsequent monthly subsidy checks.

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 Denise.towers@maine.gov.

Biddeford Middle School Music Teacher among top 25 semi-finalists nationwide for Music Educator of the Year

Biddeford Middle School Music Teacher Amy Delorge was recently named a top 25 semi-finalist from a field of 2,000 nominees nationwide for Music Educator of the Year.  The winner will be named on December 15, 2016 at the Chicago Midwest International Band Clinic.

“It is an honor to be considered among those who make such tremendous contributions to the field of music education in this prestigious group,” stated Delorge, a music teacher for 24 years.  “This nomination is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments of the Biddeford Middle School Band Program and its consistent growth serving our school and community.”

The eligibility criteria include: current, full-time educators in the U.S. who teach music in public, private or homeschools K-16; five or more years of music education and/or performance experience; demonstrate successful transferring of knowledge and passion to their students in hopes of developing their creative skills; conducted personal research and are experts in music history, theory, processes and techniques; and have devoted a major part of their careers to the advancement of music education.