Category Archives: News & Views

Health education and physical education teacher leaders invited to apply for Maine Health Education and Physical Education Teacher Leader Cadre

The Maine DOE Health Education (HE) and Physical Education (PE) programs are seeking quality, motivated applicants to join the Maine Health Education and Physical Education Teacher Leader Cadre (HEPEC). Participants of this initiative are charged with leading the way in ensuring high quality proficiency-based HE & PE in all Maine schools. Cadre participants will work together to provide Maine HE & PE professionals with curriculum, instruction and assessment resources and tools; professional development that supports effective proficiency-based education teaching strategies; and skills and resources to educate about and advocate for quality HE & PE. Successful applicants will:

  • receive training in facilitation and leadership skills and formative assessment;
  • develop and deliver professional development at local, regional and statewide events;
  • participate in a cross curriculum lesson design initiative; and
  • provide input into the development of a website for the field to share resources and materials, as well as establish other modes of communication.

Administrators are asked to identify potential teachers (pre-K through high school) and encourage them to join the HEPEC for teacher leaders. Enthusiasm and a desire to learn and to lead are more important than the current years of experience. Interested individuals need to complete an online application and submit at least one letter of support from a colleague. Successful applicants will need written approval from administration to participate in the project including permission to attend all the trainings.  Please note the orientation training is Dec. 1, 2016 in Augusta and the full fall training is Dec. 7, 2016, also in Augusta.  Maine DOE has grant funding to reimburse substitute pay, mileage and lodging for training days as well as to pay stipends for the Summer Institute. To apply, click here.

For more in-depth information contact Maine DOE’s Health Education & Health Promotion Coordinator Susan Berry at susan.berry@maine.gov or Maine DOE’s Health Education & Physical Education Consultant Jean Zimmerman at jean.zimmerman@maine.gov.

Maine students participate in national FFA convention

In October, state officers and students from three Maine schools traveled to the 89th National FFA Convention in Indianapolis.

FFA (formerly known as “Future Farmers of America”) represents the leadership organization charged with bringing technical and leadership skills as well as awards, scholarships and recognition, to over 650,000 students in grades 7-12 who are enrolled in educational programs related to agriculture and natural resources.  Students from Ashland Community High School, Central Aroostook High School (Mars Hill) and Sanford Regional Technical Center joined over 64,000 of their peers from across the country to participate in competitions related to public speaking, agricultural sales and nursery and landscape management.  In addition to participating in these competitions, students attended leadership sessions, went on tours, and took advantage of cultural offerings in Indianapolis.

Maine FFA’s State President, Dayna McCrum, and State Vice President Kaley Norsworthy acted as official convention delegates, discussing and voting on measures affecting the programs offered by the National FFA.  Two Maine FFA members, Whitnie Bradbury and Tyler Raymond, joined the ranks of fewer than 1% of FFA members awarded the American FFA Degree, the highest distinction accorded by the National FFA.  State FFA Advisor Doug Robertson, from the Maine Department of Education, participated in meetings with staff from all 50 states to learn more about their programs and about National FFA offerings.

For more information on opportunities, awards and scholarships provided by the FFA and for questions regarding the establishment of Maine FFA chapters, please contact Maine DOE’s Agriculture and Natural Resources Education Specialist, Doug Robertson, at 624-6744 or doug.robertson@maine.gov.

Free webinar for schools on how to deal with the browntail moth

The browntail moth has spread across Maine from York to Millinocket. As a result, the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry is offering a free webinar to provide guidance to schools on dealing with issue of the browntail moth and related health concerns (dermatitis and respiratory effects) on school campuses.

The webinar will be held November 17, 2016 from 10-11 AM to help schools learn how to recognize this pest and what can be done to address it.

Presenters will be: Barbara Chisholm, School Nurse, Gardiner Area High School; Charlene Donahue, Entomologist, Maine Forest Service; Jon Stonier, Director of Operations, MSAD 11. No advance registration is required for this Adobe Connect webinar.

To participate, click here approximately ten minutes before the webinar is scheduled to begin, then log in as a guest. (Note: you may be prompted to download the Adobe Connect software if your computer does not have it already). Information about Adobe Connect (computer software and audio requirements) is available here.

For more information contact Kathy Murray at the Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry at kathy.murray@maine.gov or 287-7616.

Each SAU to file its bullying policy and procedures with Maine DOE by July 1, 2017

In an effort to address bullying behavior in our schools to ensure student safety and an inclusive learning environment, SAUs are required to file their bullying policies and procedures with the Maine Department of Education.  An Act To Prohibit Bullying and Cyberbullying in Schools, passed into law in 2012, asks for transparency and monitoring which in turn allows for accurate and timely technical assistance from the Department when school personnel, parents and guardians, and the public have questions related to bullying.  All superintendents will receive notification through email from the Department’s Student Assistance Coordinator about how to file their SAU’s bullying policy and procedures with the Department.  The deadline for filing is July 1, 2017.  Once these policies and procedures are filed with the Department, superintendents will receive confirmation and guidance as to whether or not their policies and procedures are consistent with the model policy (including procedures) revised by the commissioner.

For additional information or questions, please contact Sarah Ricker, Maine DOE’s Student Assistance Coordinator, at 624-6685 or sarah.ricker@maine.gov.

MaineCare billing guide for school-based services now available

A MaineCare billing guide for school-based services is now available here. The guide was created by the Department of Health and Human Services with input from Maine DOE and other stakeholders.

Additional resources related to MaineCare school-based services are also available on the MaineCare in Education webpage.  All questions relating to MaineCare school-based services can be directed to MaineCareinEducation.DHHS@maine.gov.

Blue Ribbon Commission to meet Monday, October 31

Augusta – The next meeting of the Commission to Reform Public Education Funding and Improve Student Performance in Maine will be held on Monday, Oct. 31 at 9:00 a.m. at the University of Maine Presque Isle’s MMG Center for Professional Development. Interested parties may also attend the meeting via video conference at the Maine Department of Education, which is located at 111 Sewall Street 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. 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

New version of NEO Transportation to launch Oct. 28

A new version of the NEO Transportation application will launch Friday, Oct. 28. This release includes new features intended to make bus data management easier, a clean-up of features rolled out in the initial release, and an edit of features available to districts.

A ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ (FAQs) link has been added to the home page of the transportation application. The FAQs provide instructions to guide people through correct steps and buttons to complete a function.  These FAQ instructions also describe some of the codes and statuses used in the new application.

The new transportation features include:

  • Only one way to add a vehicle into inventory (EFT-20 school bus purchase report)
    • In the past a purchase report could get down the wrong path and be marked in service before it was realized that the purchase information needed to be added. This potential error and submittal problem has been eliminated.
  • Vehicle information all on one screen (EFT-20 school bus purchase report)
    • One screen will contain the mileage and equipment data previously entered by the transportation manager and the purchasing information previously entered by the finance manager.  This makes data entry easier.
  • Additional vehicle and purchase statuses (EFT-17 school bus replacement request and vehicle inventory)
    • Several new statuses have been included to help indicate the exact status of a vehicle in inventory, a bus purchase request, or both.  District users can now see the status of each bus request as it moves through the School Bus Purchase Program process and see the status of a bus as it moves to disposal, transfer, or both. This makes the process easier for districts to implement.
  • Data entry edits
    • Several new edit buttons have been added to NEO Transportation screens.  Now districts will be able to correct their data entry errors and no longer need to request edits from Maine DOE.
  • Reports and downloads
    • Many district screens now have the ability to download and/or print data on the screen and new state reports can be found on the reports tab.  Data downloads and reports provide information for districts to plan budgets and inform school boards about transportation.
  • Improved navigation
    • The old version of the application seemed to experience navigation blocks.  This has been resolved making it easier for district users to complete and edit entries.
  • Automated e-mail notifications
    • The application will now send out e-mails when certain events occur, e.g.:   the superintendent will receive an email when a bus request is approved, the superintendent will receive an e-mail to confirm intent of the district to purchase a bus after the purchase has been approved by Maine DOE, the district finance manager will receive e-mails if EFT-20 school bus purchase reports are not entered on time during the purchase fiscal year, and Maine DOE will receive an e-mail when an emergency bus request is placed.
  • Automated removal of subsidy allocation if purchases are not completed
    • Bus purchases must be completed within the fiscal year for which the purchase was approved so that vehicle subsidy allocation can begin the fiscal year after a new bus is purchased.  If an approved bus purchase is not completed by submitting timely reports, the subsidy allocation will automatically be deleted.  This process will begin in fiscal year 2018.

Before you begin using the new version of NEO Transportation it is important that you consult the FAQ section in the transportation section on the NEO dashboard. Instructions are included with answers to the FAQs.

If you have questions about transportation policy, please contact Maine DOE’s Transportation and Facilities Administrator, Pat Hinckley, at pat.hinckley@maine.gov.

Maine receives $3 Million in school improvement grant funding

Augusta – Maine schools eligible to receive funding under the school improvement grant program (SIG) are invited to apply for funding from the $3 million in funding Maine has received from the U.S. Department of Education. In Maine, schools categorized as “priority” under the State’s Title I accountability system are eligible to apply.

“I encourage eligible schools to consider applying for this grant funding. This is an opportunity for schools to receive purposefully focused additional funds to improve their achievement and opportunity goals for students,” said Deputy Commissioner of Education Bill Beardsley.

The U.S. Department of Education recently announced that Maine will receive a $1.5 million federal award in addition to the $1.5 million award the state received in July.  Funding through the SIG program will be distributed to schools through a competitive application process and will be based on the number of applications received and approved by the Maine Department of Education.

Last year, the Maine DOE issued a $1.6 million SIG award to Washburn Elementary School. These funds are currently supporting Washburn Elementary’s objectives to raise student proficiency in math by 30 percent and reading by 35 percent over the five-year grant award.

As part of the application process, eligible school districts who may be interested in the pursuit of a SIG are also asked to provide the Department with an Intent to Apply form by 4 p.m. on October 31, 2016. Applications from eligible school districts are due by 4 p.m. on December 14, 2016. School officials who have questions about the SIG program or who would like to obtain a copy of the Maine DOE LEA SIG application and the Intent to Apply form should contact Travis Doughty, Maine DOE’s Federal Grant Coordinator, at travis.w.doughty@maine.gov.

More information about the SIG program is available at http://www.maine.gov/doe/sig/.

Media inquiries should be directed to Jamie Logan, Maine DOE’s Director of Communications, at 624-6747 or jamie.e.logan@maine.gov.

Telepractitioner Qualification Requirements Proposal

It is the intent of the Maine Department of Education to propose requirements for telepractitioner qualifications in a future revision of Chapter 101 (MUSER).  Until that revision is made, this message should serve as notice that in the interim, the Department will expect all telepractitioners to be (1) licensed in the state from which they are practicing if an out of state practitioner, (2) licensed in Maine, and (3) cleared through the Criminal History Record Check process (CHRC).  Questions should be directed to Jan Breton, Maine DOE’s Director of Special Services, at janice.breton@maine.gov or 207-624-6676.

Maine DOE and Count ME In are continuing the conversation with fall 2016 regional meetings

Attendance matters! Upcoming regional meetings sponsored by Maine DOE and Count ME In will be held in Bangor on November 1,  Lewiston on November 3, and Augusta on November 9.   Attendees will hear schools share effective strategies as well as a presentation on trauma and pain-based behaviors. Sessions are free but registration is required. To learn more, visit www.countmeinmaine.org.

Attendance matters because early absences can affect later achievement, since students can miss some of the key building blocks for learning. Also, absences add up more quickly than people realize, given that just two days a month can mean 18 absences a year.

To register, send an email that includes your specific location choice to slieberman@countmeinmaine.org.