Category Archives: Press Releases

Press releases from before January 1, 2010, are in the archive.

Acting Commissioner Hasson Announces $3 Million Available for Grants to School Administrative Units for Regionalization and Efficiency Efforts

Department will develop application for integrated regional school construction.

On January 3, Acting Commissioner Robert Hasson announced that the Maine Department of Education has identified $3 million in funds that will be made available through a competitive application process for school districts pursing regionalization and efficiency efforts. An application for School Administrative Units (SAUs) is available on the DOE website at http://www.maine.gov/doe/.

“There is a clear appetite across Maine to discover new, efficient ways to increase educational opportunities for students in Maine.  The Department encourages every district considering innovative approaches to achieve efficiencies and deliver educational services in new or collaborative ways to apply for these funds. We hope to see ambitious proposals that serve Maine students and free up resources that can enhance educational opportunities,” said Acting Commissioner Hasson. “The Department has been urged by many stakeholders to provide support and incentives for voluntary efforts to regionalize and pursue cost efficiencies. We have heard those calls and are thrilled to take this step to support local efforts.”

“We carefully manage General Purpose Aid for Local Schools (GPA) to ensure that all available funds are available for our schools,” said Acting Deputy Commissioner Suzan Beaudoin. “When we passed the budget last year, we estimated the amount of funds that would be needed for adjustments to state subsidy. Based on the timing of bond issuance and the way that events unfolded, we believe that there are $3 million in funds that would not be dispersed. This grant will allow us to distribute those funds to school districts as adjustments to promote regionalization and efficiency, as allowed under GPA.” According to Acting Deputy Commissioner Beaudoin, undispersed funds resulted from sources such as delayed bond issuance for school construction and money set aside for districts that did not qualify for sudden and severe adjustments.

Acting Commissioner Hasson also announced that the Department is developing an application for regional schools construction projects. The process will support multiple districts working together to program and provide space for students. More details will be made available when the application is finalized and released.

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

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

Blue Ribbon Commission To Meet Monday, November 28

Augusta – The next meeting of the Commission to Reform Public Education Funding and Improve Student Performance in Maine will be held on Monday, Nov. 28 at 9:00 a.m. in room 103 of the Cross Office Building, 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, 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

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

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.

Major Capital School Construction application now available

Maine public schools invited to participate in new application cycle

Augusta – Maine public schools wishing to participate in the new application cycle for major capital construction projects can now download the application from the Maine Department of Education’s website.

The direct link to the application is:  http://www.maine.gov/doe/facilities/documents/application2017-18.docx.

The application will be due to the Department by April 14, 2017.

A new application cycle enables Maine public schools to apply for state support in order to undertake a major renovation or addition project, or to build a new facility.

If a school applied during the last cycle in 2010-2011, they will need to reapply if they wish to be included in this application cycle.

The Department will review completed applications and create a “needs-based” initial priority list, to be followed by the creation of a final priority list and an approved projects list.  The entire application and review process is expected to take about two years and is governed by Chapter 61 of Department of Education and State Board of Education joint rules.

Questions about the application should be directed to Scott Brown, Maine DOE’s Director of School Construction, at scott.brown@maine.gov. Questions and answers that are applicable to the process will be posted online at: http://www.maine.gov/doe/facilities/construction/ in an effort to provide all schools the same information.

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

Blue Ribbon Commission To Meet Monday, October 17

Augusta – The next meeting of the Commission to Reform Public Education Funding and Improve Student Performance in Maine will be held on Monday, Oct. 17 at 9:00 a.m. at the Lewiston Regional Technical Center. The Lewiston Regional Technical Center is located at 156 East Avenue in Lewiston. A copy of the meeting agenda and documents relating to the Commission’s work will be posted here as they are made available.

Continue reading

Three Maine schools named National Blue Ribbon Schools by United States Department of Education

Falmouth Middle School, Reeds Brook Middle School in Hampden, and Sea Road School in Kennebunk were among the 329 public and private schools across the country this week named 2016 National Blue Ribbon Schools by U.S. Department of Education Secretary John King.

All three Maine schools were honored as “Exemplary High Performing Schools.”

“To be named a National Blue Ribbon School, schools must meet strict criteria, and these three Maine schools deserve great credit for their dedication to the mission of educating our children. I commend the educators, parents, and students who all work to make these schools such proud examples of excellence in the state of Maine,” said Deputy Commissioner of Education William Beardsley.

The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program honors public and private elementary, middle and high schools where students either achieve very high learning standards or are making notable improvements in closing the achievement gap.  The award affirms the hard work of students, educators, families and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging content.

More information about the National Blue Ribbon Schools program can be found at http://www2.ed.gov/programs/nclbbrs/index.html.

Blue Ribbon Commission To Meet Monday, September 26

Public Invited to Submit Comment To Commission Members Through Department of Education Website

Augusta – The next meeting of the Commission to Reform Public Education Funding and Improve Student Performance in Maine will be held on Monday, Sept. 26 at 9:00 a.m. at RSU #17 Central Office, located at 232 Main Street in South Paris.

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