Maine DOE offers new resource to help local districts monitor student growth in reading

The Maine Department of Education (Department) will begin using a universal reading metric called The Lexile® Framework for Reading to help Maine school districts monitor student growth and progress.

The Lexile Framework, which aligns with Maine’s State eMPowerME Assessments administered to grades 3 through 8 (among many other nationally used assessments), will allow districts to benchmark reading growth and assist with a comparison of data across commercial assessments.

“The framework will provide all schools in Maine with an additional resource to enhance classroom instruction,” said Maine Department of Education Commissioner Robert G. Hasson, Jr. “It will also help schools in their efforts to support families working at home with their children.”

The Lexile Framework was created by MetaMetrics® and provides a scientific approach to measuring growth and matching students to ability-appropriate learning materials. The Lexile Framework involves a scale for measuring both the reading ability of an individual and the text complexity of materials he or she encounters.

Content specialists at the Maine Department of Education, in collaboration with MetaMetrics, are beginning to prepare professional development opportunities that align with Lexile Framework data to help districts make instruction improvements based on student need.

The new resource is available through funds from Title I grant money from the U.S. Department of Education and administered by Maine’s Department staff, with ongoing professional learning opportunities to support statewide implementation.

Set to become available late spring/early summer, districts will be able to start using the new resource to monitor growth beginning in the 2018/19 school year, both within a single school year and from year-to-year going forward.

For more information contact Rachel Paling, Maine DOE Director of Communications at Rachel.paling@maine.gov or (207) 624-6747.

MEDIA RELEASE: Maine DOE awards second round of EMBRACE grants for regional efforts

Augusta – The Maine Department of Education today announced that 11 new EMBRACE grants have been awarded to school districts and other education agencies. Made available as part of the statewide regionalization initiative, the round-two EMBRACE grants prioritize Enabling Maine students to Benefit from Regional and Coordinated approaches to Education. The awardees are partnering on a regional level to improve educational opportunities for students.

A total of 19 applications were received by the Department for the Fund for the Efficient Delivery of Educational Services (FEDES) grant, which was made available to districts last fall. Of those 19 applications, 11 have been conditionally awarded funding. Based on the funding requests, totaling $4.6 million, the 11 awardees are projected to save over $10 million in a 5-year period.

In the first round of EMBRACE grants in 2017, 10 grantees were awarded a total of $4.5 million in funds for regionalization efforts, and in 2019 an additional $5 million in competitive grant opportunities will be available as part of the EMBRACE initiative.

Round two EMBRACE (FEDES) grant project descriptions:

Creating a Strong and Sustainable Regional Collaborative for Professional Development in Washington County

This project will re-establish the Washington County Consortium by creating a sustainable infrastructure for offering professional development in Washington county. This regional effort is intended to provide students with excellent school leaders and teachers.

Participants:

  • Lead SAU – Calais Public Schools
  • Cherryfield Public Schools
  • Maine Indian Education
  • RSU 37/MSAD 37 (Addison, Columbia, Columbia Falls, Harrington, Milbridge)
  • AOS 77 (Alexander, Baring Plantation, Charlotte, Crawford, Dennysville, Eastport, Pembroke, Perry, Robbinston, RSU 85/MSAD 19 (Lubec))
  • AOS 90 (Baileyville, Carroll Plantation, Cooper, Drew Plantation, East Range CSD (Codyville Plantation, Topsfield), Grand Lake Stream Plantation, Lakeville, Lee, Macwahoc Plantation, Meddybemps, Princeton, Reed Plantation, RSU 30/MSAD 30 (Lee, Springfield, Webster Plantation, Winn)
  • AOS 96 (Cutler, East Machias, Jonesboro, Machias, Machiasport, Marshfield, Northfield, Roque Bluffs, Wesley, Whiting, Whitneyville)
  • Washington Academy
  • UM Machias
  • Washington County Consortium
  • Washington County Leadership Team

 Great Falls Regional Support for Preschoolers with Disabilities 

This project will support the transition of special education services for 3- to 5-year olds into the Lewiston School Department with full implementation by August 2020 to ensure a successful early integration of students into district schools.

Participants:

  • Lead SAU – Lewiston Public Schools
  • Auburn Public Schools
  • RSU 16 (Mechanic Falls, Minot, Poland)
  • RSU 52/MSAD 52 (Green, Leeds, Turner)

Greater Biddeford CDS Regionalization Project 

This project will support the transition of special education services for 3- to 5-year olds into the Biddeford School Department with full implementation by school-year 2021 to ensure a successful early integration of students into district schools.

 Participants:

  • Lead SAU – Biddeford Public Schools
  • Dayton Public Schools

Kennebec Valley Expanded STEAM Outreach Project

This project will build on clear evidence of improved student outcomes to support the expansion of the current STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) program, which was funded through the round-one EBRACE grant. STEM-related arts will be added to the curriculum and student access will be increased. The STEAM program will introduce middle school students to STEAM educational experiences and career pathways.

Participants:

  • Lead SAU – RSU 74 (Anson, Embden, New Portland, Solon)
  • RSU 83/MSAD 13 (Bingham, Moscow)
  • RSU 59/MSAD 59 (Madison)

Kennebec Valley Whatever It Takes School

This project will support a middle school alternative education program that aims to reduce dropout and truancy rates by providing new and improved opportunities for at- risk students with multiple pathways for achievement.

Participants:

  • Lead SAU – RSU 59/MSAD 59 (Madison)
  • RSU 74 (Anson, Embden, New Portland, Solon)
  • RSU 83/MSAD 13 (Bingham, Moscow)

 Northern Penobscot Regional Partnership

This project will support the development of a flexible regional service center that initially focuses on increasing program opportunities for students by creating an alternative education program, a shared world language program, and providing access to regional student support services.

Participants:

  • Lead SAU – RSU 67 (Chester, Lincoln, Mattawamkeag)
  • East Millinocket Public Schools
  • Medway Public Schools
  • Millinocket Public Schools
  • RSU 30/MSAD 30 (Lee, Springfield, Webster Plantation, Winn)

PBIS Regional Professional Development Cohort

This project will create a sustainable, regional professional development program with a multi-tiered Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) framework using evidence-based behavioral practices shown to improve academic achievement and social-emotional growth among students as well as improving overall school climate.

Participants:

  • Lead SAU – RSU 3/MSAD 3 (Brooks, Freedom, Jackson, Knox, Liberty, Monroe, Montville, Thorndike, Troy, Unity, Waldo)
  • Brewer Community School
  • Indian Island School
  • RSU 20 (Searsport, Stockton Springs)
  • Wiscasset Elementary School
  • University of Maine

Southern Aroostook Area Regional Alternative Center

This project will create a high school alternative education program that will provide students with learning opportunities in career and technical education with the aim of increasing individual achievement levels and graduation rates in a personalized learning environment.

Participants:

  • Lead SAU – RSU 29/MSAD 29 (Hammond, Houlton, Littleton, Monticello)
  • RSU 50 (Crystal, Dyer Brook, Hersey, Island Falls, Merrill, Moro Plantation, Mount Chase, Oakfield, Patten, Sherman, Smyrna, Staceyville)
  • RSU 70/MSAD 70 (Amity, Haynesville, Hodgdon, Linneus, Ludlow, New Limerick)
  • RSU 84/MSAD 14 (Danforth, Weston)

Unified Valley Cooperative Project

This project will support the development of a regional service center that will share central administration services and resources. This increased efficiency will allow resources to be reallocated to student programming including career education, world language classes, skill certification, and an innovation lab.

Participants:

  • Lead SAU – MSAD 27 (Fort Kent, New Canada, St. Francis, St. John Plantation, Wallagrass)
  • Madawaska Public Schools
  • RSU 33/MSAD 33 (Frenchville, St. Agatha)

 Westbrook-Gorham Adult CTE Program

This project will support the creation of a regional adult education program that will provide adult learners access to career and technical education that will prepare them for high-skill, high-demand occupations that have defined pathways for advancement.

Participants:

  • Lead SAU – Westbrook Public Schools
  • Gorham Public Schools

Western Maine Standard Analysis

This project will support an audit of the programming and graduation standards across the regional members. The analysis will lead to greater uniformity of standards across districts to support seamless transfer of student achievement from school to school and collaborative staff development.

Participants:

  • Lead SAU – RSU 73 (Jay, Livermore, Livermore Falls)
  • RSU 9 (Chesterville, Farmington, Industry, New Sharon, New Vineyard, Starks, Temple, Vienna, Weld, Wilton)
  • RSU 10 (Buckfield, Hanover, Hartford, Mexico, Roxbury, Rumford, Sumner)
  • RSU 44/MSAD 44 (Bethel, Greenwood, Newry, Woodstock)
  • RSU 56 (Canton, Carthage, Dixfield, Peru)
  • RSU 58 (Avon, Kingfield, Phillips, Strong)
  • RSU 59/MSAD 59 (Madison)
  • RSU 74 (Anson, Embden, New Portland, Solon)
  • Western Maine Education Collaborative

 

###

MEDIA RELEASE: Maine DOE and First Lady, Ann LePage kick off February ‘Read to ME Challenge’

Augusta – Maine’s First Lady, Ann LePage launched the Read to ME Challenge today at the Sylvio Gilbert Elementary School in Augusta. Reading to second grade students at the Gilbert School, the First Lady shared two books, Groovy Joe: Ice Cream and Dinosaurs and Baxter in the Blaine House, with her captive audience.

“When children are read to on a regular basis it not only helps learn to read on their own, but it also stimulates their imaginations, and helps them discover how to use words when they communicate,” said First Lady, Ann LePage.

Each year the Maine Department of Education (DOE) in collaboration with First Lady Anne LePage launches the challenge as an opportunity to help communities throughout Maine contribute to children’s literacy growth by reading aloud to one or more children for at least 15 minutes. Part of the challenge is capturing the moment via a photo or video and then posting it on social media (with the hashags #ReadtoME or #ReadaloudME) with a challenge to others to do the same.

ReadToMEChallange_GilbertSchool
First Lady, Ann LePage reads to second graders at the Gilbert Elementary School in Augusta.

“Reading aloud to children is one of the most effective and highly beneficial methods of building a child’s literacy, said Suzan Beaudoin, Deputy Commissioner for the Maine DOE. “The simple act of reading aloud to a child 15 minutes a day, every day adds up to hundreds of hours of language exposure that can set a child up for high literacy achievement in their educational experiences and throughout life,” she added.

Schools and organizations throughout the state have joined the challenge so that they too can encourage their community members to read to children and to be part of the collective voice expressing the vital importance that reading to children plays in the social and economic well-being of Maine.

See a full list of community partners for the 2018 Read to ME Challenge.

A Facebook Live recording of the event can be found on the Maine DOE’s official Facebook page.

The Read to ME Challenge runs through the month of February leading up Read Across America Day which takes place on March 2.

For further information about the challenge contact Lee Anne Larsen, Early Learning Team Coordinator for the Maine Department of Education at leeann.larsen@maine.gov

 

MEDIA RELEASE: Organizations needed to feed hungry children this summer

AUGUSTA — With the assistance of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Maine public schools have long offered a nutritious breakfast and lunch meal program to thousands of income eligible children in Maine during the school year. To extend this program, the Child Nutrition team at the Maine Department of Education (Maine DOE) is seeking organizations who would like to participate in the federally funded Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), which provides children healthy meals when school is not in session.

“It is imperative that we continue expanding this tremendous program to ensure that children have the benefit of free and healthy meals from the program all year long, no matter where they live in our state,” said Maine Education Commissioner Robert G. Hasson, Jr.

In 2017, 120 sponsors participated in the program, serving meals at 438 sites throughout the state. Although the program continues to grow in Maine, there is still a long way to go towards feeding all eligible children during the summer. Community partners are working to maximize the number of sponsors utilizing the availability of funds under the SFSP.

The Summer Food Service Program may be offered statewide in areas or at sites where more than 50 percent of the children are eligible for free or reduced meal benefits under the National School Lunch Program or census track data supports the need. Organizations that provide services in rural communities or near migrant farm workers and American Indian populations are urged to participate. Eligible sponsoring organizations include schools, nonprofit residential summer camps, government agencies, and tax-exempt organizations including faith-based organizations.

Maine DOE encourages any eligible organization to consider providing this much-needed service to Maine children. The agency will begin accepting applications to participate in February. Approved sponsors will be reimbursed for eligible meals served to children during the long summer break.

Interested organizations should begin planning now for a successful summer. Potential sponsors are required to attend training sessions. For a complete schedule of trainings, please visit http://www.maine.gov/doe/nutrition/resources/events.html. Maine DOE is available to attend meetings or consult by phone and email to answer questions regarding summer meals.   For more information about the Maine DOE’s Summer Food Service Program, contact adriane.ackroyd@maine.gov, call 624-6726 or visit http://www.maine.gov/doe/nutrition/programs/sfsp/index.html.

###

In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity, in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.) should contact the Agency ere they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, heard of hearing, or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.

To file a program discrimination complaint, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, AD-3027, found online at How to File a Program Discrimination Complaint and at any USDA office or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by:

(1) mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-9410;
(2) fax: (202) 690-7442; or
(3) email: program.intake@usda.gov.

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender. This institution is an equal opportunity provider. In accordance with State law this institution is prohibited from discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, sexual orientation or disability. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs)

To file a complaint of discrimination, write Maine Human Rights Commission, 51 State House Station, Augusta, Maine 04333-0051. Maine is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

MEDIA RELEASE: Maine DOE partnering in national study to evaluate the effectiveness of anti-bullying law in Maine

The Maine Department of Education (DOE) and the Maine Center for Disease Control are taking part in a study to evaluate the efficacy and implementation of anti-bullying laws in partnership with the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health and with Columbia University, the University of Iowa and Temple University.

The study will evaluate the effectiveness of anti-bullying laws passed in the United States since 1999. In addition, researchers will study how the anti-bullying law is being implemented in the state of Maine to inform anti-bullying legislation that could affect educators, state and local agencies, legislators and students and families.

“This valuable partnership will help to ensure that Maine’s anti-bullying law is effective in promoting the safety of Maine’s students,” said Robert G. Hasson, Jr., Ed.D., Maine DOE Commissioner

In 2013, Maine passed a comprehensive anti-bullying law with new requirements for schools, including the implementation of a bullying incident-reporting system. Maine is one of only four states that require the state DOE to provide a model policy to schools. To maximize the effectiveness of this provision, Maine’s DOE will grant researchers a unique opportunity to conduct surveys with school administrators and school counselors across the state to learn how schools are adopting the state’s model policies and whether these implementation factors affect youth violence outcomes.

To understand both the challenges and the successes in bullying prevention, researchers want to hear the viewpoints of all types of school districts and staff with various levels of experience. Six schools representing rural and urban communities in Maine have been selected to participate in this opportunity. Confidential interviews will take place with a superintendent, principal and school counselor in charge of anti-bullying activities at each school (a total of 18 interviews). The information that the selected school leaders and staff share in the study will help identify supports needed for all schools.

The study group will use the results of the conversations, which will be kept confidential, to form an online survey that will be administered to all Maine schools in the spring of 2018 and the spring of 2019. Results will also be summarized in a research report that will be available to the public.

For more information contact Rachel Paling, Maine DOE Director of Communications at Rachel.paling@maine.gov or (207) 624-6747.

 

 

MEDIA RELEASE: Dover-Foxcroft elementary school music teacher named Maine 2018 Teacher of the Year

For Immediate Release
Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Media Contacts:
Dolly Sullivan – Educate Maine, 207-631-3385
Rachel Paling – Maine DOE Director of Communications, 207-624-6747

DOVER-FOXCROFT – In a surprise all-school assembly today at SeDoMoCha Elementary School, Maine Department of Education Commissioner Robert G. Hasson, Jr. named SeDoMoCha Elementary music teacher Kaitlin Young as Maine’s 2018 Teacher of the Year.

Selected earlier this year as the 2017 Piscataquis County Teacher of the Year, Young began her teaching career in 2010 at SeDoMoCha Elementary School in Dover-Foxcroft, Maine.  For the last seven years she has held a variety of music education positions within the district teaching students in pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade.  Currently she teaches general music to students in pre-kindergarten through fourth grade and choral music to students in fifth through eighth grade.

“Kaitlin’s integrated teaching style and dedication to bring a love of music and the arts to her students as well as their families, and the community that surrounds her makes her a true leader among her peers and an inspiration to us all,” said Maine Department of Education Commissioner Robert G. Hasson, Jr.

Beyond the RSU #68 school district, Young has worked with the Center Theatre as a music director for several student and adult musical productions.  She also participates in several community music ensembles including a contemporary a cappella group and a steel pan band.

Young is a member of several professional organizations including the Maine Education Association, National Association for Music Educators, and the American Choral Directors Association. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from The University of Maine at Orono with a Bachelors of Music in Music Education in 2010.  Young completed her Master’s Degree in Music Education with a concentration in Kodaly Pedagogy at The Hartt School in Hartford, CT in 2017.

As the 2018 Maine Teacher of the Year, Mrs. Young will travel throughout the state and country collaborating with other educators to support the efforts underway to prepare all students for college, work and civic life. She is Maine’s representative in the National Teacher of the Year program which includes a national forum with other state winners, a week at a NASA Space Camp and a visit to the White House.

The Maine Teacher of the Year program is administered by Educate Maine, a business-led advocacy organization, in partnership with the Maine Department of Education and the Maine State Board of Education.  Funding for the program is generously provided by Bangor Savings Bank, Dead River, Geiger, and Hannaford.

For more information about the Maine Teacher of the Year program, visit www.mainetoy.org. For more information about Educate Maine, visit www.educatemaine.org.

MEDIA RELEASE: Maine students improve on state assessments

The Maine Department of Education is pleased to release the 2016-17 Maine Education Assessment (MEA) results in the content areas of mathematics, English language arts (ELA)/literacy, and science.  In all content areas, performance has improved or remained stable.

“I am encouraged with how well our students are performing. In 2016-17, students were assessed for the third time on the rigorous standards Maine adopted in 2011 and while participation rates remained high, students showed consistent improvement,” said Robert G. Hasson, Jr., Maine Department of Education Commissioner. “This is a true testament to the hard work and determination of our students and their teachers.”

With two years of data from the same assessments, this is the first opportunity since 2013 that the State has been able to compare results over two years in mathematics and ELA/literacy. Results are very encouraging.

Highlights include:

  • In ELA/Literacy 52.58% of Maine students scored at or above state expectations – a notable improvement over 50.58% in 2015-16.
  • In Mathematics 38.54% of Maine students scored at or above state expectations – a slight improvement over 38.31% in 2015-16.
  • In Science 61.07% of Maine students scored at or above state expectations – a slight improvement over 60.97% in 2015-16.
  • The number of students exempted from the state assessment due to special considerations (e.g., serious medical condition) was reduced by about half from 2015-16 to 2016-17.
  • Participation rates in all subjects were greater than 95%.

The public results can be viewed by school or district and by subgroups, including grade level groups, in the MAARS Public Reports system.

###