Category Archives: Priority Notices

PRIORITY NOTICE: Maine DOE announces change in English learner reclassifications

Maine DOE has changed English learner reclassifications to Overall Composite Proficiency Level Score of 5 or greater on ACCESS 2.0.

Maine recently received its 2016-17 ACCESS 2.0 for ELLs scores and many of our English learners scored at proficiency levels lower than expected. This is because of a process that established new expectations for what scale score students must achieve in order to reach each proficiency level.

WIDA explains as follows: “The changes to students’ ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 proficiency level scores reflect the increased language demands of college and career readiness standards. WIDA raised the bar for language proficiency and students needed to showcase higher language skills in 2016–2017 to achieve the same proficiency level scores (1.0–6.0) in previous years. This is the result of a process to determine the student performance required for each proficiency level through a series of decisions made for each grade level by expert panels of teachers as well as district and state English language learner administrators.”

The following bullets are intended to clarify what has changed and what has not:

  • The ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 test questions did not get more difficult.
  • The scoring of the ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 domains did not change.
  • The same performance on the ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 in 2015-16 and in 2016-17 would also result in the same scale score.
  • The only change is in the scale score required to achieve each proficiency level (1-6).
  • At each level, in 2016-17, the student needed to achieve a higher scale score to reach a given proficiency level.
  • In other words, the same performance in 2015-16 and in 2016-17 would result in the same scale score, but the proficiency level score would be higher in 2015-16 than in 2016-17.
  • If parents or teachers want to know if a child’s English language proficiency improved from 2015-16 to 2016-17, they should compare the scale scores across the two years, but not the proficiency level scores.

The exit criterion in Maine has always been rigorous. We are currently the only state that requires a 6.0 proficiency score on the overall composite. After looking at our 2016-17 data, it is apparent that the 6.0 exit criterion is too high given the new cutscores for proficiency levels. We have therefore changed Maine’s exit criteria to a 5.0 proficiency level score. The 5.0 proficiency level in 2016-17 is similar to the 6.0 proficiency level in earlier years.

You may find the following materials helpful:

Direct questions about ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 and the educational or English language acquisition services for English learners to Nancy Mullins, Maine DOE ESL/Bilingual Programs, at nancy.mullins@maine.gov (207) 624-6788.

PRIORITY NOTICE: One year extension granted for certificates expiring on July 1, 2017

Maine Department of Education (DOE) Commissioner Robert Hasson has approved a one year extension for all certificates with an expiration date of July 1, 2017. All teachers, educational specialists and administrators with certificates expiring on July 1, 2017 will be issued a one year certificate that will be mailed to your home address on file with the Maine DOE.

As many of you are aware, the Maine DOE is in the midst of transitioning to a new online certification system. This one year extension is being granted to ensure that folks who are up for renewal on July 1, 2017 will not be affected by the launch of the new online system.

This is the first time the Department has issued a one year extension and there is much work going on behind the scenes to get the renewals mailed to you in a timely manner. We appreciate your patience as we work through the steps necessary to make it happen.

As soon as all of the pieces are in place to bring the new online system up, applicants will be able to access it and renew their certificates with the assurance that their current certificates will remain valid until that is possible. Any renewal credits or professional development training hours that have been accrued for this year’s renewal will still be valid for the renewal of certificates with an expiration date of July 1, 2018.

The new system is expected to be fully functional by the fall of 2017. This is a first time endeavor for the Department. We are diligently working through the development of many new processes necessary to make it happen, as well as the unexpected delays that are often times inevitable when taking on such an extensive system change.

If you have questions please look over our Frequently Asked Questions sheet. For further questions, contact the Maine Department of Education’s Certification office at 207-624-6603 or cert.doe@maine.gov.

This message was sent directly to all Maine administrators, in addition to teachers, educational specialists and administrators with certificates expiring on July 1, 2017.

PRIORITY NOTICE: 106th Annual Commissioner’s Conference

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Dear Superintendents,

I am pleased to announce that the 106th Annual Commissioner’s Conference is open for registration. The conference is scheduled for June 26th – 27th at the Atlantic Oceanside Hotel and Event Center in Bar Harbor. Superintendents, school board members and other school or district level administrators are encouraged to register for the conference.

Developed in collaboration with the Maine School Superintendents Association, this year’s working agenda is attached below, highlights include:

  • Keynote speaker Dr. Janet Zadina – internationally renowned speaker, consultant, author, and former high school and community college teacher best known for her extraordinary ability to inform, educate, and empower audiences with her scholarly and credible brain research and teachings
  • Discussion and meeting topics including: Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), Proficiency Based Education (PBE), teacher prep, certification, school finance, school construction, regionalization, and much more!
  • student panel
  • The Annual Awards & Recognition Banquet

Conference Information:

For more information about the conference, please contact Georgette Valliere at 624-6605 or georgette.valliere@maine.gov.

We look forward to seeing you, and working together on June 26-27 in Bar Harbor.

Sincerely,

Robert G. Hasson, Jr., Ed.D.
Commissioner
Maine Department of Education

PRIORITY NOTICE: MaineCare Seed payment adjustments to be made, review reports by April 12, 2017

The 2016-17 subsidy checks for General Purpose Aid for local schools will reflect adjustments in April 2017 for MaineCare Seed payments paid by the Maine DOE on behalf of school administrative units (SAUs) for the following:

  • 2017 Quarter 2 MaineCare payment adjustments

Detailed student reports for Quarter 2 are now available in Infinite Campus (State Edition). Instructions for accessing MaineCare Seed Payment Reports in Infinite Campus are available here.

In April, 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 2 and report any issues on these reports no later than April 12, 2017. 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.

Reporting 2016-17 Student Information – Due Date: April 15, 2017

The Infinite Campus State Education system (ICSE), is online for school year 2016-17 updates.  The updated 2016-17 student information will be utilized to meet State and federal reporting requirements (ESSA, Graduates, Dropouts, AYP, etc.) as well as the calculation of State subsidy for 2017-18 for Maine’s public school administrative units.

All private schools with publicly funded students must report ALL “publicly funded students” in the Infinite Campus State Education System.   The private schools that receive publicly funded students must report these students in the Infinite Campus State Education system in order for the public school administrative units to receive a subsidy count for these students in their future State subsidy.  The State subsidy to a public school unit is often the source of funding that a school administrative unit uses to pay the tuition for these students to attend the private schools.

Student Enrollment Reporting – Due Date:  April 15, 2017:

April 1, 2017 Student Count – all publicly funded students should be enrolled in Infinite Campus State Edition (ICSE) before April 15, 2017 so that the resident public school administrative units may review the data and verify the April 1st student count which takes place between April 16, 2017 and April 30, 2017.

  • For private schools enrolling “ALL” students in the Infinite Campus State Education System, please fax (1-866-219-8344) or mail the completed Signature Page of the April 1st Enrollment Report (EF-M-14) indicating that all students have been enrolled in the Infinite Campus State Education system. There will be no need to complete the remainder of the EF-M-14.
  • For private schools enrolling only publicly funded students in the Infinite Campus State Education system, please complete the April 1st Enrollment Report (EF-M-14 – Sections 2 and 3 only) and email the Excel spreadsheet form to the Department at GPA.DOE@maine.gov. In addition, please fax the completed Signature Page to 1-866-219-8344.
  • For private schools that have no publicly funded students, please complete the April 1st Enrollment Report (EF-M-14 – Sections 2 and 3) for the non-publicly funded students and email the Excel spreadsheet form to the Department at GPA.DOE@maine.gov. In addition, please fax the completed Signature Page to 1-866-219-8344.

The EF-M-14 Form can be downloaded from the Department of Education’s website at:
http://www.maine.gov/education/forms/misteam/enrollment/april/aprilpriv.htm

60% Publicly Funded Private Schools

These 11 private schools must complete both the EF-M-14 and the EPS April Enrollment Certifications.

Private Schools Using the Infinite Campus State Education System:

For private schools that enter students into the Infinite Campus State Edition, please refer to the document titled “Data Standards Document” located at:

http://www.maine.gov/education/medms/standards/index.htm

If you have any questions regarding the Infinite Campus State Education (ICSE), please contact the MEDMS Help Desk, Tel. (207) 624-6896 or e-mail medms.helpdesk@maine.gov.

If you have any general student questions, please contact Travis Wood, Tel. (207) 624-6742 or e-mail travis.wood@maine.gov.

PRIORITY NOTICE: Seeking Public Comment for the Maine Department of Education Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Consolidated State Plan

The Maine Department of Education is seeking 30 days of public comment on Maine’s ESSA State Consolidated Plan from March 1 – 30, 2017

The passage of the Every Students Succeeds Act in 2015 shifted the former Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 from a federally driven, highly prescriptive set of programs and regulations to a state determined plan to ensure a focus on equity and excellence for all students.

The U.S. Department of Education is requiring every state educational agency to submit a Consolidated State Plan. “When developing its consolidated State plan, the Department encourages each State Educational Agency to reflect on its overall vision and how the different sections of the consolidated State plan work together to create one comprehensive approach to improving outcomes for all students.”

As a result, the Maine Department of Education ESSA State Plan is based on prioritized needs identified in Maine’s existing strategic plan. This plan was stakeholder informed and driven in 2012 and correlates with the five overarching elements of the federal Consolidated Plan, which are as follows:

  1. Long-Term Goals
  2. Consultation and Performance Management
  3. Academic Assessments
  4. Accountability, Support, and Improvement for Schools
  5. Supporting Excellent Educators
  6. Supporting All Students

By this integration the Department is utilizing the ESSA Plan as the enhancement mechanism to move Maine’s educational priorities forward.

The Department engaged over 40 Maine educators representing different stakeholder groups to serve as members of the ESSA Advisory and Workgroup teams to examine the components of the consolidated application pertinent to their focus area and to discuss potential recommendations for each specific component.

 Please note the changes which may affect the final format of  plan:

  • Possible changes in the ESSA Accountability federal regulations
  • Changes to the Consolidated Plan template indicated by the U. S Department of Education Secretary Devos on February 13, 2017 to reflect only those components that are “absolutely necessary”.

The Full Maine Consolidated State Plan
The Executive Summary (Includes an introductory letter from Acting Commissioner Hasson)

Comments may be submitted to: ESSA.DOE@maine.gov

Preliminary FY 2018 State subsidy printouts available

The Department is pleased to announce that the FY 2018 (2017-18 school year) preliminary State subsidy printouts, known as ED 279s, are now available here on our website:

http://www.maine.gov/doe/eps/

These preliminary amounts are based on Governor LePage’s proposed biennial budget. Governor LePage’s FY18 budget proposal includes $991.3 million for general purpose aid for Maine schools and $1,002.4 billion for FY19. The Governor’s budget does propose changes to the current funding law, which include repealing the adjustment for Title I revenues when calculating the per pupil rate, increasing the targeted funds weight for K-2 from 10% to 15%, with a proposal to add grade 3 in FY 2019, and increasing the adjustment for those school units receiving a minimum special education adjustment to 33%.

The subsidy amounts for FY 2018 (2017-18) reflected on these printouts are only preliminary and do not represent final action of the 128th Maine Legislature and should therefore only be used as “initial” guidance for your budget preparations. Some calculations included in these amounts are dependent upon enactment of statutory changes. Please review your ED 279 printouts in order to familiarize yourself with the full scope of changes proposed in the Governor’s budget.

The Department hopes this release of the preliminary ED 279s is informative to your local budgeting preparations. If you have any questions as you review these printouts, please contact our School Finance Team via email:  tyler.backus@maine.gov or paula.b.gravelle@maine.gov or ida.batista@maine.gov or at 624-6790.

PRIORITY NOTICE: MaineCare Seed payment adjustments to be made, report review by March 13, 2017

The 2016-17 subsidy checks for General Purpose Aid for local schools will reflect adjustments in March 2017 for MaineCare Seed payments paid by the Maine DOE on behalf of school administrative units (SAUs) for the following:

  • 2017 Quarter 1 MaineCare payment adjustments

Detailed student reports for Quarter 1 are now available in Infinite Campus (State Edition). Instructions for accessing MaineCare Seed Payment Reports in Infinite Campus are available here.

In March, 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 1 and report any issues on these reports no later than March 10, 2017. 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.

PRIORITY NOTICE – Chapter 124: Public Preschool Program Standards effective 7/1/17

This Priority Notice is being resent – originally issued Jan. 5, 2017.

All School Districts with Public Preschool Programs Established before 2015-16

As you will recall, the Maine Department of Education Regulation, Chapter 124: Public Preschool Program Standards go into effect July 1, 2017 for all SAUs.  In order to ensure that your local child count in the public preschool program is included in the NEO system for the 2017-18 school year you will need to complete an application located at this link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ExistingPublicPreK

The Maine DOE is asking all superintendents to complete this application (unless you are submitting an application for a new program or have had an application approved for the 2015-16 or 2016-17 school year).  The information included in the application will demonstrate how the district complies with the new standards and will collect data on potential challenges in aligning programs with Chapter 124 regulation.   This information will help the DOE determine the types of support that may be needed in order to assist districts in addressing these issues.

Please make sure you complete the entire application; at the end you will find a list of areas where you can indicate where there are alignment challenges for your preschool program. For more information please contact Sue Reed, Early Childhood Specialist, susan.d.reed@maine.gov  624-6632.

This application is due by March 31, 2017.

Save the date: 2017 Commissioner’s Conference for Superintendents

The 106th Annual Commissioner’s Conference for Superintendents will be held  June 26 & 27 at the Atlantic Oceanside Hotel and Event Center in Bar Harbor.

Registration information and conference materials will be available in the coming weeks. For more information, please contact Georgette Valliere at 624-6605 or georgette.valliere@maine.gov .