Priority Notice: 2nd Round of Grant Funds Available to Support the Expansion of Public Pre-K

As part of the Maine Jobs and Recovery Plan, Governor Mills allocated $10 million of the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds appropriated for Maine for public pre-k infrastructure to increase the number of 4-year-olds enrolled in public pre-k across the state. For the 2022-23 school year, 12 SAUs were awarded funding to expand or start new pre-k programs.

The Maine DOE is excited to announce another round of public pre-k expansion funding for school year 2023-24.

Currently, public pre-k in Maine is not universally available for all 4-year-olds. While the cognitive and social-emotional benefits of high-quality pre-k are well documented, there are a variety of factors that contribute to the ability of School Administrative Units (SAUs) to offer public pre-k and the extent to which they can enroll all eligible 4-year-olds from interested families. This funding will help expand pre-k opportunities across Maine.

Maine SAUs interested in starting or expanding public pre-k are encouraged to apply for funding through the Pre-K Expansion Request for Applications (RFA). SAUs will be able to use the funding, in combination with Essential Programs and Services allocations, to start new pre-k programs and/or expand existing programs from part-day/part-week to full-day/full-week programs. Funding may also support public pre-k programming through partnerships between SAUs and community providers.

A timeline for the RFA process is provided below.

  • August 5, 2022–RFA released
  • August 23, 2023–Informational session for interested parties, 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
  • September 22, 2022-RFA question submittal deadline
  • September 30, 2022—RFA answers to questions posted publicly
  • October 13, 2022—RFA submission deadline

An informational meeting has been scheduled for Tuesday, August 23 from 10 am-12 pm. Those wishing to learn more about the Pre-K Expansion RFA and ask questions may attend through this link. This meeting will be recorded and made available on our Early Childhood Professional Learning and Resources page.

For the 12 SAUs previously awarded grants in the first round, there will be a separate opportunity to apply for additional funding to support current projects later in fall of 2022 or winter of 2023.

All questions about the Pre-K Expansion RFA should be submitted to the Pre-K Expansion Grant Coordinator identified on the Grant RFPs and RFAs webpage.

Additional questions regarding this announcement should be directed to Pre-K RFA Coordinator jane.kirsling@maine.gov.

Priority Notice: 2022-2023 Assessment Calendar and Assessment Program Updates 

Thank you, Maine educators and administrators! Your hard work, diligence to scheduling, and investment in assessments supported and ensured a successful administration of state assessments during the 2021 – 2022 school year.

The Maine Department of Education (DOE) remains committed to our mission of promoting learning opportunities of the highest quality for all Maine students by providing information, guidance, and support to our schools, educators, and school administrative unit (SAU) leadership, and we’re excited to share some updates to the Maine assessment program.  This includes ensuring that Maine’s assessment system provides educators and SAU leadership with the timely data they need, while limiting the amount of instructional time impacted by necessary assessment administration.

During the height of the COVID-19 global pandemic, the Maine DOE heard from and responded to the needs expressed by SAUs and schools to focus more on supporting students. The Maine DOE formed a partnership with NWEA to expand MAP Growth to all schools and SAUs for grades 3-8 and high school as an emergency effort to provide educators, school communities, and the state with real-time information about student achievement.

The Maine Department of Education has continued to hear from educators and administrators across the state that timely and useful data to inform instruction remain vitally important. We have also heard that growth measures comparing the performance of different cohorts each spring have been unhelpful. Therefore, in the spring of 2023, the Maine DOE will begin implementing a flexible, innovative assessment that is similar to the MAP Growth assessment model for math and reading in grades 3-8 and the second year of high school. This assessment will also serve as our federally required, statewide assessment. The assessments will be adaptive each year for grades 3-8, and fixed form (not adaptive) in the second year of high school. The first administration will occur during the spring 2023 assessment administration window, with a full transition to a through-year (a required fall assessment and optional winter implementation) model in the 2023-24 school year. Growth will then be measured based on fall to spring performance within the same cohort of students. Assessment items will include well-vetted, adaptive MAP Growth items along with specific grade-level items, producing a valid RIT score that is nationally comparable and will provide a measure of consistency over time in addition to Maine-specific grade level performance levels.

This transition will allow us to maintain existing interim assessments and the required summative assessment in fewer assessment administrations in a manner that will provide a system of equitable, student-centered, and personalized measures to provide evidence, data, and instructionally relevant information and tools.

What is a flexible, through-year assessment program?  

The assessments are intended to provide information for educators throughout the year. This means assessments can be administered 2-3 times a year: fall, winter (optional), and spring. Although many of the elements below are a familiar part of the current program, items highlighted** reflect new features/functionality now available.

  • The assessments are computer adaptive, providing a personalized experience for each student.
  • The assessments provide educators information about student performance relative to end of year achievement level expectations. ** 
  • The assessments are efficient, leveraging information about how students performed in previous administrations to personalize later assessment experiences. ** 
  • The spring assessment generates a summative score that meets federal requirements. ** 
  • The assessments support within year growth and national comparisons via a norm-referenced score (i.e., RIT scores) provided after each administration.

Key benefits of this flexible, through-year state assessment model for educators and students in Maine include:  

  • A two- to three-times-per-year assessment program that allows for performance monitoring while eliminating the need for a standalone and disconnected state summative assessment each spring, supporting the continuity of the overall assessment experience. ** 
  • In addition to a state scale score, the assessment will provide RIT scores that yield national normative information.
  • A reduction of overall assessment administrations compared to prior assessment administration cycles.   There will only be two required administrations of math and reading each year. There will no longer be a separate language usage assessment.
  • A reduction in lost instructional time (each assessment is estimated to take less than 1 hour).
  • New, interactive reports and tools designed to provide timely and actionable information to support our Maine educators and students.
  • Continued cost saving for district leaders as this program will provide districts and schools with information previously provided by interim assessments, reducing the need for districts to purchase an interim assessment.

Next steps:

  • To support a smooth transition, the Maine DOE will continue to provide MAP Growth administrations for Math and Reading in the fall (required) and winter (optional) of the 2022/2023 school as we prepare for the spring 2023 administration. Maine DOE will be sponsoring professional learning opportunities designed to support educators in the administration of the assessment and their use of through-year data for instructional purposes. Further information regarding professional learning will be forthcoming.
  • It should be noted, there are no changes to the alternate assessment provided to students with the most significant cognitive disabilities. The Multi-State Alternate Assessment (MSAA) will continue to be utilized in mathematics, ELA, and science.

Assessment Calendar Now Available 

The assessment calendar for the 2022-2023 school year is now available. The schedule is located below and available on the assessment calendar webpage.

Assessment Content Area Grades Assessment Window Dates
NWEA (fall-required) Math & Reading 3 -8, 2nd year of HS October 3 – 28, 2022
ACCESS for ELLs

Alt. ACCESS for ELLs

English Language Proficiency K-12 January 9, 2023 – March 3, 2023
NWEA (Winter -optional) Math & Reading 3 -8, 2nd year of HS January 9, 2023 – February 3, 2023
MSAA Math, ELA,

Science

Grades 3 – 8, 3rd year of HS

Grades 5, 8 and 3rd year of HS

March 13, 2023- April 28, 2023
NWEA (spring- required) Math & Reading 3 – 8, 2nd year of HS May 1 -26, 2023
Maine Science Science Grades 5, 8 and 3rd year of HS May 15 – 26, 2023

Questions can be directed to Janette Kirk, Chief, Office of Federal Programs.

PRIORITY NOTICE: Higher Education Workforce Grants Available for Work-based Learning Experiences. Application Deadline June 8

The Maine Department of Education is seeking applications for the distribution of higher education workforce grants as part of the Maine Jobs & Recovery Program (MJRP). The program will provide a total of $1 million to private higher education institutions in Maine to prepare students for employment in industries harmed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Funding must be used to provide internships, registered apprenticeships, career mentoring, and other work experience support for students or graduates to connect them to careers in healthcare and social assistance; tourism, travel, and hospitality; education or the public sector; agriculture, fishing and forestry; construction; information; manufacturing; or clean energy. Those eligible for the grants include private colleges and universities in Maine, the Maine Maritime Academy, and industry partners related to the career fields listed above.

The number and size of awards will depend on the number of proposals received & available funds. The range of awards is up to $200,000 and eligible institutions may submit applications for up to two distinct projects.

Applications should be submitted by June 8, 2022 to the State of Maine Division of Procurement Services, via email, at Proposals@maine.gov.

For additional information, contact Ángel Martínez Loredo, Director of Higher Education & Educator Support Services, at angel.loredo@maine.gov.​

PRIORITY NOTICE: Higher Education Workforce Grants Available for New and Expanded Programs. Applications Due June 16

While the COVID-19 pandemic has had broad economic impacts, several Maine industries have suffered disproportionate negative economic consequences caused by the pandemic. As part of the Maine Jobs & Recovery Act, the Maine Department of Education is seeking applications to provide funding to higher education institutions in Maine to prepare students for employment in industries harmed by the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Funding will be used to develop a new or expanded certificate or degree program that addresses priority workforce needs in one of the following industries: tourism, travel & hospitality; healthcare and social assistance; education and public sector; agriculture, fishing & forestry; infrastructure (construction, trades, broadband, logistics); information; manufacturing; or clean energy.  

Those eligible for the grants include private colleges and universities in Maine and the Maine Maritime Academy. In their applications, higher education institutions should consider how their programs will:  

  • Address critical needs in Maine’s economy and workforce by advancing strategies identified in Maine’s 10-year economic development strategic plan; 
  • Prioritize supports for disadvantaged students, students with disabilities, and individuals such as new Mainers, people of color, low-income students, Indigenous communities, and students seeking work in rural communities; 
  • Demonstrate the likelihood of supporting the advancement of students and workers to achieve higher paying jobs in Maine; and  
  • Use funding for one-time investments that will produce lasting benefits or propose a feasible funding strategy for sustaining activities after grant funds have been exhausted. 

The number and size of awards will depend on the number of proposals received & available funds. The range of awards is up to $2 million and eligible institutions may submit applications for up to two distinct projects. 

Applications should be submitted by June 16, 2022 to the State of Maine Division of Procurement Services, via email, at Proposals@maine.gov 

For additional information, contact Ángel Martínez Loredo, Director of Higher Education & Educator Support Services, at angel.loredo@maine.gov.​ 

UPDATED PRIORITY NOTICE: Higher Education Workforce Grants Available for New and Expanded Programs

While the COVID-19 pandemic has had broad economic impacts, several Maine industries have suffered disproportionate negative economic consequences caused by the pandemic. As part of the Maine Jobs & Recovery Act, the Maine Department of Education is seeking applications to provide funding to higher education institutions in Maine to prepare students for employment in industries harmed by the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Funding will be used to develop a new or expanded certificate or degree program that addresses priority workforce needs in one of the following industries: tourism, travel & hospitality; healthcare and social assistance; education and public sector; agriculture, fishing & forestry; infrastructure (construction, trades, broadband, logistics); information; manufacturing; or clean energy.  

Those eligible for the grants include private colleges and universities in Maine and the Maine Maritime Academy. In their applications, higher education institutions should consider how their programs will:  

  • Address critical needs in Maine’s economy and workforce by advancing strategies identified in Maine’s 10-year economic development strategic plan; 
  • Prioritize supports for disadvantaged students, students with disabilities, and individuals such as new Mainers, people of color, low-income students, Indigenous communities, and students seeking work in rural communities; 
  • Demonstrate the likelihood of supporting the advancement of students and workers to achieve higher paying jobs in Maine; and  
  • Use funding for one-time investments that will produce lasting benefits or propose a feasible funding strategy for sustaining activities after grant funds have been exhausted. 

The number and size of awards will depend on the number of proposals received & available funds. The range of awards is up to $2 million and eligible institutions may submit applications for up to two distinct projects. 

Applications should be submitted by June 16, 2022 to the State of Maine Division of Procurement Services, via email, at Proposals@maine.gov 

For additional information, contact Ángel Martínez Loredo, Director of Higher Education & Educator Support Services, at angel.loredo@maine.gov.​