PRIORITY NOTICE: Guidance on New High School Diploma Law

Governor LePage signed into law PL 2017, Chapter 466 on July 10, 2018, allowing SAUs to award either proficiency-based or credit-based diplomas. This change will take effect on December 13, 2018. The new diploma law, enacted by the 128th Legislature, removes the mandate that a high school diploma be based on a student’s demonstration of proficiency in Maine’s Learning Results and instead makes a proficiency-based diploma one of two options.

To help inform school districts and the public about the new law, the Department is providing a side-by-side comparison of the two diploma options. While the new law provides opportunities for flexibility and innovation in awarding a high school diploma, it also presents challenges. The Maine DOE believes the comparison chart will help districts navigate their different options to ensure that, whatever the local decision is, students are provided a high quality education.

Side-by-side comparison of the two diploma options (PDF) »

The chart demonstrates that many details must be worked out both at the state and local level. As school leaders consider the uncertainties presented by the new law, the Commissioner wants districts to know that Maine DOE has an unwavering commitment to the quality of education for all Maine students. In this vein, districts should move forward with diploma requirements that serve students with an understanding that further legislation is likely necessary to reduce the inconsistencies between the two options.

The Commissioner is working collaboratively with stakeholders to establish common goals and seek solutions that ensure Maine’s high school diploma requirements provide a challenging, high quality education for every student in Maine. The Maine DOE looks forward to working with districts in this endeavor to prepare our graduates for a bright future.

Resources

Laws Quick Look Up:

Maine Learning Results

Guiding Principles of The Maine Learning Results

Understanding the Guiding Principlesa Resource developed by the Maine DOE and epic, Educational Policy Improvement Center.

For further questions, contact Mary Paine, Maine DOE Chief of Planning and Implementation at Mary.paine@maine.gov or (207) 624-6672.

Special Statement about Proficiency Based Diplomas (L.D. 1666)

Following the passage of L.D. 1666: An Act To Ensure the Successful Implementation of Proficiency-based Diplomas, the Department is in the process of conducting a legal review to understand the changes that come with the passage of L.D. 1666, and will be working to determine how best to support schools going forward.

Further guidance will be available to schools and districts as soon as possible.

To help better understand the Department’s sentiments about the new diploma law, please view this statement that Governor Paul R. LePage provided to the Legislature when he signed L.D. 1666. The Department shares the Governor’s concerns and hopes on the passage of L.D. 1666, as expressed in this statement.

The Department thanks the field for their patience as we work through these changes. It is our sincere hope that the way forward will be collaborative and toward a shared vision of excellence and opportunity for all Maine students.

 

 

PRIORITY NOTICE: Department’s proposed diploma bill (LD 1898) released for review

The Maine Department of Education’s proposal for the high school diploma, as referenced in this recent priority notice, was released from the Maine State Legislature Office of the Revisor of Statutes on Wednesday, April 4 as LD 1898, An Act To Amend Maine’s High School Diploma Standards and Ensure Maine Students Meet State Standards upon Graduation.

The Commissioner requested that the Department’s proposal be submitted as a “Governor’s” bill to allow for the greatest possible opportunity for discussion between the Department and the public. The Department considers this discussion to be an open dialog and we look forward to further conversations.

A public hearing is expected to be scheduled for early next week. Once it is scheduled, it will be posted on the Joint Standing Education and Cultural Affairs Committee calendar.

In anticipation of the public hearing, the Department is providing an updated summary of what the bill does and does not do.

LD 1898

  1. Removes the mandate that districts base a diploma on an undefined concept (“proficiency”) by repealing 4722-A and replacing it with 4722-B.
  2. Points to a reasonable and appropriate level of achievement in two foundational content areas (English and math) required for the diploma
  3. Bases achievement criteria on knowledge, skills, and progressions that are already present and defined in Maine’s Learning Results
  4. Provides students with disabilities equitable access to education and a diploma
  5. Requires that students have high quality instruction and learning in all content areas
  6. Makes room for students to access their education through both traditional, (classroom-based) avenues and non-traditional (experience-based) avenues in separate, integrated, and independent contexts
  7. Allows districts to implement diploma requirements beyond the minimum set by the state

LD 1898 does not

  1. Eliminate what has come to be called “proficiency-based education,” “proficiency-based teaching,” or “proficiency-based learning.” Instruction and learning based on learning outcomes, as described by some in recent articles, is standards-based education by a different name.  Maine schools have been striving for and succeeding in implementing teaching and learning based on standards since the state adopted the Maine Learning Results in 1997. Under the Department’s proposal, school districts may continue to teach, grade, and structure learning as they determine best meets the needs of students, parents, and the school community

PRIORITY NOTICE: Maine Department of Education’s proposal for the high school diploma

In light of recent articles and editorials about the proficiency-based diploma and the fate of proficiency-based education, the Commissioner is providing insight regarding the forthcoming Department proposal for the diploma. The Commissioner requested that the Department’s proposal be submitted as a “Governor’s” bill to allow for a process that includes a public hearing and work session(s).   The most significant difference between the Department’s proposed diploma and the proficiency-based diploma is that uncertainty has been removed and a reasonable level of achievement has been clearly identified as a minimum requirement for a diploma.

Specifically,

The Department’s proposal:

  1. Removes the mandate that districts base a diploma on an undefined concept (“proficiency”)
  2. Points to a reasonable and appropriate level of achievement in two foundational content areas (English and math) required for the diploma
  3. Bases achievement criteria on knowledge, skills, and progressions that are already present and defined in Maine’s Learning Results
  4. Provides students with disabilities equitable access to education and a diploma
  5. Ensures that students will have high quality instruction and learning in all content areas
  6. Makes room for students to access their education through both traditional, (classroom-based) avenues and non-traditional (experience-based) avenues
  7. Allows districts to implement diploma requirements beyond the minimum set by the state

The Department’s proposal does not:

  1. Impose a mandated or de facto grading structure
  2. Eliminate or impose a barrier to what has come to be called “proficiency-based education,” “proficiency-based teaching,” or “proficiency-based learning.” Instruction and learning based on outcomes, as described by some in recent articles, is actually a description of standards-based education, which Maine schools have been striving for since the state adopted the Maine Learning Results in 1997. Under the Department’s proposal, school districts may continue to teach, grade, and structure learning as they determine best meets the needs of students, parents, and the school community.

The Department considers this discussion to be an open dialog, and we look forward to further conversations on this proposal once the bill is released.

Reach Higher Maine Webinar: The New CTE Pathway to Maine’s Proficiency Diploma

Reach Higher Maine has developed a series of free webinars designed to provide school counselors & those working with student’s tools to use in their college and career readiness programs.

Live Webinar Date:  January 31st 2018, 1:30 PM

The webinar will be recorded and available on the Reach Higher Maine Google Classroom

Description: Presenters will dispel the myths surrounding the CTE Pathway by showcasing the talent, ambition and resilience of CTE students. Through video, we will share the stories of students who have walked the CTE pathway and turned struggle and uncertainty in to self-confidence and future promise.  We will take the time to clarify the new CTE diploma pathway and discuss how CTE schools statewide can act as a resource and academic partner for students working toward achieving proficiency in an evidence based system

The webinar is free and will provide a certificate of completion upon request as well as access to the Discussion Board where you can ask questions of the presenters or the rest of the attendees.  We are hoping this will encourage attendees to share best practices.

Register for this course 

Presenters:

  • Danielle Despins, MOA/CSR Coordinator – Special Populations and Gender Equity Coordinator from the Maine Department of Education’s Career and Technical Education team
  • Dave Boardman, Ed.D. Mass Media Communications instructor at the Mid-Maine Technical Center

Handouts include:

  • Maine Proficiency Diploma Pathway Requirements
  • Maine Proficiency Diploma Requirements

Resources:

  • Reach Higher Maine Google Classroom A Google email (@Gmail.com) account is needed to access to the Google Classroom

  • To access this webinar after January 31st or to access past webinars, log into the Reach Higher Maine Google Classroom. Once you are logged into your email, click the + in the upper right hand corner to “Create or join your first class!,” then select “Join class.” The class code is 1bs991n.
  • Welcome and Orientation to Education SeriesShort video to help you access and navigate the Google Classroom so that you can get the most out of this experience 

 

For more information please contact Reach Higher Maine at ReachHigherMaine@gmail.com

Reach Higher Maine is a coalition of Maine education & workforce professionals with the goal of helping to expose Maine students to education and career opportunities by helping to support school counselors in their work.