Priority Notice: Maine DOE seeks public comment on waiving requirement that 21st CCLC programs operate only during non-school hours

In response to the unprecedented obstacles schools, teachers, students, and their families are facing amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) has offered an additional waiver to state education agencies, pursuant to section 4201(b)(1)(A) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA).  Under Title IV, Part B of the ESEA, section 4201(b)(1)(A) requiring that 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) programs operate only during non-school hours or periods when school is not in session.  If granted, this waiver would allow 21st CCLC program providers in Maine to temporarily operate with greater flexibilities to better meet the needs to students and families during the 2020-2021 school year.

This waiver would grant the Maine Department of Education (DOE) temporary authority to permit its 21st CCLC programs to provide supplemental services when school is in session, but students are not receiving in-person instruction.  For example, it would be permitted that a teacher provides additional 21st CCLC-funded academic supports for a group of students during a remote learning day when those students are not otherwise engaged in facilitated instruction with their classroom teacher.

The Maine DOE continues to work diligently to support Maine’s schools and educational communities as the 2020-2021 school year begins.  Given the hybrid instructional approaches many schools have adopted this year, students may benefit from dedicated staff and enhanced resources to help with remote lessons, independent work, and other enrichment opportunities during the portion of the week when remote lessons learning is occurring.  It is for reasons such as these that the Maine DOE has chosen to pursue this waiver.

As part of the statutory requirements for seeking this waiver, the Maine DOE must solicit and respond to public comment on its waiver request as well as provide evidence of the available comment period.  This 15-day public comment period shall begin on September 29, 2020 and conclude on October 14, 2020.

Comments may be submitted to: travis.w.doughty@maine.gov

Maine DOE Releases Sneak Peek of MOOSE Learning Module Library

The Maine Department of Education (DOE) has released a sneak peek of MOOSE, a new online Learning Module Library (Maine Online Opportunity for Sustained Education) that will launch on Tuesday, September 8th, 2020. The website provides free access to a-synchronous, interdisciplinary, project-based learning modules aligned to the Maine Learning Results for all grades, PK-12.

Preview more of the module topics visit the Maine DOE website.

Maine educators, curriculum leaders, and educational community organizations throughout Maine have worked all summer to produce the engaging and innovative learning opportunities in MOOSE.  Educators have also have been invited to take part in a second phase of the website’s development that will begin on September 8th when the site launches.

The For more information about MOOSE please contact Beth Lambert,  beth.lambert@maine.gov or Page Nichols, page.nichols@maine.gov.

PRIORITY NOTICE: Next Week’s Schedule of DOE Virtual Meetings

Virtual Meeting Schedule: May 26 – May 29, 2020

The Maine Department of Education continues to schedule virtual office hours and professional development with Department Specialists to support educators and administrators during extended remote learning. During these meetings, our specialists are available to provide support, professional learning opportunities, and guidance regarding distance learning and school supports, as well as to facilitate networking and resource sharing between educators.

It is advised to check the schedule in advance. Many of the virtual meetings now require pre-registration or the need to email the host to obtain meeting information, these measures help to prevent inappropriate interruptions.

Virtual Meeting Schedule »

Governor Mills Radio Address: Rising to meet an even greater challenge – distance learning amid COVID-19

May 15, 2020

Listen to an audio clip of the address here »

I am the daughter of a Maine public school teacher, so I know firsthand how important the work of Maine teachers is and the many challenges they have to overcome every day. Right now, our teachers and students are rising to meet an even greater challenge – adapting to distance learning amid this dangerous COVID-19 pandemic.

Hello, this is Governor Janet Mills and thank you for listening.

I want to thank all Maine teachers for their continued devotion to our students even as, in many cases, you care for your own children at home. We will get through this. In the meantime, you continue to guide your students through a very uncertain time, and inspire them and set them on the path to a bright future.

While you do that important work, it is our responsibility to ensure that you, and all of our students, have what you need to stay connected during these difficult times.
Internet access is a necessity, not a luxury now and yet too many families lack access to high-speed internet, especially in some rural areas of our state.

Universal connectivity is more important than ever before during this pandemic as teachers try to stay connected to their students across Maine.

So, I am proud to announce that we have used federal funding and donations to secure internet access and provide internet devices to facilitate at home learning for 100 percent of the Maine children who said that they needed it.

The Department of Education conducted surveys of all public schools and private schools who serve public school students to understand the connectivity needs of students statewide — 21,845 students said they lacked connectivity. That’s a lot of kids. Based on data from the 75 percent of schools that responded, about 2/3 of them said they needed a wireless service contract and about a third said they just needed a device, you know a hotspot or something.

So, to meet that need, our Administration has acquired service contracts for all those students through three different service providers, nearly all of which are for WiFi-enabled Galaxy Tablets that can be used as learning tools and hotspots or hotspots only.

Through one service provider, the Department of Education was also able to order MiFi, a wireless router that acts as a mobile WiFi hotspot. And, to fulfill the device only needs, the Maine Department of Education ordered (more than) 7,400 laptops.

The Department of Education is continuing to survey schools to determine further connectivity needs and they are reaching out to both higher education institutions and adult education programs to determine their students’ connectivity needs.

As we work on returning to in-classroom instruction when it is safe to do so, these new devices will allow Maine students to stay engaged remotely with their school no matter where they live, regardless of their zip code or their family circumstances.

I want to thank the many generous donors and Maine’s Congressional Delegation for their advocacy and support which made this possible.

To all Maine students, I know this school year has been very difficult, but I am proud of the way you have pushed through to continue your education. We will need your skills to create a brighter future for everyone in our state.

And to Maine’s teachers, please know that we deeply appreciate all you do for our children and for the State of Maine. I hope that these devices and these service contracts provide some measure of relief amid a challenging situation to you and your students.

I am Governor Janet Mills. Thank you for listening.

PRIORITY NOTICE: Weekly Schedule of DOE Virtual Meetings; NEW Q&A for Admin Assistants

Virtual Meeting Schedule: May 18 – May 21, 2020

The Maine Department of Education continues to schedule virtual office hours and professional development with Department Specialists to support educators and administrators during extended remote learning. During these meetings, our specialists are available to provide support, professional learning opportunities, and guidance regarding distance learning and school supports, as well as to facilitate networking and resource sharing between educators.

It is advised to check the schedule in advance. Many of the virtual meetings now require pre-registration or the need to email the host to obtain meeting information, these measures help to prevent inappropriate interruptions.

Virtual Meeting Schedule:

The virtual meeting schedule for educators is updated on the Maine DOE website: See the schedulePlease note:

  • This week there will be no special education meetings on Monday, May 18th.
  • A Q&A meeting specifically for school administrative assistants has been added to the schedule this week on Thursday, May 21st at 9am.

See the professional learning schedule for Education Technicians here  – Ed Tech professional learning sessions are being recorded and available here after they are scheduled to take place.