Maine DOE Releases Chronic Absenteeism Data in an Effort to Support Student Success

The Maine Department of Education (Department) has collected chronic absenteeism for the 2016/17 school year as a non-academic indicator of school success. Absenteeism for any reason, excused or unexcused, has potential negative consequences on student learning and it is important for schools, districts, and the Department to have this broader measure of student attendance so that we can measure student success. Previously, the Department collected Average Daily Attendance (ADA), and truancy data. ADA measures the average number of students who attend school on any given day. Truancy is a measure of unexcused absences.

Research shows a statistically strong link between school attendance, the development of academic skills, and the likelihood of high school graduation. Research also shows that when a large percentage of students are chronically absent, even the progress their peers, who have better attendance, may suffer.

Below are some additional facts to help answer questions about the shift in chronic absenteeism data collection:

Why is this important?

Chronic absenteeism is a new indicator in Maine’s Accountability system which was designed as part of the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Current research shows chronic absenteeism has a clear relationship to negative consequences for students, including lower achievement, disengagement from school, course failure, and increased risk of dropping out.

How is chronic absenteeism defined?

Chronic absenteeism is a measure of how many students miss a defined number of school days for any reason. In Maine, this equates to missing 10% of school days or 18 days (based upon 175 school days). As part of Maine’s accountability system, student information will be compiled into an overall school measure indicating the percentage of students at the school who have missed 10% or more of school days. For further information about how chronic absenteeism data is collected visit http://www.maine.gov/doe/data/student/attendance.html.

Where can I find the data?

The 2016/17 chronic absenteeism data is available here. The percentage of Maine students missing 10% or more school days is higher than anticipated as this is the first year school districts have reported this data to the State.

What can schools and districts expect now?

The Department is already working to develop a system of supports available to newly identified Tier II and Tier III schools, with resources to address challenges of attendance. These supports are part of the differentiated tiered model of support under the new ESSA Accountability model with identifications being made in January 2019.

Chronic absenteeism data will be collected annually through the Maine Department of Education’s Synergy Student Information System at the end of the academic year going forward.

The Department will continue collecting truancy data, as required by Maine statute.

For further information about the Department’s ESSA Accountability Model and needed supports, contact Janette Kirk at Janette.Kirk@maine.gov or (207) 624-6707.

Washington County Title I: School Improvement Initiative

On May 8 and 14, a total of 41 classroom, Title 1, and special education educators completed a 3 -part literacy professional development series on Guided Reading with a focus on differentiation, acceleration, and classroom focus. The two cohorts, are the result of a year-long pilot sponsored by the Maine Department of Education’s ESEA Title I: School Improvement Team.

The professional development was provided by Darlene Bassett, Literacy Coach for the Maine DOE, and was based on Jan Richardson’s nationally recognized book, The Next Step Forward in Guided Reading. Al Pfeiffer, Leadership Coach for the Maine DOE, facilitated the pilot with local schools.

Due to the geographical and economic challenges in Washington County, the Department provided these high-quality professional development sessions right in Machias.

Washington County Title I School Improvement Initiative cohort 1
Cohort 1

As part of this work, the Department’s literacy consultant collaborated with Pembroke Elementary School Principal Deb Jameson and three Pembroke Elementary Teachers, Karin Lingley (grades 3 & 4); Beckery Renaud (grades 5 & 6); and Rosie Griffith (7 & 8) to implement guided reading in their classrooms, and also create a “hub school” at Pembroke that has served as a site for other teachers and administrators in the area to visit and reflect as they implement guided reading.

Due to the interest in the area, and accompanying student assessment data, the Department’s Title I School Improvement Team offered a series of professional development sessions to provide teachers with an understanding of present day research and the classroom practices that are linked to the basis of Richardson’s new Guided Reading Model. This collaboration and involvement has lead to staff development for 14 schools in the area.

The Department’s Title I: School Improvement Team plans to continue this meaningful and targeted work with Washington County educators in the fall. One of the schools in the cohort will be identified as the hub school and will receive on-going services and become a resource for all teachers in the region to observe instruction.

Washington County Title I School Improvement Initiative cohort 2
Cohort 2

If you have any questions, please contact ESEA Federal Programs and Title I Director, Chelsey Fortin-Trimble at chelsey.a.fortin@maine.gov.

Reminder: Register now for 2018 Commissioner’s Conference – session highlights available

The 2018 Commissioner’s Conference will be held at the Augusta Civic Center on Wednesday, June 27th and Thursday, June 28, 2018. The Maine DOE has been working closely with Maine School Management Association (MSMA) to ensure that this year’s sessions meet the needs of attendees – see conference highlights below.

Find additional resources and information including pricing, a draft agenda, lodging options, further details about registration, including guest registration, and more on the Maine DOE Commissioner’s Conference webpage.

Register now »

Conference Highlights

Fulfilling the Dream of a Prosperous Maine
Duke Albanese, Commissioner’s Conference Keynote

Fulfilling the Dream of a Prosperous Maine: Getting There Requires a Focus on Education and Effective Leadership for Learning, Citizenship, and Opportunities for All Maine Students”

Finding widespread prosperity has been difficult for our state. Although Maine presents abundant opportunities to thrive and prosper as individuals and communities, pockets of vibrancy have often been limited even during the best of times. To turn the tide and make our state a great place to live and prosper, high quality education is the key. We have the scale and wherewithal to build a world-class early childhood through higher education system focused on equity and enriching learning opportunities for all students. What we need to achieve this is strong, effective, creative, and resourceful leadership. Can Maine do it? Yes. Who will lead?

Duke Albanese will serve as Commissioner Keynote, in addition to conducting a break-out session.

Cracker-Barrel Session
Commissioner Hasson and Maine DOE staff

Come to this informal session and get a chance to talk one-on-one with Commissioner Hasson and Maine DOE staff, including Department leadership. The Department will also have available some insider updates for superintendents.

Certification: What You Need to Know
Maine DOE staff

This session will provide participants with a review of important changes resulting from recent revisions to certification laws; clarification on common misconceptions about certification requirements and processes; an opportunity to discuss communication strategies for certification; and a question and answer segment on the new online system.

Legislative Update
Maine DOE Staff

The Maine Legislature adjourned its Second Regular Session sine die on May 2, 2018. While education bills remain, including LD 1869 –”An Act To Establish the Total Cost of Education and the State and Local Contributions to Education for Fiscal Year 2018-19 and To Provide That Employees of School Management and Leadership Centers Are Eligible To Participate in the Maine Public Employees Retirement System”—which are preserved to be carried over to any special session of the 128th Legislature, others were passed and became law are either in effect now as emergency legislation, or will become law on Wednesday, August 1. This session will include a summary of enacted educated-related legislation, the status of bills preserved by the joint order, and a progress report on the status of rulemaking.

Open Forum: Addressing the Teacher Shortage
Open Forum lead by DOE staff

What can Maine do to address the teacher shortage while strengthening our educator workforce? In this open forum session, we will discuss barriers to teacher retention and recruitment and what is being done across the state to overcome these obstacles. Together we will collaborate on ways that all stakeholders can work together to build our educator workforce and promote the teaching profession.

Put your Collaborative Project on the Regionalization Map
Maine DOE staff

During this session, participants will learn about the EMBRACE II initiatives, including lessons learned; be introduced to the process of forming a regional service center; learn about the upcoming grant opportunity offered by the Fund for the Efficient Delivery of Educational Services (FEDES); brainstorm possible regionalized services and programs; and have an opportunity for questions and answers.

We Have Formed a Regional Service Center: Now What?
Maine DOE staff

During this session, participants will provide input for the Department as to what regional service centers and executive directors need for support; gain an understanding of the monitoring and reporting requirements for a regional service center; receive legislative updates that directly impact regional service centers and their funding; and have an opportunity for questions and answers.

Panel: Preparing Kids for Maine’s Workforce
Maine DOE staff and panel of industry representatives

What are employers looking for? What are students prepared to offer? What can Career and Technical Education (CTE) provide for industry and students? In this session, a panel of industry representatives will share what they look for in an employee. We will discuss and seek ideas for how Maine’s CTE programs can help create more opportunities for students and meet workforce needs.

PreK with Staying Power!
Maine DOE staff

High quality prek has great potential; but research shows that to truly lessen the achievement gap, certain program elements must be present before kindergarten or the gains will “fade out” in the early elementary grades. What are the goals for a prek program in your district? Are you seeing these goals realized in child outcomes over time? Come hear about the prek programs that include the research-based elements and the end-of-prek outcome data that predicts 5th grade reading, writing, and math scores.

Improving K-3 Literacy Achievement by Building Teacher Knowledge
Maine DOE MoMEntum staff and educators from pilot schools

The Department is implementing an early literacy/technology learning pilot project, MoMEntum K-3 Literacy, in schools located regionally across Maine. This initiative provides high-quality professional learning to build teacher knowledge and skills to impact student learning. This session will provide an overview of the initiative; details about the professional learning, including intentional instruction, opportunities for student practice, technology integration, and assessment that informs ongoing instruction; preliminary findings related to student achievement; and lessons learned so far. During this panel discussion, participants will have the chance to hear from and ask questions of those leading the program as well as participating educators and school leaders.

Closing the Achievement Gap with Early Math Education
Maine DOE staff

Two years of assessing current state data shows an increasing gap in the percent of grade 3-5 students statewide who meet or achieve state expectations in mathematics as compared to ELA/literacy. The Maine Department of Education is embarking on a new initiative called the Numeracy4ME K-4 Mathematics Pilot program, in schools located regionally across Maine. This initiative provides high-quality professional learning to build teacher knowledge and skills to impact student learning of mathematics. This session will provide an overview of the initiative, including details about structure of the professional learning, the focus on numeracy concepts, and implications for PK-4 learning and assessment applicable to all schools.

Work Session: 2018/19 School Approval Requirements & Process
Maine DOE staff

This session will provide guidance on the 2018-19 school/district approval requirements and the new more streamlined process in the Department’s NEO system. Superintendents will have the opportunity to begin completing the approval process at this session – bring your laptops.

Open Forum: Performance Evaluation and Professional Growth
Maine DOE staff

This session will provide district leaders an opportunity to share their PEPG triumphs and tribulations. Do you have a strategy that is working well in your district that you would like to share with others? Do you have a need for greater support in certain areas such as observations and feedback? Is your school or district interested in improving the quality of the Student Learning Objectives? Participation, creative strategies, and a willingness to share is encouraged in this session!

Raising the Bar for Technology in Maine Schools
Jim Moulton, Apple Inc.

How do we help our students learn today and prepare them for a rapidly changing world? A driving force behind this change is technology. It affects the way we communicate, the way we work, the way we live day-to-day. It also empowers every individual—and every learner—to create amazing things and make a difference in the world. But first, we need to raise the bar for what’s expected, and what’s possible, for learning with technology.

Substance Abuse Resources
Maine Center for Disease Control

The presentation will provide an overview of Maine Prevention services, specifically substance and tobacco use prevention including electronic nicotine delivery systems/vaping to school leaders. The information provided will be useful for school administrators as they consider policies, practices and education necessary to protect and optimize the health and safety of students. Materials, resources and a list of community prevention providers who can support school prevention efforts will be available at this presentation.

Elevating Concussion Education: How to Address Everyone
Maine Concussion Management Initiative (MCMI), Colby College

As schools prepare for the start of each year, it’s the perfect time to update concussion education. To ensure that head injury is addressed with each population in the district, MCMI has tailored plans to educate all stakeholders. Everyone in your district will benefit from tailored and current concussion information. Attend this session to learn more about how to get involved.

Other possible sessions:

  • Steve Levesque, and Glenn Cummings – Educating the Workforce Panel
  • Adult Education
  • Budget Methodology of State/Local Funds for ESEA
  • ESSA: School Improvement for All
  • Early Math Education
  • Post-secondary enrollment and credentialing options
  • Truancy
  • Trauma

Important information about ESEA Title V- REAP Master Eligibility List

On January 4, 2018, the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) posted the Fiscal Year 2018 Rural Education Achievement Program Master Eligibility List on their website. The purpose of ESEA Title V- REAP is to provide rural districts with financial assistance for initiatives aimed at improving student achievement. The grant is non-competitive, and eligibility is determined by statute.

Maine DOE has reviewed Maine’s eligibility spreadsheet and has identified several errors within the FY 2018 eligibility spreadsheet. Maine DOE recognizes that many RLIS and Dual eligible districts (Columns M and N) are missing from the spreadsheet. Additionally, there are errors with the alternative poverty data (Column Y). This spreadsheet was reviewed by Maine DOE and Maine school districts leaders in early December. All requested corrections were made to the spreadsheet and submitted to USDOE on December 8, 2017.

Maine DOE has contacted the USDOE to inform them of the identified errors. The Department will continue to work with USDOE to ensure that the corrections are made. When the corrections are finalized and posted on USDOE’s website, Maine DOE will send you a follow-up memo requesting all Maine rural school district leaders review the finalized list.

For more information, please contact the Title V Coordinator, Daniel Weeks at daniel.r.weeks@maine.gov or call 624-6749.

 

Maine receives $3 Million in school improvement grant funding

Augusta – Maine schools eligible to receive funding under the school improvement grant program (SIG) are invited to apply for funding from the $3 million in funding Maine has received from the U.S. Department of Education. In Maine, schools categorized as “priority” under the State’s Title I accountability system are eligible to apply.

“I encourage eligible schools to consider applying for this grant funding. This is an opportunity for schools to receive purposefully focused additional funds to improve their achievement and opportunity goals for students,” said Deputy Commissioner of Education Bill Beardsley.

The U.S. Department of Education recently announced that Maine will receive a $1.5 million federal award in addition to the $1.5 million award the state received in July.  Funding through the SIG program will be distributed to schools through a competitive application process and will be based on the number of applications received and approved by the Maine Department of Education.

Last year, the Maine DOE issued a $1.6 million SIG award to Washburn Elementary School. These funds are currently supporting Washburn Elementary’s objectives to raise student proficiency in math by 30 percent and reading by 35 percent over the five-year grant award.

As part of the application process, eligible school districts who may be interested in the pursuit of a SIG are also asked to provide the Department with an Intent to Apply form by 4 p.m. on October 31, 2016. Applications from eligible school districts are due by 4 p.m. on December 14, 2016. School officials who have questions about the SIG program or who would like to obtain a copy of the Maine DOE LEA SIG application and the Intent to Apply form should contact Travis Doughty, Maine DOE’s Federal Grant Coordinator, at travis.w.doughty@maine.gov.

More information about the SIG program is available at http://www.maine.gov/doe/sig/.

Media inquiries should be directed to Jamie Logan, Maine DOE’s Director of Communications, at 624-6747 or jamie.e.logan@maine.gov.