Maine DOE Announces Award for Management of Assistive Technology

The Maine Department of Education is pleased to announce that Maine CITE Coordinating Center has been awarded a grant to provide management of assistive technology (AT) services under the federal Assistive Technology Act of 2004 (ATA).

The Maine CITE Coordinating Center has served as the ATA Grant Manager since the federal law was enacted in 1989. Maine CITE oversees a statewide effort to get assistive technology (AT) to people of all ages with disabilities who need it through device demonstrations, device loans and AT reuse. Maine CITE also provides public awareness, information and referral, and training and technical assistance on AT.

Kathy Adams OTL, ATP the Director of the Maine CITE Coordinating Center said, “we are very pleased to be awarded this grant. AT can be essential in education, employment, community living and telecommunications. We renew our commitment to assisting Maine citizens with disabilities to learn about and get the AT they need and want to lead productive independent lives.”

Under this grant, Maine CITE will continue to support the needs of Maine students with print disabilities through the Maine Accessible Educational Materials (AEM) Program as required under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004. The statewide Maine AEM Program works to improve students’ access to AEM and to facilitate the use of AT.

Jan Breton, Director of Special Services Birth – 20 said, “we are very pleased to continue working with Maine CITE which has demonstrated over many years its commitment to expanding and supporting the use of technology to assist people with disabilities.”

For details about Assistive Technology (AT) and the Maine Accessible Educational Materials (AEM) Program visit mainecite.org or maine-aem.org.

For information on AT demonstrations and loans visit at4maine.org.

NEO Accountability Report and Certification Webinar Recording and FAQ

The Maine Department of Education held a webinar on June 21 to Review the NEO Accountability Report and certification requirements. The recording is available for anyone who was unable to participate in the webinar.

The NEO Accountability Report allows districts to validate student enrollment and demographic data.  The report lists students by student groups which will directly inform student group reporting as part of school support determinations and ESEA Report Cards.  The report also identifies which assessments the students should have taken, full academic year enrollment for all students, and whether or not a student will be included for accountability measures or only for assessment reporting.

The Accountability Certification will need to be submitted by each Superintendent. Once validated, the data will be used for ESEA Report Cards and other assessment and accountability reporting.

NEO Accountability Report and Certification Webinar Recording (you will need to register for GoTo Webinar to view the recording)

Accountability Webinar Questions and Follow-Up FAQs

  1. My school is an SPPS (Special Purpose Private School). NEO also shows “no data” for this report
    • SPPS are not factored in the accountability model. However, the fact that data doesn’t show for your school is an error in NEO that will be corrected. Student data should show for your schools so you can validate that the information is correct. The report developers have been notified.
  2. As a SPPS, does my superintendent need to verify this report?
    • No
  3. What were the asterisks vs the blanks for on the Student Detail?
    • Asterisks indicate the assessment(s) that the student should have taken. A blank indicates that the student did not need to take any of the assessments.
  4. If something is not right, who do we contact?
    • If the data is related to student demographics or enrollments, please first validate that the information is correct in Synergy. If the data is correct in Synergy, please contact the Helpdesk – MEDMS.Helpdesk@maine.gov 207-624-6896 or contact Charlotte.Ellis@maine.gov 207-624-6696
  5. My accountability certification report is blank, but I can see kids in the detail report. Is this because I don’t do the certification? Or is there something else I need to do?
    • This was an error that has been corrected.
  6. Who certifies?
    • Superintendent
  7. Our schools are each their own district because we are an AOS. I have some kids who are marked N for full year district and a Y for full year school. They should be the same for each district and school in our case since our schools are their own districts. how do I fix this?
    • Please review the enrollment data in Synergy. It is possible for a student to attend one of your schools for the full year, but whose resident district has changed, so the district full academic year would not be Y, but the school full academic year would be Y.
  8. What is a schoolwide program?
    • Schoolwide program is a type of Title 1 program. For further information please contact Dan Weeks at: Daniel.R.Weeks@maine.gov or (207) 624-6749.
  9. What about those that are tagged Y but are AFS students?
    • AFS (Foreign exchange) students are not treated any differently than other high school students.
  10. What if the students take their entire program at a vocational center?
    • The sending school/district is still responsible to see that the student takes the appropriate assessments.
  11. Can you explain where the numbers are coming from on the bottom? Such as Title 1
    • Title 1 numbers have two sources.
      • If the school has a schoolwide Title 1 program, then all of the students are flagged with Title1ELA and Title1Math.
      • If the school does not have a schoolwide Title 1 program, but rather a targeted assistance program, then the flags come from data entered into Synergy.
  12. We are a school wide, but the numbers are not matching the number of students above.
    • Please recheck the numbers. There was an error in the report earlier that has been fixed. If there are still issues, please contact Charlotte.Ellis@maine.gov 207-624-6696.
  13. Are Special Purpose Private Schools responsible for entering and checking this data for their students or is this a requirement for the public schools only?
    • SPPS should review the data (if the report has been fixed so you can see it) to validate that student grade levels and enrollments are entered correctly.
  14. Where can I get the recorded version?
  15. We have a student that was enrolled the entire year, but is showing N in both District and School Full Year columns.
    • Students are considered to be school full year if they are enrolled on October 1 and May 4 at the same school.
    • Students are considered to be district full year if the same district is responsible for the student on October 1 and May 4.
    • October EPS enrollment data is utilized to determine the October 1 status, if enrollments were entered after October EPS was closed (even if they cover the October 1 date), then the student isn’t counted as Full Academic Year.
  16. What does the E mean in the ELA Assessment column?
    • The “E” indicates Exempt.
      • EL students who arrived at a US school between April 1, 2017 and March 1, 2018 and who took the ACCESS for ELLs assessment are exempt from having to take the ELA assessment
      • EL students who arrive at a US school between March 1, 2018 and May 4, 2018 are exempt from having to take the ELA assessment
  17. We have students with “waivers” who shouldn’t be on the list
    • The only “waivers” that the Department recognizes are
      • the EL exemption – see question 16
      • special considerations – these students will have an S in the column for the assessment(s) for which the special consideration was granted
    • Students whose parents requested that the student not test will be counted as Non-Participants – there is no waiver for these students

For further questions contact Charlotte Ellis, Data Manager at Charlotte.Ellis@maine.gov.

Math4ME Accomplishments and Update

The Maine Department of Education’s Office of Special Services is pleased to report the accomplishments of the Math4Maine (Math4ME) project, and announce plans for scaling up. Currently, the initiative is concluding the second year of implementation and planning for year-3.

Maine’s State Systematic Improvement plan, a requirement of the federal Office of Special Programs, Math4ME is designed to implement evidence-based professional development to improve math proficiency of students with disabilities in grades 3-8 and to improve instructional practices of teachers of these students.

Math4ME training is grounded in hands-on activities and interactive professional learning experiences that allow participants to gain a deeper understanding of core concepts of mathematics and strategies. Program content includes operations with whole numbers, fractions and decimals, and algebraic and geometric reasoning; problem solving skills and processes; and assessment, diagnostic probes, and formative feedback.

The Maine DOE developed a 5-day training module that includes a 3-day summer training and 2 training days during the school year. Throughout the year, teachers receive support from the Department, differentiated according to teacher experience in the program. All teachers receive support cycles, which include classroom observation and written feedback. In addition, participants have access to many resources, including a Math4ME Informational Padlet Website and a monthly newsletter.

Over the last two years, the project has trained two cohorts that comprise 34 teachers, 1 teacher mentor, and 3 district math coaches. These participants represent 17 schools from 7 School Administrative Units (SAUs).  To date, findings on the effectiveness of Math4ME on student and teacher performance has been positive. Year-1 student data shows that students taught by a Math4ME-trained teacher performed better on the Maine Education Assessment for math compared to students who were not taught by Math4ME trained teachers. In addition, teacher surveys and evaluation results indicate that the training has had a positive impact on teachers’ knowledge and equipped them with multiple ways to represent mathematical ideas.

Math4MEFeedback from Math4ME participants and an administrator include:

“The Math4ME work has allowed me to view math in a whole new way. I find that I am less focused on a student’s ability to solve a problem correctly and more focused on understanding and exploring that student’s decision making process in solving the problem. This allows students to understand and appreciate the work they do in class, as well as give them the real-world skills they will need in the future. It has also helped me to evolve as a teacher, to take a step back and ask myself what I want students to get out of a lesson. I would highly recommend the Math4ME program to all. – Shannon Wooten, Teacher, Greene Central School


“Math4ME has trained me how to strategically question students in order to get them thinking mathematically.  Math4ME training and resources provide the insight teachers need to encourage mathematical behaviors such as logical thinking, testing conjectures, and meaningful reflection while problem solving.” – Bridgette Ortiz, Teacher, Bowdoinham Community School


The feedback from my teachers has been extremely positive. They love having the coach come into their classroom to observe and offer feedback. The rich 1-on-1 discussions about their mathematical teaching practices that followed the lessons were some of the best professional development they have ever experienced.” – Danielle Harris, Principal, Leeds Central School


A Cohort 3 training is scheduled for August with teachers and coaches from returning schools as well as participants from three new schools from two SAUs. The Office of Special Services will continue to support scale up of Math4ME by building the infrastructure and capacity needed to improve math proficiency for Maine children with disabilities and improve the instructional practices of their teachers.

For more information, please contact Jayne Chase (jayne.chase@maine.gov) or Cheryl Tobey (cheryl.tobey@maine.gov).

Maine’s Alternative Certification and Mentoring Program (MACM) for Special Educators

Beginning in the fall of 2018, conditionally certified special educators that are in their first year of teaching are required to participate in Maine’s Alternative Certification and Mentoring program (MACM), a Maine Department of Education program developed in partnership with the University of Maine.

This program is an alternative pathway to certification to support Maine’s need for highly qualified special educators. MACM offers intensive, focused support and mentoring during the special educator’s critical first year of practice.

Newly conditionally certified special educators will be paired with a MACM mentor who is an experienced special educator, and will be required to enroll in and complete two semester-long seminar courses entitled, Special Education Mentorship.

School Administrative Units (SAUs) may use federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) funds to support the cost of the professional development courses if an appropriate professional development project is written in the application.

MACM Procedures for School Districts

Maine’s Alternative Certification and Mentoring program (MACM) will provide a trained special education mentor and an intensive year-long seminar designed to support conditionally certified special educators during their first year of practice.

Per Chapter 115 rules that go into effect July 1, 2018, qualified conditionally certified special educators special educators must successfully complete 9 semester hours of special education coursework by August 31, 2018 to qualify for conditional certification. The teacher applicant provides the Maine DOE Certification Office with a complete application for conditional certification.

The MACM coordinator will identify first year conditionally certified special educators and will contact the new teacher with information about participation in the program, including how and by when to enroll in the appropriate section of Special Education Mentorship. The new conditionally certified teacher is expected to work with the SAU to cover the course tuition. This enrollment process must be completed by the first week of September 2018.

For more information about MACM, please visit its website: https://umaine.edu/edhd/outreach/macm/ or contact Valerie Smith at Valerie.smith@maine.edu, or by calling 581-2419. Please continue to monitor the Maine DOE website for updates to Chapters 115 and 180.

Maine Department of Labor youth employment initiative – Getting to YES

The Maine Department of Labor (MDOL) has launched an initiative called Getting to YES, Youth Employment and the Steps to Success, to promote youth employment coming into the 2018 summer season. The Department is asking for your support in spreading the word about the importance of, and opportunities for, jobs for Maine youth, and in continuing to assist us in streamlining the permitting process.

Important things to know about:

  • The permit application has changed. Please use the most recent version, which is available at this link, http://www.maine.gov/labor/labor_laws/publications/maine_work_permit.pdf
  • Related, we expect the additional focus on youth employment to increase the number of permit requests you will be seeing. Please be sure to have a designee in place in your absence, so that we can continue to move the permit process along efficiently for both the employer and the student applicant.
  • MDOL is conducting workshops across the state for parents and minors (14 & 15 year-olds) to learn about what types of jobs are available, how to get that first job and keep it, and what the permit process is like. Below are the dates, times and locations of workshops near you. You are welcome to attend! FMI or to register, contact Kerri.L.Demerchant@maine.gov, 207-621-5095.
Site Address Date Time pm
Hall-Dale High School 97 Maple St, Farmingdale, ME 04344 4-Jun-18 6:00-7:30
Augusta CareerCenter 45 Commerce Dr., Augusta, ME 5-Jun-18 5:00-6:30
Calais CareerCenter 1 Calais Dr., Calais, ME 5-Jun-18 4:30-6:00
Machias CareerCenter 53 Prescott Dr., Machias, ME 5-Jun-18 4:30-6:00
Rockland CareerCenter 91 Camden St., Rockland, ME 5-Jun-18 6:00-7:30
Waldo County Tech Center 1022 Waterville Rd., Waldo, ME 5-Jun-18 5:00-6:00
Ashland School 180 Presque Isle Rd., Ashland, ME 6-Jun-18 5:30-7:00
Bangor CareerCenter 45 Oak St., Bangor ME 6-Jun-18 5:30-7:00
Fort Kent Adult Education 84 Pleasant St., Fort Kent, ME 6-Jun-18 5:30-7:00
Greater Portland CareerCenter 151 Jetport Blvd., Portland, ME 6-Jun-18 5:00-6:00
Houlton ACAP Office 91 Military St., Houlton, ME 6-Jun-18 5:30-7:00
Madawaska ACAP Office 88 Fox St., Madawaska, ME 6-Jun-18 5:30-7:00
Presque Isle CareerCenter 66 Spruce St., Presque Isle, ME 6-Jun-18 5:30-7:00
University College Bath/Brunswick Rm. 101, Orion Hall, 12 Sewall Street, Brunswick, ME 6-Jun-18 5:30-7:00
Skowhegan CareerCenter 98 North Ave., Skowhegan, ME 7-Jun-18 5:00-6:00
Springvale CareerCenter 9 Bodwell Ct., Springvale, ME 7-Jun-18 5:00-6:00

Why is the MDOL doing this?

Maine is facing a workforce challenge. With unemployment at record lows (under 4% for 29 consecutive months), the Department wants to focus more on what is available within the state. Looking at Maine’s minor population makes sense for many reasons.  First and foremost, Maine has approximately 27,700 14 and 15 year-olds.

Introduction into the workforce at a younger age helps to build confidence, self-reliance and independence, impart the value of money and cultivate soft skills that are transferrable within the young worker’s world. Young workers learn, respect and self control, how to work well with others, good time management and personal responsibility, all important attributes that will serve them well in their personal, educational and professional lives.

“Getting to YES, Youth Employment and the Steps” to professional success seeks to promote these positives in the media and among our stakeholder groups to boost youth employment this summer, and also get youth thinking about their professional future; e.g. pre-apprenticeship, apprenticeship, college, career, etc.

According to the Maine Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of work permits for minors made some gains this past year (4,200 over 3,200 the year before), likely due, in part, to changes to child labor laws in Maine that made work permits easier to obtain and submit.

Goals of this project:

  1. To increase the number of work permits issued in 2018 (by 50%);
  2. Create a narrative that supports, promotes and encourages 14 and 15-year old workers;
  3. Continue to streamline the process of acquiring and processing work permits; and
  4. Get employers interested, onboard and prepared for hiring youth.

Partners:

  • Maine Department of Education
  • Maine Department of Economic & Community Development
  • Jobs for Maine Graduates
  • Maine CareerCenters/Maine Joblink
  • Maine Bureau of Rehabilitation Services
  • Maine Tourism Association
  • Maine Restaurants and Innkeepers Association

Recent Press:

https://www.pressherald.com/2018/05/12/state-pushes-to-loosen-work-rules-for-teens-but-labor-advocates-have-concerns/

Promotion:

Over the coming days and weeks, we will use social media, the DOL website, email, radio and television to get the word out. A formal press conference on May 30th will launch the initiative fully, with all of our partners communicating the message and spreading the word.

If you have questions or ideas about any part of this initiative, please contact Laura Hudson, Laura.J.Hudson@maine.gov or 207-621-5009.