October is Dyslexia Awareness Month

Maine Department of Education and RSU 5 have begun a teacher-training project for the 2018-2019 school year. Twelve teachers including reading interventionists, special educators, and district special education director, Bonnie Violette will receive extensive Structured Literacy training provided by dyslexia specialists from the Children’s Dyslexia Center in Portland.

Structured literacy is a teacher-led approach characterized by the provision of systematic, explicit instruction of language and reading.  The skills taught are helpful for all students; but they are especially critical for students with language-learning weaknesses, including dyslexia.

The teachers began their training in June with a fifteen-hour seminar and have recently completed an additional fifteen hours of seminar training.  They have just begun to apply new skills and knowledge with their students.  The teachers will receive extensive practicum supervision throughout the year.

Pownal Elementary Teacher
Hillary Massicotte delivers her first Structured Literacy lesson to a fourth-grade student at Pownal Elementary School.

Lisa Whitis, Dyslexia Coordinator for the Maine DOE, recently visited Pownal Elementary School to observe the teachers in action. “The students are loving it, especially the kinesthetic piece, I’ve already begun to see improvement,” shared Hillary Massicotte.

Special Education Director, Bonnie Violette, noted that she has a talented group of dedicated teachers and they are excited to be part of this project.

For further information contact Lisa Whitis,  Dyslexia Coordinator for the Maine DOE at Lisa.Whitis@maine.gov or (207) 624-6643

Seeking Proposals for McKinney-Vento Sub-grant Program for the Education of Homeless Children

The Maine Department of Education is pleased to announce that it is seeking proposals for the McKinney-Vento Sub-grant program for the education of homeless children and youth.  Proposals will be accepted from School Administrative Unites seeking to develop, implement, or expand programs that improve the academic success of students identified as homeless under the McKinney-Vento Act.

The Department is interested in proposals that are focused on narrowing the achievement disparity between Maine’s homeless students and their stably housed peers.  These grants are renewable for a total of three years, with a maximum annual award of $40,000.  The application deadline is October 31, 2018.

The RFP (#201809192) for this competitive grant, including details of the application process, can be found on the State of Maine Division of Purchases website.

Applicants who submitted proposals under the withdrawn July RFP (#201806134) are encouraged to reapply.  New applicants are also welcome.

For more information on the McKinney-Vento Sub-grant program or other homeless education issues, contact Gayle Erdheim, State Homeless Education Consultant, at gayle.erdheim@maine.gov or (207) 624-6637.


Implementation of New IEP Form to be Further Postponed

Administrative Letter #17 announced an implementation date of October 1, 2018 for Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) designed to meet requirements for documenting certain services that are both educationally and medically necessary in accordance with both IDEA and Section 65 and Section 28 of the Maine Care Benefits Manual.

The Department of Education has continued to receive a number of questions from the field regarding this change. We are committed to giving the best answers possible and need time to continue the development of answers that are correct and timely. As a result, we will postpone the requirements of Administrative Letters #13 and #17 concerning IEP development to ensure that the field receives adequate support.

In our continuing goals of being responsive to the field, providing technical assistance, and generally supporting the development of quality IEPs regardless of pay sources, we have postponed the implementation of the new IEP form.

Answers to the questions will be published before implementation. The targeted start date is now January 1, 2019.

For further questions, contact the Maine Department of Education Office of Special Services at (207) 624-6713.

Regional PD Opportunities Based on CNAs and Provided Under ESSA #success4ME

Under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), Maine has developed a differentiated model of school supports that includes statewide professional development targeted to regional needs. Upon review of submitted statewide Comprehensive Needs Assessments/SAU Consolidated Plans, the Maine DOE is providing regional professional development to address the explicit needs outlined in submitted CNAs.

The Department invites district, school, and classroom leaders, and their staff to attend the many regional professional development opportunities being offered by the Department this fall. These sessions are offered at no cost and sessions information is available on the Department’s professional development calendar.

Creating Trauma-Sensitive Schools:  Using Relationships to Promote Growth & Learning

Session Description: Schools across the country are adopting a trauma-sensitive approach in order to effectively educate students who have been exposed to adverse experiences. Neurodevelopmental impacts resulting from childhood adversity hinder a student’s ability to engage in the academic setting and manifest as disruptive, and often unsafe, behavior in the classroom. Creating trauma competent schools has become an imperative for educators who work to ensure safety and promote learning for ALL students. The field of social neuroscience draws from vast disciplines to explain how we have evolved in the context of interpersonal relationships through attachment and group cohesion, and how we have subsequently developed the capacity to shape the brains of those with whom interact and connect. This presentation will describe how educators can use our knowledge of interpersonal neurobiology to create classrooms and student relationships that maximize growth and learning. Participants will understand their role in creating trauma-competent systems and be able to employ trauma-sensitive principles, practices, and procedures to address the impact of trauma on learners and increase their students ability to succeed in the school environment.

Facilitator Information: Cassie Yackley, Psy.D.,  has spent more than 25 years committed to understanding and effectively addressing the impact of traumatic/adverse experiences on children, caregivers/families, and systems. She brings together recent discoveries from developmental neuroscience, attachment, implementation science, and reflective practice to help audiences develop skills of relationship and self-awareness in ways that transform organizations, promote staff professional growth and wellness, and improve outcomes for the consumers they serve.

The three session dates and locations are listed below with a link to each registration.  Space is limited so we recommend you register at the earliest possible opportunity.  Please register no later than, October 9, 2018 for the session closest to you.

Oct. 16, 2018                           
Elks Lodge – Brewer  
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Oct. 17, 2018                                              
State Armory – Augusta 
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Oct. 18, 2018                                              
Elks Lodge –  Portland  
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Registration starts at 8:30 a.m. with each session running from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. with a break for a provided lunch.

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

MaineCare Seed Adjustments to be Made; Review Q418 Reports by October 19, 2018

The recovery of Q418 MaineCare Seed will occur in the October 2018 subsidy payment and the Maine DOE is asking districts to review their reports by October 19, 2018 to ensure accurate adjustments to subsidy.

District staff must review student by student claims on both the public and private MaineCare reports for Q418 by October 19, 2018.

To access the MaineCare Seed reports, please follow the instructions below.

  1. Log into NEO:
    • As in the past, if a new staff member needs permission to access this module, a request from the Superintendent to the Maine DOE helpdesk will be necessary. The helpdesk contact information is medms.helpdesk@maine.gov or 207-624-6896.
    • Anyone who currently has Special Education Director permissions to the Special Education module, will automatically have permissions to access MaineCare reports.
  2. Click on the Student Data tab
  3. Click on the Student Report tab
  4. Select MaineCare in the Reporting Area drop-down
  5. Choose the quarterly Seed report and the report type (private/public)
  6. Click view report button
  7. exportButton
    Export Button

    Once the report appears on the screen, choose the export button.
    You may export the reports to Excel but, please be aware that there may be multiple worksheet tabs within the workbook. Save the file to your computer.

If you disagree that a particular student or time period should be on the report, please provide the reason that you disagree along with the following to Denise Towers at Denise.towers@maine.gov.

  • Identify the type of report (public or private) and the quarter in which the claims are located.
  • State Student ID
  • Service provided dates (to and from)
  • Total amount of Seed being disputed

Summer services: Students must be enrolled for the time period they are receiving educational services. This means that students that are receiving extended school year services in district or extended school year services in an out of district placement must have a primary enrollment for that time period in order for the MDOE to have the most accurate enrollment data to determine SAU responsibility for MaineCare Seed.

For more information or technical assistance related to MaineCare Seed, please contact Denise Towers at Denise.towers@maine.gov.