The Special Education Staff Certification Report (EF-S-05 Part II) Open on March 1, 2021; Deadline is April 15, 2021.

The EF-S-05 Part II Special Education Staff Certification report must be verified and certified by the Special Education Director in the Maine Department Of Education’s NEO System. The report is used to verify the full-time equivalency (FTE) and qualification status of special education teachers, paraprofessionals (educational technicians), and related services personnel who were employed or contracted to provide special education services to students with disabilities ages 3 through 20 as of December 1, 2020.

  • Please note that this will be final year that the EF-S-05 Part II will allow for adjustments of numbers. The 2021-2022 collection will come directly from NEO staff and the EF-S-05 Part II will only be a certification of those numbers.  The timeline of the certification will also change to align with the NEO staff certification timeline.  More information will be provided in summer and fall of 2021.

Access instructions for completing the EF-S-05 Part II report.

If you have trouble logging into NEO or have other technical issues, contact the help desk at 207-624-6896 or MEDMS.Helpdesk@maine.gov .

For questions about the EF-S-05 Part II report, contact Brandi Giguere at 207-446-6526 or brandi.a.giguere@maine.gov.

MEDIA RELEASE: School Psychologists Recognized for Outstanding Service in Maine

The Maine Association of School Psychologists (MASP) recently announced that Lisa Backman from Windham Raymond School District is the 2020 Maine School Psychologist of the Year. This award acknowledges a member of MASP who demonstrates excellence in school psychology practice, and leadership in the profession.

“Beyond the role of evaluators, school psychologists fill a crucial role in school communities providing consultation and collaboration in intervention systems and supporting school staff through professional development and technical assistance,” Erin Frazier, Maine Department of Education Director of Special Services. “These individuals are critical to SAUs efforts to provide a continuum of services to all children.”

Mrs. Backman has been providing psychological services to the Windham-Raymond School District, RSU #14 for the past 20 years, and as an adjunct professor at St. Joseph’s College. She is a trusted professional within her school community among students, staff, and families. Lisa’s building principal stated that he believes they are “fortunate to have her calm demeanor, as well as her extensive knowledge of research-based practices and Special Education law to help make the IEP process one that aligns with our mission.” In fact, he shared that he “often encourages teachers to talk with Lisa when struggling to meet the unique needs of learners. Teachers appreciate this support and report being able to implement effective practices from her feedback.”

Elizabeth (Lisa) Howe of Gorham Public Schools received the Lifetime Achievement Award for her devotion through years of service to her local school district as well as to the profession at the state level. On top of her superb work at the district level, Lisa has volunteered many hours of her time over the years in numerous positions with MASP. These have included participation at the committee level as well as serving as Secretary for MASP. Lisa has been a very diligent and collaborative contributor.

Jill Adams, Executive Director of the Maine Administrators of Services for Children with Disabilities (MADSEC) received an Outstanding Advocate for School Psychologists 2020 honor for her her tireless work for the students of Maine.

Erin Frazier, Maine DOE Director of Special Services also received an Outstanding Advocate for School Psychologists 2020 awarded for her ongoing championing for the field of School Psychology while navigating the challenges brought throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Maine Department of Education recognizes there is a critical shortage of school psychologists in the state that is long standing,” noted Frazier. “These positions are critical to fulfill child find responsibilities and support effective programming for students.”

Howe
Lisa Backman
Windham/Raymond School District
2020 Maine School
Psychologist of the Year
Lisa Howe
Gorham Public Schools
Lifetime Achievement Award
Jill Adams
Executive Director
Maine Administrators of Services for Children with Disabilities (MADSEC)
2020 Outstanding Advocate
for School Psychologists
Erin Frazier
Director of Special Services
Maine Department of Education
2020 Outstanding Advocate
for School Psychologists

ADMINISTRATIVE LETTER: Change in the Ending Age for Special Education Eligibility – Effective Immediately

ADMINISTRATIVE LETTER

Administrative Letter: 1
Policy Code: IHBEA
To: Public School Administrators
From: Pender Makin, Commissioner
Date:  January 21,2021
Subject: Change in the Ending Age for Special Education Eligibility – Effective Immediately

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires states to provide “[a] free, appropriate public education . . . to all children with disabilities residing in the State between the ages of 3 and 21 inclusive[.]”  20 U.S.C. § 1415(a)(1)(A).  IDEA permits an exception to this general age range: “[t]he obligation to make a free, appropriate public education available to all children with a disabilities does not apply with respect to children . . . [aged] 18 through 21 in a State to the extent that its application to those children would be inconsistent with State law or practice, or the order of any court, respecting the provision of public education to [such] children[.]”  20 U.S.C. § 1415(a)(1)(B)(i).

Maine’s generally applicable age-eligibility statute states that students are eligible for a pK-12 public education until the end of the school year in which they turn 20 years old. 20-A M.R.S. § 5201(1). As a result, Maine has historically terminated a student with a disability’s eligibility for a free, appropriate public education (FAPE) at the end of the school year in which they turn 20.

In 2018, the Court of Appeals for the First Circuit held that students are entitled to FAPE until age 22 (the so-called “federal standard”) where the state provides public education in the form of adult education to students who are under age 22 but older than the state “age out” for pK-12 education.  K.L. v. Rhode Island Board of Education, 907 F.3d 639 (2018).  The First Circuit concluded that for purposes of the IDEA, “public education” contains three basic attributes: (1) “a significant level of state or local government funding, [] (2) the public administration or oversight of the educational services” and (3) the education of students “up to the level of academic proficiency associated with the completion of secondary school.” Id. at 642, 644.

Maine’s adult education system meets the First Circuit’s definition of “public education” as it receives significant state and local government funding, is administered by the Department of Education and local public entities (primarily school administrative units either alone or in collaboration), and provides coursework that allows students to complete and receive their high school diplomas.  As such, there is little question that the same result would be reached by the First Circuit if Maine’s statutes were challenged.

After consulting with counsel, the Department has concluded that terminating eligibility to a free, appropriate public education at the end of the school year in which a student turns 20 pursuant to 20-A M.R.S. § 5201(1) years is inconsistent with the IDEA as interpreted by the First Circuit in K.L. v. Rhode Island Board of Education, 907 F.3d 639 (2018).

Effective immediately, Maine will implement the “federal standard” and provide FAPE to eligible students until their 22nd birthday.

All school administrative units must notify adult students who would have previously “aged out” of special education on June 30, 2021 of their right to receive a free, public education until either they receive a regular high school diploma or their 22nd birthday, whichever comes first.

The Department will be providing technical assistance around the provision of FAPE beyond age 20.  For more information, contact Erin Frazier, State Director of Special Education Birth to 22, at erin.frazier@maine.gov.

Special education counts and costs for students over 20 will be counted under Title 20 A §15681-A.2. Students 5-22 are now part of your child count and SAUs will receive state subsidy based on this count.

 

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

Special Education Forms Update 08.01.2020

Based on the periodic review and feedback from a stakeholder group of practitioners in the field, the Maine Department of Education’s Office of Special Services has revised two of the required forms for Special Education. Specifically, the IEP form and the Optional Referral form have been revised; all vendors have been notified of these changes. Below are links to the updated forms:

A complete list of all forms is available on our website. All changes in the revised forms go into effect on August 1, 2020. Below are the detailed changes to the IEP form and the Optional Referral Form:

  • Section 3. Considerations C. and Ci. on page 1 were updated to include current language related to English Learners.
  • Section 7. Related Services on page 4, Behavioral Health Day Treatment was removed from the related services grid. Please see guidance about documenting behavioral services in section 6. Supplementary Aids, services, Modifications and/or Supports of the IEP. The guidance was jointly issued, in March of 2020, by the Maine Department of Education (MDOE) and the Maine Department of Health and Human Services’ (DHHS) Office of MaineCare Services (OMS).
  • Section 5. The Academic Performance description was updated to include all children in Part B, ages 3-20.
  • Section 5. The Functional/Development performance descriptions were updated to include all children in Part B, ages 3-20.
  • The Optional Referral Form, section J, Recent Academic Achievements was revised to include the grade level benchmarks for the assessments that are considered during a referral.

The updated Procedural Manual is posted on the Office of Special Services website. For more information or assistance, please call Roberta Lucas, Federal Programs Coordinator at 624-6621 or roberta.lucas@maine.gov