Preparing to Educate Students who Are English Learners- Reviewing Lau Plans

As schools prepare for the 2019-2020 academic year, the Maine Department of Education would like to offer its support to help educators proactively plan effective programs for students who are English learners (ELs). Each year many new families arrive to Maine over the summer, or transfer from one Maine district to another. When school enrollment begins in the fall, districts may enroll a student who is an EL for the first time or may experience an increase in the number of students who are ELs as compared to last school year. The following suggestions and resources can help educators prepare to identify and serve students who are ELs and engage their families and communities.

The first step in preparing to serve students who are ELs is to have an up-to-date, board-approved Lau Plan, which is essentially the district’s road map, detailing how it meets federal and state policies for English learners. “Lau” refers to a 1974 US Supreme Court decision, Lau v. Nichols, that confirmed the rights of English learners to meaningfully access their education. In other words, Lau v. Nichols established that students who are English learners must be provided with English language acquisition support to enable them to meet the same challenging academic standards that other students are expected to meet. All districts are required to have a Lau Plan as part of the school approval process. To help districts create a thorough, well-crafted Lau Plan, the Maine Department of Education provides the Lau Plan Template and Guidance.

Staffing an effective program for students who are ELs is another key step. However, it is often difficult for districts to predict the coming school year’s count and the intensity of each student’s needs in order to plan staffing accordingly. Staffing must be responsive to student needs; the level of services that students are provided should not be determined by current staffing. Because of this, districts may find themselves in need of more teachers than anticipated. In such cases, the Maine Department of Education offers to share job postings with English for Speakers of Other Languages(ESOL) educators and to connect districts with qualified consultants in the region, whom districts may then screen and hire through their standard processes.

It is recommended to designate a staff member to manage the process for identifying students who are ELs, including administration of English language proficiency screening assessments. Also, having an existing staff member become (660) ESOL-endorsed is a proactive way to ensure readiness, should any students who are ELs enroll unexpectedly.

For information regarding Maine’s requirements for providing services to students who are ELs, please see the resource and policy guide, Serving Maine’s English Learners. For further assistance, please contact April Perkins, Director of ESOL/Bilingual Programs & Title III, at april.perkins@maine.gov.

Public Preschool Annual Report Due July 31, 2019

We are grateful to our school districts who are addressing the need for public preschool programming in their communities, and we are committed to fostering partnerships and increasing early intervention and educational opportunities for our youngest learners. As you are likely aware, all public preschool programs are required to complete the Public Preschool Annual Report. We have shortened the report for ease of use, and the Department of Education will refer to the data collected throughout the year to help inform policy, determine professional development needs, and provide follow up information or support.

The Public Preschool Annual report is now available  and is due to the Department no later than close of business on July 31, 2019.

Before you start the survey, it will be useful to have the following information readily available:

  • Information related to staff turnover
  • Program operation:
    • Number of hours per day
    • Number of days per week
    • Any major changes to the program, including, but not limited to:
      • partners
      • curriculum
      • location
    • Successes/challenges experienced over the course of the year
    • Student attendance-
      • number economically disadvantaged
      • number chronic absenteeism
      • transient students
    • Students identified for additional support:
      • English Learners- screening process
      • Individualized Education Plan (IEP) information including but not limited to:
        • referrals
        • IDEA eligibility identification
        • no longer qualify
      • Student growth in all learning domains

For further information or questions, please contact Nicole Madore at Nicole.madore@maine.gov  or 624-6677.

MaineCare Seed Adjustments to be Made, Review Q3’19 Reports by July 8, 2019

The recovery of Q3’19 MaineCare Seed will occur in the July 2019 subsidy payment, and the Maine Department of Education is asking SAUs to review their reports by July 8, 2019 to ensure accurate adjustments to subsidy. SAU staff must review student by student claims on both the public and private MaineCare reports for Q3’19 by July 8, 2019.

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

  1. Log into NEO using the link, https://neo.maine.gov/DOE/neo/Dashboard Anyone who currently has Special Education Director permissions to the Special Education module will automatically have permissions to access MaineCare reports. For security purposes, 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.
  1. Click on the Student Data tab
  2. Click on the Student Report tab
  3. Select MaineCare in the Reporting Area drop-down
  4. Choose the quarterly Seed report and the report type (private/public)
  5. Click view report button
  6. Once the report appears on the screen, choose the export button.

    Capture
    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@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 (From and To)
  • 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@maine.gov.

Regional Think Tanks – Maine Department of Education Wants to Brainstorm With YOU!

Ready for the end of the year? Can’t wait for summer? Before you shift to the summer season, help us to reflect on the 2018/2019 School Year and keep the momentum of discussion for education in Maine.

The Department of Education is hosting several opportunities to collaborate and share experiences in different regions during the 2019 Summer Think Tank series. Join us for half a day to discuss your preferred topic or stay for the day and participate in two sessions.  Lunch will be provided in between the morning and afternoon sessions.

All interested members of your school community are invited to attend, however, an RSVP is required in advance. Please be sure to select the activity/activities (including lunch) so we can be best prepared to host you.

TOPICS INCLUDE:

ME Defines School Success: As part of a statewide conversation, this session will focus on how we define the success of our public schools. Participants will contribute to the identification of common values across the state, tell us what makes your schools successful, and propose ideas as to how we can expand the conversation and how we can use the outcomes of the conversation to promote our public schools.

MLTI: Come and join a conversation about the Maine Learning Technology Initiative (MLTI). Participants will engage in facilitated activities where they will share experiences, ideas, and feedback on the past 18 years of MLTI and discuss hopes for the future of the MLTI program.  Considerations may include devices, device distribution and management, infrastructure, professional development, and funding.

Special Education: Join us for a discussion of what’s working well with special education and what we can improve upon. Share your input on how we can better serve our students with disabilities and provide supports for schools and school administrative units.

Educator Excellence: To ensure that all students receive an excellent education that prepares them to succeed in today’s world, we must systematically increase the quantity and quality of our teaching workforce. This session is looking for feedback on issues related to increasing the recruitment and retention of talented classroom teachers. Topics include high retention pathways into the teaching profession, teacher professional development, and teacher leadership (career lattices that allow teachers to assume leadership roles without leaving the classroom). We are looking for school and district administrators as well as educators to participate in small group discussions to explore these topics. These conversations will assist the Department in enhancing policies and programs to attract and retain outstanding educators for Maine students.

Educator Readiness (7/8 PM Only): This session is an opportunity to provide feedback on a number of areas that impact educator readiness including diversity and equity, talent needs, professional development for educators, student teaching, the changing candidate profile, among others. We are looking for school and district administrators as well as educators to participate in small group discussions with representatives from Maine’s educator preparation programs to explore these topics. This conversation will assist the Department in enhancing policies and programs to support the changing needs of our schools, educators, and students.

JOIN US AT ONE OF THE FOLLOWING EVENTS:

June 11th – Lewiston

Ramada Lewiston and Conference Center
490 Pleasant Street
Lewiston, ME

AM/PM Topics will include:

  • Redefining School Success
  • MLTI
  • ME Special Education
  • Educator Excellence

To Register: http://events.egov.com/eventreg/ME/event.htm?name=doespringthinktanklewiston


June 12th – Saco

Ferry Beach Retreat & Conference Center
5 Morris Ave
Saco, ME

AM/PM Topics will include:

  • Redefining School Success
  • MLTI
  • ME Special Education
  • Educator Excellence

To Register: http://events.egov.com/eventreg/ME/event.htm?name=doesummerthinktanksaco


June 13thBangor

Bangor Banquet & Conference Center
701 Hogan Rd.
Bangor, ME

AM/PM Topics will include:

  • Redefining School Success
  • MLTI
  • ME Special Education
  • Educator Excellence

To Register: http://events.egov.com/eventreg/ME/event.htm?name=doesummerthinktankbangor


June 19th – Winter Harbor

Schoodic Institute
9 Atterbury Circle
Winter Harbor, ME

AM/PM Topics will include:

  • Redefining School Success
  • MLTI
  • ME Special Education
  • Educator Excellence

To Registerhttp://events.egov.com/eventreg/ME/event.htm?name=doesummerthinktankwinterharbor


June 20th – Presque Isle

Presque Isle Inn & Convention Center
116 Main Street
Presque Isle, ME

AM/PM Topics will include:

  • Redefining School Success
  • MLTI
  • ME Special Education
  • Educator Excellence

To Register: http://events.egov.com/eventreg/ME/event.htm
?name=doesummerthinktankpresqueisle


July 8th – Augusta

Senator Inn & Spa
284 Western Ave
Augusta, ME

AM/PM Topics will include:

  • Redefining School Success
  • MLTI
  • ME Special Education

PM Only:

  • Educator Readiness

To Register: http://events.egov.com/eventreg/ME/event.htm?name=doesummerthinktankaugustawrapup

Free Training, Technical Assistance, Equipment and Materials for Public Preschool Programs

The Maine Department of Education (DOE) has received a grant from the US Department of Education to support public preschool teachers, special educators, principals and special education directors in providing high quality classroom environments and inclusion practices for 4-year-olds.

The program is being offered through Maine Roads to Quality Professional Development Network (MRTQ PDN), a University of Maine System partnership between University of Southern Maine (USM) and University of Maine (UMaine), that includes the University of Maine Center for Community Inclusion and Disability Studies (CCIDS) which has expertise in providing training and technical assistance around inclusionary practices.

MRTQ PDN will contract with Maine DOE and partner with Child Development Services to provide online training and technical assistance to 3 classrooms of 6 participants each. Teams must include the preschool teacher, ed tech, principal, special education director, elementary special education teacher, and a CDS consultant or teacher. The purpose of team participation is to ensure consistent understanding and application of the course content so that high quality inclusive practices will be supported and sustained.  All team members will receive certificates of contact hours which support certification renewal and/or local professional development requirements.

This project will serve as a pilot to help Maine DOE gather information on what schools need to best support all preschool age children, including those with special needs and disabilities.

Upon completion of training and technical assistance, each public preschool classroom teacher who has participated will receive $1500 in mini-grants for materials and supplies to support high quality preschool inclusionary environments.

For more information, or FAQ view the application or contact Nicole Madore at Nicole.madore@maine.gov