Application Process Open for Student Position on Maine State Board of Education

Student voice is critically important to the Maine State Board of Education, and they are seeking applications for the newest student member to join the Board. Applications are being accepted February 3 – 24, 2020.

The Maine State Board of Education has two nonvoting student members who join the Board as high school juniors and serve for two years, one enrolled in a school in Maine’s First Congressional District; the other enrolled in a school in the Second Congressional District. At all times, the State Board has one high school junior and one senior as members, with staggered appointment.

Applications are currently being accepted from students who attend school in the Second Congressional District (including Androscoggin, Aroostook, Franklin, Hancock, Oxford, Penobscot, Piscataquis, Somerset, Waldo, and Washington counties, and part of Kennebec County) and are currently a high school sophomore.  Application materials are available on the State Board of Education web page. The Board has also mailed application materials to all second congressional district high school principals and guidance counselors. Completed applications should be mailed to:

Mary Becker, Maine State Board of Education
23 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333-0023

After applications close on February 24, 2020, they will be reviewed according to the process described in Maine Education and School Statutes, Title 20-A, Chapter 5, State Board of Education. Semifinalists will be interviewed in March 2020, after which three finalists will be chosen. The names and application materials of the finalists will be sent to the Governor’s office for final selection. The selected student will be appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Maine State Senate.

This is an extraordinary opportunity for Maine students to practice civic engagement while serving as both a representative of Maine students and an active education leader in our state.

For further information please visit the Maine State Board of Education web page or contact Mary Becker, Board Assistant at 624-6616 or email at Mary.Becker@maine.gov.

Priority Notice: Proposed Revisions to Ch. 125, School Approval Standards

The State Board and the Department of Education are proposing the repeal and replacement of Chapter 125: Basic School Approval Standards: Public Schools and School Administrative Units.

The last repeal and replace of State Board of Education/Maine Department of Education Rule Chapter 125 was in 2002. The resulting language was highly duplicative of statute. The proposed replacement eliminates redundancy when possible, and minimizes to include only what is required in law.

To this end, the proposed Rule is written to address school approval standards and requirements in a linear fashion, reflecting requirements in the order they appear in statute when possible, and providing detail where necessary. For clarity, a chart referenced in Section 4 of the proposed Rule resides on the Department web page and contains a comprehensive list of requirements and citations.

Specific revisions to the Rule are as follows:

  • Based on a cross-walk conducted by the Department, language which is duplicative of statute or is outdated has been updated or eliminated;
  • The definition of school has been revised;
  • Unnecessary definitions have been eliminated;
  • Certain requirement exceptions for SAUs that tuition all or whole populations of students out of the resident unit have been added;
  • Certain requirement exceptions for Career and Technical Regions have been added;
  • The Comprehensive Education Plan format determination remains with the SAU, but must equally include and reflect all schools within the unit;
  • The minimum requirements as required by M.R.S. 20-A Section 4502(5) are listed in Section 5:
    • 5.01 – Grade K now has a minimum instructional day of 3 hours;
    • 5.03 – added “Areas used for the provision of student services and health services shall be adequate to provide for the privacy and confidentiality of such services;”
    • 5.08 – revised language regarding school counseling program;
    • 5.12 – revised language regarding time out areas to reference Restraint and Seclusion;
    • 5.15 – added family outreach requirement, per statute;
    • 5.16 – added language around Promotion, Retention, Acceleration and Graduation of Students;
    • 5.18 – added requirement for Multi-tiered System of Support, per LD 651; and
  • Section 7.01 outlining the initial approval process for SAUs was revised to reflect current practice.

Public Hearing Information for Rule Chapter 125:

  • December 16, 2019 from 1:00-3:00 PM
  • Room 500 in the Cross State Office Building, 111 Sewall Street, Augusta, Maine
  • All are welcome to attend, and no RSVP is required.  Anyone unable to attend the public hearing may send written comments via email to jaci.holmes@maine.gov or by mailing comments to:

Maine Department of Education
attention: Jaci Holmes
23 State House Station
Augusta, ME  04333-0023
Comment Period Deadline: December 27, 2019

School Construction List Receives Approval 

Three schools in critical need of renovation or replacement got the go-ahead to build new facilities or renovate existing ones last week from the State Board of Education, which approved a proposal from Maine Education Commissioner Pender Makin.  The three projects were considered because their total estimated costs, when added to existing debt, will be within the current debt service limit of $126,000,000. 

The Board approved the Maine Department of Education’s “Approved Projects List,” a key step in a school construction process that includes: evaluating needs, determining solutions, designing, and building.  The schools were at the top of the Final Priority List of 74 schools that applied for renovation or replacement, which was approved by the State Board in August of 2018. 

The three schools on the approved list are:  Fairfield Primary School (RSU 49/MSAD 49);  Skowhegan’s North Elementary School (RSU 54/MSAD 54);  and Rumford Elementary School (RSU 10). 

The Department would like to stress that the decision to begin work on the first three projects does not preclude additional projects from being approved later.  As the nature and anticipated costs of the first three projects becomes clearer over the ensuing months, the Department intends to then assess when, and if, additional projects on the Final Priority List can be approved to move forward. 

Information about the Department’s school construction program can be found at: http//www.maine.gov/doe/schools/facilities/mcscp. 

Two Maine Students Named 2019 U.S. Presidential Scholars

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos today announced the 55th class of U.S. Presidential Scholars, recognizing 161 high school seniors for their accomplishments in academics, the arts and career and technical education fields. Maine’s two scholars are Rohan Ben Freedman, from Cape Elizabeth High School, and Emma Hargreaves, from Old Town High School.

“I want to congratulate this year’s class of Presidential Scholars on their achievement both inside of the classroom and out,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. “Their hard work and commitment to excellence, no matter what challenge they are tackling, will serve them well throughout their lifelong learning journeys. I have no doubt that many of tomorrow’s leaders are among this year’s class of Scholars.”

The White House Commission on Presidential Scholars selects scholars annually based on their academic success, artistic and technical excellence, essays, school evaluations and transcripts, as well as evidence of community service, leadership and demonstrated commitment to high ideals.

Of the 3.6 million students expected to graduate from high school this year, more than 5,200 candidates qualified for the 2019 awards, determined by outstanding performance on the College Board SAT and ACT exams, or through nominations made by Chief State School Officers, other partner recognition organizations and the National YoungArts Foundation’s nationwide YoungArts™ competition.

As directed by Presidential Executive Order, the 2019 U.S. Presidential Scholars are comprised of one young man and one young woman from each state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, and U.S. families living abroad, as well as 15 chosen at-large, 20 Scholars in the Arts, and 20 Scholars in Career and Technical Education.

Created in 1964, the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program has honored over 7,500 of the nation’s top-performing students with an annual ceremony in Washington, D.C. The program was expanded in 1979 to recognize students who demonstrate exceptional talent in the visual, literary and performing arts. In 2015, the program was again extended to recognize students who demonstrate ability and accomplishment in career and technical education fields.

The 2019 ceremony will be held June 23, when each honoree will receive a Presidential Scholar Medallion.

A complete list of 2019 U.S. Presidential Scholars is available at http://www.ed.gov/psp.

For more information about the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program in Maine, contact Beth Lambert, beth.lambert@maine.gov, 207-624-6642.

Updates for Major Capital Construction Program and Integrated, Consolidated 9-16 Facilities Pilot

Major Capital School Construction Program

The scoring process for the Major Capital School Construction Program is complete for the 74 schools visited during the Fall of 2017.  The proposed priority list was presented to the State Board of Education at its June 13, 2018 meeting and accepted. This initiates a 30 day period in which schools on the list have the chance to appeal the scoring process.

To view the Major Capital School Construction Program priority list visit the Maine DOE’s Facilities website.

Integrated, Consolidated 9-16 Education Facility Pilot Project

The re-scoring process for the Integrated, Consolidated 9-16 Education Facility Pilot Project is complete for the three applicants selected to move forward to complete part 2 of the application process. As part of the Department’s EMBRACE Regionalization initiative, the applicants consist of partnerships between school districts and their CTE, higher education, and business partners.

The priority list for the Integrated, Consolidated 9-16 Education Facility Pilot Project was presented to the State Board of Education at its June 13, 2018 meeting and accepted. This initiates a 30 day period in which the three part 2 applicants on the list have the chance to appeal the scoring process.

To view the priority list for the Integrated, Consolidated 9-16 Education Facility Pilot Project visit the Maine DOE’s Facilities website. Learn more about the pilot project here.

For further information, contact Maine DOE Director of School Construction Scott Brown at (207) 624-6883.