Category Archives: Students and Families

Read to Ride Summer Reading Challenge

Summer vacation is a welcome break from the daily school routine for children and parents alike, but the summer months can be a significant interruption to students’ learning if young minds are not kept active while school is out of session. Summer learning loss is a well-documented phenomenon, particularly with respect to reading achievement. Students can lose up to three months of reading progress during the summer. When all of the summers in a child’s PK-8 school career are combined, this can result in 1-2 years of lost reading progress.

Fortunately, preventing the summer slide can be greatly reduced when students continue to read on a regular basis. When children are encouraged to read from a variety of resources for fun and the pleasure of learning, they continue to practice applying the skills they have learned, build their vocabulary and widen their knowledge of the world. For students who are not yet reading independently or just beginning to read, reading to and with them is equally beneficial.

In an effort to promote summer reading, the Maine Department of Education is collaborating with the Freemasons of Maine to sponsor the Read to Ride Summer Reading Challenge for students in grades PK-8. The 18,000 Freemasons of Maine are pleased to expand their popular statewide Bikes for Books student reading incentive program to now encourage children to read during the summer. The Bikes for Books program provides over 2,000 bikes to Maine schoolchildren each year to promote literacy. The Maine Freemasons have generously donated 48 bikes with helmets as prizes for the Read to Ride Summer Reading Challenge.

To earn a chance to be entered into the State level drawing, students must meet the challenge of reading at least 500 minutes during the summer vacation period. Any school with students in the PK-8 grade span may register to participate. Participating schools will collect documentation of students who have completed the challenge. They will hold school level drawings to select two students (one boy and one girl) whose names will be entered into the state level drawing to be held on September 22, 2017.  Schools are encouraged to participate in this challenge, to coordinate it with any other summer reading challenges/programs they offer and to consider soliciting their own local level prizes for students who complete the challenge. Details about the Read to Ride Challenge and about how principals can register schools can be found at: http://www.maine.gov/doe/literacy-for-me/summer-literacy.html. Please forward this information to your school principal to make them aware of this opportunity.

Questions may be directed to Maine DOE’s Literacy Specialist, Lee Anne Larsen, through email (leeann.larsen@maine.gov) or phone (624-6628).

Maine DOE Partnering with UMFK to Expand AP4ALL Program

The Maine Department of Education (DOE) and the University of Maine at Fort Kent (UMFK) are pleased to announce a partnership for the statewide AP4ALL program.

In its tenth year running, the AP4ALL program has become increasingly popular among high school students throughout the state by offering the opportunity to take Advanced Placement (AP) courses, completely online, regardless of where they live or their school’s ability to support AP courses.

With experience and resources from their own Rural U early college program, UMFK will be administering all of the AP4ALL courses for the 2017/2018 and 2018/2019 school years. The shift will help to improve the quality and outcomes of the program by offering students additional resources including new course software and management platforms, as well as digital texts and other classroom materials. In addition, the partnership will allow for expanded class sizes for popular courses, improved retention rates, and increased opportunity to reach rural students.

In order for this first year to be successful, information was reviewed from prior years to help create a list of course offerings that will better serve students. While the number of different courses offered has decreased, more spots have been created for courses that students previously wanted but couldn’t get into due to class size limits. The list was created based on many criteria, some of which included: course availability and need across Maine, prior enrollment, current retention and success rates for students, and the ability to transfer credits, subject knowledge, and skills into future higher education opportunities.

See the full listing of 2017/2018 courses on UMFK’s website.

In the first year of the pilot partnership, the previously available dual enrollment opportunities will be put on hold to ensure a smooth transition with available resources. Students interested in other early college opportunities can visit Maine DOE’s website to see a listing of other programs that are being offered around the state.

As the partnership grows, steps will be taken to continually evaluate the program in order to ensure the success of online learning, and to assess the quality of the programming. The evaluation will not only facilitate the growth of the AP4ALL program, but will also provide information that will help inform changes and decision making about AP courses and online learning more generally.

For questions or more information, contact Amanda Nguyen, Digital Learning Specialist for Maine Department of Education at 207-624-6656 or amanda.nguyen@maine.gov.

PRIORITY NOTICE: Seeking Public Comment for the Maine Department of Education Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Consolidated State Plan

The Maine Department of Education is seeking 30 days of public comment on Maine’s ESSA State Consolidated Plan from March 1 – 30, 2017

The passage of the Every Students Succeeds Act in 2015 shifted the former Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 from a federally driven, highly prescriptive set of programs and regulations to a state determined plan to ensure a focus on equity and excellence for all students.

The U.S. Department of Education is requiring every state educational agency to submit a Consolidated State Plan. “When developing its consolidated State plan, the Department encourages each State Educational Agency to reflect on its overall vision and how the different sections of the consolidated State plan work together to create one comprehensive approach to improving outcomes for all students.”

As a result, the Maine Department of Education ESSA State Plan is based on prioritized needs identified in Maine’s existing strategic plan. This plan was stakeholder informed and driven in 2012 and correlates with the five overarching elements of the federal Consolidated Plan, which are as follows:

  1. Long-Term Goals
  2. Consultation and Performance Management
  3. Academic Assessments
  4. Accountability, Support, and Improvement for Schools
  5. Supporting Excellent Educators
  6. Supporting All Students

By this integration the Department is utilizing the ESSA Plan as the enhancement mechanism to move Maine’s educational priorities forward.

The Department engaged over 40 Maine educators representing different stakeholder groups to serve as members of the ESSA Advisory and Workgroup teams to examine the components of the consolidated application pertinent to their focus area and to discuss potential recommendations for each specific component.

 Please note the changes which may affect the final format of  plan:

  • Possible changes in the ESSA Accountability federal regulations
  • Changes to the Consolidated Plan template indicated by the U. S Department of Education Secretary Devos on February 13, 2017 to reflect only those components that are “absolutely necessary”.

The Full Maine Consolidated State Plan
The Executive Summary (Includes an introductory letter from Acting Commissioner Hasson)

Comments may be submitted to: ESSA.DOE@maine.gov

Comments sought on Maine’s IDEA Part B application

The Maine Department of Education (DOE) is seeking public comments on its annual application for federal funds under Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which covers services to children with disabilities, ages 3-20.

The application, which covers Maine fiscal year 2018 (starting July 1, 2017) is posted on the Maine DOE’s webpage at http://www.maine.gov/doe/specialed/idea. The Part B budget is projected on the basis of Maine’s award for the current State fiscal year (2017), pending the State’s receipt of the finalized federal award for the coming year. Both documents will be posted from March 9th, 2017 through May 8th, 2017.

Written comments will be accepted from March 9th, 2017 until 4 p.m. on April 8th, 2017. Please send comments to Janice Breton at janice.breton@maine.gov or 23 State House Station, Augusta, ME. 04333.

 

RFP issued for 21st Century Community Learning Centers program

The Maine Department of Education has issued a request for proposals (RFP) seeking bids from interested parties to execute comprehensive 21st Century Community Learning Center (21st CCLC) programs in 2017-18.

Enacted under Title IV, Part B of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the 21st CCLC program provides competitive grant funding to support before school, after school, and summer learning programs that focus on improving the academic performance of students in pre-kindergarten through grade 12.

In Maine, the primary purpose of the 21st CCLC program is to provide school and community partnerships with funding to establish or expand programs that provide educational and related support services to students and families in high-need, economically-disadvantaged communities. Allowable activities for 21st CCLC programs include providing academic enrichment opportunities designed to complement traditional school day curriculum. In addition, these programs can provide a broad array of additional support services related to the overall health and well-being of students. Local 21st CCLC programs, which are either located in an elementary schools, secondary schools or similarly accessible community facilities, provide these high-quality support services to students during non-school hours or periods when school is not in session. As such, these programs also support working parents and families by providing safe, conducive learning environments for students at times when school is not in session.

The RFP, which includes information on program eligibility and requirements for new, expansion, and continuation applicants, is available here. A technical assistance webinar, which will provide supplemental information for completing the RFP application, will be posted to the Department’s application site on March 2, 2017.

For more information on the 21st Century Community Learning Center (21st CCLC) Program, contact the Department’s Federal Grant Coordinator Travis Doughty at travis.w.doughty@maine.gov.

 

Maine seeks feedback on IDEA Part C – Family Cost Participation Policy

The Maine Department of Education is seeking comments from the public on the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Part C Family Cost Participation Fee Policy which is used in relation to services for young children birth through age two with disabilities.

Maine is required to submit to the U.S. Department of Education a Family Cost Participation Fee Policy. The General Education Provisions Act requires that the State publish each proposed policy in a manner that will ensure circulation throughout the state at least 60 days prior to the date on which the policy is submitted or on which the policy becomes effective, with an opportunity for public comments to be accepted on the policy for at least 30 days.

The public, including superintendents, special education directors and CDS Regional Site Directors are encouraged to review the policy, which can be found at: http://www.maine.gov/doe/specialed/idea/index.html and submit comments.

Written comments will be accepted until 4 p.m. on Tuesday, April 22, 2017. Please send comments to Roy Fowler at 23 State House Station; Augusta, ME 04333 or via email at roy.fowler@maine.gov .

Maine seeks feedback on IDEA Part C application

Maine is seeking input on its application for the Part C (birth to three) early intervention program under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, known as IDEA. The Part C budget included in the application is for State Fiscal year 2018.

The General Education Provisions Act requires that the State publish each proposed annual application in a manner that will ensure circulation throughout the State at least 60 days prior to the date on which the plan is submitted to the Secretary of Education or on which date the plan is effective.

The public, including superintendents, special education directors and CDS Regional Site Directors are encouraged to review the application, which can be found at: http://www.maine.gov/doe/specialed/idea/index.html

Written comments will be accepted through April 19, 2017 and can be submitted to Roy Fowler: 146 State House Station; Augusta, ME 0433 or via email at roy.fowler@maine.gov .

 

Priority Notice: Maine DOE and DHHS release joint guidance regarding foster care provisions

The Maine Department of Education (DOE) and the Office for Children and Family Services (OCFS) has collaborated to release initial joint information regarding provisions under the Every Student Succeeds Act for children in foster care. To ensure compliance with Federal Statute, the DOE has designated ESEA Director – Title I, Janette Kirk, to oversee the implementation of the provisions of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and serve as a point of contact for OCFS.  To view the official notice, click here.

The goal of ESSA is for children in foster care to experience minimal disruption in their education as a result of being placed in foster care and that they are given the same opportunities to develop the necessary skills to be successful as children who are not in foster care.

Under ESSA the Maine DOE and OCFS must work together to ensure:

  • A child in foster care will enroll or remain enrolled in the child’s school of origin, unless a determination is made that it is not in the child’s best interest to attend that school.
  • If a determination is made that is not in the child’s best interest to remain in the school of origin, the child will immediately be enrolled in a new school, even if the child and/or his or her guardians are unable to produce records normally required for enrollment; and
  • The child’s new school must immediately contact the school of origin to obtain relevant records.

The Every Student Succeeds Act was signed on Dec. 10, 2015 and amended the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA). The ESSA contains provisions related to protections for children in foster care and require the Maine DOE and school districts to collaborate with the OCFS to ensure educational stability for children in foster care.

Further information will be shared during a conference call on Tuesday, Feb. 14, from 11am -12:30 pm. To access the presentation please use the following information:

URL:                 http://stateofmaine.adobeconnect.com/r2kkcalf1rf/

Conference Number(s):        (877) 455-0244

Conference Code:               8223978943

 

For further information, please contact Janette Kirk, ESEA Director – Title I at 624-6707 or janette.kirk@maine.gov .

Take the ‘Read to ME Challenge’

Augusta – Maine’s First Lady launched the Read to ME Challenge today at the Blaine House. Reflecting on how she and her husband, Governor Paul LePage, raised their children by reading to them and exploring the world through reading, Mrs. LePage shared, “I knew that when a child learns to read, there is nothing they can’t learn, imagine, or accomplish in life.”

First Lady Ann LePage reads to military children as she kicks off Maine's Read To Me Challenge

First Lady Ann LePage reads to children of military families as she kicks off Maine’s Read To Me Challenge

Reading to children of military families, the First Lady shared two books, Groovy Joe: Ice Cream and Dinosaurs and Baxter in the Blaine House, with her captive audience. Once the children studied the brilliant illustrations of the Blaine House, they were offered the chance to explore and see some of the rooms depicted in the story book. First Lady LePage challenged Brigadier General Douglas Farnum of the Maine National Guard.

Baxter in the Blaine House

Baxter in the Blaine House

The Maine DOE’s Read to ME Challenge runs through March 2, Read Across America Day. Maine DOE Literacy Specialist Lee Anne Larsen wants the momentum to last all month long. “Our goal is to promote the critical importance of reading to and with children from birth through their childhoods. When children are read to regularly, their vocabulary grows, they build knowledge of the world, they stimulate their imaginations, and they discover how words communicate ideas.”

The challenge is simple. Read with a child for at least 15 minutes, capture a photo or video, post it on social media with the hash tags #ReadtoME or #ReadaloudME, and nominate others to do the same. Creative ways of completing the challenge are encouraged – for example, read to a child using FaceTime or Skype. If preferred, you can complete the challenge by listening to audiobooks with a child.

“The enthusiasm has been building since before the launch with schools, libraries and other organizations planning innovative ways of promoting the challenge. All Mainers are encouraged to get involved,” said Larsen.

You can reach Lee Anne Larsen at leeann.larsen@maine.gov to learn more about Maine DOE’s Read to ME Challenge. Go ahead, take the challenge!

Organizations needed to feed hungry children this summer

AUGUSTA — With the assistance of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Maine public schools have long offered a nutritious breakfast and lunch meal program to thousands of income eligible children in Maine during the school year. To extend this program, Maine Department of Education Child Nutrition (Maine DOE) is seeking organizations who would like to participate in the federally funded Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), which provides children healthy meals when school is not in session.

“It is well documented that students learn best when they are not hungry. In fact, a nutritious, well-balanced diet is an important attribute of a great education,” says Maine DOE Acting Commissioner Robert Hasson. “Our nutrition programs in Maine serve our students well. With federal assistance, Maine needs partners for the Summer Food Service Program.”

In 2016, 119 sponsors participated in the program, serving an average of 12,182 lunches per day to children at over 400 sites. Although almost 700 more meals were served per day in 2016 than 2015, there is still a long way to go towards feeding all eligible children during the summer. Community partners are working to maximize the number of sponsors utilizing the availability of funds under the SFSP.

The Summer Food Service Program may be offered statewide in areas or at sites where more than 50 percent of the children are eligible for free or reduced meal benefits under the National School Lunch Program or census track data supports the need. Organizations that provide services in rural communities or near migrant farm workers and American Indian populations are urged to participate. Eligible sponsoring organizations include schools, nonprofit residential summer camps, government agencies, and tax-exempt organizations including faith-based organizations.

Maine DOE encourages any eligible organization to consider providing this much-needed service to Maine children. The agency will begin accepting applications to participate in February. Approved sponsors will be reimbursed for eligible meals served to children during the long summer break.

Interested organizations should begin planning now for a successful summer. Potential sponsors are required to attend training sessions. For a complete schedule of trainings, please visit http://www.maine.gov/doe/nutrition/programs/sfsp/index.html. Maine DOE is available to attend meetings or consult by phone and email to answer questions regarding summer meals.

For more information about the Maine DOE’s Summer Food Service Program, contact adriane.ackroyd@maine.gov, call 624-6726 or visit http://www.maine.gov/doe/nutrition/programs/sfsp/index.html.

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In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity, in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.) should contact the Agency ere they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, heard of hearing, or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.

To file a program discrimination complaint, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, AD-3027, found online at How to File a Program Discrimination Complaint and at any USDA office or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by:

(1) Mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-9410;

(2) Fax: (202) 690-7442; or

(3) Email: program.intake@usda.gov.

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.

This institution is an equal opportunity provider. In accordance with State law this institution is prohibited from discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, sexual orientation or disability. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs)

To file a complaint of discrimination, write Maine Department of Education, Civil Rights Officer, 23 State House Station, Augusta, ME, 04333 or call 207-624-6875. Maine is an equal opportunity provider and employer.