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.

 

Behavioral Threat Assessment Presentation for Maine Schools

The Maine School Safety Center and Dr. Karen Barnes (MSSC Threat Assessment Officer) are pleased to invite you to a presentation that will provide you with a brief overview of School Behavioral Threat Assessment as well as inform you of current efforts underway in our state to identify at-risk students and mitigate violence by providing timely and effective interventions.  Additionally, we will provide you with details pertaining to free training opportunities to develop multidisciplinary threat assessment teams in your schools.  We hope you will join us as we share our work with you thus far and our vision for the future to ensure safety in all Maine schools.

The training will be conversational with ample opportunity for questions.  This training will be followed with a second training, at a later date, hosted by REMS addressing Behavioral Threat Assessment from a National perspective.

The target audience for this training are school administrators, school staff, mental health professional, law enforcement and other school safety stakeholders.

When: Jan 29, 2021 09:00 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Register in advance for this meeting: https://mainestate.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZEud-qgqjMqHtPKjVEuelS4ae57ANl5sxU_

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

For further information or questions please contact Maine DOE Coordinator of School Safety and Security Rob Susi at robert.w.susi@maine.gov.

Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA): 2021 Request for Grant Applications

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is excited to announce the availability of approximately $46 million in Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) grant funds to support projects aimed at reducing emissions from the nation’s existing fleet of older diesel engines. Under this competition, between 40 and 70 awards are anticipated.

Eligible applicants include regional, state, local or tribal agencies, or port authorities, with jurisdiction over transportation or air quality. Nonprofit organizations may apply if they provide pollution reduction or educational services to diesel fleet owners or have, as their principal purpose, the promotion of transportation or air quality.

Visit the DERA National Grants Web Page for Application and Eligibility Information

Informational Webinars: Request for Applications 2021 DERA National Grants

Tuesday, January 26, 2021; 1:00-2:00 p.m. (ET)
Join the Webinar
Dial-In: (202) 991-0477
Participant Code: 863 530 573#

Wednesday, February 3, 2021; 3:00-4:00 p.m. (ET)
Join the Webinar
Dial-In: (202) 991-0477
Participant Code: 609 539 899#

Thursday, February 11, 2021; 2:00-3:00 p.m. (ET)
Join the Webinar
Dial-In: (202) 991-0477
Participant Code: 451 189 144#

Webinar Highlights:

  • Program Details
  • Changes This Year
  • Eligible Entities, Projects, Vehicles, Engines & Equipment
  • Funding: Availability, Project Funding Percentage, Restrictions
  • Proposal Submission
  • Evaluation Criteria
  • Potential Pitfalls
  • Tools, Resources and Support
  • Question & Answer Period

Visit the DERA National Grants Web Page for Application and Eligibility Information

If you have questions, please contact DERA@epa.gov.

Maine DOE Update – January 15, 2021

From the Maine Department of Education


Reporting Items

| Visit the DC&R Reporting Calendar |


News & Updates

Priority Notice: Mills Administration Updates COVID-19 School Health Advisory System

The Mills Administration today released an update to its color-coded Health Advisory System that classifies counties’ relative risk of COVID-19 transmission to assist schools as they continue with their plans to deliver instruction and support to students safely. The Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC) continue to review evidence that indicates lower transmission of COVID-19 in schools compared to the general population. Over the last 30 days, the rate of new cases is 27 per 10,000 staff and students, compared to 113 per 10,000 people statewide. This rate of new cases in schools is 24% of the statewide rate for the general population. | More

Celebrate the Read to ME Challenge During the Month of February

For the 6th year, the Maine Department of Education will collaborate with community organizations and schools to support the Read to ME Challenge, a month-long public awareness campaign held in February to promote childhood literacy in Maine. This year we will celebrate the Read to ME Challenge with a series of recorded videos by students and adults. We will post the videos and share, but if you would like to request the videos be sent to you directly, please complete this form. | More

Mitchell Scholarship Application Open Until April 1

Mitchell Scholarships are awarded to students planning to attend two- or four-year degree programs at colleges either in- or out-of-state. The strongest applicants demonstrate financial need, academic promise, and community impact. Please encourage any graduating college-bound students from Maine’s public high schools to apply before the April 1 deadline. | More

WAVES Initiative Begins to Build Connections

Today Governor Janet Mills and her administration announced the launch of a new initiative to support the mental health and wellbeing of Maine youth. Wilderness Activities and Virtual Engagement for Students- WAVES is the latest project in the #ConnectKidsNow! campaign and will build a statewide network of online and outdoor opportunities, provided by multiple state agencies and community organizations, for Maine students to interact safely. | More

WAVES Is Calling All Educators to Share Your Ideas!

We are pleased to announce a new initiative focused on safely engaging Maine teens, WAVES (Wilderness Activities and Virtual Engagement for Students). Our vision is that every week every Maine teen safely engages socially with a community of peers. Please see Tuesday’s WAVES media release for additional information. In order to learn more about what meaningful and engaging online communities for teens would look like, what the capacity or interest of educators to host such communities is, and how the Maine Department of Education may provide resources and support the creation and elevation of such communities For the Virtual Engagement component of the initiative, we would like to meet with middle and school educators and hear your ideas. | More

Seeking Nominations for Alternative Educator of the Year

The Alternative Education Association (AEA) of Maine is looking for nominations for the AEA of Maine Educator of the Year award. | More

PRIORITY NOTICE: Supporting Courageous Classroom Conversations Regarding January 6, 2021 Insurrection at the U.S. Capitol

Even as the horrific events unfolded on Wednesday, January 6th in Washington D.C., Maine Department of Education’s social studies content specialist, Joe Schmidt was connecting with teachers from across Maine as they prepared for the conversations that were sure to follow in our classrooms.  | More

Get to Know the Maine DOE Team: Meet Janette Kirk

Maine DOE team member Janette Kirk is being highlighted as part of the Get to Know the Maine DOE Team Campaign. Learn a little more about Janette | More


Maine Schools Sharing Success Stories

| Submit your Maine School Success Story |


Professional Development & Training Opportunities

New! Online Child Development Associate Training Available for Foreign Trained Professionals

Portland Adult Education and Opportunity Alliance have announced the launch of their new ELL Child Development Associate (CDA) Training. The training is a partnership between Opportunity Alliance, Portland Adult Education and the Greater Portland Workforce Initiative. | More

| Visit the Professional Development Calendar |


Latest DOE Career/Project Opportunities

View current Maine Department of Education employment opportunities here


Celebrate the Read to ME Challenge During the Month of February

For the 6th year, the Maine Department of Education will collaborate with community organizations and schools to support the Read to ME Challenge, a month-long public awareness campaign held in February to promote childhood literacy in Maine. This year we will celebrate the Read to ME Challenge with a series of recorded videos by students and adults. We will post the videos and share, but if you would like to request the videos be sent to you directly, please complete this form.

This simple but powerful campaign challenges adults to read to children for 15 minutes, capture that moment via a photo or a video, and then post it on social media and challenge others to do the same. Don’t forget to use the hashtag #ReadtoME and tag the Maine DOE at @mdoenews on Twitter and @MaineDepartmentofEducation1 on Facebook!

The Read to ME Challenge will run for the month of February, leading up to Read Across America Day on March 2, 2021. Learn more about the Read to ME Challenge on the Maine DOE Website, which includes a heat map of participants and an opportunity to submit your Read to ME story for the heat map!

For more information, contact Dee Saucier, Elementary Literacy Specialist for the Maine DOE.