Students, Parents, and Schools Celebrate School Bus Driver Appreciation Week Oct. 19-23

Nationally, while school buses are the gold standard of safety and considered the Titans of Transportation, school bus drivers are the heroes of safety that go above and beyond the call of duty as they deliver the most precious cargo – our students.

Locally, parents, students, teachers, and superintendents celebrate National School Bus Driver Appreciation Week by showing appreciation for school bus drivers that build local community, make special deliveries, arrive in early hours, help students in need, focus on safety, and more.  School staff and parents make special cards, deliver special snacks, talk with drivers about how much their commitment to student safety means to families, schools, and the community, and learn about a day in the life of a school bus driver. School district transportation directors celebrate National School Bus Driver Appreciation Week by providing driver safety training at the district. This is a time for celebrating school bus drivers.

Historically, Maine schools celebrate School Bus Driver Appreciation Week during National School Bus Safety Week which occurs annually during the third week in October. It is a time for Mainers to reflect upon the outstanding job performance of our school bus drivers who transport students to and from school and school related events throughout the year traveling over 30 million miles of urban and rural roads. In Maine about 80 percent of students ride the school bus which is much higher than the national average of 50 percent.

We welcome you to share stories about your Maine school bus driver heroes of safety on the Maine DOE social media on Facebook @MaineDepartmentofEducation1 and/or Twitter @mdoenews.  Here are some historic examples of Maine school bus driver heroes of safety:

School bus drivers receive extensive driver and safety training to provide the essential service of school transportation. They are responsible for conserving the comfort, safety, and welfare of students they transport. Should a critical incident occur that requires student relocation, school bus drivers will be called on to deliver students to a safe haven.

For information about school transportation policy contact Transportation and Facilities Administrator Pat Hinckley at pat.hinckley@maine.gov .

For information about how to become a school bus driver contact the Maine Association for Pupil Transportation (MAPT) http://www.maptme.org/

Maine DOE Update – October 16, 2020

From the Maine Department of Education


Reporting Items

Important Reminder and Webinar Assistance: Due Date Approaches for Quarter 1 (Q1) Attendance, Behavior, Bullying, and Truancy Data Review

In order to assist SAUs with their legislatively mandated data reporting, the Maine Department of Education Data Team is offering a free webinar to review the requirements and new features. The webinar is strongly encouraged for those responsible for the compilation and entry of the required data. | More

PRIORITY NOTICE: Verification of Minimum Teacher Salaries

Due Date: November 30, 2020  In 2020-21, the State will provide each qualifying school administrative unit with the funding necessary to achieve the minimum salary for certified teachers established in Title 20-A, §13407. | More

| Visit the DC&R Reporting Calendar |


News & Updates

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 by color and that is provided to assist schools as they continue with their plans to deliver instruction and support students safely this fall. The Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC) assessed the data and trends for the counties. Based on this assessment, York County will be moved from yellow to green. All other counties remain green. | More

PRIORITY NOTICE: USDA Extends School Meal Flexibilities Through 2020/2021 School Year; Webinar Available 10/14 at 1pm 

The State of Maine has accepted 12 waiver extensions from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) allowing for continued flexibilities in the federal Summer Food Service Program/Seamless Summer Option (SFSP/SSO) programs through the 2020/2021 school year. Originally set to expire on December 31, 2020, the waiver extensions will allow schools and other local program operators to continue to leverage SFSP/SSO federal food service programs to provide no cost meals options to all children through June 30, 2021.   | More

PRIORITY NOTICE: Public Comment Period for Science and Alternative Science Waiver from Public Reporting Now Open

The Maine Department of Education (DOE) is seeking thirty (30) days of public comment from October 16 – November 14, 2020, on a waiver application (waiver from §8401(b) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) of 2015) to the U.S. Department of Education (USED). The request seeks a waiver from publicly reporting student general and alternate science test data from the Spring 2021 assessment administration. | More

Maine DOE and DHHS Release Dashboard of COVID-19 Cases in Maine Schools

Maine Department of Education (DOE), in collaboration with the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), released an online dashboard of COVID-19 cases in Maine schools, complementing the information provided by schools to help parents, students, and staff make informed decisions about their health and safety. | More

Outdoor Learning Grants up to $1500 available to Maine PreK-12 Schools – Apply by 10/19

The Maine Environmental Education Association (MEEA) is pleased to be offering mini-grants to Maine educators and schools to support outdoor learning during the 2020/21 school year. Teachers and schools from across Maine who need support to build and expand their classes outdoors are encouraged to apply. | More

Maine State Board of Education Chairman Wilson G. Hess Receives National Public Service Award

The National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) today announced that Maine State Board of Education Chairman Wilson G. Hess is one of three  national recipients of NASBE’s 2020 Distinguished Service Award. This national award honors current and former state board members who have made exceptional contributions to education. It is given to three outstanding leaders each year and is the highest award NASBE can bestow on a state board of education member. | More

UTC Business Leadership Instructor Named CTE Teacher of the Year

Amanda Peterson, the Business Leadership Instructor at United Technologies Center (UTC) in Bangor has been named the 2020 Maine Career and Technical Education (CTE) Teacher of the Year by the Maine Administrators of Career and Technical Education (MACTE). Mrs. P, as her students call her, was honored by Maine Department of Education (DOE) Commissioner Pender Makin and Maine Community College System President David Daigler at the annual MACTE conference which was held virtually on October 8th. | More

Funding Available for New or Expanding Pre-K Programs in 2021-2022!

If your SAU is opening or expanding a Pre-K program in the 2021-2022 school year, you are eligible to receive funding on your FY22 ED279 for children you enroll in these new or expanding Pre-K programs in 2021. This means you will receive the funding for enrollment in the same year that you enroll the Pre-K children, without a year delay.  | More

Registration Open for FREE Virtual Future Teachers Academy Oct. 20-21

Open to Maine high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors, this free, virtual Future Teachers Academy will be held on Oct. 20, 1:00 – 3:00 pm and Oct. 21, 2:00 – 4:00 pm. The event is for students who are interested in exploring the field of education.  | More

Free and Simple Motor Break Activates for Maine Schools

If your SAU is opening or expanding a Pre-K program in the 2021-2022 school year, you are eligible to receive funding on your FY22 ED279 for children you enroll in these new or expanding Pre-K programs in 2021. This means you will receive the funding for enrollment in the same year that you enroll the Pre-K children, without a year delay.  | More

Get to Know the DOE Team: Meet Karen Kusiak

Maine DOE Team member Karen Kusiak is being highlighted this week as part of the Get to Know the Maine DOE Team Campaign. Learn a little more about Karen | More


Maine Schools Sharing Success Stories

| Submit your Maine School Success Story |


Professional Development & Training Opportunities

Resilience Strategies for Educators: Techniques for Self-Care and Peer Support

Created in partnership with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Safe and Supportive Schools (OSSS), the Resilience Strategies for Educators: Techniques for Self-Care and Peer Support (RSE) Train-the-Educator (TtE) Virtual Training by Request (VTBR) is a virtual learning opportunity for caregivers in schools and school districts to better understand, and teach others, resilience strategies following emergency events. | More

| Visit the Professional Development Calendar |


Latest DOE Career/Project Opportunities

View current Maine Department of Education employment opportunities here


PRIORITY NOTICE: Public Comment Period for Science and Alternative Science Waiver from Public Reporting Now Open

The Maine Department of Education (DOE) is seeking thirty (30) days of public comment from October 16 – November 14, 2020, on a waiver application (waiver from §8401(b) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) of 2015) to the U.S. Department of Education (USED). The request seeks a waiver from publicly reporting student general and alternate science test data from the Spring 2021 assessment administration.

The U.S. Department of Education requires state educational agencies, when seeking waivers from statutory or regulatory requirements, solicit public comment on the application, respond to public comments, and provide evidence of the available comment period. A copy of the letter seeking waiver from §8401(b) of the ESEA as amended by ESSA can be downloaded with key elements of the request included below:

Federal program affected by the requested waiver

Section 1111(h) of the ESEA, as amended by the ESSA, requires State and LEA report cards to include information on student achievement on the academic assessments in reading/language arts, mathematics, and science described in section 1111(b)(2) at each level of achievement (as determined by the State under section 1111(b)(1)) for all students.

Maine is seeking a waiver from public reporting for the general and alternate science assessments. Maine’s 2021-2022 ESEA Data Dashboard (Report card) will continue to publicly report alternate assessment results for mathematics and English language arts.  Maine will continue to report the math and ELA/Literacy assessment results to parents through individualized student reports .

Maine will continue to meet all other reporting requirements. Maine specifically requests a waiver from the public reporting of both the general and alternate science assessments performance only.

Sections impacted include:

  • Section 1111(b)(2)(B)(iv)
  • Section 1111(b)(2)(B)(xi) (disaggregation of alt. science data by subgroup)
  • Section 1111(h)(1)(A)
  • Section 1111(h)(2)(iii)

Impact to Student Achievement

There will be no impact to assessing student achievement as all eligible students will continue to participate in the general science and science alternate assessment where applicable. The waiver will permit Maine to not publicly release student general and alternate science assessment achievement data. The Maine Department of Education will only report participation rates related to the administration of the general and alternate assessment in grades 5, 8, and the third-year high school during the 2021 spring administration. During the 2022 spring assessment administration, Maine will participate in the science alternate assessment on-line operational alternate assessment.  Standard setting and post equating in the summer of 2022 would allow for reportable student achievement levels and scores that fall.

Monitoring

Assessment administration will follow all assessment administration policies and protocols. Schools will be provided science data within the confidential reporting platform. Individual Student Reports (ISRs) will be available for bulk download in order to share applicable math and ELA/Literacy student performance with parents/guardians or caretakers.

Continuity of Services to Students

Public Comment

Maine has solicited public comment regarding a request for a waiver from public reporting. This public comment was announced through the Departments Newsroom, social media accounts and through relevant Listservs. Public comment was solicited between October 16th and November 14th, 2020 for a period of 30 days. A summary of comments and the Department’s response is attached with the waiver request. All comments, in support of or against the waiver request should be submitted to Janette Kirk at Janette.Kirk@maine.gov.

 

 

 

Free and Simple Motor Break Activates for Maine Schools

Team Long Run has some great free programs for Maine schools this fall. Knowing that kids are less distractible after even just a short amount of moderate-intensity activity, Team Long Run has developed two fun programs that are free to Maine schools and aim to help teachers get their classes back in the “learning zone.”

Sizzle and Pop is an in-class desk-side activity series that gets kids energized and focused in just a few minutes. It’s a fun, quick, and simple motor break: https://www.videos.teamlongrun.org/t/sizzle-and-pop

Recess Run Club is a 15 minute activity that gives kids a “mask break” and a chance to get outside and move! Teachers take their class outside to run (or walk!) around an established observable loop for just enough time to reset focus and “get the wiggles out.”  https://www.teamlongrun.org/recess-run-club

Get in touch with us at teamlongrun.org for advice and/or downloadable support materials.

MEDIA RELEASE: Mills Administration Updates COVID-19 School Health Advisory System

York County rejoins all other counties as green

AUGUSTA — The Mills Administration today released an update to its color-coded Health Advisory System that classifies counties’ relative risk of COVID-19 transmission by color and that is provided to assist schools as they continue with their plans to deliver instruction and support students safely this fall. The Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC) assessed the data and trends for the counties. Based on this assessment, York County will be moved from yellow to green. All other counties remain green.

The move was made as York County demonstrates improved metrics, including a falling case rate per 10,000 of 4.67 and a lower positivity rate of 0.9 percent. Maine DHHS and CDC continue to closely monitor Androscoggin County, along with Kennebec and Somerset Counties.

The Health Advisory System categorizations are defined as follows:

  • RED: Categorization as “red” suggests that the county has a high risk of COVID-19 spread and that in-person instruction is not advisable.
  • YELLOW: Categorization as “yellow” suggests that that the county has an elevated risk of COVID-19 spread and that schools may consider additional precautions and/or hybrid instructional models as a way to reduce the number of people in schools and classrooms at any one time.
  • GREEN: Categorization as “green” suggests that the county has a relatively low risk of COVID-19 spread and that schools may consider in-person instruction, as long as they are able to implement the required health and safety measures.  Schools in a “green” county may need to use hybrid instruction models if there is insufficient capacity or other factors (facilities, staffing, geography/transportation, etc.) that may prevent full implementation of the health and safety requirements.

The county-level assessments are based on both quantitative and qualitative data, including but not limited to recent case rates, positivity rates, and syndromic data (e.g., symptoms of influenza or COVID-19). Those data are publicly posted every week on the Maine CDC website. DHHS and Maine CDC also consider qualitative factors, such as the presence of outbreaks that may potentially affect school-age children.

The Health Advisory System reflects ongoing analysis of evolving data and serves as one piece of information that school and district leaders can use to make decisions about how to deliver education this fall. The qualitative and quantitative considerations and data used by the CDC in determining community transmission risk levels for schools can be located here: How County Risk Levels for Maine Schools are Determined

The Health Advisory System can be found on the Maine DOE website in Part I of the Framework for Reopening Schools and Returning to In-Person Classroom Instructionhttps://www.maine.gov/doe/framework/part-I.

The next update is scheduled for Friday, October 23, 2020.

 

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