A letter from Commissioner Bowen: A new opportunity

It has been a great honor to serve students and schools as the Commissioner of the Maine Department of Education for the past two and a half years. In that time, we’ve made incredible progress in moving from plan to practice our Education Evolving strategic plan to restructure Maine’s education system around our students.  Continue reading “A letter from Commissioner Bowen: A new opportunity”

Maine receives ESEA waiver

The Elementary and Secondary Education Act waiver will allow Maine to move forward on local and State reforms that will cut in half the percentage of non-proficient students at each Title I school by 2018

AUGUSTA – Maine will have flexibility in meeting federal education requirements and be allowed to implement its own statewide system to hold schools accountable and help them improve student outcomes.

Continue reading “Maine receives ESEA waiver”

Notice of change in law regarding Superintendent Agreements

The statute regulating Superintendent Agreements has been amended to include the following language: “A transfer approved under this subsection may be made only to a receiving school administrative unit that operates a public school that includes the grade level of the student whose parent requests the transfer.”

As a result of this new law, a transfer granted so the student can be tuitioned to a private school will no longer be allowed. Continue reading “Notice of change in law regarding Superintendent Agreements”

Law provides educator evaluation and support system development guidance in absence of rule

As many of you know, since LD 1858, “An Act To Ensure Effective Teaching and School Leadership,” was enacted in April 2012, the Department has been working to establish rules to guide you in your local development of the now required teacher and principal evaluation and support systems.

It is with great frustration that I report to you that while the 125th Legislature unanimously supported this initiative to implement a fair, meaningful educator evaluation system, legislators this session have failed to reach consensus – specifically around fulfilling the law’s directive that measurements of student learning and growth be a significant factor in the determination of the rating of an educator. As a result, the Department will need to start the process of adopting Chapter 180 over again in the fall in order to submit a provisionally adopted rule to the Legislature in January 2014. Continue reading “Law provides educator evaluation and support system development guidance in absence of rule”

State awards Lewiston’s Montello Elementary $1.8 million for school improvement

The funding from the Maine Department of Education will help transform the struggling school and increase student proficiency, teacher effectiveness and community engagement

LEWISTON – Montello Elementary School will use $1.8 million in new State support to improve student proficiency by double-digit percentages, enhance teacher effectiveness and better engage the community.

The Maine Department of Education announced its award Thursday to the struggling Lewiston school, which joins 10 others across the state – including the Governor James B. Longley School also in Lewiston – that have received significant funding since 2010 through the federal School Improvement Grant program (SIG) to initiate intensive reforms that advance student achievement. 

Continue reading “State awards Lewiston’s Montello Elementary $1.8 million for school improvement”

Legislative budget misses opportunity to support students

AUGUSTA – As Governor Paul R. LePage continues to review the upcoming two-year budget, which was delivered to him late last week, he has discovered a disturbing trend of cuts to education. The budget reflects a slashing by the Legislature’s Appropriations Committee of supports for existing programs proven to prepare Maine youth for success in college and their careers and some innovative new ones.

That committee cut a total of $18.4 million proposed by the Department of Education and Governor LePage, including reducing funding over the next two years for Jobs for Maine’s Graduates by $600,000 and the Aspiration program– which raises education aspirations by allowing students to take college courses at a reduced rate – by $1.2 million.

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Schools embrace first chance for choice of learning technology

AUGUSTA – For the first time since the Maine Learning Technology Initiative began in 2002, schools have made a choice in the solutions they will use for 21st century teaching and learning.

This fall, 39,457 students and educators will start using Apple’s iPad tablet ($266 per year, per seat with network), followed by 24,128 using Apple’s MacBook Air laptop ($319 per year, per seat with network) and 5,474 using the HP ProBook 4440 laptop which runs Microsoft Windows 7 ($286 per year, per seat with network).

Continue reading “Schools embrace first chance for choice of learning technology”

Building leadership capacity to transform our schools

Today marks the launch of Maine DOE’s new School Improvement Webinar Series. It’s one of the many resources we’re making available to support the school improvement work initiated by our Maine School Performance Grading System.

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Announcing our School Improvement Webinar Series

When we released the A-F report cards for the state’s schools as part of our new Maine School Performance Grading System, we wanted to engage educators and the public in a positive, productive conversation about how we can work together to improve our schools.

That conversation is well under way. Continue reading “Announcing our School Improvement Webinar Series”

Mount Desert Elementary honored with Maine’s first top health excellence award

Maine Education Commissioner Stephen Bowen and USDA’s Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services Kevin Concannon presented the award at a school assembly Friday and recognized the state as a national leader in creating healthy school environments

Continue reading “Mount Desert Elementary honored with Maine’s first top health excellence award”