Commission receives notice of 7 charter school proposals

AUGUSTA – Seven groups informed the Maine Charter School Commission (MCSC) that they plan to submit applications to open public charter schools in Maine.  All of the groups hope to open a school in the fall of 2014.

The deadline for delivery of the letters to the Maine Charter School Commission or having them postmarked was this past Tuesday.

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New Maine law requires suicide prevention training for all school personnel

A new law, signed by Governor Paul R. LePage in April, requires all school personnel to complete Suicide Prevention Awareness Training beginning in the 2014-15 academic year. In addition, all school administrative units (SAUs) must have at least two staff members trained as suicide prevention “gatekeepers.” SAUs with more than 1,000 students will need to add (at least) one gatekeeper for every additional 500 students. Continue reading “New Maine law requires suicide prevention training for all school personnel”

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.

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Commissioner Bowen to help honor inaugural grads of Maine’s first charter school

HINCKLEY – Less than two years after Governor Paul R. LePage’s landmark student choice legislation finally allowing public charter schools in Maine went into effect, his Education Commissioner will help celebrate the state’s first charter school graduation.

Commissioner Stephen Bowen will speak this evening at the ceremony for the 10 students in the first class to graduate from The Maine Academy of Natural Sciences at Good Will-Hinckley (MeANS). The event will be held at 5 p.m. at the Moody Chapel on the campus of Kennebec Valley Community College in Hinckley.

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Education Commissioner affirms State commitment to school improvement as alternate grading bill fails

AUGUSTA – Maine’s Education Commissioner says the demise of Democrat-led legislation that would have derailed the new State school report card system allows his Department to keep its focus fully on school improvement.

LD 1540, “An Act To Fix and Improve the System Used to Evaluate or Rate Public Schools in Maine,” was introduced by Democrats as a challenge to the LePage Administration’s new A-F school grades.

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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. 

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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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