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INFORMATIONAL LETTER: 44
POLICY CODE: DDA
TO: Superintendents of Schools
FROM: J. Duke Albanese, Commissioner
DATE: February 14, 2001
SUBJECT: Title II Higher Education Act Grant/Enhancing Teacher Quality
I am pleased to announce that the Maine Department of Education has been awarded a major grant from the U.S. Department of Education under Title II of the Higher Education Act of 1998 which focuses on teacher quality enhancement. This grant is awarded over a period of three years and will help us in our efforts to advance the agenda for results-based educator certification. Building upon Maine’s existing teacher support system, the outcome will be a statewide teacher support system model which will provide beginning teachers with high quality, continuous support that is consistent across the state. All new teachers can benefit from support, but with teacher supply and demand at an all time high in Maine, particularly in the areas of science, math and technology, Maine is faced with hiring teachers with waivers or placing individuals in teaching positions for which they are not fully credentialed and for whom little or no professional support is available. These circumstances can have a potentially negative impact on Maine’s student achievement. Therefore, the first cohort of teacher project participants will be identified from among new mathematics, science and technology teachers who are in the first two years of their career and expanded to all new teachers in subsequent years of the project.
Maine’s education reform agenda, which is focused on building and sustaining a system to assure that all students achieve at high levels, has resulted in the adoption of K-12 student standards, teaching standards, and a proposed redesign of teacher certification. Maine’s new performance-based teacher certification process will include the successful completion of a focused, extended induction requirement of all new teachers. While most of the certification design elements have been set, the induction model is lacking. Maine’s Title II grant, “Advancing the Agenda for Results-Based Educator Certification”, will develop the induction model for beginning teachers that will be institutionalized by the Department of Education through the teacher certification support teams of each of Maine’s 285 LEA’s. The broad model for the project is designed around Regional Mentors who will be trained to provide leadership to local teacher certification support systems so that in the end we have an induction model grounded in research that is cost effective, and equitable and meaningful across the state.
Superintendents and building principals will be key to the success of this pilot effort. Project administrators are available to speak with your regional superintendent groups and some groups have already scheduled a presentation. We view this initiative as a vehicle for achieving three major goals which we believe are shared among educators in Maine: 1) to enhance the educational performance of all students through improved training, information, and assistance to new teachers; 2) to ensure the professional success and retention of new teachers; and 3) to ensure that teacher mentors provide intensive individualized support and assistance to each beginning teacher.
The project is currently getting off the ground and you will be hearing more details about ways that your district and your staff may be involved. Pilot site criteria are being developed and districts will be invited to participate as pilot sites in each of the three years of the project. This is a wonderful opportunity for us to respond to the need for a more consistent and quality support process for new teachers in the State of Maine.
For additional information, please contact Judith Cox, Project Director, at 207-624-6847 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org