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TO:†††† ††††††††††† Superintendents of Schools, Principals and Technology Coordinators


FROM:††††††††††† J. Duke Albanese, Commissioner


DATE:††††††††††† October 22, 2001


SUBJECT:††††††††††† Procedures and Policy Guidelines for Distance Learning (ATM) School Sites



The partnership between the Department of Education and high schools in Maine to establish and grow the Distance Learning Network (ATM) has resulted in the deployment of 57 (4 more on hold) distance learning sites with at least one site located in every county throughout Maine.

As a result of this partnership, all learners across Maine have increased opportunities, and are taking advantage of them to share learning opportunities including course work, expanded course offerings, professional development and teleconferences.Additionally, local schools are entering into their own partnership with other community organizations and non-education users.


On two previous occasions, we discussed some of the procedural and policy guidelines, most of which are standard operating procedures around becoming a distance learning site, as well as the expectation that the Department, local school sites, and our state and local legislative funding entities have for the ongoing successful provision of distance learning in Maine.


I thought it would be helpful to summarize these procedural and policy guidelines in one place for all of us as follows:


1.      Schools sign a 5-year agreement with Verizon and agree to pay the monthly line service cost.

2.      Schools identify and assign space for the Distance Learning classroom.

3.      Schools arrange with Verizon for the installation of the ATM line to be brought into the building.

4.      Schools prepare the identified Distance Learning classroom for the Distance Learning equipment, as described in the site recommendation package (ex. electrical, walls and floor treatments).

5.      Schools agree to have the classroom equipment installed within 90 days of the installation of the ATM switches by Verizon.

6.      Schools participate in the provided training (1 day of technical training for two site personnel and 4 days of user training for 4 potential instructional staff).


7.      Schools designate individuals to perform the functions of scheduling, contacting, and interacting with the central site help desk.

8.      Schools submit a plan to the Department describing learning and instructional opportunities to be shared with other sites, including coursework (originate and receive), expanded course offerings, professional development, etc. based on performance and evaluation criteria developed cooperatively by the DOE and local sites with the advice of stakeholders.Initially, sites will agree to originate a minimum of one instructional opportunity and to receive a minimum of one instructional opportunity.

9.      Schools participate with the DOE in an annual report on Distance Learning activities to the Maine Legislature.

10.  Schools provide ongoing originating and receiving of instructional opportunities, and annual performance reviews and reports are integral to a continued partnership.

11.  Schools operate and maintain the equipment in a safe environment and provide insurance coverage with school policies for the equipment installed.

12.  Schools make reasonable accommodations during non-instructional time to requests by the Department and other state and community groups to use the Distance Learning site.

13.  Schools may arrange with other entities for the sharing of costs and resources for the Distance Learning site.

14.  Schools may recover reasonable costs for providing access to the Distance Learning classroom by non-school users.

15.  The Department will provide the classroom equipment and infrastructure through the support of the 1995 Bond Issue.

16.  The Department will negotiate and administer necessary agreements with vendors to provide the equipment and support, service, and maintenance.

17.  The Department will seek annual general fund and other funding for support, networking service and maintenance costs to support the operations of the sites.

18.  The Department will provide ongoing technical support and instructional integration support for the deployment of new sites and the service for existing sites.


These procedural and policy guidelines are discussed with school sites during individual site surveys and will be the basis for the development of a DOE/Local Site Assurance/Agreement prior to initial deployment of classroom equipment and provision of support for service, maintenance and networking for the deployment of new sites as well as an Assurance/Agreement for local sites already established to qualify both for continued support for service, maintenance and networking costs.


These procedural and policy guidelines are also described on the Department of Educationís Technology in Schools website.


I hope the consolidation of this information is useful, and look forward to continuing the ongoing review of these procedural and policy guidelines as more sites are deployed and more instructional content is developed.