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TO:                   Superintendents, Assistant Superintendents, Curriculum Coordinators, Special   Education Directors, and School Principals

FROM:             Susan A. Gendron, Commissioner

DATE:             April 4, 2005

RE:                    Proposed Modifications to the Implementation of the System of Learning Results


In January, in Informational Letter #66, I committed the Department to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the implementation of Maine’s system of Learning Results, including a review of Chapter 127.   In this letter I outline a series of proposals that will achieve a balanced and measured mid-course adjustment in the implementation of Maine’s long-term educational reforms.   These proposals should be reviewed with the following assumptions in mind:

Chapter 127:

Since its enactment in 2000, Chapter 127 of the Maine Department of Education Regulations has guided the statewide implementation of the Local Assessment System (LAS) and preparations for its use as the basis for awarding high school diplomas beginning in 2007-08.   Though Chapter 127 and its attendant documents, the LAS Guide and Considering Consistency, were developed with extensive technical and policy advice, implementation of the guidance, in school administrative units across Maine, has encountered a number of challenges and capacity issues.   Based on a variety of indicators, the Department of Education is proposing modifications to Chapter 127, the LAS Guide, Considering Consistency, and other aspects of the system of Learning Results to ensure that further implementation strikes a realistic balance between the need for continuing educational reform and statewide capacity for the complex work this entails.

I am proposing the following modifications to Chapter 127, some of which will require corresponding changes to Maine statute:

LAS Guide and Considering Consistency:

The above modifications to Chapter 127 will necessitate significant changes to the LAS Guide which will be conducted following adoption of the rule.   An updated version of the LAS Guide, as well as changes to Considering Consistency, will then be disseminated to local districts.   LAS Guide changes will include:

Maine Educational Assessment and Other Proposed Modifications:

In addition to the above modifications to Chapter 127 and related documents, the Department will also be engaged in a broader review of other aspects of the implementation of the system of Learning Results including:

Next Steps:

            In the coming weeks, these proposals will be reviewed with the Education Committee and the State Board of Education.   In the interim, the Department will make every effort to respond to phone and email inquiries to clarify the proposed modifications and their implications, and to develop communications tools to assist local school officials in their efforts to keep students, parents, and educators informed.

             I wish to thank all those who have communicated with the Department during this first phase of the evaluation.   We have heard from both those who caution us to not lose momentum and those who need relief, and I believe that both perspectives have been offered with sincerity and with the best hopes for our students in mind.   As we seek to balance the urgent need for improved results with the necessity to work within our capacity, I remain optimistic about Maine’s vision for educational reform.   My hope is that these proposed modifications, once consensus if reached on their merits, will permit us to refocus our energies on improving learning for all Maine students.