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TO:                   Superintendents of Schools

FROM:             Susan A. Gendron, Commissioner

DATE:              July 22, 2005

RE:                   Maine Learning Results District Review Team Invitation

            I am writing to invite you, and/or members of your SAU’s professional staff, to become a member of one of the Department's review teams scheduled to conduct site visits of all school administrative units (SAUs) in the Fall of this coming school year, 2005-2006.   In fulfillment of the commitment made to the Joint Standing Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs this past legislative session, the Department will be visiting every SAU to engage in a dialogue with unit personnel on their status with respect to implementation of the Learning Results and the Local Assessment System (LAS).  

            The purpose of these visits is to:

            Visits are designed as one-day visits.   Teams will be made up of four (4) individuals - two (2) Department staff and two (2) external reviewers per team.   Given that individuals from local units might not all be able to commit to participating in a full slate of visits for a team, many of our four person teams are expected to be formed with two sets of external reviewers, each participating in three or four visits apiece.   To provide a sufficient number of external reviewers, we anticipate needing roughly 160 individuals.   With that in mind, it would be great to have each SAU contribute at least one reviewer to the process.

            Work is proceeding at a rapid pace on designing all aspects of the review process.   The following key benchmarks underscore our commitment to ensure the process is carefully designed and effectively executed:

            This is a process that will benefit all of us—the Department, the Legislature, the SAUs, and providers of technical assistance statewide—in our collaborative effort to ensure that teachers and SAUs are equipped to meet the requirements of our standards-based system for our students.  Participants on the review teams will no doubt experience rich and informative professional learning; please consider this as you prepare to forward this invitation to SAU staff.  The Department will reimburse travel, meals, and lodging costs, if needed by the external reviewers, in accordance with the State's policy for, and rates of reimbursement.

            We are looking forward to this opportunity to engage in further, targeted dialogue with SAUs on these very important features of their mission, and we are confident of the contribution it will make toward furthering the goal of our standards-based system, namely, graduating our high school students ready to meet their post-secondary ambitions.

            Please respond to, and encourage staff that you believe this invitation should go to, no later than August 5, 2005 so the necessary accommodations for regional training of review team members can be made, and training can get underway and be completed by August 19, 2005.    If you need additional information before responding, please contact Valerie Seaberg at or 624-6834.    Responses should be directed to Jennifer Pooler at , by email please.    The enclosed (or linked) application should be completed by each individual from your SAU seeking to participate in the process.

            We will notify you shortly after August 5, 2005 about the schedule for the training of review team members.

            Please consider becoming a part of this important effort.   One final note, if you would like to volunteer your SAU to be one of 6-10 pilot sites in September to help us fine tune the process, please email Jennifer Pooler .

            Thank you.