October

Maine DOE Monthly Update for ESEA Coordinators

October Update

ESEA Federal Programs:

Program

Eligibility for Schoolwide Programs - Schools that receive federal Title I funds, have poverty rates of at least 40 percent, and have approved Title IA Schoolwide Plans are eligible to use their Title I funds – and funds from other sources – to develop “schoolwide programs.” Learn more here.

Eligibility for ESEA Title V Funds - The US Department of Education will begin the process for determining Title V (REAP) eligibility for both the State and Federal grants beginning in late November.  To determine eligibility and accurate grant allocations, the Maine DOE is required to collect average daily attendance (ADA) for all Maine school districts.  The certification period for Quarter 1 (Q1), which includes attendance, behavior, bullying, and truancy opens October 1st.  Review and certification are required by October 15th. Superintendent certification is required for all quarterly reports. Learn more, including other important reporting due dates throughout the year, here.

ESEA Monitoring for 2019-2020 – The ESEA monitoring webinar recording and frequently asked questions sheet for 2019-2020 is now available on the ESEA Team’s monitoring webpage

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Fiscal

Carryover Report Due – Districts with a carryover percentage that exceeded 15% as of June 30, must complete the required Title IA Carryover Percentage Report on or before October 15, 2019. This report allows the district to certify the actual carryover percentage as of September 30, 2019.

Private School Reconciliation Report Due – Districts working in partnership with private schools that had unspent equitable shares remaining as of June 30, are required to submit the Private School Reconciliation Report by October 15, 2019.

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Commissioner’s Notes    

 

Dear Champions of Public Education,

We continue to have requests and offers of assistance with the work we’re doing here in Augusta – and want you to know that your ideas, hopes, and concerns are our primary source of information when it comes to doing what is right for students, schools, districts, and communities in Maine. We have reached out through “think tanks”, surveys, and in-person meetings, and we continue to post opportunities for input and feedback. When you invite us to your districts, we prioritize that above most everything else, so please let us know if you’d like one of the DOE team members to attend an event or meeting- in person or through a virtual meeting - or if you’d just like us to visit/tour your schools.

We have spent significant time examining the impact of the funding formula on Maine school districts, and have begun visiting and collecting anecdotal information in many of the more remote, rural communities. This is one part of what will be an ongoing “listening tour,” and we will be providing information collected to MEPRI as they run various models that might improve equity without harming those for whom the formula is working well. Be sure to reach out if you would like to contribute your information/experience to this work.

We have heard from many district and school leaders that the kickoff to the schoolyear was positive and that people are feeling empowered to exercise professional expertise and authority when it comes to teaching and learning, and doing what is best for students. As you encourage your teams to innovate and take some creative risks, be sure to keep us informed about what is working well so we can share with your colleagues across the state. We hope to support a culture of ongoing reflection and continuous improvement that is driven by the experts (all of you), and are looking forward to hearing about the exciting work you’re doing! We’d love to hear about practices that are deeply engaging, that emphasize authentic, interdisciplinary, project based and experiential learning. Please share practices that prepare Maine’s students for a future that will require both technical and relational skills, an ability to nimbly transfer learning across content and settings, critical thinking and creative problem solving, self-awareness and self-direction. Along with all of that, please let us know how you spark and protect the joy in learning - an intangible but critical piece that will serve your students well throughout their lives as they face new challenges with confidence, flexibility, and fearless curiosity.

Thank you for checking in often – let us know how we’re doing and what we can be doing to better support you in what is unquestionably the most important work in the world.  

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Legislative update

 Legislative Summary: The Department has prepared a summary of major laws related to education that were enacted by the First Regular Session of the 129th Maine Legislature. This information may prove helpful to school and district administrators and educators when planning for the 2019-20 school year. Access the update here.

 LD 150 and LD 151: These two bills have lowered the age of compulsory attendance to six, and have clarified that is a student is enrolled at age 5, he or she are expected to attend school.  Read more regarding guidance and reminders about our young learners, here.  

 Chapter 115:  Certification rule changes are currently being reviewed for approval by the State Board of Education, which took it up when it went into effect September 19. They have 60 days in which to determine if they will approve the rule, as is.  The Department of Education will be examining all certification language to ensure clear and accessible pathways to certification.  Please note that until a decision is made by the Board of Education, Administrative Letter #26 will direct the certification team and applicants to the language that was in place prior to July 1, 2019.    

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Content Considerations

 Diploma Requirements:  We have received a few questions about the requirements for graduation, based on the revision of §4722.  §4721-§4729 currently provides content specifics and encourages multiple pathways and opportunities.  

 Maine Forest Products Week Oct. 20-26 - The Maine Forest Products Council, through the State of Maine, has issued a proclamation celebrating Maine Forest Products Week Oct. 20-26 (in conjunction with National Forest Products Week).  Schools and educators are encouraged to consider teaching a lesson or creating a display, event or other activities to highlight one of Maine’s oldest industries. Perhaps you might partner with local forest-related businesses or organizations, such as your historical society. Learn more here.

Social Studies Standards Roll Out – Fall Professional Development Schedule There are many professional opportunities in this line up, including a full day workshop that will feature a variety of state leaders with expertise in teaching about Maine Native Americans, as well as resources that support the implementation of the revised standards with a focus on Maine Native Americans. | More

Standards Review, The Who, When and Hows:  Thank you for your questions about the standards review process. The standards review process is mandated by 20-A MRSA §6209 sub-§4, which states that “the commissioner shall conduct a review of the content standards and performance indicators by content area on a 5year cycle…”. The purpose of this review is to ensure that the content standards are relevant to Maine teachers and that they are based on the most current research on best practice for teaching and learning. 

The Department of Education works to ensure that there are many opportunities for all voices to be part of the standards review process. Throughout the process there are two public comment periods, in addition to the public hearing held by the Education and Cultural Affairs Committee. A detailed breakdown of the process can be found on our website. When selecting the Steering Committee members, we look to include representation from all 9 regions, administrators from elementary, middle, and high school, teacher representation from relevant associations, and higher education. This committee is charged with creating the blueprint that guides the revision work. The Writing Team is comprised of educators from the field. The application is open to all teachers and no teacher has been turned away who has wanted to be involved. Additionally, we work to ensure that we have representation from all counties, grade spans, and specialties, so we have reached out to Superintendents in specific regions if we do not receive any applications from a certain county. Announcements that we are looking for teachers for the writing team goes out through the Maine DOE weekly update, relevant content area listservs, and is also listed in the monthly Superintendent update. 

Currently, the career and education development, English language arts, and mathematics standards are being revised. Those will be posted for public comment on October 23rd. We will begin the review and revision of the health and physical education, visual and performing arts, and world language standards this November. 

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Accountability and Assessment

Monthly Update:  Our Assessment Team has been working hard to provide monthly updates and helpful information to those responsible for the accountability assessments in each district.  Check out their most recent update here! 

Assessment Plan: As many of you are already aware, due to the significant number of students who received a “No Score” (NS) designation during the 2018 and 2019 assessment administration, the Department has decided to remove the essay prompt for the 2020 English Language Arts (ELA) assessment administration. During this pause, the Department will meet with English Language Arts content specialists and other interested stakeholders to discuss how to best assess student writing to ensure the data received is both actionable and meaningful for students and Maine educators. Superintendents were sent a more detailed notice prior to this public statement that was released. 

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Funding, Data & Reporting

 October is data reporting month! For a table that helps to see upcoming dates for reporting staff and student information, see here. We realize that conflicting and confusing information on the timeline was released, and sincerely apologize. We were not clear that the verification process is included in the October 1-31 window, in our effort to ensure timely turnaround of data.  

PreK Funding-Due Oct. 15:  There is funding available for new or expanding Pre-K programs in 2020-2021! - If your SAU is opening or expanding a PreK program in the 2020-2021 school year, you are eligible to receive funding on your FY21 ED279 for children you enroll in these new or expanding PreK programs in 2020. This means you will receive the funding for enrollment in the same year that you enroll the PreK children, without a year delay. Learn more here.

The initial audit requirement, as mandated in statute, is due November 1.  For further information or assistance, please check out the notice and details.  

The EF-M-13 Private School October Resident Enrollment Count report is open October 1st.  Get more details here.  

MaineCare Seed/ Q419 reports - The recovery of Q4′ 19 MaineCare Seed will occur in the October 2019 subsidy payment and the Maine DOE is asking Districts to review their reports by October 11, 2019 to ensure accurate adjustments to subsidy. SAU staff must review student by student claims on both the public and private MaineCare reports for Q4′ 19 by October 11, 2019. Learn more here.   

National Board Certified teachers Salary Supplement - Do you have National Board Certified teachers on your staff? Awesome! Let us know, so we can provide you with their legislatively allocated salary supplement! More details here.    

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Certification Updates from our Certification Team

  1. Online system is working incredibly well, and helping to expedite the process when complete applications are received electronically.  With the system, we are able to process new applications in 3 weeks, and reopened, complete applications are being processed within 4 weeks! To aid us in this work, we are currently hiring an additional evaluator to our team. 
  2. Help us to help you! 
    1. Renewals are open for Ed Techs  
    2. Please ensure educators do not apply for renewal until their support chair recommends them
    3. Please ensure educators apply for renewal.  Many do not realize they have to do this.
    4. There is nothing changed for admin re-certification
    5. Violations – Data team is aware of mapping issues with CTE and a few other content areas, and is working to limit choices in NEO and provide guidance to schools on how to code employees. 
    6. Contact us with specific questions, and invite us into your regional meetings via Zoom if there are general questions that we can answer for the group! 

 

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Facilities and Transportation   

 National Transportation Safety Board Safety Recommendations –Maine was one of 44 states that received a letter with safety recommendations from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) following the NTSB June 18, 2019 report, School Bus Run-Off-Road and Fire, Oakland, Iowa December 12, 2017.  The Department has engaged in collaboration and conversation with multiple state agencies to discuss possible responsive actions.

Further outreach is planned with Maine Association for Pupil Transportation and Maine school administrative unit. Learn more here.   

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School Health, Safety and Nutrition  

 LD 577, Public Law 2019, Chapter 428 – An Act To Increase Access to Nutritious Foods in Schools by Implementing an After-school Food Program for At-risk Students.  - The Maine DOE Child Nutrition team has created a “Frequently Asked Questions document regarding the after school programs, and who needs to offer after school meals, and how to opt in or out.  

Seeking Additional Maine Schools for Social Emotional Learning Pilot Program - If you are interested in adding Second Step to your school’s curriculum and you are not already part of the MECDC pilot or have not already been contacted by the Maine CDC regarding your application from the last round, please complete this brief 5 minute application survey which will be open for submissions until Friday, October 11, 2019. More details are available here.

Mosquito-Borne Illnesses and Schools – The Maine CDC has developed regarding Three mosquito-borne illnesses that are a local risk in Maine: Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), Jamestown Canyon virus (JCV), and West Nile virus (WNV).  These are potentially serious viral infections, spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. Schools play an important role in preventing mosquito-borne illnesses. Read recommendations for Maine schools.  

We continue our efforts with the Prevention Task Force in addressing the impacts of Substance Use Disorder on the well-being of all Maine learners, including our students.  In addition, concerns that many schools have had with regard to vaping has become clear to the public.  There are many resources available to assist schools and parents in addressing this topic, available here.  

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Special Education  

 The Maine DOE is pleased to announce that the results of an annual review by the US Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) has yielded that Maine does not currently require any extra technical assistance from the federal government for its special education programming. Read more details here.

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Professional Development  

 Why The Money?  We heard from some superintendents regarding the charge for some of the professional development that is offered through the Maine Department of Education, especially if something on the registration says it’s required.  THANK YOU for raising the question. We have learned that our required registration system includes a *required icon, creating some confusion that the training is required, when in fact it is meant to indicate that a portion of a professional training is required during a given day.  It does not mean that it is mandated by Maine Department of Education. We are working to get this clarified with our vendor. In addition, a number of our teams offer PD, and we have been learning about the variabilities involved, including the cost of materials for programs, such as Child Nutrition. When possible, we offer our professional development for free. When there are meals included, this can sometimes create a fee of approximately $30, but we continue to make every effort to provide cost effective professional opportunities for our education partners. 

 

Lenses on Learning: an elementary mathematics professional learning opportunity is available for K-8 educators and their administrators. Deadline is October 18. | Learn more!  

 

Maine Farm to School Network, in Conjunction with the Maine Department of Education, Child Nutrition, Offers Engaging Local Foods Trainings in October -We are excited to announce that the Maine Farm to School Network has received a $25,000 USDA Farm to School Training Grant to build local food procurement capacity in Maine schools. Designed to increase the availability of local foods in schools, USDA Farm to School grants can help farm to school programs get started or expand existing efforts. | More

Free Adverse Childhood Experiences and Resilience Building Training for Childcare and PreK Teachers - The Preschool Development Grant (PDG), B-5, a collaboration between the Departments of Education and Health and Human Services, will be providing free trainings on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) and resilience building. | More

Meet the First Cohort of Maine’s Leadership Development Program - The Maine Department of Education

(DOE) recently launched a new leadership program called Maine’s Leadership Development Program (Maine LDP). The initiative aims to build and strengthen instructional leadership skills among Maine’s educational leaders at schools, districts, and across the state.   | More

Our Multi-Tiered System of Success opportunity has been well received by SAUs, however we have also received feedback that it is difficult during this time of year to do the preliminary purchase orders and preparation needed to undertake a new initiative. Based on this feedback and the requests for a delayed start, we will be opening this back up with an anticipated start in January. Further details will be forthcoming through our newsroom.  For immediate questions, please contact LeeAnne Larsen at leeann.larsen@maine.gov.

Webinar archives:  Looking for a webinar or want to see what is out there from the Department of Education lately? Check out our YouTube channel!