Maine DOE Monthly Update for ESEA Coordinators

September Update

ESEA Federal Programs:


FY20 Application and FY19 Performance Report

We recognize and appreciate your ongoing efforts to ensure that federal funds support achievement for all students. Throughout the summer, ESEA Regional Program Managers provided in-person support sessions for district leaders statewide. Thank you for attending the sessions and bringing your innovative ideas, questions, and feedback. Our joint efforts have made the FY20 application process our most successful cycle yet! As of September 1, 2019, 84% of districts have received substantial approval for the FY20 ESEA consolidated application. We look forward to working with you in the coming year and continuing to provide meaningful support to school districts. As always, your feedback throughout this process is encouraged and appreciated. Please contact Chelsey Fortin-Trimble at with feedback and suggestions. The FY19 Performance Report portal is due September 15. For more information and support, please contact your assigned ESEA Regional Program Manager.

ESEA Monitoring for SY 2019-20

The ESEA Federal Programs and Special Services teams have been working collaboratively to update our monitoring procedures, tools, and processes to lessen the burden that program monitoring has on local school districts. The decision to coordinate the in-person visits of the Maine Department of Education staff is based on feedback from school districts across the state, and is intended to lighten the hardship placed on district staff. Due to the various statutory requirements being monitored under ESEA and Special Services, our staff will continue to review the submission of required documents by local school districts to ensure that the intent and purpose of each program is being met locally. Please know that these reviews and potential in-person visits will still consist of meaningful discussion and support around the processes used and progress achieved annually. The ESEA monitoring tool, list of districts to be monitored during SY 2019-20, and instructions are available on the ESEA webpage ( and were mailed to ESEA Coordinators in early September.

TransACT Notifications for SY 2019-20

The subscription to TransACT’s ESSA ParentNotices will not be provided for the 2019-20 school year. We understand that this comes at a time when parent notifications and EL programs across the state are in heightened need for parent notification resources. The Maine Department of Education continues to support districts in communicating with families that speak languages other than English. For information about translation/interpretation requirements and effective family engagement practices, contact April Perkins at

Through a partnership between TransACT and the Maine State Department of Education, SAUs are eligible for discounts and instant service reactivation upon receipt of a PO. Please contact Andrew McKirdy of TransACT Parent Notices ( 425-977-2106 or if you would like additional information. ESSA Parent Notices can be funded by SAUs using federal funds, including Title I and portions of other ESSA grants including Title III. If you need to amend your ESSA application to pay for a TransACT ParentNotices subscription, please email your assigned regional program manager to make this request.


Commissioner’s Notes:

Dear Champions of Education,

At DOE we have been hard at work organizing and prioritizing the many legislative tasks ahead of us, and we have been grateful for your input and participation in the many stakeholder group activities, think tanks, and other events that have helped us to hone our vision and approach based on your wisdom and expertise! Please subscribe to our newsroom updates and follow us on Facebook or Twitter, so that you’ll be sure to receive real-time updates and information about upcoming opportunities to contribute to “conceptual conversations” at the onset of Administrative Procedures Act processes for the many rule changes that are forthcoming. Also, check out our expanding professional development offerings, send good news to us, and encourage your staff to join the content specific listservs by contacting the content specialist.

Many of you have reached out to ask how you can help our reimagined DOE … and our biggest request is that you share your thoughts with us. For nearly two decades, federal and state policies have systematically stripped educational leaders of authentic leadership and have removed professional judgment and creativity from educators. Externally created and mandated curricula, programs, assessments, and policies have, in many cases, caused us to behave more like technicians – distancing us in some ways from our professional practice and creating detachment from the truly important and infinitely human work of educating Maine’s children. This slow erosion over several years appears to have denigrated both public trust in our education system and the morale of professional educators and leaders.

So we are asking you to reclaim your professional authority, judgment, and expertise and to reinvigorate the professionalism of your teachers as you head into this new school year. We hope to foster a statewide culture of innovation and pre-forgiveness when it comes to taking risks in pursuit of educational excellence and equity, and we urge you to critically examine and reflect on what you are currently doing in your schools and districts. Let us know what is in the best interests of your students and communities; share your ideas regarding what we should consider doing differently or what we should eliminate entirely. We ask for your patience because there are enormous obstacles for us to work through as we seek to support your collective vision and mission. There will always be challenges and there will sometimes be non-negotiables, but we will relentlessly seek solutions that leverage your vision and leadership. As we count on you to continue to be guided by what is in the very best interest of your students and by a professional ethic centered around honest reflection and continuous improvement, you can count on us for exploring every opportunity to support you in your roles as the educational experts.



How we spent our “summer vacation”: Here at the Department of Education we have been very busy with our “TO DO” list from the legislative session, which includes preparing for carried over legislation, consideration of new legislation, providing clarifications to the field, developing studies and reports back to various legislative committees, and rulemaking. For a better understanding of how the rule making process works, check out this graphic!

LD 92, Public Law 2019, Chapter 180: An Act To Amend Teacher Evaluation Requirements. The feedback and ideas generated from this conceptual conversation and process will inform rulemaking and guidance that will be forthcoming as part of the rulemaking process. Proposed language will be open for public feedback during the coming months. The composition of the local steering committee, as required by the changes, should be in place on or before September 19. For a reminder of the timeline and information that has been shared previously, please review the administrative letter sent June 11.

LD 1382 Chapter 78 Resolves: A work group was formed through an all call for interested educators to collaboratively craft the report and recommendations regarding computer science in Maine. The diverse group met in August and will continue to seek input and develop a report that will be presented to the Education and Cultural Affairs Committee in January, 2020.

Some other new laws that may be of interest:

LD 151, Public Law 2019, Chapter 508 An Act To Align State Law with Current Practice Regarding Required School Attendance Amends the age of compulsory school attendance (or participation in formal education) from age 7 to age 6. It also requires the Commissioner to amend Rule Chapter 125: Basic Approval Standards: Public Schools and School Administrative Units to address developmentally appropriate educational practices for kindergarten to grade 2 to include classroom instruction with hands-on experiences and integration of learning experiences.

LD 300, Public Law 2019, Chapter 193 An Act to Protect Hourly School Personnel Pay During School Days Missed due to Weather or Emergency Closures Requires SAUs to provide hourly wage school employees options for payment, including the right to “pay averaging” through 26 pay periods.

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 Beginning in the 2019-20 school year, requires that school administrative units (SAUs) participate in the federal child and adult care food program to serve at-risk students who attend after-school programming if the SAU has at least one public school in which at least 50% of students qualified for a free or reduced-price lunch during the preceding school year. The SAU may choose not to operate a program after a public hearing and vote by the school board due to financial or logistical challenges.

LD 798 immunization, Public Law, Chapter 154 An Act To Protect Maine Children and Students from Preventable Diseases by Repealing Certain Exemptions from the Laws Governing Immunization Requirements does not go into effect until 2021. Prior to this, a joint rulemaking process with CDC and Maine DOE will occur.

LD 247, Public Law 2019, Chapter 45 An Act To Increase the Amount of Time School Counselors and Social Workers Spend Providing Students Direct and Indirect Counseling directs the Commissioner to adopt major substantive rules to include guidelines regarding the duties of school counselors, including that a school counselor deliver a comprehensive school counseling program, and the duties of school social workers. These rules are to be developed and provisionally adopted January 2020; we will be inviting interested stakeholders to share input. To read any bills in their entirety, enter the LD number on this 129th legislature web page.

We will continue to engage in a transparent process that invites practitioners and stakeholders to partner with us and be integral to the process.


As part of the ongoing review process for content standards, revised standards for social studies and science have been adopted. In addition, writing teams for the career education and development, English, and math standards are drafting revisions that will be finalized by the end of September. The Department of Education will then initiate the rulemaking process for Chapter 132 for final review and adoption. For more information about the standards or the standards review process, check out our web page.

LD 773, Public Law 2019, Chapter 196 An Act Regarding Secondary School Education Concerning Sexual Activity and Sexual Assault Requires the Department of Education to review during the 2019-2020 school year the content standards and performance indicators for the content area of health, physical education and wellness, and to include instruction on affirmative consent, communication and decision making regarding sexual activity and the effects of alcoholic drinks, stimulants and narcotics on the ability to give affirmative consent, communicate and make appropriate decisions. This review is part of the 5-year review cycle of the content standards and performance indicators required under the System of Learning Results.

BACK TO SCHOOL BACK PACK OF MATERIALS FOR ADMINSTRATORS: · The Department of Education has created a back to school backpack for administrators, filled with resources that will help you with the climate, culture, inclusiveness and wellness of your schools and students, and a number of documents and ideas to consider for the new school year. We encourage you to look through, and let us know how we can help you and your schools throughout the year!

Data & Reporting: · If you haven’t yet, we encourage you to bookmark the following link: for the Data and Reporting Calendar. for easy access to dates when data windows are open and due. · The Phase 2 window for Graduation Reporting is open for the month of August. For more information, check here! · As a friendly and early reminder of the November 1 annual audit requirements, read here.

Facilities, Safety, and Transportation: · The revolving renovations fund application process is open until September 30. For more information or to apply, check here!

School Health and Nutrition:

· LD 441, Public Law 2019, Chapter 32 An Act To Reduce Childhood Exposure to Harmful Ultraviolet Radiation by Allowing Students To Use Sunscreen in Schools allows students to carry and use sunscreen. Guidance is being developed and will be provided once finalized.

· LD 549 An Act To Promote Academic Achievement through Hunger Relief for Maine Children: Technically died on adjournment June 20, 2019, but was included in the DOE budget which provides $.40 for reduced lunches in public schools. Beginning in the 2019-2020 school year, students who qualify for reduced lunch prices, and who fill out the federal form, will eat at no charge. Schools will still report both the number of qualified reduced meals served and qualified free meals served through NEO; this is required for federal reimbursement purposes.

Ensuring Student Access to Meals: for a review of what has been called, “the food shaming bill” and the requirements to provide meals and engage only adults in debt collection, please read a Q&A notice sent here.

Special Education:

· The Department of Education continues to seek clarification regarding MaineCare billing with DHHS and Federal guidelines. Once consensus is reached, we will let people know.

· Conditionally certified special education teachers must avail themselves of the professional support offered through Maine’s Alternative Certification and Mentoring (MACM) program. Learn more. · For updated guidance on special education forms, read this recent guidance.

Professional Development: · Do you and your staff know that we have an ever expanding Professional Development Calendar? We are also exploring the creation of a professional development warehouse, where resources and opportunities would be readily available for all educators. This will include Department of Education sponsored events and others that may not be sponsored or vetted by the department, but are strictly provided for accessibility and assistance to professionals in the field. · We encourage others to check out the Transformational Leaders Network!

Awards, Honors and Opportunities:

· We are seeking help in the development of an Educator Talent Pool at the Department of Education to help inform our work, build a network of inspiration, support others in the field, and promote leadership opportunities. Please recommend an outstanding educator here!

Seeking Input from Colleagues in the Field:

· Our next Think Tank, our ongoing outreach opportunity for anyone interested in providing feedback to the department on selected topics, is scheduled for September 30 in Winter Harbor. Topics will include, educator excellence (recruiting and retaining greatness!), MLTI, special education and defining school success. Log in to register for this free event and learn more!