ESEA Monthly Update- February Update

Maine DOE Monthly Update
For ESEA Coordinators

February Update

Commissioner’s Notes:
  • In an effort to help promote and highlight the positive stories, initiatives, and efforts happening in Maine’s local schools, the Maine DOE will be collecting and sharing stories from local schools and sharing them in a new section of the Weekly Maine DOE Update called Maine Schools Sharing Success. Learn more about how to submit a success story. See a recent example from MSAD 17.


Funding & Operations


  • EMBRACE Grants Awarded - Maine DOE has awarded the third round of EMBRACE grants for regional efforts. Learn more.
  • McKinney Vento Grants Awarded - Maine DOE is pleased to announce that the following school districts will be receiving 2019 grants to support the needs of homeless children and youth: Augusta SD, Bangor SD, Biddeford SD, Lewiston SD, Portland PS, RSU 57, RSU 60, and Westbrook SD. Learn more.
  • Seeking Proposals for 21st Century Community Learning Programs - It is anticipated that an estimated $1.75M will be available to issue grant awards later this year. Learn More
  • ED 279s – The only remaining element needed to complete the ED 279 Subsidy Printouts is the General Purpose Aid (GPA) amount. That amount will come from the Governor’s budget which is scheduled for release on February 8th. Once we receive this amount, we will be able to load it into the formula to complete the process. The anticipated release of the ED 279 Subsidy Printouts is February 15, 2019 at the very latest. Learn more.


ESEA Program

  • Shelly Chasse-Johndro has joined the Department of Education as the Title II Coordinator.  She is excited to engage with Maine’s schools and her new colleagues to increase the academic achievement of students while helping to improve teacher quality and serve as a resource to our school leaders. Shelly has a great deal of experience with data analysis and grant management as the former Director of Teacher Education Accreditation at UMF and Director of a U.S. Department of Education Title III grant at UMaine. Shelly is the assigned ESEA regional program manager for Region 4- Hancock and Region 9 York. ESEA Coordinators in these two regions were temporarily assigned to other ESEA team members while the Title II position was vacant.


  • Comprehensive Needs Assessment (CNA) Update:

Thank you for the tremendous efforts put forth to complete a district level CNA during the 2017-18 school year. The intent behind this process was to streamline state and federal requirements into one succinct document to support districts in making data driven decisions. Since July 2018, the Department has completed reviews of all submitted district plans. The process of review of the district CNAs provided the Maine DOE with meaningful information that allowed teams from across the Department to have a deeper understanding of the positive impact that classroom, school, and district educators are having on Maine students. It has also helped in the planning of professional learning opportunities for educators state-wide.


Feedback on 2017-18 District CNA will be available to superintendents through their Maine DOE Regional Representative as part of this month’s Superintendent Regional meeting.


Guidance for updating CNAs for the 2019-20 school year:

District Level CNA:

    • School approval (via Chapter 125) still requires an assurance that a CNA has been completed by the district.
    • If the CNA form and format that was provided last year was helpful, feel free to continue to update that. If you have another format or process, feel free to use your own.
    • Districts that are planning to apply for ESEA Federal funding should review and update as needed.

Title I Schoolwide Schools:

    • Title I schools interested in applying for Title I Schoolwide authority are required to complete the school-level CNA template provided by the Department by July 1. The Maine DOE’s ESEA Title I team will review submitted school level CNAs using the Title I Schoolwide rubric.
    • Update requirements – Title I Schoolwide schools are required to update their school-level CNA annually, which will be reviewed during ESEA Monitoring Visits. Specific required updates are as follows: update the data in Section 2; review sections 3-9 to confirm that the district and/or school plan is up to date and addressing current student needs.

The ESEA Monitoring system is currently being updated to reflect changes required in ESSA and the SY 2019-20 monitoring schedule will be released as soon as possible.


  • 2019 eMPowerME Assessment Administration Training Workshops have been scheduled for February 12, 13, and 14. Learn more.
  • Balanced Assessment series: Using Assessment to Strengthen Instruction for high school grades. Participants will explore SAT data and methods to compare local data to determine instructional priorities.  The workshops will be at USM, UMO, and UMPI. There is no cost for these events. Learn more


  • The Department recently sent out a notification about certification processing times and renewal reminders. See the notice.

    Data Reporting

    • A data submission correction process is now available for Chronic Absenteeism, Student Group Indicators (misidentification, students not identified, etc.), and Full Academic Year Status. The deadline to submit a correction for 2018 school year data is February 8, 2019. Revised data sets will update elements related to federal reporting for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) including schools’ eligibility to receive support under ESSA and the ESSA Data Dashboards (formerly called Report Cards). Learn more.
    • NEO Account Passwords expired on 1/31/2019. Anyone with a NEO account should have received an email to help them update their password. If you did not get this email or are locked out of NEO, please contact the Helpdesk at or (207) 624-6896. For security reasons, going

    School Health

    • School Health Annual Report summary for 2017-18 is now available. This report is a combination of the required reporting for Maine and optional data that is being collected as part of the national initiative with the National Association of School Nurses, Every Student Counts.  Access the report.
    • Child Nutrition Rolling Application - The Maine DOE wants to remind school districts that applications for free and reduced-price meals may be submitted at any time throughout the school year, even during a federal government shutdown. Learn more.

    Special Education

    Standards and Instructional Support

    • The Read to ME Challenge is set to kick-off on February 4th at Young School in Saco. Learn more about how to participate.
    • The MLTI Student Conference Committee is issuing the call for student and educator team proposals for the 16th Annual MLTI Student Conference, to be held on Thursday, May 23, 2019 at the University of Maine in Orono. Learn more.
    • If your district is experiencing a world language teacher shortage, Maine DOE’s World Language Specialist Lavinia Rogers is available to help with program options and guidance. She is available at or (207)624-6825.

    Staff Changes

    • Pender Makin has joined the Department as the Acting Commissioner. She joins the Department from her former role as Assistant Superintendent of the Brunswick School Department. She was nominated for Maine DOE Commissioner by Governor Janet Mills and is scheduled for confirmation in early February. To get in touch with the new Commissioner, please contact Georgette Valliere.
    • Dan Chuhta will be joining the Department as the Deputy Commissioner in mid-February. Dan will be joining the Department from his most recent position serving as the Superintendent at MSAD 75. Dan comes with experience working at the Maine Department of Education prior to his service in Maine’s public schools.
    • Karen Kusiak joined the Department on January 14th as the new Legislative Liaison in the Commissioner’s office. Karen is a lifelong educator teaching elementary through high school, in addition to Colby College and UMaine, she has also served in the 126th legislature representing Fairfield, Smithfield, and Rome.
    • Jessica Nixon joined the Department on January 22nd as the Chief of Staff. She joins the Department most recently from the Brunswick School Department where she worked in a variety of capacities supporting Acting Commissioner Makin when she served as Assistant Superintendent.
    • Jen Tarr, former Chief of Staff, will be moving into the Director of Procurement position. This includes technical support and assistance with Department staff on contract work.
    • Jan Breton, Direct of Special Services, has retired. Please contact Ann Belanger for Special Education questions.
    • Deb Freidman, MLTI Project Manager has retired. Please contact Beth Lambert for questions about MLTI.
    • Elaine Briggs, former Administrative Support specialist for the Career and Technical Education (CTE) Team has retired. Please contact Dwight Littlefield with questions about CTE.
    • Deb Plowman, former Policy Director has left the Department.