Maine Department of Education hosts presentation on big new plans coming soon

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AUGUSTA, Maine (WABI) - The Maine Department of Education hosted a presentation showing their brand new model of School support under the Every Student Succeeds Act, or ESSA.

"Essentially it's a plan to make sure that economically disadvantaged students have equitable access to high-quality educators and access to a high-quality education," says Janette Kirk, Acting Director of the Office of Learning Systems.

They're doing away with summative ratings for schools and are focusing on individual categories.

"There's no summative rating," says Chelsey Fortin-Trimble, ESEA Federal Programs and School Turnaround Team Leader. "So you'll no longer be able to see if a school has an A or a C or a B. Rather what you'll see is every single indicator that we're looking at, and the health of that school and that indicator."

The four indicators are Chronic Absenteeism, Academic Progress or Graduation Rate (for elementary/middle school or high school, respectively), Academic Achievement, and English Language Proficiency.

Schools that struggling with indicators may receive special support like a leadership coach or federal funds.

"Those schools that are experiencing significant challenges across all of their student populations in all of their indicators in our model, they will receive a specific call from our department and we'll determine next steps from there," says Kirk.

At the end of December they are also unveiling a new, user-friendly Report Card system that will allow parents to better understand the specifics of how their school is performing.

"We have some key points where they can look specifically at teacher workforce, they can look at student performance, they can look at student behavior, and really drill down into some of that data to understand how that school is doing collectively," says Kirk.

They say that they ESSA can have a really positive effect on Maine schools.

"Our approach is one that focuses on ensuring that we have strong, capable, successful school leaders, that we have excellent teachers that are equipped with the skills that they need to support their students, that the teaching and learning happening in classrooms is of high caliber, and then lastly that the culture of the school is one that is fostering a community for students that is not only a positive experience but also one that they love to be there," says Fortin-Trimble.