Commissioner's Update from the Maine Department of Education.
Maine DOE Commissioner's Update
February 28, 2013

This week I kicked off my third school tour at Deer Isle-Stonington High School, where it’s clear that Principal Todd West and his staff put student success at the center of every decision they make. The school has not only seen a significant increase in its graduation rate three years in a row, from 58 percent to 94 percent, but it has also launched professional learning communities, advisory periods, and student assistance teams to better their school—and it’s working. By sharing best practices like those at Deer Isle-Stonington, we as educators can learn a lot about improving our schools and doing what works.

While up at Deer-Isle Stonington, I also released the four-year graduation rate for Maine high schools. It rose for a third year in a row, to 85.34 percent for 2012—a rise of more than 1.5 percentage points from the previous year and nearly 5 percentage points since 2009.

I plan to visit all nine superintendent regions before the end of the school year to showcase best practices and share their work publicly. One of the most powerful things we can do is to learn from each other to improve education statewide.

Stephen Bowen



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NEWS & VIEWS

Maine grad rates rise for third year in a row

AUGUSTA – The four-year graduation rate for Maine high schools rose for a third year in a row, to 85.34 percent for 2012. It’s a rise of more than 1½ percentage points from the previous year and nearly 5 percentage points since 2009. | More

Best practices, spirits improve at Deer-Isle Stonington HS

Three years ago, the state labeled Deer Isle-Stonington High School as one of 10 “persistently low-achieving” schools in Maine. Now DISHS is drawing nothing but acclaim as a result of the dedication of principal Todd West and his faculty to school-wide improvement, from the ground up. | More

New early learning website reflects interagency work

Commissioners Stephen Bowen and Mary Mayhew announced on Jan. 30, 2013, that they had signed a joint memorandum to form the State Agency Interdepartmental Early Learning team and to encourage the state’s entire early childhood system to take part in this effort. | More

Career & technical students invited to attend upcoming conferences

Career and Technical education students have access to a number of organizations that may help them develop leadership skills and offer the opportunity to compete in events showcasing their technical skills. | More

Participate in free webinars on Summer Food Service Program

The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) Office of Strategic Initiatives, Partnerships and Outreach is offering the public free, weekly webinars on the Summer Food Service Program. | More

Calling physics, physical science & math teachers for annual conference

Maine physics, physical science and math teachers are invited to attend the Annual High School Physics and Physical Science Teachers Meeting at UMaine in Orono. | More

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From the Commissioner
Students Lucas Eaton (black cap), Devon Olson (green cap) and Dan Fill explain their interest in DISHS’ up-and-coming marine trades pathway to Commissioner Bowen.
Students Lucas Eaton (black cap), Devon Olson (green cap) and Dan Fill explain their interest in Deer Isle-Stonington High School's up-and-coming marine trades pathway to Commissioner Bowen. DISHS is the first stop on the Commissioner's latest school tour. | More

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