The following summarizes content from the state's application for Lead State Partner in 2011.
Commissioner of Education: James E. Rier, Jr.
Primary Point of Contact: Anita Bernhardt — Coordinator for Standards and Instruction
Partner Organizations: Maine STEM Collaborative; Maine STEM Council; Maine Science Teachers Association; Technology and Engineering Education Association; Maine Environmental Education Association; Maine Engineering Promotional Council; Maine Principals Association; The Maine Curriculum Leaders Association; and Maine School Management Association.
Background: Maine requires that all students take two science courses, with at least one being a laboratory science. Maine’s science standards are arranged in grade bands K–2, 3–5, 6–8, and 9–12, however local districts have the ability to determine grade by grade content within these grand bands. The Maine science standards are assessed by the Maine Comprehensive Assessment System in grades 5, 8, and 11. Each grade band of science standards portrays end of grade band expectations for five topic areas: unifying themes, the skills and traits of scientific inquiry and technological design, the scientific and technological enterprise, the physical setting, and the living environment. Maine’s next science standards revision process is scheduled for 2015–16 school year; however Maine has in the past revised standards out of term, and is willing to do so to adopt the NGSS in the expected first year of 2013–14.
Commitment: Maine has shown a strong commitment to implementing rigorous standards as evidenced by its adoption of the Common Core State Standards (CCSSO) and its position as a governing state of the SMARTER Balanced Consortia. Maine has shown commitment to other consortia, such as the New England Comprehensive Assessment Plan, the New England Secondary Schools Consortium, and the Partnership for Next Generation Learning and the Science SCASS (both supported by CCSSO). Additionally, Maine is eager and well positioned to adopt the NGSS. These standards would provide a strong foundation for a system of proficiency-based graduation and multiple pathways to graduation that are part of Maine’s move toward standards-based education.
STEM Involvement: Maine has developed a learning technology program that could serve as a model to other states interested in furthering STEM education entitled Maine’s Learning Technology Initiative (MLTI). This program currently sustains 74,000 computing devices throughout the state. This program provides approximately 60,000 students and 11,000 teachers with one-to-one computing and access to software and to computer-enhanced learning, especially in STEM topic areas. This program is specifically useful in Maine, which is comprised of a mostly rural population; therefore sharing information via technology is vital and this initiative has allowed information sharing in Maine to grow. Maine’s Department of Education is in the process of creating a STEM Council to address STEM issues related to education, the economy, and workforce development.
Alliances and Infrastructure: Implementing new standards requires a great deal of communication, education, and collaboration and Maine is prepared to team up with the following organizations: STEM Collaborative, STEM Council, Maine Principals Association, The Maine Curriculum Leaders Association, The Maine School Management Association, Maine Science Teachers Association, The Technology and Engineering Education Association of Maine, the Maine Environmental Education Association, and State Board of Education.
Check back soon for more information on Maine's state team and implementation plans