Innovation & Initiatives

The Maine Department of Education is engaged in a variety of initiatives aimed at fostering innovative educational practices. More than promoting innovation for its own sake, though, the Department has a straight-forward agenda: Pursue innovation when it's clear it will benefit students.

  • A New Accountability & Improvement System. Maine is designing an accountability and improvement system that considers multiple valid measures in determining the performance of students and schools, recognizes educators when they help students grow, and helps struggling schools improve rather than feel stigmatized.
  • Early College Opportunities. The Department of Education is spearheading efforts to better prepare students for careers and keep them engaged in school by allowing them to take college courses during high school.
  • Maine Schools for Excellence. Eighteen schools serving 5,500 students are involving their teachers in rigorous professional development and in the design of new performance evaluation and pay systems.
  • Next Generation Science Standards. Maine is one of 20 states leading the charge to develop shared standards for science learning that focus more on inquiry and investigation than fact memorization.
  • Proficiency-Based Learning. A growing number of Maine schools are adopting an innovative approach to student learning: one in which learning is the constant and time is the variable.
  • Public Charter Schools. The Department of Education is working to implement Maine's new law allowing charter schools: independently run, public schools of choice.
  • Smarter Balanced Assessments. Maine is actively involved in developing a next-generation, computer-based assessment of student learning that will test higher-order skills and provide teachers with tools to use assessment to improve instruction.
  • Updated Maine Learning Results. The Maine Learning Results include the academic standards for eight content areas. For math and English language arts, Maine has incorporated the Common Core State Standards – shared by 45 states – into its Learning Results.