Implementation of Proficiency-Based Diploma Extension Request for SAUs Awarding Diplomas

The Maine DOE is committed to ensuring every Maine student graduates with a diploma that signifies they are leaving high school with the knowledge and skills needed for college and career success.  For this reason the Department supported the 2012 law making it mandatory that schools award proficiency-based diplomas starting in 2018 and has been a resource to districts as they make this significant shift.

Increasingly, the Department has been hearing from educators about the complexity of developing quality proficiency-based learning systems. Even districts that have eagerly pursued implementation and believe deeply in the value of these systems in strengthening teaching and learning admit they may not be ready to award proficiency-based diplomas in all content areas and the Guiding Principles by 2018.

Under a provision in Maine’s Basic School Approval Law, the Commissioner of Education has the authority to grant school administrative units waivers from the proficiency-based diploma requirement if certain conditions are met. The Department has talked both formally and informally with stakeholders, including the Maine School Superintendents Association, to better understand the work that has been done by districts and what waiver process may be most productive to support future implementation progress.

As a result of that feedback, the Department is pleased to provide the following six extension options that it has developed. The request options use the word “extension” rather than waiver because none of these paths remove the requirement in Maine law to making the important transition to awarding proficiency-based diplomas. Instead, the extension request options provide the time and support districts say they need to undertake the thoughtful, systemic change needed to ensure quality implementation.

In an effort to ensure this process facilitates continuous progress toward proficiency, you’ll notice that the broader the extension request, the greater the work required of the district, as well as the level of structured support that will be provided by the Maine DOE. This requirement builds on the existing expectation that as part of the comprehensive education plan districts have included a plan for transitioning to proficiency-based graduation.

Our collective commitment to moving toward a learner-centered system will better prepare our students for college and career. The work that has been done by districts across the state to date is both impressive to community members and invaluable to other district leaders.

Please direct questions about the extension options and requests for technical assistance to our Proficiency-Based Education Specialist, Diana Doiron at diana.doiron@maine.gov

Proficiency-Based Diploma Requirements - Maine Revised Statutes 20-A §4722-A requires that after January 1, 2018, in order to receive a diploma from a secondary school, a student must:

  • Demonstrate that the student engaged in educational experiences relating to English language arts, mathematics, and science and technology in each year of the student’s secondary schooling.    ­­
  • Demonstrate proficiency in meeting state standards in all content areas of the system of learning results (English language arts, mathematics, social studies, science and technology, health education, physical education, visual and performing arts, world languages, and career and education development.)
  • Demonstrate proficiency in each of the guiding principles set forth in department rules governing implementation of the system of learning results (clear and effective communicator, self-directed and lifelong learner, creative and practical problem–solver, responsible and involved citizen, and integrative and informed thinker). 
  •  Meet any other requirements specified by the governing body of the school administrative unit attended by the student.

Extension Options - School districts may request an extension related to parts  B and/or C ONLY of Maine Revised Statutes 20-A §4722-A shown above.

The eight content areas include standards for English language arts, mathematics, science and technology, social studies, health education and physical education, visual and performing arts, world languages, and career and education development.
The Guiding Principles include standards related to being a: clear and effective communicator, self-directed and lifelong learner, creative and practical problem-solver, responsible and involved citizen, and integrative and informed thinker.
              

Extension Option

Description

Deliverables

1.

Extension Option 1 Application

The SAU will award diplomas to students graduating after January 1, 2018 who demonstrate proficiency of the standards of the eight content areas.
­­
The SAU is requesting that the Department grant an extension through July 1, 2020 for the requirement that students demonstrate proficiency in the standards of the Guiding Principles in order to receive a diploma.

The additional time will allow the SAU to develop the curriculum, assessments, and reporting mechanisms along with instructional practices that provide opportunity to learn and demonstrate proficiency of the Guiding Principles standards and will prepare the SAU to award diplomas to students demonstrating proficiency in the standards of the Guiding Principles after July 1, 2020.

By requesting this option the SAU agrees to the expectations that follow.

At the time of the extension application the SAU will:

  • Provide evidence demonstrating its preparedness to deliver diplomas based on proficiency of the standards of the eight content areas in 2018.
  • Provide a description of the overall plan to meet the goal of awarding diplomas based on proficiency in the standards of the Guiding Principles. The description should include benchmarks for the 2014-2015 school year and each year for which the extension is requested.
  • Include a budget for the use of all existing targeted proficiency-based diploma transition funds during 2014-2015 to support the implementation of proficiency-based diplomas

Annually the SAU will submit an extension renewal request to the Maine DOE by July 1. This request will include:

  • evidence of progress toward the identified annual benchmarks;
  • goals and benchmarks for continued progress over the next school year toward the awarding of diplomas based on proficiency of the standards of the eight content areas and the standards of the Guiding Principles; and
  • a budget for use of additional PBD transition funds.

 

2.

Extension Option 2 Application

The SAU has a fully implemented proficiency-based instructional program in place at the secondary level.

­­The SAU is   requesting that the Department grant an extension through January 1, 2019 for the requirement that students demonstrate proficiency in each of the standards of the eight content areas and the standards of the Guiding Principles in order to receive diploma.

This additional year will provide the SAU with the time needed to pilot and refine the mechanisms for reporting and assessment that have already been developed.

By requesting this option the SAU agrees to the expectations that follow.

At the time of the extension application the SAU will:

  • Provide evidence demonstrating its preparedness to deliver diplomas based on proficiency of the standards of the eight content areas and the standards of the Guiding Principles in 2019.
  • Provide an implementation plan that outlines benchmarks for the 2014-2015 school year that the SAU will meet in order to pilot and refine the mechanisms for reporting and assessment that have already been developed and are necessary to meet the goal of awarding diplomas based on proficiency in the standards of the eight content areas and the standards of the Guiding Principles.

At the time of the application for extension the SAU will include a budget for the use of all existing targeted PBD transition funds during 2014-2015 to support the implementation of proficiency-based diplomas

The SAU will submit a confirmation report to the Maine DOE by July 1, 2015. This report will include evidence that the SAU is prepared to  award students graduating after January 1, 2019 a diploma based on proficiency of the standards of the  eight content areas and standards of the Guiding Principles.

3.

Extension Option 3 Application

The SAU has a fully implemented proficiency based system in place at the middle school or K-8 level.
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The SAU is requesting that the Department grant an extension through July 1, 2020 for the requirement that students demonstrate proficiency in the standards of the eight content areas and the standards of the Guiding Principles in order to receive a diploma.

These additional years will provide the SAU with the time needed to phase-in the existing mechanisms that support opportunity to learn for students as well as the reporting and assessment mechanisms that are already developed and are in place at the middle level. This time will allow the SAU to develop the knowledge, skills and resources at the secondary level to award diplomas based on proficiency of standards of the eight content areas and the standards of the Guiding Principles for students graduating after July 1, 2020.

By requesting this option the SAU agrees to the expectations that follow.

At the time of the extension application the SAU will:

  • Provide evidence of the proficiency based system in place at the middle school or K-8 level as evidence of the SAU’s preparedness to expand the proficiency-based system into the secondary level and its preparedness to award diplomas based on proficiency in the standards of the eight content areas and standards of the Guiding Principles in July 1, 2020.
  • Provide a description of the overall plan to meet the goal of awarding of diplomas based on proficiency in the standards of the eight content areas and the standards of the Guiding Principles. The description should include benchmarks for the 2014-2015 school year and each year for which the extension is requested.
  • Include a budget for the use of all existing targeted PBD transition funds during 2014-2015 to support the implementation of proficiency-based diplomas

Annually the SAU will submit an extension renewal request to the Maine DOE by July 1. This report will include:

  • evidence of progress toward annual benchmarks;
  • goals and benchmarks for continued progress over the next school year toward diplomas based on proficiency of the standards of the eight content areas and the standards of the Guiding Principles; and
  • a budget for use of additional PBD transition funds.

 

4.

Extension Option 4 Application

The SAU will award diplomas to students graduating after January 1, 2018 who demonstrate proficiency of the standards for English language arts and mathematics.
­­
The SAU is requesting that the Department grant an extension through July 1, 2020 for the requirement that students demonstrate proficiency in the standards for the remaining six content areas and the standards of the Guiding Principles in order to receive diploma.

As they transition to a fully implemented proficiency-based diploma after July 1, 2020, SAUs may choose to give students fair notice and  phase-in over time proficiency in the remaining content areas and the Guiding Principles one, two or more content areas at a time leading up to July 1, 2020.

The additional time will allow the SAU to develop the curriculum, assessments, and reporting mechanisms along with instructional practices that provide opportunity to learn and demonstrate proficiency of the  standards in: science and technology, social studies, health education and physical education, visual and performing arts, world languages, career and education development, and the standards of the Guiding Principles so they may be ready to award diplomas to students demonstrating proficiency in the standards of the Guiding Principles  and the standards of the remaining six content areas after July 1, 2020. 

By requesting this option the SAU agrees to the expectations that follow.

At the time of the extension application the SAU will provide evidence demonstrating its preparedness to deliver diplomas based on proficiency of the standards English language arts and mathematics in 2018.

At the time of the extension application the SAU will provide a description of the SAUs overall plan to meet the goal of awarding of diplomas based on proficiency in the standards of the eight content areas and the standards of the Guiding Principles. The description should include benchmarks for the 2014-2015 school year and each year for which the extension is requested.

At the time of the application for extension the SAU will include a budget for the use of all existing targeted PBD transition funds during 2014-2015 to support the implementation of proficiency-based diplomas

Annually the SAU will submit an extension renewal request to the Maine DOE by July 1. This report will include:

  • evidence of progress toward annual benchmarks;
  • goals and benchmarks for continued progress over the next school year toward diplomas based on proficiency of the standards of the eight content areas and the standards of the Guiding Principles; and
  • a budget for use of additional PBD transition funds.

5.

Extension Option 5 Application

The SAU is transitioning to proficiency-based diplomas. The SAU is either an active member of a proficiency-based education collaborative or network or has contracted services for proficiency-based education coaching or has conducted significant internal professional development work to build capacity in proficiency-based education.  

The SAU is requesting that the Department grant an extension through July 1, 2020 for the requirement that students demonstrate proficiency in the standards of the eight content areas and the standards of the Guiding Principles in order to receive diploma.

These additional years will provide the SAU with the time needed to address some critical areas of need and build the capacity, infrastructures and assessments to award diplomas based on evidence of proficiency in the standards of the eight content areas and standards of the Guiding Principles.

By requesting this option the SAU agrees to the expectations that follow.

At the time of the extension application the SAU will:

  • Provide evidence of its active participation in proficiency- based system of supports to address identified critical areas of need, build capacity and the infrastructures to award diplomas based on proficiency in the standards of all 8 content areas and the standards of the Guiding Principles.
  • Provide a multi-year implementation plan indicating quarterly benchmarks for 2014-2015 and the annual benchmarks for each year for which the extension is requested that outline the steps the SAU will take to ensure that students graduating after July 1, 2020 will be awarded a diploma based on proficiency in the standards of the eight content areas and the standards of the Guiding Principles.
  • Include a budget for the use of all existing targeted PBD transition funds during 2014-2015 to support the implementation of proficiency-based diplomas

Approval is contingent upon receipt of an agenda and minutes from a school board meeting reflecting a formal board vote and approval of the extension request.

The SAU will host an annual site review from the Maine DOE. During the annual site visit which must precede June 1, the SAU will make an extension renewal request which will include:

  • classroom visits;
  • evidence of progress toward quarterly benchmarks for the year;
  • goals and quarterly benchmarks for continued progress over the next school year toward diplomas based on proficiency of the standards of the eight content areas and the standards of the Guiding Principles; and
  • a budget for use of additional PBD transition funds.

6.

Extension Option 6 Application

The SAU has just begun the work needed to award diplomas based on proficiency of the standards in all eight content areas and the standards of the Guiding Principles.  

 

The SAU is requesting that the Department grant an extension through July 1, 2020 for the requirement that students demonstrate proficiency in the standards of the eight content areas and the standards of the Guiding Principles in order to receive diploma.

Critical Next Steps

These additional years will provide the SAU with the time needed to work with the Department and other partners and stakeholders to develop a system of proficiency-based education resulting in the awarding of diplomas based on evidence of proficiency in the standards of the eight content areas and the Guiding Principles.

 

By requesting this option the SAU agrees to the expectations that follow.

At the time of the extension application the SAU will:

  • Provide a multi-year implementation plan that outlines quarterly benchmarks for 2014-2015 and the annual benchmarks for each year for which the extension is requested that outline the steps the SAU will take to ensure that students graduating after July 1, 2020 will be awarded a diploma based on proficiency in the standards of the eight content areas and the standards of the Guiding Principles.
  • Include a budget for the use of all existing targeted PBD transition funds during 2014-2015 to support the implementation of proficiency-based diplomas.

Approval is contingent upon receipt of an agenda and minutes from a school board meeting reflecting a formal board vote and approval of the extension request.

The SAU will host two site reviews annually from the Maine DOE. During the second site visit which must precede June 1, the SAU will make an extension renewal request which will include:

  • classroom visits;
  • evidence of progress toward quarterly benchmarks for the year;
  • goals and quarterly benchmarks for continued progress over the next school year toward diplomas based on proficiency of the standards of the eight content areas and the standards of the Guiding Principles; and
  • a budget for use of additional PBD transition funds.

One of the site visits must include a meeting with the members of the SAU School Board to discuss the development and adoption of polices supporting the awarding of proficiency-based diplomas.